Wednesday, 11 August 2010

Who Framed Robert Murat?


IOL Portugal Diario

7th August 2008

Translation from Portuguese by Astro

An anonymous phone call from a Portuguese woman alerts the authorities to the "abductor" Murat, one week before the Englishman was known around the world

The denunciation from a journalist, an anonymous phone call and Jane Tanner, the McCann couple's friend who saw a man carrying a child on the evening that Maddie disappeared, produced the first arguido in the investigation. Murat's over-helpful posture was one of the first indicia that turned him into a suspect. But what led to his anonymous incrimination, days before he was known around the world?

The Polícia Judiciária was first in suspecting Murat. On the 7th of May, they already possessed diverse information about his personal and professional life: what he did, his bank accounts, where and with whom he lived, among other details.

On the 8th, one week before the suspicions were made public and Murat was made an arguido, another log fed the fire. A female voice makes an anonymous phone call, in Portuguese, to the PJ and states that the abductor is closer than the police thinks. The inspector asked who she was referring to and the female voice explained: it is an individual who resides in Praia da Luz, from a British mother, fluent in Portuguese and in English, who walked around in the area to help the authorities.

The author of the anonymous phone call added that the abductor was called Robert, that he visited chats of a sexual type and that he managed to encrypt his emails.

Suspicious British journalist…

The suspicions about Murat are also raised by a British journalist. Three days after Maddie's disappearance, on the 6th of May, the reporter gets in touch with the English police, to share her suspicions about a man, who lived in the area and was excessively helpful.

Born British, he has been living in Portugal for a long time. The fluency of his Portuguese and his English soon rendered him useful to the Portuguese authorities, which were confronted with a case that involved British tourists. Furthermore, he had a daughter of Maddie's age, from whom he was separated, as the child lived in England with her mother.

The journalist remembered a case that had taken place in England, where the criminal had a similar attitude and even helped in the searches of his own victim.

Serving as a translator

Even after the suspicions were assumed, the Judiciária continued to use Murat's translation services in several questionings, to English employees of the Ocean Club resort, until the 9th of May. "In order to prevent the suspect from noticing something", they then justified.

It is only at a later date that Jane Tanner, a friend of Kate and Gerry, is confronted with the possibility that Murat is the individual that she saw carrying a child. Despite the fact that the physical description that Jane gave and Murat's look are not the same, the English tourist had no doubts in stating that he was almost certainly the man that she had seen.

It is worth reminding that after having been made an arguido, other members of the group that was on holidays with the McCanns asserted that they saw Robert Murat participating in the searches, on the night of the disappearance. A fact that was always denied by himself, who said that he had been at home with his mother. He only heard about the alleged abduction on Friday the 4th. The GNR itself confirmed to the PJ that it only remembered seeing the Englishman on the following morning.

But the English profilers also guaranteed that there was a 90% chance of Murat being the abductor. And as if that was not enough, an alleged childhood friend asserted that as a teenager, he revealed an inclination to have sex with animals.

A set of circumstances, a friendly behaviour, a suspicious sighting, an anonymous phone call and convenient testimonies turned Murat into the first arguido by Portuguese justice to be financially compensated by British newspapers, for becoming a suspect in a crime that nobody managed to prove to exist.

Without evidence to support that any crime was committed, the Public Ministry archived the Maddie process, on the 21st of July. Kate and Gerry, together with Robert Murat, saw their arguido status lifted.

This translation copied from The McCann Files

With thanks to Nigel Moore and Astro