Wednesday, 3 December 2008

More on the deleted call records

Where Was Kate McCann? (*)

The CD issued by Ministerio Publico de Portimao in July 2008, contains a great deal of information on the mobile calls made and received by the “Tapas 9” but it is dispersed, difficult to retrieve and with important pages and charts missing. The main documents of interest from the CD are:

* A 3 page report by the Policia Judiaria (undated, but probably 4th May 2007) listing call records retrieved from the handsets of Mr and Mrs McCann
* A detailed (and excellent report) by Inspector Paulo Dias, Inspector of UNI-Sector de Análise, Lisbon, dated 9th November 2007
* Schedules provided by Vodafone on 14th December 2007 covering a period from 29th April 2007 for Gerald McCann, David Payne, Rachael Mampilly, broken into four separate sections for incoming and outgoing telephone calls, incoming and outgoing SMS traffic
* A second report by Inspector Dias dated 5th February 2008, containing time bars, link charts and maps pinpointing where the “Tapas 9’s” sets were when they activated antennae
* A third report by Inspector Dias dated 2nd June 2008 which includes details of activations of the Luz and other mobile antenna from 28th April 2007 to September 2007
* The Rogatory Letter requests and correspondence dated from 5th December 2007 to May 2007 and responses from the Home Office in April and May 2008

The PJ used a program, called the “Analyst’s Notebook” as well as “Excel” to handle what were very large datasets. Inspector Dias pointed out that “Excel” was far from ideal, because of its limited capacity and it seems that much of the data provided was paper based and had to be rekeyed. Also the main focus of the research was limited to the evening of Thursday 3rd May 2007. But, despite the problems, the PJ’s work is impressive, innovative and very detailed. For example, there is a brilliant analysis (which unfortunately led nowhere) based on the hypothesis of two abductors each working with mobiles in the Ocean Club area immediately before Madeleine was reported missing. There is another excellent piece of work which tracks down a misrouted call, from Swansea, to Kate McCann at 11.21 on Wednesday 2nd May 2007.

However, there are potentially serious omissions:

* The most important records were not available when Mr and Mrs McCann attended their “Arguido interviews” on 6th and 7th September 2007 and it is doubtful that they were ever reviewed by the very experienced analysts from the Leicestershire Police, whose team left the Algarve soon after the McCann’s return to the UK in September 2007
* There are no detailed call records from the mobile operators for Kate McCann, Russell O’Brien, Matthew Oldfield and Jane Tanner
* When the PJ obtained the McCann’s mobiles they do not appear to have retrieved deleted data or to extract their contact lists
* None of the telecom records show triangulation co-ordinates but are limited to identifying the single primary antenna on which calls were registered
* The details of over 50 UK subscribers contacted by the Tapas 9 in the critical period, as well as their onward local and international call records, was included in the Rogatory Letter request in December 2007. If this information was provided, it is not in the CD
* A critical link chart (Anexo 37) for Tuesday 1st May 2007 is missing from Inspector Dias’s report

These omissions make interpretation of the data difficult but what is available provides an interesting picture. First, it is obvious that the memories in the McCann’s mobiles were incomplete and, in Kate McCann’s case, selectively deleted.

Her mobile memory held details of 39 calls from 18.28 on Wednesday 25th April to 16.35 on 27th April 2007. After her arrival in Portugal on 28th April 2007, with the exception of one incoming call on Wednesday 2nd May 2007 at 11.21 (which, very interestingly, was the Swansea “wrong number”), and one call from her husband at 23.17 on Thursday 3rd May 2007, everything else has been “whoosh-clunked” from memory. These deletions could have been accidental, but a high degree of cunning could be implied. Why would she selectively delete everything up to Thursday 3rd May 2007 with the exception of one wrong number and what was her reason for deleting three of the four calls, between 23.14 and 23.17, from her husband on that critical night?. A possible answer is that she wished to avoid alerting the PJ to evidence that details of around 40 calls had been erased and she felt happier leaving something uncontroversial (or misleading) in memory for them to find. Another answer is that, unsurprisingly, she was under the most extreme stress imaginable following the disappearance of her daughter: but why, in that case, give priority to deleting anything. It is the last thing most parents would think about in the circumstances.

The first call found in Gerald’s mobile memory was timed at 00.30 on Friday 4th May 2007. Again matching antenna records to memory suggests that by the time he gave the handset to the PJ the records of 24 calls or SMSs had been erased, including the one from him found on his wife’s handset and timed at 23.17 on Thursday 3rd May 2007. It appears that he had deleted details of the four calls he made to her that night and she deleted just three. It was this simple discrepancy that first led the PJ to suspect interference with the handsets.

If the deletions were deliberate (and it is an “if”) it implies the McCann’s were both “forensically aware” and crafty and wanted to hide something from the PJ. For this reason, it is important to explore the call record data and to match it against other evidence.

On Saturday 28th April 2007, after their arrival in Luz, Kate McCann’s mobile triggered the antenna 9 times. It is not possible to say, from the available records, whether these were incoming or outgoing calls or SMSs or for how long they lasted. The last activations were at 20.55 and 20.59 when (based on their statements) the Tapas 9 returned for an early night after eating at the Millennium Restaurant with their children. All of these records were erased from the memory of Kate McCann’s mobile. Gerald McCann’s mobile did not activate any of the Luz antennae that day.

On Sunday 29th April 2007, the first activation of Kate McCann’s mobile was at 9.23, but again there are no Vodafone logs or time bars to provide further detail. However, by internally matching the antenna records it appears that she called her husband at 12.26 and 17.02.

The crèche records indicate that he collected Madeleine at 12.15. He also picked up the twins around 17.00 but mistakenly recorded the time as “12.30”. Chances are that the calls from Kate McCann were to check that he had picked up the kids. At 10.13 Gerald McCann received a call from a UK mobile xxxxx3899. The last activation by Kate McCann’s mobile was at 19.30 and Gerald’s at 17.02.

A pattern on this sheet (and it applies to all of the Tapas 9) is that no activations took place at any time during the week while they were at dinner. So maybe Clarence Mitchell was right, after all, and that they were so “into each other” that they didn’t want to be disturbed while sardine munching and left their mobiles in their rooms. They were never specifically asked this question, but it is very important and the point will be addressed later.

On Monday 30th April 2007, neither of the McCann’s telephones activated the Luz transmitters. This looks very odd, especially as they were around the Ocean Club to shuffle the kids to and from the crèches. On this afternoon, Madeleine remained in the crèche for only 15 minutes and was picked up by her mother at 15.30. We do not know what Madeleine did for the rest of the day, but it is possible she was being fractious. Interestingly, a friend of Mrs and Mr McCann supposedly told the “Dispatches” team that made a TV program on the tragedy, that “Madeleine was a screamer”. This could be interpreted in one of two ways, but any use of the past tense in referring to Madeleine would be very significant. It was such a past tense referral, to her supposedly living children, that alerted the FBI to their murder by Susan Smith, their mother.

On Tuesday 1st May 2007, Gerald McCann’s handset was silent all day. Kate McCann’s mobile first activated the Luz antenna at 10.16, but all details of the day’s calls have been deleted from the handset and there is no nothing in the CD from her mobile provider. Another activation took place at 12.17. The crèche records show that Gerald McCann picked up Madeleine at 12.20 (a bit earlier than usual) but Kate McCann’s call at 12.17 does not appear to have been to him, (because his mobile was not activated at all that day). Kate McCann dealt with her last call before leaving for the Tapas Bar at 20.35.

At around 8.45pm on Tuesday 1st May 2007, Miss Nejoua Chekeya, the Ocean Club’s busty Aerobics Instructor, held a “Quiz Night” and was later invited, allegedly by Gerald McCann, to join his table which she did sometime between 9.30pm and 9.50pm. She did not say how long she had remained with them, but she is not the sort of woman men would wish see to leave too quickly. Miss Chekeya stated that one dinner setting was unused and that she could not remember seeing Kate McCann.

However, both Jane Tanner and Russell O’Brien have stated that he did not go to the Tapas Bar on the “Quiz Night” (ie Tuesday 1st May 2007), but had stayed in their room looking after his sick daughter. Jane Tanner took his dinner to the room; thus explaining the unused plate setting. Russell O’Brien was not asked by either the Policia Judiciaria or Leicestershire Police whether he had heard Madeleine crying!

Kate McCann’s mobile was next activated six times, in rapid fire, between 22.16 and 22.27, after she had returned to Apartment 5A after dinner. The antenna traffic proves that these calls were not made to any of the “Tapas 9”.

The evidence from the call logs gives the strongest clue that the “Tapas 9” left their telephones in their rooms when they went to dinner. Clarence Mitchell, the McCann’s spokesperson, confirmed this. In an interview, reported on 6th April 2008 by Ned Temko of “The Guardian”, Mr Mitchell said: “You had nine people in a bar without watches on, without mobile phones and absolute panic set in when they realised what had happened…. We would say that, if the police had a perfect time line across nine people, that would be a damn sight more suspicious than the fractured, illogical, composite statements they might have got”

Mrs Fenn, the McCann’s neighbour, reported that Madeleine had cried for her father between 22.30 and 23.45. The evidence shows that Kate McCann was in Apartment 5A 14 minutes before Madeleine started crying. Tuesday 1st May 2007 is the only night (except, of course, for Thursday 3rd May 2007) that either of the McCanns or any of their friends made calls after dinner.

Mrs McCann volunteered to the PJ that on the night of Wednesday 2nd May 2007, she had slept in the spare bed in her children’s room because her husband had not paid her enough attention over dinner. Or put another way, does she mean the amorous Scot was paying someone else (like Miss Chekeya) too much attention, causing her to stomp out of the Tapas Bar before him: ultimately leading to the spare bed in a strop? Gerald McCann said he thought the reason his wife had slept in the children’s bedroom was because of his snoring and that he did not even bother asking her the following morning what the problem was.

Could it be that their timings are wrong by 24 hours and that Kate McCann’s nocturnal shenanigans took place on the night of Tuesday 1st May 2007? It would fit, but why be untruthful about it? A possible reason is that they wanted to conceal both Kate McCann’s state of mind and the fact that she had returned to Apartment 5A, just before Madeleine’s cried for help.

On Wednesday 2nd May 2007, Kate McCann called her friend “Amanda” at 7.36.41 and again at 7.36.45. This was around two hours earlier than any of mobile activations on any other morning: so Kate McCann was “up with the larks”. Amanda returned the calls at 7.50. There is no record of how long any of these calls lasted or whether they were SMSs. They were all deleted from memory.

At 8.07 Gerald McCann received a call from the SMS message centre (447818520047), but does not appear to have responded. At 8.50 Kate McCann received a call from a UK mobile xxxxx27010 and returned it at 8.53, before going to play tennis. Gerald McCann received a series of calls from his SMS message centre between 9.10 and 10.47, again without response.

At 11.21 Kate received a call from what appears to be a landline in Swansea ( xxxxx0023). The report by Inspector Dias researched this call in detail (Page 21 in his report of 9th November 2007) and discovered that it had not activated any of the Luz antennae. But digging deeper, he found that another UK mobile (xxxxx 1583) had triggered the Luz antenna when connecting to the same Swansea number at 14.01. He dug even deeper, tracked all of the calls made from Luz by xxxx1583 and established it had no connection whatsoever with any of the “Tapas 9”. The Swansea call to Kate McCann was simply a “wrong number”, misrouted and thus not logged by the Luz antennae.

What Inspector Dias did not realise was that the Swansea call had become so special to Kate McCann that, when deleting all of the other Portuguese call records from memory, she decided to leave this one intact.

Gerald received five further calls from the SMS message centre and at 15.50 called 91121, probably to collect his messages. He received further calls from the centre at 17.49 and 19.49. The records provided by Vodafone show these calls but that they originate from a different mobile number (0xxxx014310)

At 20.08 Kate McCann received two calls from a UK mobile xxxx7624 and six minutes late Gerald McCann called 91121: again to collect messages before he left for the Tapas Bar. This was the last activation of the day by either of the McCanns; probably confirming that their mobiles remained in Apartment 5A when they went to dinner.

On Thursday 3rd May 2007 (the critical day) at 8.23 and 8.24 Kate McCann’s mobile activated the antenna to call xxxx7624. There is nothing in file to indicate the owner of this mobile but it does not appear to be any of the McCann family or friends.

At 12.24 Gerald McCann received a call from a UK Mobile xxxx1746. Again there is no clue in the file to the subscriber’s name. At 12.31 Kate McCann received a call (or SMS) from her mother’s mobile and responded an hour later.

Neither of the McCanns appears to have had any further activity on their telephones until after Madeleine was reported missing when Gerald McCann called his wife four times between 23.14 and 23.52. At 23.40 he called his sister – Trish Cameron and at 23.52 -Janet Kennedy.

The batch of SMS messages received by Gerald McCann on Wednesday 2nd May 2007 seems to have caused him some anxiety. Although the number “07818520047” is in a block allocated to Vodafone, the company has no record of the subscriber’s name. When the number is dialed, connection is made to a recorded message which explains that changes have been made to the way customers can access their mailboxes and that they can now dial “121” from their handset or “07836121121” from any other telephone.

Thus the number appears to be a message box for Gerald McCann that sends him an SMS when his mobile is unable to accept a call (because it is out of range or turned off). However, when he was asked by “Expresso TV” on 6th September 2008 about the “sixteen SMS messages” received, he flustered:

“No one has ever asked to see any of my text messages. There is no way that there 16 messages on that day or even the day after, you know. You know, the day after, you know that we got…” Kate McCann came to his rescue and interrupted; “Gerry hardly ever sends text messages until the day after, the day after Madeleine was taken”. Gerald McCann continued: “so you know that it is actually rubbish”

Their McCann’s denials were, of course, technically true although perhaps disingenuous - because there were only 14 messages received on the day before they reported Madeleine missing and two on the day after.

There were 16 SMS messages, in total, so why prevaricate and deny an allegation that was never made. The question was about received messages, not those sent, and on the day before not on 3rd May 2007 or the day after! In the field of forensic linguistics you must always concentrate on the precise wording of denials and especially on those of allegations not made. The denials made by the McCanns are suspicious. However, Mrs McCann’s statement about her husband not sending SMS messages, until after Madeleine’s disappearance, is confirmed by Vodafone’s records.

Mr and Mrs McCann were never closely questioned by the PJ about the detail of their calls, but Gerald McCann excused the deletions by saying that his telephone’s memory only retained details of the last ten calls made. This obvious inaccuracy (It already had retained details of 17 calls) does not appear to have been challenged by the PJ and it does not in anyway explain the selective deletions from his wife’s handset.

So the bottom line is that Kate McCann was in Apartment 5A when Madeleine cried for her father between 22.30 and 23.45 on Tuesday 1st May 2007, leading to a unique flurry of late night calls and to unique calls very early the following morning. A forensic examination of the records of Madeleine’s attendance at the “Lobsters” crèche on Wednesday 2nd and Thursday 3rd May 2007 is critically important because if they have been falsified, to establish she was there when she was not, this case takes on an entirely new dimension and sets different search parameters.

Secondly, if the memories of the mobile telephones were deleted in way suspected, a level of cunning is implied that would be capable of conceiving plan to deliberately delay reporting Madeleine’s “disappearance”; if for no other reason than to disassociate it from the crying incident on Tuesday 1st May 2007.

Of course, this is speculation and it is entirely possible that further investigation and the much awaited transparency by Mr and Mrs McCann will totally exonerate them. But why don’t they simply produce the SMS messages and explain why call details were deleted?

By Paulo Reis and associates

(*) This report is a result of cooperation with a leading international investigative firm that is in the closing stages of an 18 month intensive investigation that is expected to reopen the case in Portugal and to start new proceedings in the UK.

Tuesday, 7 October 2008

News after a long absence

Since early September, my activity in this page has been reduced. I came to Macau, on holidays, and I decided to accept a job offer. It is a full-time job, as editor of a local Portuguese daily newspaper, and I've been quite busy. I will keep posting, about Madeleine's case (*) but not with the same regularity. Soon, I'll have some interesting news, after a long and detailed analysis of the attendance sheets from the Ocean Club crèches.
One of the aspects that surprised me is the fact that several registrations, on those sheets, have the time (and signatures) when children (not the McCann's kids...) were left there, but no signature and no mention about the time they went out. This detail raises doubts about the level of control that Ocean Club staff had, concerning children in their crèches. Either the control was not as good as they referred, or there is something strange with those attendance sheets.

(*) I received a letter from Carter-Ruck, threatening to take me to court, if I don't stop immediately writing about the case - something I have no intention to do.

Monday, 15 September 2008

Gerry McCann: sniffer dogs are not reliable

Sniffer dogs have a high failure rate, according to Gerry McCann. In an interview with the Portuguese weekly Expresso, when asked to comment about Eddie and Keela searches at Praia da Luz, Gerry said that a study made in USA proved that those dogs were not reliable.
Sniffer dogs were tested, according to Gerry McCann, with boxes containing vegetables, bones, garbage and some human remains. For 10 hours, four sets of boxes were left in ten rooms. After the boxes were removed, the dogs were called in and “failed in two thirds of the cases”, said the father of Madeleine McCann.
Eddie and Keela handler, Martin Grimes, in a statement that is in the DVD files of the investigation of Madeleine’s disappearance, says that the dogs have been used in around 200 cases and never gave a “false alert”.

Eddie and Keela videos

Two full videos of the dogs' search at Praia da Luz can be watched here:

Eddie and Keela at the McCann rented house

Eddie and Keela searching the cars

Monday, 1 September 2008

The tennis tournament (*)

On the afternoon of May 3, 2007, it was planned a tennis tournament, only for men, organized by the Ocean Club management. The Tapas 7 and their children went to the beach. Madeleine and the twins spend the morning at the crèches and had lunch with Gerry and Kate, in the apartment. The children were taken back to the crèches between 2:30/2:50 pm, according to Gerry's statement to PJ on May 10, 2007.

After lunch, the McCann couple spend some time at the tennis court and later Kate went jogging to the beach. Gerry stay playing. They met again around 5:30 pm, in the area near the Tapas Bar, where all children from both crèches were having “high tea”.

Kate said that she and Gerry went back to apartment, with the children, around 5:40 pm and gave them bath, together (statement to PJ, September 6, 2007). They thought about taking the children to the playground area, after bath, but decided not to do it, that day, because the children were really very tired. Just before 6:00 pm, Gerry left the apartment and went to the tennis court.

Kate had just finished to take a shower, around 6:30/6:40 pm, when somebody knocked at the door (the door facing the swimming pool). She put a towel around herself and went to the door, where she saw David Payne. Payne went to the apartment to help take the children to the playground, according to Kate, because Gerry asked him to do that.

According to his statement, on September 7, 2007Gerry was playing tennis. At around 6:30 pm, David Payne came from Paraíso bar, and asked him if he was going to keep playing. Gerry said he didn't know, because Kate could need some help to take care of the three children, as they intended to take them to the playground, after the bath.

Gerry “thinks” Payne offered to check if Kate needed help, and came back few minutes after. Questioned about the contradiction with his previous statement (from May 4, 2007), where he told that Payne came back 30 minutes after leaving to check Kate and the children, Gerry said that he was referring to the period of time it took Payne to make a second come back to the tennis court - David returned to the tennis court, few minutes after 6:30 pm, following his check on Kate. Then, he went out again, according to Gerry, to go to his apartment and change clothes, to play tennis.

When Payne knocked at the A5 apartment, Kate said she talked with him for 30 seconds (statement to PJ, September 7, 2007) and told him the children were not going to the playground area, as planned. Payne didn't came inside the living room, just stood at the door, and left to the tennis court, around 6:30/6:40, according to Kate. Gerry came back from tennis at 7:00 pm (he left at 7:20, according to the other three Tapas' men, Russel, Matthew and David Payne, who played tennis until up to 8:00 pm)

At the end of the questioning, on September 7, 2007, PJ detectives asked Gerry if Madeleine was ever hurt, during her stay at Ocean Club. Gerry said he would not comment on that. After the detectives asked the last and formal question – if he had anything else to declare – Gerry McCann said hat he saw no evidence that Madeleine was dead, so he would continue the searching, hoping to find her alive.

When the same formal – and usual – question was put to his lawyer, Mr. Pinto de Abreu, he requested that his client was questioned again about if Madeleine had ever bleed. Gerry answered and said that Madeleine bleed frequently, from her nose, but he ignored if it had happened during the holidays in Portugal.

David Payne, in his statement to Leicestershire Police (LP), on April 2008, said that Gerry asked him to check if everything was all right with Kate, around 6:30 pm, May 3, 2007. After talking with Kate for 3 to 5 minutes, he went to his own apartment, dressed for tennis and went to play with Matthew, Russel and Gerry – but Madeleine's father just played for a little while and left.

Payne, Matthew, Russel and Dan, the Ocean Club tennis coach, played until certainly after half past seven, perhaps until just before eight o'clock, according to David Payne. But Fiona Payne told Leicester Police that his husband was back in the apartment around ten minutes past seven. Her mother, Diane Webster, was more precise, in her statement to LP: she left the tennis court about seven o'clock, May 3, 2007, with her granddaughters and his son-in-law arrived ten minutes after and helped her to bath the children.

(*) Based on statements from:

  • Gerry McCann (May 4, May 10 and September 7, 2007, PJ);

  • Kate McCann (September 6, 2007, PJ)

  • David Payne (April, 2008, LP)

  • Fiona Payne (April, 2008, LP)

  • Dianne Webster (April, 2008, LP)

  • Russel O'Brien (April, 2008, LP)

  • Matthew Oldfield (April, 2008, LP)

Friday, 29 August 2008

About comments...

Please, don't post at my page comments with personal insults to other persons that have posted comments, also. There is a clear difference between criticizing and insulting and I will reject comments with personal insults.

Thank you

Wednesday, 27 August 2008

"Life and death of Rose, Israel's Madeleine McCann"

From Times Online

August 26, 2008

Sheera Frenkel, Jerusalem

The story of a missing four-year-old French girl took a grisly turn today when Israeli police revealed their suspicions that the child had been murdered by her mother and grandfather, who were in a romantic relationship (...)”

Interesting statement

From: FindMadeleine – The Official Website to find Madeleine McCann

Oakley International

Date Released: 26/08/2008

"In the light of articles in some UK Sunday newspapers this weekend, we feel it is appropriate to comment briefly on our relationship with the investigation company Oakley International."
"We appointed them several months ago to investigate the disappearance of Madeleine McCann. We continue to work with them to this end. The working relationship is managed by Brian Kennedy, who also confirms the relationship with Oakley International continues to be good and that it remains entirely focused on the search for Madeleine."

Saturday, 23 August 2008

A joint investigation

On January 2008, according to the investigation files from the DVD given to journalists, the PJ detective Ricardo Paiva received a dossier from British police and sent it to Paulo Rebelo, the head of the investigation of Madeleine's disappearance, with an internal communication.

The dossier's first document is an email from Stuart Prior, of Leicestershire Constabulary, with several files attached: MS Word documents with witnesses statements and a PowerPoint (PP) file. Inserted in the PowerPoint file, among other things, there was the sketch of the face of what was called before “The bundleman”, the faceless man' sketch based on Jane Tanner description. The email was sent to Ricardo Paiva and to another Leicestershire police officer, Michael Graham.

Stuart Prior asked Ricardo Paiva, in the mentioned email dated from January 16, 2008 (14:55), to get back to him as soon as possible, with instructions from Paulo Rebelo concerning the action to be taken, about the content of the dossier.

The PowerPoint file, as the Leicestershire police officer explained, was completed by the Mccann and the witnesses statements were taken by UK Police. The second document in the dossier is a short message, also by email, from Gerry McCann to Stuart Prior, dated from January 16, 2008 (13:15), with the subject “sketch”:


As discussed.


The email sent by Stuart Prior explained that, in the attached documents, Jane Tanner's description was taken from the Press and also from the summary of her statement. The witnesses statements attached to the email were from Gail Cooper, Paul Gordon and Trudy Dawkin. There were also files with “tanner description” and a “Summary of second statement of Jane Tanner”. Stuart Prior referred six specific questions, to be answered by Paulo Rebelo, and wrote that there was some urgency around those questions, as it was necessary to take decisions prior to the Gail Cooper artist impression appeared in the UK Press.

Another reason given by Stuart Prior for the urgency was the fact that he needed to get back to Gerry McCann because he asked to be updated about how Paulo Rebelo wanted the new lead investigation to be conducted. Stuart Prior wanted to know what kind of information could be provide to the McCann – who, as he wrote in the email, were very excited by the potential lead revealed in the PowerPoint file and in the enclosed witnesses statements.

A “point of power?”

The PowerPoint completed by the McCann has a title: “Finding Madeleine McCann – Aged 4”. Then, page after page, it has short references about the main points of several witness statement: Gail Cooper phrases about the a male she saw on April 20, 2007, while holidaying in a a villa near apartment A5, who is described as sallow skinned, scruffy, speaking broken English and claiming he was collecting money for an Orphanage in Espiche.

Alfred Schuurmans is another witness mentioned, in the PowerPoint file. He his head of Roscoe Foundation and Brian Kennedy spoke to him on January13, 2008. Alfred Schuurmans confirmed to Brian Kennedy that there are no Orphanages in Espiche or surrounding areas, and no collections were made, as this was illegal in Portugal.

Next page refers to Melissa Little, a qualified police sketch artist who spent many hours with Jane Tanner and Gail Cooper, to produce the sketches. Melissa, according to the PowerPoint file completed by the McCann, stated that there were many similarities between Jane Tanner's man and Gail's description.

On page 13 of the PP file, there is an “Action Plan”, with three points, to launch a worldwide search of the man pictured in the sketch. The last of the 14 pages of PP file has the sketch that Clarence Mitchell would show to the Media, during a Press Conference, on January 20, 2008. Following 11 pages have the transcriptions of witnesses statements, collected by British police.

Brief update to Gerry McCann

Ricardo Paiva replied to the January 16 email of Stuart, on the same day, at 17:52, on behalf of Paulo Rebelo, asking Leicestershire police to re-interview several witnesses and question other persons who were referred for the first time in his message and attached files. On January 17, several emails were exchanged between the two police officers, with details about specific actions and requests, most of them related with witnesses interviews and contacts.

Stuart Prior emailed Ricardo Paiva again on January 18, 2008 (18:57) to send more witnesses statements, in attachment, and inform the PJ Inspector that a brief update was given to Gerry McCann, as discussed between him and Ricardo Paiva. Stuart Prior also refers that he told Gerry McCann there were descriptions different from those of Gail Cooper and Jane Tanner, and evidence that several charity collectors have been “working” in the Ocean Club area, before Madeleine being taken, according to other witnesses.

The Leicestershire Detective Superintendent informed Ricardo Paiva that the sketch based on Gail Cooper description was likely to hit the Media over the weekend (19/20 January, 2008) – making clear that Leicestershire Constabulary was not involved in that in any way at all.

And just the day after Clarence Mitchell called the Media to released two sketches of a man the McCann “believe may have abducted the four-year-old”, one of the nannies from Ocean Club, Charlote Pennington, told the Daily Mail she saw Robert Murat talking “to a man who resembled the 'oddball' in the new sketch released by the McCanns”, outside the Batista supermarket. According to the January 21, 2008 edition of the Daily Mail, “Clarence Mitchell said the Madeleine McCann information hotline had been inundated with calls, saying the response had already been 'very encouraging'. Gerry McCann wrote on his blog: 'It is essential that he be traced. We believe many people must know who this individual is. We appeal to anyone who knows him or may have seen him to contact our private investigators. This man may have key information that will help us locate Madeleine."

Duarte Levy and Paulo Reis

Friday, 22 August 2008

Clarence Mitchell recruitment site: Just a coincidence?

It is not the same Clarence Mitchell, spokesperson of the McCann family, right? Just a coincidence of names, I'm sure. Could be another Clarence Mitchell, the owner of this company...



Charlotte Pennington, Noel Hogan and Metodo 3

On January 2008, according to the investigation files from the DVD given to journalists, a police officer from Leicestershire Constabulary (Graham Michael) spoke with Charlotte Pennington (a former nanny from Ocean Club) in UK. She told that she had no additional information to give and confirmed the statement she had made to PJ, while still in Portugal.

Charlotte Pennington also said that she spoke to a British private investigator, Noel Hogan, working on behalf of Metodo 3. She assured Graham Michael that she only relayed to Noel Hogan the same information she gave to Polícia Judiciária, in Portugal, and to Leicestershire Police, on August 2007.

Duarte Levy and Paulo Reis

Anyone having problems accessing Yahoo Mail? I have...

Thursday, 21 August 2008

Viva a Maria da Fonte...

(Click in the image to hear the Maria da Fonte hymn)

Hino da Maria da Fonte (*)

Viva a Maria da Fonte
Com as pistolas na mão
Para matar os cabrais
Que são falsos à nação

É avante Portugueses
É avante não temer
Pela santa Liberdade
Triunfar ou perecer

É avante Portugueses
É avante não temer
Pela santa Liberdade
Triunfar ou perecer

Viva a Maria da Fonte
A cavalo e sem cair
Com as pistolas à cinta
A tocar a reunir

É avante Portugueses
É avante não temer
Pela santa Liberdade
Triunfar ou perecer

Lá raiou a liberdade
Que a nação há-de aditar
Glória ao Minho que primeiro
O seu grito fez soar

É avante Portugueses
É avante não temer
Pela santa Liberdade
Triunfar ou perecer

É avante Portugueses
É avante não temer
Pela santa Liberdade
Triunfar ou perecer

(*) In 1846 there was a popular rising “Revolta da Maria da Fonte”, against several laws issued by the government of Cabral. The situation was so bad that led to a stage of effective Civil War known as the ‘Patuleia’ that would only finish with the foreign intervention of British and Spanish troops in 1847. Finally, in 1851 Marshal Saldanha after a military insurrection brought the much needed stability after 40 governments since 1834 .This new period became known as ‘Regeneração’.

"Private" message: (Paulo please note)

Dear anonymous, who sent a comment to my post with this phrase "(Paulo please note)", would you please get in touch with me?

Clarence Mitchell: How I met Gerry and Kate McCann...

The spokesperson of the McCann family gave a statement, as a witness (under oath...) to Leicestershire Police, on April 28, 2008. Mr. Clarence Mitchell explained he met Gerry McCann on 2007, late May, when Madeleine's father went back to UK for the first time after his daughter disappeared.

According to Mr. Mitchell, it was a circumstantial (1) meeting at the Leicestershire Police, while he was working at the Consular Assistance Group from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. Clarence Mitchell told Leicestershire Police, in his statement, that he was asked to go back to Portugal with Mr. Gerry McCann, where he met his wife, Kate McCann.

Later, as he said, he developed a good professional and personal relationship with the family. In the same statement, Mr. Mitchell reveals that he went to Portugal on May 22, 2007 (the meeting at Leicestershire Police, with Gerry McCann was on May 21, 2007) and remain there until the middle of June. After his return to UK, he kept in daily touch with the family and met them 2 or 3 times a week.

Seconded to the Foreign Office

But according to Mr. Jim Murphy, Minister of State, Foreign & Commonwealth Office on 7 May, 2008, Clarence Mitchell was seconded to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, from the Central Office of Information (COI), for a period of 25 days in May 2007 to provide assistance with the media to the family of Madeleine McCann.

Mr. Jim Murphy revealed those details when questioned by Elliot Morley, Labour MP for Scunthorpe, on 7 May, 2008, as it is referred on the “Daily Hansard - Written Answers” at the House of Commons.

After his return to UK, in mid-June 2007, Clarence Mitchell continued to work as head of the Media Monitoring Unit, a department from the UK Government Central Office of Information (COI). He resigned from the COI on September 17, 2007. The Media Monitoring Unit employed 18 press officers, on August 2006 and, according to reports in the Media, it started to monitor blogs publishing hot issues regarding government policy in 2007, using a software tool developed by internet intelligence company “23 Ltd”.

McCann victims of a heinous crime

Clarence Mitchell was replaced by PR expert and Liberal Democrat politician Justine McGuinness on June 22, 2007. Justine announced her resignation immediately after the McCann couple went back to UK and Clarence Mitchell left his well-paid job at the Government to became the McCann spokesperson, with his 75,000 pounds salary paid by the millionaire Brian Kennedy.

As he started on his new job, he justified his decision to quit MMU and made clear what he thought about the decision of the Portuguese Police and Public Prosecution Services to name the McCann as “arguidos” or formal suspects: "I have done so simply because I feel so strongly that they are the innocent victims of a heinous crime that I am prepared to forgo my career in government service to assist them (...) I will simply be representing Katie and Gerry as a private individual, one who believes utterly that they are innocent of any involvement in the disappearance, let alone the death, of their daughter, Madeleine."

Duarte Levy and Paulo Reis

(1) Gerry McCann left Faro Airport on May 20, 2007, on a late flight. He arrived at Coventry Airport on the early hours of May 21. The Media was informed that the trip was related with personal matters and also for meetings with organizers of the Find Madeleine Fund. He met Clarence Mitchell at Leicestershire Constabulary's headquarters, and went to Rothley where he visited the Madeleine's improvised shrine, set up at the war memorial in the village centre. Daily Mail wrote that Gerry meeting with Leicestershire Constabulary was intended to see how they were coordinating their inquiries, as they were the police force in charge of cooperating with the Portuguese police. On May 22, Clarence Mitchell and Gerry McCann flew back to Algarve.

An homage to my Spanish speaking friends

"Ladran, Sancho, señal que cabalgamos" (*)

in “El ingenioso hidalgo don Quijote de la Mancha”, by Miguel de Cervantes

(*) In English, it will have a similar meaning to this proverb: “Тhe dogs bark, but the caravan goes...”

Sunday, 17 August 2008

Duarte Levy and The People' story (*)

Clarification about the article in the newspaper The People, of August 17, 2008
The information published today by the newspaper The People, concerning myself, are false. In the days between the 9th and 15th of August, I was contacted by and have met with several British journalists (*), at their request, about the witness who claimed to have seen Madeleine McCann, in Brussels, and about the article published by myself and Paulo Reis, about the existence of 24 photos, taken the night of May 3rd, by tourists who were in the Tapas Bar.
My help had been asked, by these colleagues, because, besides the fact that they did not speak French, they did not know Brussels, did not know where and to towards whom to turn to investigate the case of the witness who claimed to have seen Madeleine.

As it the custom amongst professional colleagues, I have met with these journalists and I've helped in everything that has been possible for me. As is obvious, we have talked about the Madeleine McCann case, about the information published recently in my blog and in the blog of my colleague Paulo Reis, we exchanged our impressions and comments. I will not reproduce the comments of my English colleagues, because private conversations are private conversations - at least, for principled people.

So that it is clear:
I have not, in my possession, no part (evidence) that would be of interest to the authorities or could concern the investigation of a crime.
Duarte Levy
August 17, 2008
(*) Nick Fagge & Jonathan Buckmaster - Daily Express / Lucy Hagan - The Sun / Julie (?) Daily Mail / Emily Miller - The Mirror / James Millbank - The People (14 and 15 August)
Editor's note: Translation from KazLux, thank you for the help...

(*) - NOTE : Edited on May 6th 2019

Thursday, 9 July 2009

Credibility and journalism



Gordon Brown in Leicester, on September 12, 2007

Wednesday 12 September 2007: PM visits Leicester police station

Gordon Brown has visited a police station in Leicester to see first hand how the police are tackling crime. Accompanied by Home Secretary Jacqui Smith, the PM travelled to the Beaumont Leys police station in the north west of the city. During a tour of the station Mr Brown discussed neighbourhood policing and engagement with local residents and police officers. Following the visit the PM and the Home Secretary attended a Citizens Jury on the subject of crime at the Walkers.

Welcome, all "pro-McCann"!

I'm flattered with the attention given to my blog, in the last days, from people that clearly have an almost religious belief concerning the McCann case. This is a space were different opinions and views are accepted, as I believe in Freedom of Speech and Press Freedom. Just keep your comments within the limits of the Law, as I do with my posts. And don't waste your time threatening me, either in comments (that I don't publish, obviously) or through emails. You know my face (it's on the upper right corner of this page) you know my full name (click in the link "Editor"), you know I live near Lisbon, in Alcochete. Come, and meet me, face to face, instead of barking behind anonymous messages.

British tourist tried to snatch a blonde Croatian boy they thought was Madeleine McCann

The young son of a player from Dinamo Zagreb (from Croatia) was almost snatched from her mother by a group of British tourists, who thought he was Madeleine McCann, according to the sports Spanish newspaper Marca. The blonde boy, Leone Drpic, son of Dinamo Zagreb football player Dino Drpic, two and a half years old, was with his mother in the island of Krk, when a British woman started to chat with the child.

Nives Drpic, the footballer's wife, didn't pay much attention because she is a well known fashion model and is used to having people talking and taking pictures of her and her son, anywhere they go. But then, the British woman grabbed the boy by his arm and tried to take him with her. She ran and stopped the British tourist who, after that, realised it was a mistake, and admitted the two and half years old boy was not Madeleine McCann, who was four years old when she disappeared, on May 2007.

Saturday, 16 August 2008

Kate McCann: "There wasn't a shadow of a doubt in my mind she'd been taken."

The Mirror

Lori Campbell In Praia Da Luz, Portugal

"I never thought for one second that she'd walked out. I knew someone had been in the apartment because of the way it had been left. But I knew she wouldn't walk out anyway. There wasn't a shadow of a doubt in my mind she'd been taken.' Kate says she saw that Madeleine's toy Cuddle Cat had been left behind, but was careful not to touch it in case it held a clue to who took her. She says: "I knew straight away a crime had been committed, we had no doubt about that. We were very conscious of not touching things."

Mr Woofall “heard no suggestion in the early days that the girl had been snatched”

This not new, but also deserves a second reading...

From The Times
October 6, 2007
I saw Kate and Gerry McCanns’ despair and if they were acting they deserved an Oscar

The PR expert who advised Madeleine's parents in the first weeks of her disappearance offers a new insight into their state of mind

Alex Woofall, a public relations consultant for the holiday resort where the child disappeared, was with the McCanns regularly for that first fortnight and is convinced that they are innocent. 'That they could be involved and in any way be guilty - to me they would have to win every Golden Globe and every Oscar ever awarded,' he told The Times.”

One bone of contention has been whether Mrs McCann, when raising the alarm that Madeleine was missing, screamed: 'They’ve taken her.' Some have questioned why a mother would leap to the conclusion that a child had been abducted. Mr Woofall says that he heard no suggestion in the early days that the girl had been snatched. 'Certainly I did not hear any discussion that this could be a paedophile or an aggravated robbery. All the time I was around it was whether she could have wandered off and had an accident or somebody had actually taken her in, perhaps not with ill-intent.

'During the first 48 hours the word being used was ‘missing’ rather than ‘abducted’ or any link with a paedophile or any sort of crime. Towards the end of the second week I detected a shift towards there being a consciousness that she had probably been taken rather than wandered off, just on the assumption that anybody would have found her by now.”

“I have a terrible nagging doubt the McCanns might be involved”

Not new, but always worth a second reading...


Last updated at 00:36 08 Setembro 2007

My own gnawing doubts about the conventional theories began on my first visit to Portugal. I am a reporter, not a detective, but some things just didn't seem right.
First, there was the resort itself. Expecting to find a bustling town where it would be easy for a childsnatcher to mingle with the crowd while watching his target, and make off without arousing suspicion, I found instead an almost deserted, out-of-season place. A risky setting for a kidnap, however well-planned.
Then there was the McCanns' apartment. Although it stood at least 75 yards from the tapas bar where the family's party dined, and was completely obscured by a high wall topped with bougainvillea, its location would have presented considerable problems to a would-be abductor.”

The sliding window at the rear faces an alley used as a main thoroughfare for those staying in the apartment blocks, while the front door and windows open on to a frequently used car-park, beyond which runs a well-lit main road.
How on Earth, I have often wondered, did someone walk in, gather Madeleine up in his arms and make off with her without being seen, or waking her twin brother and sister sleeping either side of her? And surely the little girl must have stirred. The neighbouring apartments were occupied. Why was nothing heard or seen?”

And, whether we like it or not, the possible involvement of Kate and Gerry McCann should have been rigorously investigated at the very beginning of the inquiry - as it would have been in Britain, where routine procedure dictates that those closest to the victim are scrutinised and eliminated first.”

Thursday, 14 August 2008

Brian Kennedy and Metodo 3 meet the PJ detectives

On October 19, 2007, Alberto Carbas, the head of the Spanish CID Anti-Kidnapping Unit (Unidad de Secuestros de la Policia Judicial) contacted PJ and asked detectives in charge of Madeleine's investigation it they were willing to have a meeting with a representative from Metodo 3 and a Spanish police officer from the same unit.

The purpose of the meeting was to give PJ some information those detectives had. The Spanish police officer made clear that Metodo 3 had no intention to interfere in the Portuguese police work, but only to transmit some useful information. In the same contact, Metodo 3 said that they were not working for the Mccann, but for Brian Kennedy.

On November 13, 2007, the meeting took place, in Portimão. Two PJ detectives – Ricardo Paiva and Paulo Ferreira. - the director of Metodo 3, Mr. Francisco Marco, an adviser from the private detectives company, Mr. António Jimenez (former head of Police Anti-Kidnapping Unit from Catalonia) and Mr. Brian Kennedy participated in the meeting.

The two PJ detectives submitted a report, about the meeting, the information exchanged and the investigations, following the leads given by Metodo 3.

On the report, which is in the DVD files, it's referred that Mr. Kennedy stressed, just as the meeting started, that his only intent was a charitable one, because he was concerned with cases related with child neglect and missing children. He stated that his concern, in that specific case, was only the truth and nothing more than the truth, no matter the McCann, their friends or any other person was involved or suspect.

The man hiding in shadows

The director of Metodo 3 gave PJ a written report with three situations, allegedly received through their hotline and related with Madeleine's disappearance The first was about an incident that British Media already referred, at the end of October 2007: a woman who was babysitting at Ocean Club, in apartment 5A, on August/September 2006, spotted a man “hiding in shadows” on a Thursday – the same day Madeleine, four, vanished”, as The Sun wrote on October 31.

The nanny – identified only as M.H. – reported the chilling incident to police in England shortly after the hunt for Madeleine began in May, but did not speak to cops in Portugal.”, according to the newspaper. Clarence Mitchell added: “This evidence backs up what we have always said, that Maddie was taken from her bed by an abductor.”

PJ dismissed this report, as detectives considered that there was no evidence it was related with the disappearance of Madeleine.

The second information was about the alleged existence of a paedophile picture in a computer at the home of Sergei Malinka, witnessed by the fiancée of a British girl, four years ago, when he was at Malinka's home. The girl's fiancée questioned Malinka about that and he said the computer belonged to a client and he would report it to the authorities, later, according to the same witness.

All computers found at Malinka's home were apprehended and searched, but nothing relevant or suspect was found, the PJ report says.

Murat's girlfriend seen with Madeleine

The third information referred to a witness detailed sighting of what was described, in the report from Metodo 3, as a woman handing what that witness was convinced was a child, wrapped in a blanket or a sheet, to a man, over a fence, with two cars parked close to them, near a city 100 miles from Algarve. The witness, a Portuguese truck driver, M.G., saw several pictures and picked up Michaela Walczuch photo, saying that it was the most similar to the woman he saw.

British Press also got the story, on November 19, 2007, but with different details. “A witness is said to have spotted Mr Murat's German-born girlfriend Michaela Walczuch in a car with Maddie in central Portugal on May 5”, wrote Metro. The Daily Mail had a similar story, the same day: “A new witness has identified Michaela Walczuch as a woman seen with the missing girl in central Portugal about 100 miles from where she disappeared on May 3, a source said.”

As usual, Mr. Clarence Mitchell had something to tell to the Media: “"We will not comment on any active line of the investigation other than to say we are encouraged that our investigators appear to be making progress. Kate and Gerry are not ruling anything in or out.”

PJ investigated this last incident, and questioned the Portuguese truck driver. But the facts he reported to Police were a little bit different: He saw the woman handing something to the man, over the fence, wrapped in what seemed to be a blanket. It was not heavy, because they did it easily and the fence was around 1,60 meters high. Asked if it could be the body of a child, he said that nothing of what he saw could point to that.

Questioned also about the positive identification of Michaela Walczuch, according to Metodo 3 report, the witness told PJ that he couldn't see the face of the woman, as he was driving his truck, at 70/80 km per hour, and the couple was at a good distance. He only picked up Michaela's picture from the other pictures that Metodo 3 showed him, because it had the same hair colour and a similar body build.

Duarte Levy and Paulo Reis

Version Française

The aerobic instructor short statement

Najoua Chekaya arrived in Portugal on March 2007, recruited in England to work for Mark Warner, according to her statement to PJ, on May 2007. Just a curiosity, the translator was Robert Murat. She described her daily working routine, as an aerobics instructor and said that when she arrived at Ocean Club, she was asked also to perform a “Quiz Game”, at night (09:00 pm), on Tapas Bar, twice a week – every Sunday and Tuesday.

On May 1, 2007, after the “Quiz” was finished, Najoua was invited by Gerry McCann to sit at their table, to have a drink. She was there for 15/20 minutes, between 9.30 and 9:50 pm. There was just casual talk and she didn't know if Madeleine's mother was at the table or not.

During that period of time, nobody left the table, but there was an empty chair. Who had been sitting at that chair, Najoua didn't know.

Duarte Levy and Paulo Reis

"Enfants kidnappés": details from DVD files

“Enfants kidnappés” will publish all details from DVD files

The French site “Enfants kidnappés” (Kidnapped Children) announced today they will publish “all details from the (investigation) files (...)” Today, they published a 'facsimile' from Madeleine McCann passport and next they will publish police reports, witness statements, the facts, time lines, “everything that is on the (investigation) files. Without adding or taking out a comma.”

Wednesday, 13 August 2008

“These really are the big boys...”

Daily Mail, August13, 2008:

A friend of the McCanns said: 'The hunt for Madeleine is becoming more and more international and it was felt that a truly international firm was now needed to lead the inquiry. These really are the big boys. They are absolutely the best, but they are extremely secretive and cloak-and-dagger about what they do. 'Since their appointment, Metodo has very much taken a back seat and they are now concentrating primarily in Portugal and Spain and across the Straits of Gibraltar into north Africa, where they have their main contacts (...)”

Hummm... “Big boys”? “Extremely secretive and cloak-and-dagger about what they do”? “They are now concentrating primarily in Portugal and Spain and across the Straits of Gibraltar into north Africa (...)”?

I wonder who the “big boys” have instructions to chase and if they know that private investigations of a crime, in Portugal, it's illegal and is considered also crime, as Mr. Clarence Mitchell (*) once said?

(*) The Sunday Times, February 10, 2008


Spanish detective agency was hired was because of Portugal’s 'language and cultural connection' with Spain. 'If we’d had big-booted Brits or, God forbid, Americans, we’d have had doors slammed in our face, and it’s quite likely we could have been charged with hindering the investigation, as technically it’s illegal in Portugal to undertake a secondary investigation,' (Clarence) Mitchell explains. 'But because it’s Metodo 3, [Alipio] Ribeiro [national director of Portugal’s Policia Judiciara] is turning a blind eye'. Portuguese police are reported to dismiss M-3 as 'small fry”.