Tuesday, 31 July 2007

Samantha Osborn Is Missing

I would not have heard of Samantha Osborn if I were not a regular reader of the Daily Mirror forum. Samantha is 15 years old and has been missing from her home since April 3rd this year.

Daily Mirror

It was a Tuesday during the Easter school holidays when I heard her stomp downstairs and out of the front door at 4pm. We thought she'd just popped out to see a friend and were pleased she'd prised herself away from the computer screen.But that evening she didn't come home. I stood by the window looking out for her and even rang round her friends to ask if they'd seen her. None had"

When Samantha left home that day she had the clothes she was wearing, and a small bag containing her purse and her inhaler. Her mobile phone was left behind and her debit card has not been used. She had been spending a lot of time on the internet and said that she had been chatting with people her own age. It is thought that she may have gone to meet someone whom she had met on the internet. From what was found on Samantha's computer, it is thought that she may be in the Bristol area, but there are no confirmed sightings.

Please have a look at the web site Samantha's mother has set up and watch the YouTube video, which is linked to on the site.

Find Samantha Osborn

And just in case you'd like to go straight to the video, here is the link!

YouTube video

If you think you have seen Samantha Osborn, please contact the police. The phone number is on the, "findsamanthaosborn," site and also at the end of the video.

Monday, 30 July 2007

And the Yanks are picking at the scabs!

Well, as if the Sol article, reported in both the Daily Express and the Daily Mail wasn't enough, we have the American news channel, msnbc, running a live vote!

Q: Is it acceptable that Madeleine McCann and her siblings were left alone?

91% no

8.8% yes

No, no matter how safe her parents assumed the community to be, three children that young should not be left unattended.

Yes, her parents say they checked in on the kids every half hour. Critics may be coming from a different cultural perspective on child rearing.

6651 votes cast at this time!


Now why can't at least one of the UK news channels run a poll like that? I know these polls are not necessarily representative of general public opinion, but at least we would see if indeed there were many people out there who think the McCanns were wrong to leave the children, or if indeed, it's a, "tiny minority," as the McCanns seem to think.

If you pop on over to the forum at the Daily Mirror, you will see what happens when people take a critical look at the McCanns and their friends. The questions being asked on that forum are, in my opinion, quite reasonable. Why were the children left alone? How far was it to walk from the tapas bar to the apartment? Why was the apartment left unlocked? How did Jane Tanner manage to see, "distinguishable pyjamas," on a child being carried if it was quite dark? Who checked on the children and at what times? Who was the last person to see Madeleine in the apartment? What is the fund being spent on? What has the £67,000, reported by the Daily Mail, as having been spent, been spent on? All quite reasonable questions, I would say. However, these reasonable questions are inciting venom and foul language from a few people who cannot stand anything they see as criticism of Team McCann. One person even went as far as posting on the forum the most vile pornographic images I have ever seen, in an attempt to disrupt discussion.

Wassup Docs?

Well, it looks as though a long period of restraint by the UK media is coming to an end. The Sol article, published on June 30th and little known outside of Portugal, apart from the millions reading it on the internet, has at last been given some attention in the UK press. That was the Sol article claiming that the McCanns and their holiday group, hereinafter referred to as the, "Tapas 9," had agreed a, "Pact of silence," over what happened on the evening of May 3rd when Madeleine McCann disappeared from her bed. (See previous post for translation.)

Now we have fresh claims from Sol, that Robert Murat was asked by the Portuguese police if he had met Doctor Russel O'Brien, one of the Tapas 9 in Exeter before the McCanns' holiday at the Ocean Club.

"The Sol report said Murat, 33, has been asked by detectives if he knew one member of the group – hospital consultant Russell O’Brien, 36.
It claimed police spoke to Dr O’Brien after it was discovered the pair were both in Exeter days before Madeleine was kidnapped. Murat spent 10 days in there, arriving back in the Algarve on May 1 – 48 hours before Madeleine was snatched. Dr O’Brien and his partner Jane Tanner, also 36, moved to a rented home in the city four weeks earlier."

Daily Express Monday July 30th

Sunday, 29 July 2007

Aunty Phil and that reward!

I really don't know what to think of Philomena McCann's comments regarding the reward that's been offered for information leading to Madeleine's safe return. Here is what she said:

"It needs only one greedy, unscrupulous character to come forward," said Philomena McCann.”

Daily Mail July 27th

From Answers.com, a definition of unscrupulous:



Devoid of scruples; oblivious to or contemptuous of what is right or honourable." (I have changed the American to English spelling!)


"Contemptuous of what is right or honourable."?

So, let me have a think about the reasons for offering a reward in this kind of situation and the type of person Auntie Phil thinks might go for it.

Why do people offer a reward? Well, when my cat went missing I offered a reward to encourage people to look out for her and to take the trouble to ring me should they spot a cat that looked like the one in the photo. Call me naive, but I thought that was why the reward was being offered in the case of Madeleine's disappearance.

In the case of a missing child, what kind of people might be imagined to be tempted by the opportunity to claim a large reward?

  1. There is possibly the hope that the temptation of a good bundle of money for nothing will encourage an abductor's co-conspirators, friends, family, partner, person who lives next door, upstairs etc, to turn informer.
  2. People who were on holiday at the same time as the McCanns and are motivated to report something they noticed at the time, which they thought was significant.
  3. People all over the world, looking at every little blonde girl they see, wondering if this could possibly be Madeleine McCann, or wondering if that child with dark hair is Madeleine wearing a wig or having had her hair dyed!
  4. People all over the world who are simply concerned for that little girl who is missing and for whom a reward would be secondary to being able to help find her.
Now could any of the people listed above be considered to be unscrupulous, "Contemptuous of what is right or honourable."? I'm going to eliminate groups 2-4 immediately and assume that those are all just ordinary folks who might be encouraged to keep looking for a missing child, thinking it would be so satisfying to be helpful and that the money would be useful.

What about the people in group 1 above? If they contacted the police with information which led to the safe return of Madeleine to her family, could they be regarded as being, "Contemptuous of what is right or honourable." If Aunty Phil thinks so, does that imply that she thinks they would be wrong to do so? And if it isn't an honourable thing to do, who would that person be being dishonourable towards? The abductor? (Assuming that Madeleine was abducted, for which there is no real proof) Is Aunty Phil suggesting that there should be, "honour among thieves," and that someone who grassed up the abductor would be dishonourable?

I wonder if Aunty Phil thinks it's wrong to have offered any reward because she appears to hold in contempt anyone who might conceivably be in a position to claim it.

Saturday, 28 July 2007

More from the Mirror forum!

Well, folks, the best place for picking up links to the news that we don't get to see in the UK mainstream media is the Mirror Forum. Theories abound there and maybe one of them is right! In the absence of real information in the UK press, we are left to speculate.

Chris Freind of The Bulletin, a local and independently owned newspaper in Philadelphia.

The Philadelphia Bulletin

Online petition in Portuguese:

Portuguese Petition

Online petition to Leicester Social Services:

We the undersigned request that Leicestershire Social Services fulfil their statutory obligation to investigate the circumstances which led to 3 year old Madeleine McCann and her younger siblings being left unattended in an unlocked, ground floor hotel room.”

Child Protection Petition to Leicestershire Social Services

Friday, 27 July 2007

The Daily Mirror Forum

OK, I think this might be the last thing I add for today! For really interesting discussion on Madeleine MCann, go have a look at the forum at the Daily Mirror. This forum is so darned interesting that at one point, the journalist Paulo Reis, he of, "GazetaDigital," joined in as himself.

Mirror Forum

Here you will find Mr Grimly_Feendish, LogicMan, Shubob, Goldy, Noggin, Garybhoy, Alpha, Chrissie, and many more, outlining their theories on Madeleine's disappearance as well as producing a huge range of links to information they have come across in the quest for the truth about what happened to Madeleine McCann.

More about Madeleine, Robert Murat and Some Interesting Links!

The UK Daily Express has today published an article, reporting that a witness has accused the, "chief suspect," Robert Murat, of lying about his movements on the night that Madeleine McCann went missing. Robert has stated that he dined with his mother and retired early to bed. A witness, or several witnesses, say he was seen in the vicinity of the McCanns' holiday apartment.

Daily Express

Have I mentioned Mike Hitchen yet? Mike is an Australian journalist, whose blog, "ionglobaltrends," makes interesting daily reading for his comments on the continuing story of Madeleine McCann and particularly on the activities of Madeleine's parents, whom Hitchen refers to as, "The Grubs."


I found this article today, from MSNBC, dated June 14th. Not sure why it mentions Madeleine having been seen in the apartment on June 4th, but it makes interesting reading.


Forty-five minutes between checks does not meet my definition of "frequently" checking on young children in a strange environment,”

I have to agree with the author of that article. As the crow flies, the tapas restaurant is 50 yards from the McCanns' holiday apartment, the length of a football field. How can two intelligent people suggest that it was OK to leave three small children on their own in a foreign country, in an apparently unlocked apartment, which was a football field's distance away, separated by high walls, trees, hedges and a swimming pool from where they were sitting in a crowded restaurant? Forty-five minutes between checks and this is responsible parenting?

On a Comments page of the Daily Express, a certain, "Grimly_Feendish," is trying very hard to get an answer to his question! In a previous message, someone had stated that on the Tuesday evening of their holiday, the McCanns had dined at a restaurant called, "Chaplin's," which is around 800m from the holiday apartment.

HATE campaign?
Are you sure... or just people wanting answers about what happened to this poor little girl.

Ask the McCanns how far Chaplin's (where they dined on the Tuesday before Madeleine "disappeared") was from the apartment where they left the children.

• Posted by: Grimly_Feendish"

Daily Express Comments

Thursday, 26 July 2007

Sivananda Rehabilitation Home

Sivananda Rehabilitation Home was set up in 1958, on the outskirts of the Indian city of Hyderabad, to provide a sheltered environment for people who had suffered the effects of leprosy. This disease has been almost eradicated but its effects remain. There are many people, shunned by their communities, who are living in appalling conditions, because they bear the outward signs of the ravages of leprosy. Sivananda was set up to provide a supportive community to care for the needs of people whose lives have been so badly affected.
Sivananda serves the needs of over 500 people. For the able-bodied, their are new skills to learn and the pride in having the products of their work sold to local authorities and local hospitals. For older people, there is a supported community to live out their lives in peace and dignity.
There are also children at Sivananda, who attend the school. They are orphans or the children of adults who live at Sivanada.
Sivananda is also a research centre, with facilities as good as anywhere in the world, where research is carried out on the repair of damaged limbs.

Sivananda Rehabilitation Home

Sivananda On YouTube

Shambo: they've come to get him!

Shambo is a sacred temple bullock at the Skanda Vale centre in south Wales. For the Hindu monks at the centre, all life is sacred. Three months ago, Shambo tested positive on a routine test for bovine TB. This led to an order for his slaughter, which was appealed by the monks at Skanda Vale. The argument put forward was that all other animals on farms in Wales, who tested positive had to be slaughtered and that Shambo should not be an exception.
In my opinion, there are good reasons for Shambo being an exception. Firstly, the animals at Skanda Vale will never enter the food chain. Skanda Vale is not a farm. It is spiritual community, run by Hindu monks. Secondly, Shambo is a sacred temple bullock and therefore has great spiritual significance to the community at Skanda Vale. To devout Hindus all life is sacred. Attempts to save Shambo have sadly failed. Here is the timeline for the story.

27 April 2007: The six-year-old black Friesian tests positive for bovine TB during a routine screening. It begins living away from the community's 50-strong herd.

5 May 2007: Hindu monks at Skanda Vale are given notification that veterinary officials will slaughter Shambo by 21 May.

9 May 2007: An appeal is launched by the monks to prevent the proposed slaughter of Shambo. They say that all life is sacred and begin an online petition and mount a legal challenge against the killing.

Slaughtering Shambo would 'violate' tradition said the Hindu forum

11 May 2007: Senior vets from the British Cattle Veterinary Association (BCVA) call for the monks to obey the law and allow the bullock to be slaughtered to ensure the disease does not spread.

14 May 2007: The National Farmers' Union (NFU) Cymru says exceptions could not be made for Shambo, and that while they had sympathy, the animal should be put down.

19 May 2007: Leading vet Graham Brooks of the BCVA adds his voice to calls for Shambo to be killed saying the longer the bullock remained alive, the greater the risk any infection could be passed on.

7 June 2007: Plaid Cymru, the Welsh Liberal Democrats and the Welsh Conservatives all call for Shambo to be put down and say new rural development minister Jane Davidson should take action.

26 June 2007: Ms Davidson says she is "minded" to proceed with the slaughter order. The Hindu Council UK expresses regret at the decision but says it could be time to "let go".

29 June 2007: Lawyers for Shambo's owners make a last-ditch legal appeal under human rights laws to halt its destruction. They also outline how monks would further test, isolate and treat Shambo.

3 July 2007: Ms Davidson announces that Shambo will be slaughtered but allows the monks time to launch an application for a judicial review.

12 July 2007: Lawyers for Shambo's owners argue in court for a reprieve for the bullock, saying that it would breach article nine of the Human Rights Convention on religious freedom.

16 July 2007: High court judge, His Honour Judge Gary Hickinbottom, quashes the slaughter notice, ruling the decisions of 3 May and 3 July to issue the slaughter notice and to pursue it were unlawful. The Welsh Assembly Government appeals.

23 July 2007: The Court of Appeal overturns Judge Gary Hickinbottom's ruling after an appeal by the Welsh Assembly Government. It says it wants to act with "the minimum of distress to the animal and its carers".

24 July 2007: Brother Alex, a senior monk at Skanda Vale, concedes the religious community is "pretty much at the end of the road" in their legal fight.

25 July 2007: The monks announce they have been told Shambo will be taken away for slaughter at 8am the next day.

26 July 2007: Supporters from around the UK and abroad join the monks in staging a pooja religious ceremony as vets arrive to take Shambo for slaughter. But the officials are refused entry and must return later with a magistrates' warrant.

At just after 7pm, BST, the news is that Welsh Assembly vets returned with a warrant, the protestors have been removed and Shambo is being loaded into a van.

The routine test which showed Shambo as positive for bovine TB is, apparently notoriously inaccurate. Even a test by an independent vet, which showed that Shambo was in good health did not sway the Welsh Assembly.

It is a very sad day for me, for Skanda Vale and its monks who are dedicated to the sanctity of all life and for anyone who is interested in the rights of an animal like Shambo to live out his natural life in peace and safety in a natural and caring environment.

Skanda Vale

The Welsh Assembly vets and the police have desecrated a Hindu Temple to take Shambo away to be slaughtered.

Monday, 23 July 2007

Where Is Madeleine McCann?

Well, I guess many of you, my readers (probably not many!) Start again! I guess you, my reader, will be thinking, "Well, that question has already been asked so many times, why should I read your blog?"
No good reason that I can think of, dear reader. What I am trying to do here is gather together as much information as I can find, link to other sites with interesting information and/or opinions, and invite comments and posts from people who have any news/info which I have overlooked; must be lots of that!
I am not going to attempt to retell this story from the beginning. That would take too long, too much space and those who have been following the story don't need it. I will just attempt to focus on the controversies, discrepancies and mysteries surrounding the case.
Like many people, all over the world, I am drawn to this story about the disappearance of the, then, nearly four-year-old Madeleine McCann.
On May 3rd, 2007, Madeleine should have been tucked up in her bed in an apartment in Praia da Luz, on the Algarve in Portugal. As far as we know, her parents tucked her into a bed and then went to have dinner with friends at the local tapas bar. Kate and Gerry McCann are reported as saying that they checked on her very, very regularly, but at 10pm Kate discovered that Madeleine was not in her bed.
The police were called. There are various reports of what time this happened, but it seems that before the police arrived, up to 20 people were invited, or invited themselves into the apartment, to thoroughly search through cupboards and under beds.
There were reports that the McCanns were criticised by the Portuguese Police for possibly contaminating any evidence which an abductor may have left behind.

Daily Telegraph

From the article in the Daily Telegraph:
The Judicial Police spokesman said: “The presence of so many people could have at least complicated the work of the forensic team. At the very worst they would have destroyed all the evidence. This could prove to be fatal for the investigation.”

The reported response from Madeleine's parents was:

"A source close to the parents said the remarks were “insensitive” and “unhelpful”.

The source added: “Of course the family are going to search the apartment.

“If your child goes missing, you search under the beds, in the wardrobes, behind the doors, everywhere."

First Controversy or Discrepancy.

I think that must be about the timing of the checks on Madeleine and her siblings, and the time the police were called. According to the BBC report of 4th May, Madeleine's absence from the apartment was discovered at about 9.45pm and reported to the police at 10pm.

BBC News

"Kate and Gerry McCann returned at about 2145 GMT to find an empty bed and the apartment door and window wide open."
"Madeleine was reported missing at about 2200 BST on Thursday and tourists joined the police in an all-night search."
Madeleine's aunt, Trish Cameron said:
"They last checked at half past nine and they were all sound asleep, sleeping, windows shut, shutters shut.

"Kate went back at 10 o'clock to check. The front door was lying open, the window had been tampered with, the shutters had been jemmied open or whatever you call it and Madeleine was missing.."

Madeleine's aunt, Phil McCann is reported as having stated that the police took a long time to arrive; having been called at 10pm.

BBC News

"It was hours before the local police turned up and we're talking two bobbies that totally downplayed the incident and said that Maddie had maybe just wandered off."

According to Lieutenant-Colonel Costa Cabral, Head of Public Relations of GNR;

"The first call to Police Precinct of GNR (Portuguese Rural Police) in Lagos, reporting a missing child and asking for Police help was made at 10.50pm and a patrol was sent, arriving at Ocean Club 12/15 minutes later"

Gazeta Digital

On his blog, Gazeta Digital, Paulo Reis also mentions that a friend of the McCanns, who arrived late for dinner, saw a man in the vicinity of the apartment, at about 9.30pm, carrying what looked like a child. Later reports said that the friend saw the man carrying a child wearing, "distinguishable pyjamas."

Daily Mail

"The woman who saw a child, thought to be Madeleine McCann, being carried off in the arms of a mystery man says she's wracked with guilt that she did nothing to stop him.

A close friend of Kate and Gerry McCann, she saw a young blonde girl wearing "distinguishable" pyjamas and wrapped in a blanket.

At the time she thought it was odd, but only realised to her horror too late that it was Madeleine, who is now aged four."

We have another version of the timing for that evening from a member of the group who were at dinner. This is from the Daily Mirror, dated May 5th, 2007.

A woman friend of the McCanns - one of their holiday party of nine adults and eight children - said: "We went for dinner at 8.45pm in a restaurant near the apartments as we've done every night.

"A parent from each family went back to check on the children every half hour.

"Someone checked at 9.15. But when Kate went later Madeleine had gone”

Daily Mirror

THAT SOL ARTICLE: "A Pact Of Silence."

This appeared in the journal, "Sol," and has been mentioned recently by several mainstream UK newspapers and online news agencies. I am reproducing below a full translation of it. This article, published in Sol, on June 30, 2007, by Felicia Cabrita and Margarida Davim, puts forward the theory that there is a, "pact of silence," between the McCanns and the group of people with whom they were dining on the evening of May 3rd, 2007. The shutters, which were said to have been, "jemmied," are mentioned here, as is Robert Murat, the only formal suspect, and whether he was one of the people who were around the apartment in the hours after Madeleine disappeared.


Madeleine Case

Pact of Silence

Madeleine’s parents and the friends with whom they spent their holidays in PDL are suspects in the inquiry. There are contradictory versions about the night of the kidnapping, and an assumed pact of silence in the group

The beginning of June is flowing in a strange way in the Algarve. A chilly wind and overhead clouds help to fill the auditorium of Lagos, where a solidarity concert is being held for the missing english girl. It’s been a month since Madeleine McCann vanished without a trace.

A few kilometres from Lagos, in the Ocean Club resort at Praia da Luz, the faint illumination further densifies the climate. At the reception, which leads to the Tapas restaurant, there is nobody. Getting inside is easy.

A portuguese waiter, but with a british ‘behaviour’, strikes the first blow on the journalist’s plan: “We only serve dinner to the club’s clients”. “What about a drink?”. He says yes.

It’s 9.30 p.m. If we were to believe the several members of the McCann’s holiday group, and after several mismatching versions, at this time Madeleine was being carried out of her apartment by a dark-haired man, who would be around 35 years old.

From the same table where the group of nine had dinner on that evening, one tries, in vain, to observe the apartment’s front – a ground floor apartment that faces the restaurant. A linoleum screen on the side of Tapas and the corridor of bushes that follows the limits of the apartment’s back yards prevents any vigilance to that level.

The image of Madeleine – big blue, questioning eyes and an innocent smile, fixed on the photographic films – is always present. It doesn’t leave the conversations of whom passes by. One remembers the words that the mother, Kate Healy, is supposed to have said to a friend (and that the husband, Gerry McCann, did not know): “I had a bad premonition about my children, when I found out the Ocean Club had no baby listening service”.

The choice of Algarve as a holiday destination would come to change their lives. Everything was arranged with three other couples, with whom they used to travel. Some of them had recently been to Greece, with their children, and the Mark Warner agency, the same that prepared their trip to the Algarve, had done their itinerary for the islands. According to their reports, the hotel where they stayed had a baby listening service – a service that is assured by four or five members of staff who would control the children while the adults dined, by listening through doors and windows to confirm that everything inside was quiet.

At the Tapas bar, from bartenders to staff from the Kid Club, criticism is whispered: “We have a creche where they left their children for most part of the day, where they could be until 11.30 p.m. without spending another Euro. They could also have used our baby-sitters, who stay with the children in their rooms until 1 p.m. In this case, they would have to pay an extra fee, but these people looked like they could afford it”, an employee comments, concluding that “this was a very strange group, that never stayed with their children”.

The children’s routine

The story of Madeleine looks like a tangled ball of wool. In the last days of April, Kate and Gerry, both 39 and doctors, arrive with their friends in Praia da Luz. The weather is not very good, but the group makes the best of it. The children seem to exist outside of the adults’ world. In the morning, Kate would take Madeleine, almost 4, and the 2-year old twins, to the Kid Club. The other couples in the group did the same. While the little ones entertained themselves with collages and paintings, the group divides itself between tennis and jogging until lunchtime. In the creche, the girl’s picture is taken: “She was shy and had some difficulty in adapting to the group. She always stayed close to the english children she already knew”.

It is at lunchtime that the families socialize a bit. After a short nap, the children go back to the Kid Club, while the parents use the activities that the club offers. They only get to meet again in the late afternoon, when the children’s dinner is served. Before 8 p.m., Madeleine and her siblings, who seem to function like a clock, are already asleep. Half an hour later, the group of friends meets at Tapas. The staff remember that they only leave at midnight: “They were very lively and drank a bit too much. I didn’t even realize they had children, because I never saw them around”.

Mathew Oldfield, one of the elements of the group, is back in England. He reacts with surprise upon the contact of Sol, but he does not avoid the conversation: “We drank. We were on holidays. So what?”.

And thus the days followed one upon another, at the Ocean Club. The holiday week is almost over and the group’s spirit does not change. Nobody had noticed until then, how the children were kept at a distance.

The most reliable way to undrestand what happened on May 3, when Madeleine disappeared, is to analyze the various versions that emerged.

It would have been 10 p.m. when Kate decided to check the children at the apartment. This is the only moment in the story that gathers consensus. Madeleine had vanished from her bedroom and the twins were sleeping like nothing had happened. The mother was back at the restaurant in one leap. She was disoriented.

PJ called two hours later

In seconds, the resort is in turmoil. The group’s four men and the club’s employees check every corner. They seem to be oblivious of the essential: to call the authorities. GNR is the first to arrive at the scene, but the news only reach Policia Judiciaria (PJ) more than two hours later. The first explanations arise. Where were the parents when the child disappeared? Gerry explains that, inspired in the scheme that some of the friends had used on their holidays in Greece, the nine members of the group took turns in checking on the children with some regularity.

This is the beginning of a story that will change in many chapters. Gerry starts by saying that he first left the table to check on the children around 9.05 p.m. When he entered the apartment the children were fine, he just noticed that the door to their bedroom was partially open. He looked at the window, which was closed, just as the shutters, and relaxed.

Ten minutes later, his friend Jane Tanner, who went around the apartments, crossed ways with a dark-haired man who was walking in the opposite direction, carrying a child. She didn’t make any connections either.

A few minutes later, Mathew Oldfield enters the room, sees the McCann children fast asleep, and notices nothing out of the ordinary. It is at 10 p.m. that Maddie’s mother discovers her daughter has disappeared. The window was wide open and the shutters were up.

To GNR, who is in the area with sniffer dogs to search for the child, this is a highly unlikely scenario. One of the military assures: “This is an extremely silent area, where there are practically no passing cars. That shutter was very difficult to lift from the outside, and would have made a lot of noise. It would have been a lot easier to use the door, but there were no signs of a break-in”.

This was just one of the reasons why the group became suspicious in the eyes of the investigators. Russell O’Brien, Jane Tanner’s husband, is already back in England, but he knows he could be summoned back to Portugal for a deposition anytime. Over the phone with Sol, he tries to keep his british phlegm: “It is normal that we are suspects, and the DNA test is a consequence thereof. We were the closest people involved”.

The conversation always comes back to the same issue: the night of the disappearance. The account of that last dinner has disparate versions among the group’s members. Some swear that someone left the table every half hour to check on the kids; other reduce that time to half of it. Some say control is made window by window; others say the adults entered each other’s apartments.

One of the employees that was on duty that evening does not remember a lot of movement: “I only remember a tall, grey-haired man getting up once from the table”. It was Russell, who, two days earlier, also had attended dinner.

An aerobic instructor from the resort entertains the dinner guests at Tapas with a ‘Quiz’. At 9.30 p.m. the game ends, and Gerry invites her to their table, where she stays for half an hour. During that time, as she later confided to friends, nobody left the table, but one of the chairs was vacant. Najova Chekaya refuses to talk to Sol. And Russell, when the questions start to surround him, loses his sympathy: “I have nothing further to tell you. I am not going to dishonor the compromise I assumed with Kate and Gerry. They want to control all infornation that is disclosed”.

Gerry changes his version several times, but he maintains that the door to his children’s room was open. Mat revokes his first statement: when he entered Madeleine’s room, the door was open and there was more light, as if the shutters had been raised. Here starts to develop the theory that there was already someone inside the apartment. Which reinforces Jane Tanner’s version (that she saw a man carrying a child).

Only Jane saw the man carrying a child

But there is a witness whose deposition contradicts this theory. Jeremy Wilkins – a tv producer who had met Maddie’s father during their holidays and used to play tennis with him – was walking his eight months old son at that time. He met Gerry, who went out through the apartment’s back door after having checked on the children, and the two man exchanged a brief conversation. At that time, if one is to believe the first accounts, Jane would have left Tapas in the direction of the apartment’s main entrance, and would have crossed paths with both of them. “It was a very narrow road and I think it would have been almost impossible to walk by without me taking notice”, Jeremy says, pointing out the fact that he saw no man carrying a child, as Jane states.

But Jane continues to guarantee that, at the top of the street, she saw a man with a child in his arms.

Although the area is scarcely lit, and the situation did not make her suspicious at the time, she describes the beige trousers, the dark thick jacket and the black classic-style shoes in a detailed way. Once again, Jeremy disagrees: “If that happened, I would have likely seen it”.

On the next day, the media circus was fully installed. The first reports are on Sky News first thing in the morning, even before portuguese press takes hold of the story. Journalists and locals dispute the information. Robert Murat, the son of an english mother and a portuguese father, with little luck in business, does not waste the opportunity. He moves from failed businessman into the role of a translator for the press and the police. Some british journalists, after sucking him to the bones, start suspecting his availability.

The Murat contradiction

Contrarily to the GNR elements and the Ocean Club’s staff, who participated in the searches on the night before and assure they did not see Murat around, Gerry and some of his friends guarantee that he was there. And thus he becomes an arguido.

Gerry and Kate’s friends, who are interrogated tightly by the PJ over almost a month, refuse to clarify this contradiction, when asked by Sol. “We have a pact. This is our matter only. It is nobody else’s business”, says David Payne, another element with the group. Minutes after we tried to contact Kate, Gerry, in a fury, calls the Sol journalist: “What do you think you are doing? Do you think you’re better than the portuguese police? I’m going to forward your contact to PJ and you will have to explain yourselves”.


PJ says ‘everybody is a suspect’

The director of the Policia Judiciaria in Faro, Guilhermino da Encarnacao, confirmed with Sol that “we do not discard the possibility to have the family and friends as suspects”. This is always done “without neglecting other clues. Everybody who was at the resort at the time are suspects”.

Sol: Link to latest edition of Sol