Sunday, 5 August 2007

Memories of a lost daughter

Kate McCann, mother of Madeleine spoke to a journalist from the Times of London on Wednesday of last week. That interview is published in the Sunday Times today, under the title, "Memories of a lost daughter."

Times Online

Rather an unfortunate title, I would have thought. Not a missing daughter, but a lost daughter. And memories makes it sound like she is definitely not coming back. After all this time, over three months, I guess the chances of finding Madeleine alive and well are diminishing. And if the articles in Portuguese journals are to be relied upon, the Portuguese police are now looking for a body, having brought in British experts with special search, "cadavar dogs."

Anyway, a lot of ground is covered in the interview reported by the Times. Many of the questions seem to focus on areas where Kate and her husband Gerry have been heavily criticised, mostly on various online forums and newspaper, "Have your say," pages. For instance, Kate and Gerry have been criticised for lack of remorse about having left all three children alone in their holiday apartment, while they dined, 100 yards, 50 yards, 40 yards or now, according to the interviews with Kate, 20 yards away at the tapas bar. So, what does Kate say in the interview?

"Then you do go through the guilt phase. Straight away, because we didn't know what had happened. We were just so desperately sorry. "Every hour now, I still question, 'why did I think that was safe?"

Right! Now that sounds rather like remorse, doesn't it? Hold on, though. What Kate gives with one hand, she takes back with the other!

"But it is important not to lose sight of the fact we haven't committed a crime. "Somebody has. Somebody's been there, somebody's been watching.

"They took our daughter away and we can't lose sight of that."

Well, actually, Kate, it is a crime under Portuguese law, from what I can discern, to leave small children unattended. It also seems to amount to neglect under the guidelines of the NSPCC to leave such young children lacking appropriate care. Never mind, though, eh? It was somebody else's fault. Somebody had been watching, you say? Right! So, how did they work out when your children would be on their own? In your own words, Kate!

"That week we had left them alone while we had dinner. There is no way on this planet I would take a risk no matter how small with my children. I do say to myself 'why did I think it was safe?' But it did feel safe and so right.

That week, Kate? Not that night, but that week. So, your kids were left every night that week, while you went out for dinner? Seems like ample time, really for a person with ill-intent to plan to enter your unlocked apartment and harm your children.

Kate you said that there was no way on the planet you would take a risk, no matter how small, with your children. I cannot accept that you did not see any risks in leaving those three small children on their own, even if you did check every half-hour. Parents are constantly assessing the risks involved with small children. That's why they have baby monitors in their homes, why they use car seats,a safety harness in a high chair or a push-chair, don't feed a three month-old baby with lumpy food, and why they don't leave their kids totally on their own and go out for dinner. You did not take small risks with your children, you took huge risks, every night of that holiday, when you departed for the tapas bar and left those children on their own.

You don't expect a predator to break in and take your daughter out the bed

No, you don't expect that to happen, but most parents are aware that it actually does happen and however small that risk, it has to be taken into account. You did say, however small the risk, didn't you? And Kate, I believe there is no actual evidence of a break-in. Didn't the Portuguese police say that the shutters had not been forced or jemmied and the window was intact?

Another point of criticism has been not warning people to learn from their mistake!

"That night runs over and over in my mind and I'm sure people will learn from our mistake, if you want to call it that."

Don't you call it a mistake then Kate? Don't seem to be doing?

Then there was that question some time ago about what message they would send to Madeleine and all Kate said was, "She knows we love her." Now, we have a real message!

"I'd tell her we love her. She knows we love her very much. She knows we're looking for her, that we're doing absolutely everything and we'll never give up."

Actually, is that a real message to Madeleine? What would I say if someone were to ask me to send a message to a missing child? I would probably address the child, directly I think. "Madeleine, your mummy and daddy love you. I hope you remember that we love you. We are looking for you and we will never give up until we find you."

I am going to end this post with a direct message!

Sammy Osborn, your mother and the rest of your family really love you and miss you every minute of every day. If it is possible for you to get in touch, please contact them and let them know you are safe.

Good night, Sammy, wherever you are. Be safe!

Correio da Manha Sunday August 5th

Correio da Manha is a Portuguese language journal. Today, it echoes the Sol report about British police and dogs doing renewed search of the holiday apartment which was rented by the McCanns, the one from which Madeleine disappeared on the night of May 3rd, 2007.

The dogs being used by the British police are apparently very highly trained as, "cadaver," dogs, which can sniff out if a dead body has been in a place. For these dogs to detect the odour of a corpse, the person has to have been dead for at least two hours, which is when the odour changes to that of a dead person, rather than a living person. Both Sol and
Correio da Manha report that the dogs picked up the scent of a body having been in the McCanns holiday apartment. Both journals cite sources with the Portuguese police. (PJ) I will paste a translation of the Correio da Manha in its entirety. It makes very interesting reading.

The home of Robert Murat has been searched again, a search which initially was going to take around 4 days. The BBC News 24 Channel reported today, at around 5pm, BST, that the search had ended and that two vehicles belonging to Mr Murat would be taken for forensic tests.

Translation of Correio da Manha article follows.**********

The PJ is focusing its investigations on the circle close to the McCanns and is trying to reexamine (toward excusion “depistar”) clues that pointed to Robert Murat. The thesis of an abduction is beginning to be discounted, after English dogs detected a scent that points to the existence of a body in the holiday home.

The PJ believes that Madeleine may have been killed in the Algarve apartment where she was spending her holidays with her parents and brothers, in May. The thingyer Spaniel dogs, specially trained by the English police, on the trail of the missing child since Wednesday, detected a scent that points to the presence of a body in the premises.

Yesterday, after having conducted searches on the beach, where the body may have been thrown into the water, the authorities centered their attention on Robert Murat’s home, the only suspect in the case.

The same dogs conducted a search of the entire garden of Casa Liliana - which was subjected to cleaning operations and the uprooting of trees by the Civil Protection - but nothing was found. They left the preimses at 20.00, not having detected any traces of the presence of the girl.

The trail now being followed by the police, revealed yesterday in ‘Sol’ and confirmed by Correi da Manha, complements the other information gathered at the beginning of the investigation and which confused the PJ. A sniffer-dog used by the GNR police picked up a trace of the child between the apartment where Madeleine was sleeping and a second house in the same complex, which led the PJ to never exclude the possibility that the child had been taken by someone who knew her.

The scent detected now in the McCann’s apartment recentres the investigation on the immediate circle of the girl’s parents and friends, although the reasons that may have led to the child’s death remain unknown. The PJ is showing special caution at this phase of the investigation and the names of the principle suspects have not been shared.

Murat may be innocent

The searches that were conducted yesterday at the home of Robert Murat could contribute to clearing the suspect. Nothing of relevance was found at the home of the English translator, who was declared a suspect early in the case. A possibility that is supported by his lawyer Francisco Pagarate, who yesterday reaffirmed to Correio Da Manha the innocence of his client. “”We are leaving the GNR in the house to avoid damage” he said, noting nevertheless that the search continued today and that the presence of the military overnight was to ensure that there would be no damage to the site overnight.

According to Correio da Manha’s inquiries, the investigation has done a U-turn in recent weeks. The arrival of the English dogs and taking them to the holiday apartment was done to confirm this possibility, given that the suspects are now centered in the immediate circles of the McCann famil, the only ones who can explain the alleged death of the child, while still at home.

The theory of an abduction, according to a PJ source contacted by Correi da Manha, appears increasingly unlikely, given that this could only have occurred in a scenario in which the child was alive. Yesterday’s searches, backed by a judicial warrant, began at 0730.

Body at least two hours in the house

A body only has the odour of a cadaver a minimum of two hours after death, until then, it remains warm and transmits, to any dog, the odor of a living person, indicated to Correio da Manha submission Paulo Brisso, former deputy commander of the Grupo Operacoinal Cinotecnico of the PSP.

In other words, for a thingyer Spaniel of the English authorities to have detected Madeleine’s death in the apartment in which she was sleeping, at the Ócean Club’, the girl must have been dead in the location “between two and four hours”.

Paulo Brisso, who was also a trainer of military dogs for the Air Forces, explained that “Portugal does not have dogs with the ability to search for deceased people because the chemical product used to training, simulating the odour of death, is expensive."