Wednesday, 17 December 2008

Updated - The McCann case: analysis of telephone calls reveals a lead that wasn't investigated.


Justine McGuiness and the Vascão river.

Justine McGuiness, spokesperson for the McCanns who accompanied them in fleeing to England immediately after they were made arguidos, left various documents in the apartment that served as the couple's headquarters, including photographs, establishing a possible connection between Madeleine's disappearance and the banks of the river Vascão, near the Spanish border. Today, 19 months after Madeleine's disappearance, the trail left by Justine McGuiness resurfaces

Ribeira do Vascão - Swansea (2).jpgIt is September 9th 2007, the day that Kate and Gerry take flight to England, four months after Madeleine McCann's disappearance that the PJ get their hands on a series of documents left in the Vista Mar villa, until then occupied by the couple, where photographs and even a sketch are found, indicating the detailed location of a place on the border between Alentejo and the Algarve, 20 km from Almodovar, crossed by the Vascão river. The PJ inspectors went into the house immediately after the McCanns left for the airport, thus taking advantage of the fact that the journalists were accompanying the couple.

The documents left there by the McCanns' spokesperson, Justine McGuiness, were found under a sofa. In addition to the identification of a clearly defined geographic area, were numerous inscriptions which the PJ have never succeeded in interpreting. According to sources close to the investigation, nothing was done in this direction and the PJ employees who allegedly regarded the documents as being the work of an esoteric group, did not even take the trouble to visit the place indicated, considering the lead as being of no value to the case.

The McCanns' spokesperson, who was with them throughout the time when they were constituted arguidos
under Portuguese law, ended up being dismissed on her arrival in England, this in spite of the fact that she might prove to be one of the most embarrassing witnesses for the couple and the English authorities. The fact is that Justine McGuiness has never been questioned by the PJ and thus it is that the exact significance of the documents and photographs has never been explained.

In statements recorded recently in London, sources close to the former Liberal Party candidate and specialist in public relations, confirmed that Justine McGuiness was even allegedly the target of various pressures, notably in the legal field, meaning, for her, that she should keep quiet about everything she saw and heard during the time she worked for Kate and Gerry McCann.

What is certain is that the former spokesperson and her employers, the McCanns, were already at odds, particularly with Kate, on the day they left Portugal together and their "divorce" on arrival in England did not surprise anyone. Justine had always directed very harsh criticism towards Madeleine's mother, sometimes in the presence of journalists. And the poor relations between the two women were not limited to financial matters, on which Justine always demanded settlement for her work and for numerous extra hours spent with the couple, but also in meetings and dinners with journalists and representatives of the British authorities.

Today, all this might have been forgotten if it were not for the results of an investigation into records of the McCanns' telephone calls and of all the people who were in contact with them, an investigation led by journalists, in collaboration with former operatives of the information services.

Swansea again.

abw.jpgIn the course of the enquiry into calls received and made by mobile phones belonging to the McCanns. during the time they spent in Portugal, the investigators were to find a report by inspector Paulo Dias of the PJ where he confirms that on May 2nd 2007, Kate received a call from Swansea (UK) at around 11.21am that she would later justify to the PJ as being a mistake. A sufficiently important "mistake" for Madeleine's mother to keep the log of that call on her mobile phone, in spite of having deleted the details of other communications.

Yet more interesting, the investigators - some of them British - used to dealing with cases labeled sensitive, were to find the recording of a telephone call made after lunch on the same day, between a mobile phone in Praia da Luz and the same Swansea number which had contacted Kate McCann. The mobile from which the call was made belonged neither to either of the McCanns nor to the group of friends who accompanied them and to date the PJ, in spite of various requests to the English authorities, have never managed to identify the owner of that mobile nor obtained anything from the English, whoever they asked, about those calls.

Now, in correlating the results obtained from mobile phone operators in Portugal and Spain with reports from the PJ, especially the excellent work of Paulo Dias, investigators and journalists have found a new element worthy of interest: the mobile used in Praia da Luz to call the Swansea number which had contacted Kate on May 2nd, was used to make and receive calls in the area indicated in the documents and photographs that the McCanns' spokesperson left under the sofa, on the day of the flight to England.

According to the now known records, the mobile was used near the Vascão river on various occasions, notably between May 12th and 15th 2007, but also in June and July of the same year, telephone calls always made to England or Praia da Luz, except one, made to the British Embassy in Lisbon.

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