Friday, 31 October 2008
Marcos Aragão Correia, has been making very serious allegations in the courtroom at Faro, in the context of the trial of the five Portuguese police inspectors, involved in the alleged torture of Léonor Cipriano. He has alleged that Leandro Silva, husband of Léonor and Joana's step-father, knew a week beforehand that Goncalo Amaral was going to be dismissed from his job as coordinator of the investigation into Madeleine McCann's disappearance. He has also alleged that British police carried out an investigation into Amaral's background and discovered some questionable details about Amaral's private life: for example that Dr Amaral beat his wife, Sofia, while under the influence of alcohol.
Marcos Aragão Correia, is the lawyer who set up the searches at the Arade Dam, employing divers to hunt for the body of Madeleine McCann, initially reported by him as being the result of a tip-off from some underworld criminals. More recently, Marcos Aragão Correia, has said that the searches at the dam were inspired by a "vision" he had about the Maddie case.
SOS Madeleine McCann "Marcos Aragão Correia has a "vision" of the Cipriano case."
In the present trial of the five PJ inspectors, it would appear that Marcos Aragão Correia is more concerned with discrediting Dr Amaral than of dealing with the matter at hand.
According to the Portuguese newspaper, Correio da Manha, Marcos Aragão Correia, has admitted receiving money from Metodo 3, the private detective agency hired by Kate and Gerry McCann, to help finance the searches at the Arade Dam. In today's copy, he denies that he is now being paid by anyone for representing Léonor in the present case being heard in Faro. The translation below is taken from the Joana Morais blog. (Link to Joana's blog on the right under, "Blogs of interest".)
"They've asked me to get in the Case"
The private detectives agency hired by the McCann couple asked Marcos Aragão Correia to enter in the 'Joana Case'. It is the lawyer, himself, who admits that Metodo3 ordered him to do 'an investigation' to the outlines regarding the [alleged] torture accusation of Joana's mother, by the PJ - the target, between the 5 inspectors, was evident: Gonçalo Amaral. Regardless, the [liar, pardon], the lawyer guarantees that now no one is paying him.
The private detective agency, contacted yesterday by CM, denied any connection whatsoever to the lawyer. The payment was also denied, even though Aragão Correia has already admitted that he received money to pay the 'expenses' when he made the searches to find Maddie's corpse in the dam of Bravura, in Lagos. The lawyer from Madeira [Portuguese Island], told he had a supernatural indication to the whereabouts of the body of the British child and that he had gone to the Algarve at his own expenses.
He entered in contact with the McCann Detectives, which made him a request: "They have asked me to try to get involved in the Case Joana to obtain statements from Leonor and her brother and to try to understand if there was torture, nothing else", he guarantees. This at a time where suspicions have been raised that by defending Leonor, he is being paid by someone who is interested that Gonçalo Amaral is convicted, precisely because he was the Coordinator of the investigation to the Case Maddie, which pointed towards the involvement of the parents in the crime. "I don't get paid in pounds or in euros. I am here for principles, and my objective is to set free Leonor."
Source: Correio da Manhã, by Rui Pando Gomes
Thursday, 30 October 2008
"We beat her up (Leonor) because nobody likes child killers."
"The bruises on Leanor Cipriano's face were not done by the inspectors (PJ)...she was well and truly pasted in prison after her arrival. In prison, nobody likes child killers," states a former fellow inmate of Joana's mother, stressing that after that assault, "Leonor had favourable treatment on the part of the director." The fellow inmate goes further and maintains that there were never any bruises on Joana's face or body even after the assault she was the object of at the Odemira Prison, contradicting the truth of the photos presented to the Faro court.
The revelations made to SMM, according to this former inmate, are not new, but have not been taken into account by the PJ: "When I found out what they had in mind (Leonor and the director) I sent a letter to Faro, but I didn't sign it, because I still had time to serve and I didn't want any problems."If, since the assaults which she alleged she was the victim of, Leonor has always stated that Gonçalo Amaral. the former coordinator, had never touched her, after the arrival of the lawyer Marcos Aragão, she states the complete opposite, changing her version several times in the course of the trial.
A case with several dangerous connections.
In the course of the recent court sessions, a former head of prison officers has meanwhile confirmed as abnormal, the behaviour of the director and her strange relationship with Léonor: according to him, the head of the establishment allegedly even suggested that he should change the contents of a report written about Léonor Cipriano's return from the PJ at Faro with a few red marks on her face.
To be continued...
Madeleine McCann - New book by journalists Hernâni Carvalho and Luis Maia, "Maddie: Neither Truth nor Consequence."
Maddie : Ni vérité ni conséquence
A new book from journalists Hernâni Carvalho and Luis Maia, entitled, "Maddie: Neither Truth nor Consequence," returns to the most significant moments in the investigation into the disappearance of Madeleine McCann, the little British girl the authorities have decided to no longer look for.
The two journalists have already published a book about the first 129 days of the investigation.
Hernâni Carvalho, one of the journalists, who has received the highest commendations for his work, has been to war zones like Bosnia, Timor and Afghanistan. Nowadays, he presents brief news items on crime on one of the most popular Portuguese television channels, TVI.
SOS Madeleine McCann 29/10/08
Tuesday, 28 October 2008
Dogs Don't Lie
Cadaver dog helps bring peace to families of victims.
The English sniffer dogs that are helping in the hunt for Madeleine
Eddie The Crime Dog To Help In Hunt For Missing 911 Dispatcher
Eddie joins Maddy hunt
On scent of success: sniffer dog Keela earns more than her Chief Constable
Monday, 27 October 2008
"A 25-year fight to bring Jon Burge and detectives who tortured at least 150 black men into confession to justice reaches a crucial stage."
I am copying and pasting the excellent article from Alternet. It's rather long, but worth reading in its entirety.
"By Liliana Segura, AlterNet
Posted on October 27, 2008
It began as a dirty open secret and is now Chicago lore: From the 1970s into the 1990s, African American men in the city of Chicago were routinely arrested, taken into police custody, and tortured, during interrogations lasting hours on end. An estimated 150 black men endured abuse that included savage beatings, suffocation with bags and typewriter covers, and in many instances, electrical shocks applied to their genitals. The goal was to secure confessions, and more often than not, it worked, whether the suspect was guilty or not.
At the head of Chicago's police torture ring was Jon Burge, a decorated Vietnam veteran who once made his name for himself as a young cop on the beat on the South Side of Chicago. As Police Commander, first at Area Three on Chicago's North side and then at Area Two on the South, Burge is said to have instituted some of the same techniques he saw deployed in Vietnam, to brutal effect. Forced into early retirement over the torture of a man named Andrew Wilson in 1993, Jon Burge has long been virtually synonymous with racism and police brutality in Chicago. Yet his name remains mostly unfamiliar to the rest of the country, in no small part because neither he nor his subordinates have ever been held accountable for their alleged crimes. Until now.
On Tuesday, October 21, Federal agents arrested Burge, now 60 years old, at his home in Tampa, Florida. This Monday, he will be arraigned at a Chicago courtroom, where he will not only face charges of perjury and obstruction of justice, he will come face to face with activists, family members and loved ones of men who, decades ago, were tortured under his command.
"They should apologize for what they did to him."
Carolyn Johnson was at her home in Chicago the morning Jon Burge was arrested. "I was doing my hair and a news flash came on -- and when the news flash came on, it showed Burge being arrested outside his house in Tampa, Florida!" Excitement creeps into her voice as she tells the story over the phone two days later -- "I called a million people," she says. After all, it was news she's been waiting to hear for more than 15 years.
Carolyn Johnson's son Marcus Wiggins was only 13 years old when he was arrested following a gang-related shooting and taken to an Area Three police station on the city's North side. The year was 1991. Jon Burge was the presiding detective commander at the station. According to Carolyn, Marcus was brought into the interrogation room without a lawyer or other adult present. "They told him to put his 'black ass' in the corner." There, he was beaten with a 15-inch rod and then, and then, the police officers brought out a black box. The box had electrical wires with alligator clips on the ends and some sort of switch that unleashed an electrical current.
In 1993, Marcus filed a lawsuit against the City of Chicago. In his deposition, Marcus described what happened next:
Examination: What happened after he turned the switch?
Wiggins: He told me to put my hands on the table.
Q: And did you do that?
Q: And then what happened?
A: And then he put the things on my hand.
Q: Was the box making a humming noise before he put the things on your hand?
Q: What happened when he put the things on your hands?
A: They started -- my hands started burning, feeling like it was being burned. I was -- I was shaking and my -- and my jaws got tight and my eyes felt they went blank … It felt like I was spinning … It felt like my jaws was like -- they was -- I can't say the word. It felt like my jaws was sucking in … I felt like I was going to die.
According to Carolyn, it was Jon Burge himself who provided the officers with the box. "He let them do it," she says. "He was there."
Marcus's conviction was thrown out by a juvenile court when it was determined that he had been coerced into confessing, and in August of 1996, his lawsuit was settled for $95,000, paid for by the City of Chicago. But a few years later, he was arrested again, by the same officers, for another gang-related crime. He is still behind bars.
For years, Carolyn Johnson has kept a record of each of the officers involved in her son's case: Jon Burge, John Byrne Anthony Maslanka, John Paladino, and James O'Brien. "I have the names," she says. "I have the names in my sleep. I dream about them." As far as she's concerned, even with Burge now in custody, "It's not over yet. Not while those [other] detectives are out there on the streets and my son is in jail … They should apologize for what they did to him."
The case of Andrew Wilson
Jon Burge might have gotten away with torture altogether if it weren't for the case of Andrew Wilson. Wilson was arrested on Valentines Day, 1982, for the killing of two police officers, William Fahey and Richard O'Brien. That night, after spending hours being interrogated at Area Two, where he ultimately confessed to the crime, he was admitted to Chicago's Mercy Hospital with multiple injuries, including lacerations to his face, bruises to his chest, and second degree burns to one thigh. After being convicted and sentenced to death the following year, the Illinois Supreme Court overturned Wilson's conviction, based on the fact that he had been apparently abused by police. The opinion cited Wilson's testimony at a pretrial hearing, where he described being "punched, kicked, smothered with a plastic bag, electrically shocked and forced against a hot radiator throughout the day until he confessed," according to the Chicago Tribune. Wilson was convicted a second time for the same crime, in 1988, and given a life sentence. In 1989 he filed a civil suit against Jon Burge and four other police officers.
In just one of an exhaustive number of articles on Chicago's police torture scandal published by the alternative weekly the Chicago Reader, reporter John Conroy described the way evidence of Wilson's torture played out in the courtroom. "More telling than the Mercy Hospital records … were photographs of strange U-shaped scabs on Wilson's ears, as if a miniature crocodile had dined there," Conroy wrote. "Wilson contended that the scabs had been made by alligator clips attached by wires to a black box, a device that generated electricity and seemed to resemble a modified army field telephone. He also said that the series of parallel scars on his chest and the large scar on his right thigh were the result of having been held against a radiator while he was being shocked."
During the course of two civil rights trials, lawyers for Commander Burge, Detective John Yucaitis, and Detective Patrick O'Hara offered various explanations for the wounds. The marks on the convict's ears, they said, were indeed inflicted by alligator clips. They tried to convince two juries that Wilson had found a roach clip in the police lockup or in the jail and had inflicted the marks himself in order to support his fantastic tale … [T]he officers offered contradictory explanations for the wounds on Wilson's chest and thigh. At the first trial, Area Two detectives claimed that Wilson could not have been burned because he had been interrogated in interview room two, where the radiator didn't work, and they produced an eminent physician as expert witness who said the marks were abrasions, not burns ... At the second civil rights trial the detectives ditched their burn expert and argued that Wilson had been interrogated in interview room one where the radiator did work, that the marks were indeed burns, and that the convict had inflicted them on himself. To back up that story they produced jailhouse informant William Coleman, an Englishman with nine aliases who had served time in England, Ireland, Germany, Holland, Monaco, Hong Kong, and the United States for charges including perjury, fraud, theft, manslaughter, blackmail, and possession of cocaine with intent to deliver.
After the first civil trial ended in a hung jury, Wilson's attorneys began receiving anonymous letters, "seemingly written by someone who worked at Area Two, that indicated that Burge's electrical devices were by no means a product of Wilson's imagination. The anonymous writer directed the lawyers to a man named Melvin Jones, then incarcerated at Cook County Jail." Jones, it would turn out, claimed to have been electroshocked by Burge less than two weeks before Wilson's interrogation. In fact, he had described the treatment at a hearing seven years earlier. "At that hearing," Conroy wrote, "Jones had said that Burge tried to intimidate him by naming two other men who had writhed on the floor in pain when they were shocked." The two men were in turn tracked down, "and they led to others, and soon word went around various prisons that someone was interested in torture victims from Area Two and from Area Three."
Although the detectives were eventually cleared of any charges, mounting pressure led to an internal investigation by the Chicago Police Department's Office of Professional Standards. In 1990, it issued a report that found that torture had indeed been carried out under Burge -- torture that "was not limited to the usual beatings, but went into such esoteric areas as psychological techniques and planned torture." Three years later, Burge was forced to leave the Chicago Police Department.
The Death Row Ten
Stanley Howard was in his early 20s when he was arrested for the murder of a man named Oliver Ridgell on the South Side of Chicago. No physical evidence linked him to the crime, only eyewitness testimony. On November 2, 1984, he was brought to the Area Two police station, where Jon Burge was stationed at the time. There, he says he was brutally beaten by police officers James Lotito, Ronald Boffo, and Robert Dwyer and Sergeant John Byrne. As he would later describe:
"While they were beating me, they were spoon-feeding me information about the case and asking me was I ready to confess. When I kept explaining to them that I didn't commit the crime, Boffo left the room and came back with a plastic bag. After placing the bag over my head, Lotito began to choke me with it -- trying to suffocate me with it -- as the other two began to punch and kick me again."
After hours of interrogation and torture, Stanley Howard signed a confession. According to Northwestern University's Center on Wrongful Convictions, "the next day, Howard told a paramedic who examined him at the Cook County jail that the confession had been beaten out of him. The paramedic, Wayne Kinzie, noted bruises and abrasions on Howard's left leg and chest but could not say what had caused them."
Stuck with a "dumb attorney and a very smart overzealous prosecutor," Howard was nonetheless convicted, almost wholly on the basis of his confession, in a trial presided over by a judge who was himself a former Area Two police officer. In 1987, Stanley Howard was sentenced to death.
Years later, while on death row, Stanley Howard came into contact with other prisoners who told him that they, too, had been brutalized at the hands of Burge's police detectives. Among the abuse some of the men shared in common were suffocation, electrocution, Russian roulette, and being beaten over the heads with telephone books. The men decided to call themselves the Death Row Ten, and in the summer of 1998, they contacted activists from the Campaign to End the Death Penalty in Chicago to ask them to start advocating for them on the outside. (A few months later, Frank Bounds, one of the founding members of the Death Row 10, died in prison from untreated cancer.)
At the same time, that September, a death row prisoner named Anthony Porter with an IQ of 51 was scheduled to die in Illinois's execution chamber, when he was granted a last-minute stay of execution. In a story that would become famous, journalism students from Northwestern University began looking into his case, and shortly after the inauguration of Republican Governor George Ryan, exposed damning evidence that Porte was an innocent man. "I was caught completely off-guard," Governor Ryan later told The Nation. " … That mentally retarded man came within two days of execution, and but for those students Anthony Porter would have been dead and buried. I felt jolted into re-examining everything I believed in." George Ryan declared a moratorium on all executions and on January 10, 2003, he shut down Illinois's death row completely, commuting the sentences of all its prisoners to life, and pardoning Madison Hobley, Leroy Orange, Aaron Patterson, and Stanley Howard, all members of the Death Row 10, on account of actual innocence. Despite his pardon, Stanley Howard was never freed, remaining in prison, on separate charges.
Stanley Howard's fiancee, Michelle Martin had just woken up on Tuesday morning when she heard the news about Burge's arrest. "I was laying in bed and when I heard about it I jumped up and started screaming," she laughs. "I was so happy because it's about time -- all those men he beat and tortured." Martin lives on the South Side of Chicago and has known Stanley "forever." "He was my childhood crush," she says. She was just 15 when he was arrested.
Like others in the neighborhood, Martin says she heard about the torture in Stanley's case early on, and although she would hear about other cases of people being tortured by Chicago cops, the scale of it remained a mystery. "We knew it was true [that people had been tortured], but we didn't know to what what extent." As years passed, Jeanette Johnson, Stanley's mother, worked alongside local activists to get the truth out about his case. She, too, was jubilant at the news. "I called Stanley's mom," Michelle said, "And she was like, 'We finally got him!"
Hundreds of family members waiting for justice
Virginia Clements woke up early on Tuesday morning to take her insulin. "And I hear them say over the radio, 'Attention: we're in the process of arresting Jon Burge!'" Then, she laughs, "at about 9:00 my daughter called and she said, 'Did you hear -- Burge?' and I said, yeah, Burge!'"
Virginia's son, Mark, was one of the earliest documented victims of Chicago police torture. Arrested in 1981 for supposedly setting fire to an apartment building, he was only 16 when he was tried (as an adult) and sentenced to multiple life sentences. His conviction rested on a confession signed after more than ten hours of questioning, during which he was reportedly beaten and tortured by one police officer -- Detective John McCann -- and interrogated by Detective Daniel McWeeny. Both detectives have been implicated in the Burge torture scandal.
Like Carolyn Johnson, Virginia Clements has been waiting to see Burge behind bars for years. "Everybody's been called," she says, including his daughter, who, she says, "is as old as he has been in there." She had not yet reached her first birthday when Mark was arrested. Now she's in her late 20s.
Mark Clements will turn 44 this year. After being bounced from prison to prison -- "he was sent to Pontiac, then to Joliet, then to Statesville" -- he eventually ended up at Menard Correctional Center, in Chester, Illinois, which used to house death row prisoners. "I hit the top of the roof when I found out he went to Menard," Virginia says. "Menard is like a mental institute." But now she is optimistic, and not just because of Burge's arrest. After years of frustration, Mark just got a new lawyer, about six months ago. "They're gonna have to give him a new trial," she says. "because they don't have any evidence."
No automatic justice for those behind bars
When Jon Burge enters the courtroom Monday morning, activists and family members who have spent years fighting for justice for Chicago's police torture victims will be waiting to greet him. "We're encouraging people to come to court and pack the room," says Julien Ball, an organizer with the Campaign to End the Death Penalty. "Hopefully we will send the message that we want to see this guy in jail." Burge is being charged with two counts of obstruction of justice (which carry up to 20 years apiece) and one count of perjury (five years) over false statements he made in response to a lawsuit brought forth by pardoned death row prisoner and torture victim Madison Hobley in 2003. If he is convicted, he could spend the rest of his life behind bars.
As recently as two years ago, it seemed hard to imagine that Burge could ever be brought to justice. When special prosecutors were assigned to investigate Chicago's police torture scandal in 2002, it took until June of 2006 for them to release a report, nearly 300 pages long, that concluded that a statute of limitations barred any prosecutions. The report, which cost taxpayers millions of dollars, was labeled by activists "a $7 million whitewash."
"It was clearly an attempt to close the book on this scandal," says Ball. "But now it is also clear that the attempt failed. The facts repudiated all of their conclusions. The special prosecutor said that they couldn't bring charges because of this statute of limitations … but obviously [U.S. Attorney] Patrick Fitzgerald did not feel there was any obstruction." Indeed, Fitzgerald, who not only brought corruption charges against Governor George Ryan shortly after he left office, but who also is famous for his investigation of the Valerie Plame scandal, is now leading the charge to hold Burge accountable for his crimes. "Jon Burge shamed his uniform and shamed his badge," Fitzgerald said at a press conference on Tuesday. Although Burge does not face charges for the torture itself, he said, "if people commit multiple crimes and you can't prosecute them for one, there's nothing wrong with prosecuting him for another. If Al Capone went down for taxes, that was better than him going down for nothing."
Of course, there are dozens of police officers who have yet to be held accountable for their roles in torturing suspects. But a number of them have been subpoenaed in the past several months in advance of Burge's arrest, and the case promises to lead to other prosecutions. "More investigation and more indictments must follow because it wasn't just Jon Burge," says Flint Taylor, an attorney with the People's Law Office in Chicago, who represents a number of Burge torture victims. "There was a series of detectives and sergeants under his command who also tortured in a serial manner and who have also lied under oath as Burge has."
In the meantime, family members and activists will continue to fight for those who remain imprisoned, an untold number of who are innocent. (Lawyers with the People's Law Center in Chicago have identified at least 25 prisoners who were tortured into giving confessions to crimes they didn't commit, but the number is probably much higher, says Ball.) As Jean Tillman, another mother of a Burge torture victim puts it, "there's no automatic justice for those guys behind bars." Nevertheless, as first steps go, this one, however long overdue, is huge. "It's incredibly significant," says Ball. "This is something that activists have been fighting for for 25 years."
Thursday, 23 October 2008
I am updating these details with information very kindly sent to me by Christina's mother.
According to her mother, sixteen year-old Christina was last seen leaving her home at around 2.50pm on October 7th, in the company of 34 year-old Larry Kellenberger. Kellenberger had apparently been seen hanging around when Christina was working at McDonald's.
In spite of the fact that he had not been on her authorised list, the school allowed him to pick Christina up each day from school.
Christina's mother describes her daughter as having low self-esteem, which leads her to make poor decisions.
It is thought that Kellenberger and Christina may be in the Long Beach area of California.*
*Updated: There is now reason to believe that Christina is in the Conroe, Texas area. She was spotted at the Renaissance Festival this past weekend and also at the Montgomery, Texas Wal-Mart’s McDonalds to pick up her paycheck.
Details from the National Centre for Missing and Exploited Children:
|DOB: May 14, 1992 |
Missing: Oct 7, 2008
Height: 5'2" (157 cm)
| Age Now: 16 |
Weight: 140 lbs (64 kg)
| Missing From:|
National Center for Missing & Exploited Children
Missing Kids website
Wednesday, 22 October 2008
21 octobre 2008
Being of British nationality with no command of the Portuguese language in spoken of written form, he will be accompanied during his interview by a translator: Alice D.A.
He totally confirms his previous statements as being true and which will be reproduced for the legal process.
Questioned about how he met the other members of the group who accompanied him on holiday, the informant states that he has known David Payne since 1989, when they were medical students at the same university. Subsequently, they worked on a few occasions at the same hospital, but with the medical faculty at the same university. He knew Fiona Payne through David Payne. They got married around 4 years ago and the informant was their witness.
He met Matthew Oldfield in 1994, both being doctors, they got along well. The informant was witness to the Marriage of Matthew Oldfield and Rachael Mampilly in 1990.
He got to know (Gerry) McCann more recently, around 2002 or 2003. The latter is also a doctor. Contact between them has essentially been through the Payne couple. The four couples get together when the opportunity presents itself but, living so far away from each other, they take advantage of holiday times to get together and spend time together. The couples all have children of a similar age, something they have in common.
Asked if they have had problems linked to their profession, the men of the group all being doctors as well as Kate Healy and Fiona Payne, the informant, for his part, doesn't recall having encountered a situation that was worth mentioning. However, he remembered that Matthew Oldfield had a difficult experience when someone's parents accused the medical team directed by Matthew, which was on duty that day, of a late diagnosis which led to the death of a patient. The informant has no knowledge of any threat directed at Matthew Oldfield or any other member of the medical team but only that a complaint was lodged at the hospital against the team in question. He has no knowledge of a similar situation concerning Gerry McCann or Kate Healy.
Asked if there were any problems between the couples or personal to the couples, which might be professional or emotional, even certain tendencies, the informant states that he has nothing particular to say which would be interesting to record in the present process. He states that he is not well enough acquainted with the intimate relationship of couples he is not involved with. That is the kind of agreement they have between them. They see each other when they have the opportunity to talk and do sporting activities in a friendly way. He adds that the couple with whom he has little involvement, is actually the McCann couple, but that is not because he is aware of any strange or complicated situations. He has no knowledge of any tendencies whatsoever, drugs or games on the part of people in the group.
Questioned, the informant states that this is the second time the four couples have been together (the first time was for the marriage of David and Fiona in Italy), although he has spent holidays with two or three couples but not with the group currently in Portugal. He recalls that in September 2005, three couples, not including the informant and his wife, spent their holiday in Majorca. The informant and his wife did not go with them because Jane Tanner was nearing the end of her pregnancy.
This holiday was planned by everyone, although it was David and Fiona who organised the details. The informant and his wife, Jane Tanner, traveled with the couple Matthew Oldfield and Rachael Mampilly and their respective children on the same flight. Owing to different travel times, the four couples met up at the "Ocean Club Resort" where they had dinner at around 6pm at the "Millennium" restaurant. During registration, it was requested that the four couples be placed in the same block in order to more easily supervise the children.
The "Millennium" restaurant is a long way from block 5 where the couples were lodged. As meals at the "Millennium" restaurant were served after 7.30pm, except on Saturdays for the reception of new clients arriving that day, they found that time late for the children. They opted for meals at the "Tapas" which is close to the swimming pool, back facing the apartment block where the couples were staying. The informant states that David and Fiona's children were very restless and they preferred to be as close as possible to the apartment. All the couples were in agreement with no objections.
Questioned, the informant states that during their holiday in Greece with the same tourist company the "Mark Warner" group, they found out that there was a service called "Baby Listening" which consisted of leaving the children to sleep in the apartment during dinner while the children were observed through the windows by supervisors listening for children crying and immediately informing the parents. The informant states that this service exists in Greece but not in Portugal. That is what they learned while registering.
At the Ocean Club. there is a baby-sitting service for the time when parents are dining. this service is free. The children don't stay in the apartment but in crèche buildings. The service for care in the residence is fee-paying (around 15 €/hour) and operates until 1am. For here, they opted for a kind of child monitoring similar to that used in Greece. Thus, a rota was organised between members of the couples for making checks. They thought that with the number of adults present, it would be easy to work in this way. Randomly, someone would get up and suggest going to listen, near the bedroom windows, for the children crying.
Questioned, the informant states that the couple, David and Fiona Payne did not get up to check on the children because they had a baby monitor at the table, considered sufficiently reliable for there to be no need to check on the spot. He states he cannot say how many times each member of the group got up to check their respective children. Being worried about his child, the informant did the checks with his wife, which was more convenient. The informant advises that he only went once to the McCann couple's apartment but he doesn't recall if it was his own idea or if someone had asked him to. He states that he didn't know that the patio door, at the rear, which gives access to the apartment, was closed but not locked.
Gerry probably told him tonight, it was for going into the apartment and checking the children. The informant explains that as far as he and his wife are concerned, this kind of checking was safe and effective. So, each member of the group went regularly to check their children, usually every 15 to 30 minutes. For his part, he guarantees that all the doors and windows were closed and locked, while making clear that the windows and patio doors to the living room can be closed - and opened - from the inside of the apartment. He only noticed Gerald and Kate McCann using the patio door at the rear, that being the easiest access via a staircase, and the McCanns' apartment was the closest to the lane. During the check all he did was listen near the windows. He tried to hear if there were any noises or cries from inside the apartments.
Asked about the routines during the holiday, he confirms all his previous statements so his version coincides exactly with that of his wife, Jane Tanner and completely tallies with her statements. He has no knowledge of something strange/suspicious happening that Thursday, May 3rd 2007 with the group of friends or with the children. Everyone seemed normal to him amongst the swimming pool employees, the gardeners and the rest of the employees of the complex. Same at the beach, he never noticed any strange people or who appeared suspicious.
Questioned, he stated that no one in the group usued a vehicle, owned or rented, given that no one in the group went away from Praia da Luz.
The informant gave a version of what happened on May 3rd. In this version, it is to be noted that all the facts presented, about their activities and/or those of other members of the group, coincide with the version already presented by his wife Jane Tanner.
He states that only for the night, on May 3rd, at around 7.15/7/30 he was in the apartment. He stayed reading stories with Emie O'Brien, who was feeling slightly better but refusing to go to sleep. Nevertheless, his partner went to dinner at the "Tapas" restaurant at around 8.30/8.40pm. As the menu was always the same and the group knew its contents, the informant told his wife what he wanted to eat and she placed the order while he tried to get Emie O'Brien to sleep. When he arrived at the restaurant, the group was almost complete, without the children. Only David, Fiona and Dianne Webster, who arrived 10 minutes later, were missing.
At around 9pm, they all ordered dinner. As usual, every 15 to 30 minutes, someone from each apartment went to the apartments/bedrooms to check that the children were OK. That evening, as Emie wasn't well, the intervals were reduced. He recalls that Matthew Oldfield left the restaurant at around 9pm to make sure there were no problems with the children. He is not sure who went out first but, he thinks that, around five minutes later, Gerry McCann went to see his children. Around 5 or 10 minutes after Gerry McCann, the informant's wife left in her turn, to check the children. As with the other couples, the monitoring was only listening in nature. Jane Tanner, as was her habit, went personally to check how her children were. He doesn't recall who, Gerry or Jane, came back first to the table but he remembers that Jane said she had passed Gerry in the street and that he was talking with another tourist from the complex, the one called Jez.
Around 9.45pm, taking advantage of a pause between courses, the informant left the restaurant with Matthew Oldfield to see the children. When he got to his apartment, he immediately heard Emie crying. He stayed in the bedroom with her. He thinks that Matthew Oldfield checked his apartment but doesn't know if he was asked to also check that of the McCann couple. Matthew Oldfield, after going to the informant's apartment to see if he needed any help, want back to the restaurant and told Jane Tanner that the informant was staying in the apartment with Emie who was crying. In fact, the informant had completely changed Emie's clothes because she had vomited. His partner came to replace him around 15 minutes later so that he could finish his dinner.
At around 9.55, he went back to the restaurant where his meal had been waiting for 5 or 10 minutes. All the others gathered at the table had finished the meal.
At around 10pm, Kate left to see the children in her apartment from where she returned desperate, shouting as she entered the restaurant for the attention of our table, that Madeleine had disappeared. We all went out running, with the exception of Dianne Webster. With several people it was decided to go around the apartment blocks and our own apartments to see if Madeleine was there. During the searches that were done after Madeleine's disappearance, the informant did not notice any suspicious detail/person/object.
In answer to our question, he responds that he cannot describe what the childrens' bedroom was like after Madeleine McCann's disappearance, because he never went in there. As soon as they were alerted, they immediately left the table and the informant started the searches in the area around the apartment blocks then in the village and in the area of the beach.
Questioned, he does not know if the shutters of the McCanns' childrens' bedroom window were open or closed. He cannot answer the question because he noticed nothing. He adds that when he went to see the children with Matthew Oldfield, they were busy talking and they didn't look towards the windows.
Asked if he knows whether or not Matthew Oldfield checked the McCann children, he reports that he doesn't know because he stayed with his daughter Emie in his apartment. But he subsequently heard that Matthew went to check the McCann children and that he apparently saw the twins but not Madeleine's bed because it was in a corner where he didn't have a line of sight.
Questioned, he states having no suspicions to put forward and that he doesn't recall any detail or situation which could be associated with Madeleine McCann's disappearance.
At our request, he states that he doesn't recall any incident or discussion between any members of the group. The informant only recalls a fact that doesn't have much significance for him but which he tells us given the circumstances. Thus, between the tennis courts and the beach, he made the acquaintance of a British man named Nigel, married with a child of around 3/4 years. He had superficial conversations with that person. On the day of Madeleine's disappearance, mid-morning, while he as going to the tennis courts with his children, Nigel approached him. He was busy filming his daughter with a video camera. Faced with the various news items about paedophile films, they ended up having a conversation which the informant considered to be perfectly normal and inoffensive in which Nigel commented that he was almost afraid to film his own daughter. The informant was in agreement and both talked about the stupidity of the situation and the "state of our world." The informant states that he has no reason to suspect Nigel and that he seemed to be a normal citizen with a normal family. He thought no more of that conversation but he reports it with all the situations he has experienced this week.
He states that this is the truth as he knows it. At this point we ask him for a buccal sample, taken by the specialist Irene T. He quickly agreed to this request while signing the present document.
Monday, 20 October 2008
There will be a release of balloons for Denise at the Marie-José park, Avenue Joseph Baeck, in Brussels at 3pm on that day.
Denise disappeared from outside her home in Sicily on September 1st, 2004, where she had been playing with her cousins. When the children were called in for lunch, Denise never arrived at the table.
For details and a map, please visit Enfants Kidnappés
As a reminder, Leonor Cipriano accused the PJ inspectors of having assaulted her during one of the interrogations preceding her sentencing to 16 years in prison for the murder of her daughter Joana. (Read here)
Since he became Leonor's lawyer, Marcos Aragao Correia has continually put forward new requests and new witnesses. Recently the lawyer, himself the subject of several criminal cases, had announced that he wanted to be placed under protection, indicating that one of the inspectors had compared him to a dog that should be given a good smacking.
Sunday, 19 October 2008
A firefighter, a driver, a receptionist and an administrator are the four citizens chosen as jurors for the trial which will begin on October 24th.
Amongst the PJ inspectors is Gonçalo Amaral, former coordinator of Portimao's Department of Criminal Investigation (DIC), accused of not having disclosed the alleged assaults on Leonor Cipriano. The other accused are Leonel Lopes, Pereira Cristóvão and Marques Bonne, accused of having tortured Leonor Cipriano, while inspector Nunes Cardoso faces the charge of falsification of a document.
As a replacement for João Grade, Marcos Aragão Correia is now Leonor Cipriano's lawyer. Recently, the lawyer made himself known as a protagonist in the Madeleine McCann case, taking legal action againsts the Portuguese postal services, accusing them of not having correctly delivered a recorded letter addressed to the McCanns in which, according to him, he described leads which could help the investigation. He then launched a search of the Arade Dam, several kilometres from where Madeleine McCann disappeared, finding only rubbish and a few animal bones.
Assistant to the Public Prosecutor in this trial, Marcos Aragão Correia, himself the object of several criminal charges, has requested protective measures for his client and himself, saying he has been threatened: the lawyer gave as proof of the threats of which he is allegedly the victim, an article in the popular press where one of the inspectors allegedly compared him to a dog that needed to be smacked.
See also: Marcos Aragão Correia has a "vision" of the Cipriano case.
The Four Tops: Reach Out I'll Be There.
Renee Fleming: Un Bel Di from Puccini's Madame Butterfly
Mariza: Meu Fado
Willie Nelson and Ray Charles: Georgia
Dolores Keane: Caledonia
Tim Hardin: Bird On A Wire
Christy Moore: City of Chicago
John Martyn: May You Never
Friday, 17 October 2008
SOS Madeleine McCann
Yesterday's announcement that Kate and Gerry McCann's group of seven friends, present at the time of Madeleine disappearance, are to receive compensation amounting to more than 400,000 €, has revived the question about the real objective behind legal maneuvers against the Express group.
In spite of coverage of the Madeleine McCann case similar to all other British media, the Express group remains the only one to have been targeted by legal action, accused of defamation, at the request of Kate and Gerry McCann.
Some are quick to stress the political closeness of the group's owner with the Labour Party of Tony Blair and Gordon Brown, loyal supporters of the McCanns, seeing here backing for the Madeleine fund which will be, according to the latest information, the final destination of the amount obtained.
The Express group, pointed out as being the couple's whipping boy, thus tops a million euros paid to the McCanns and their friends, without counting a payment of 500,000 € paid to the British man Robert Murat by several media.
Wednesday October 15th
"Friends of Madeleine McCann's parents who were with the couple on the night she died are to receive £ 375,000 in libel damages, it has been reported."
Tuesday, 14 October 2008
Enfants Kidnappés - The McCann case - The GNR patrol first on the spot after Madeleine's disappearance.
14 octobre 2008
The interview with the two police officers from the patrol, which was first to arrive on the spot, reveals nothing in particular. However, it seems useful to us to publish the interview in order to be comprehensive with this part. Note, though, that the patrol tendered a report of the operation, which is detailed and more comprehensive than that contained in the interview.
The person named Nelson was heard as a witness. He was part of the GNR patrol which went to the Ocean Club on May 3rd 2007 after receiving a radio call advising them of the disappearance of a little British girl on holiday at the said complex with her parents. As soon as they received the call, the patrol went immediately to the reception at the complex where the father of the missing minor was waiting for them. Then, the patrol went to the appartment being temporarily occupied by the family of the missing child to establish the circumstances of the disappearance. Thus, the two police officers visited all the rooms and outbuildings of the residence. They also searched through every piece of furniture to assure themselves that the little girl was not hiding in there. (Editor's note: Hidden willingly or forcibly. It is completely normal in the context of a disappearance to check if the parents have locked the child up somewhere while trying to convince of her disappearance).
To the PJ's question, the two police officers do not remember whether the wooden north-facing entry door of the apartment was open or closed on their arrival on the premises. The little girl's mother was there as well as the twins.
An important detail is that the police state that a person of British origin, named Jane Tanner, part of the group of tourists accompanying the family of the missing child, reports that she saw someone carrying a very young child in the area of the holiday complex.
A series inspired by the Maddie case.
Back to the news. Francisco Moita Flores is in the process of writing a series that tells the story of missing children, which should begin on May 3rd 2009, the second anniversary of Madeleine McCann's disappearance. It's a series of six episodes centred on a Criminal Search Brigade for missing children. Amongst the episodes, there is one which evokes the disappearance of a little girl from a beach, which distinctly brings the Maddie case to mind, without being exactly the same story. And for good reason, because, as he confirms himself, he did not have access to the case file. The first recordings are planned for viewing in 2009.
Monday, 13 October 2008
Several days of interviews.
It is May 8th 2007, being the fifth day after Madeleine McCann's disappearance. At this stage, the PJ have taken statements from dozens of people. Hundreds of pages in the reports. Everybody has been interviewed. Employees of the Ocean Club, nannies, or child-care workers from the Kids Club, cooks and assistant cooks at the "Tapas" and the "Millenium", cleaners, gardeners, maintenance workers, managers for the club's various services, directors and managers of the complex, tourists, owners of apartments, neighbours, people who were at the "tapas" on May 3rd 2007, tennis coaches...in short, no one was left out. Everybody was interviewed. We are sparing you all these interviews, which for the most part bring nothing to the investigation or at least no new leads. They are mainly interviews which, in general, bring out the following common points.
1) No one noticed anything unusual about Madeleine.
2) No one noticed any strange individual at the complex.
3) No one noticed anything suspicious which could be linked to Madeleine's disappearance.
4) No one noticed any suspicious vehicles or any suspicious unidentified people.
It is to be noted that even the GRN police officers, first on the spot, were interviewed by their PJ colleagues, in spite of reports of the operation being sent.
With regards to the PJ's interviews over the past few days, a change is noted in how the case is being perceived. Thus the questions which the PJ are putting to various witnesses are implying that the PJ have doubts about the statements from the parents or friends in the group. We note, however, that the slightest info, concerning the slightest suspicion was professionally checked, immediately. Numerous pages of the case file attest to this. Up to now, May 8th 2007, every lead, or opening of a lead, has been checked and it was, each time, a false lead. Like, for example, a suspicious car noticed near the Ocean Club recpetion by various witnesses. In the end, it was the service vehicle of a Club employee who had come to make an urgent repair to a door lock.
Why these doubts for the PJ?
On reading various witness statements, given the number of leads checked, it seems difficult for someone to have been able to get into the complex, gain access to the McCanns' apartment, take Madeleine, get out of the apartment, leave the Ocean club, take flight via whatever means of transport and that no one, absolutely no one, saw anything. No strangers, no suspicious or unusual vehicles, not even a shadow of a person carrying a child at the times and places where there were other people...Fom the police point of view, if these witness statements do not totally exclude the possibility of an abduction, they make the theory less credible. As a result, the answer must lie elsewhere. Notably with the group of friends (parents included). The only person to have seen a suspect with a child is Jane Tanner, a member of the group of friends.
Note, for the record, that all the child-care workers, having contact with Madeleine, state that Madeleine introduced herself to them by her shortened name "Maddie". This adds nothing important to the case file except that it contradicts Kate's statements. On the other hand, it is noted that the Kids Club operates three free services, one of which is in the evening until 11.30pm so that parents can eat at the restaurant in peace. Finally, we know that the the Club has a, "missing alert" procedure, that it is a structured and thoughtful procedure, and that this procedure was set in motion as soon as Maddie's disappearance was announced, employees having been called from their homes to participate in the search.
Interview of an employee from the swimming pool bar.
In her interview, this employee states that access is restricted to clients and that this is controlled via the client's card at the entrance. She adds that she has not come across any unauthorised person on the site. She explains that on the day of Madeleine's disappearance, at around 8.30pm, her friend was called following a problem with a lock in an apartment situated close to the "Millenium" restaurant. She went there with her friend. At around 9pm, they went back towards the Club's reception. They passed near the "Tapas" and by the McCann family's apartment. They state that they saw nothing suspicious. They saw no one and no vehicles. Her friend left the premises at around 9.10pm with his service vehicle and she left at 9.15pm in her own car.
The case file contains numerous witness statements like that, so that together, these witness statements contradict the statements from the "tapas9" group. A reconstruction would have made this clear immediately and would have highlighted the contradictions of the informants.
Saturday, 11 October 2008
(Editor's note: there are times when Blogger just does its own thing. So, apologies if the font of the paragraphs following this note seem to change font size and font style and the paragraphs are not clearly defined. I have tried editing many times and what looks like Verdana, text size Normal, with clear paragraphs, looks entirely different when posted, though I save each time I edit. So, rather than delete this article I am inserting this note.)
The Portuguese Public Minister accuses three PJ inspectors of having tortured Joana Cipriano's mother during her interrogation. One is accused of falsifying documents and the fifth, Gonçalo Amaral is accused of non-cooperation and failure to disclose.
Marcos Aragão, who replaces João Grade, is the lawyer who had taken legal action against the Portuguese postal services, accusing them of not having delivered to the McCanns in person, a recorded letter, in which, according to him, he indicated leads which might have helped the investigation. Marcos Aragão, in contact with the Metodo 3 agency, then began searches in the Arade Dam, a few kilometres from the place where Madeleine McCann dispappeared, finding only rubbish and a few animal bones.
Initially, the lawyer claimed to hold information about the location of Madeleine's body, but finally admitted that the searches at the Arade Dam - the lead he was seeking to pass on to the McCanns - were carried out based on a vision, which he allegedly had about the disappearance of the little British girl.
The lawyer was already known in this case, as the author of a report from the Association Against Exclusion by Development, released in April this year, which supported the existence of a crime of torture perpetrated by the PJ. This same report, contradicting statements from Leonor Cipriano's - who has continually changed her version since the start of the trial - accuses Gonçalo Amaral of being present at the time of the alleged assaults. The former coordinator of the PJ's DIC at Portimao, has meanwhile decided to pursue legal action against the lawyer.
Gonçalo Amaral, former coordinator of the PJ's Portimao Department of Criminal Investigation (DIC), is accused by thr Public Minister of non-cooperation and of not disclosing the alleged assaults on Leonor Cipriano by the PJ inspectors.
After Joana Cipriano's disappearance on September 12th 2004, her mother Leonor, and her uncle João, were sentenced to 16 years in prison for murder and concealment of a corpse. (Read the details here.)
According to the inspectors' witness statement, after her interrogation, Joana's mother had managed to evade the attention of the inspectors and, stating that she wanted to commit suicide, threw herself down the stairs. Injured, she was then driven by the inspectors to see a doctor and then taken to prison.
A letter from another prisoner, sent to the authorities about the accusations made against the inspectors, reinforces that version: according to that witness, Joana's mother had admitted to fellow prisoners that she had fallen down the stairs, but that, after a meeting with the prison's director, she had changed her version, stating that she had been tortured and that she expected to receive compensation.
Confronted by Gonçalo Amaral, Leonor Cipriano stated that the former coordinator of the PJ's DIC at Portimao had never assaulted her. In spite of several confrontations with the other inspectors, Joana's mother never managed to identify them as being her attackers, which has not stopped the prosecutor from going ahead with the trial, admitting that he too could not guarantee that it was the right inspectors or if the assault had actually taken place.