Saturday, 28 December 2013

"Maddy Cops Prime Suspect Blunder" (Daily Mirror)

The innocent dad came forward in 2007 but mistakenly remained the main focus of the hunt until this year when Scotland Yard detectives tracked him down

The main focus of the hunt for whom? The Portuguese police appeared to have ruled him out as the "abductor" when they made Kate and Gerry McCann arguidos. Also, who reported having seen this man carrying a child in pyjamas identical to those that had been said to have been worn by Madeleine when she disappeared? Only Jane Tanner. She stated that she had walked up the road, slip-slapping in flip-flops, on the same side as Gerry and his friend Jez Wilkins, but neither of those men saw Jane Tanner or this "innocent dad." 

Bungling police had the details of the “main suspect” in the disappearance of Madeleine McCann for SIX YEARS without realising.

So, tell me, who were these "bungling police."? (Later folks!)

The innocent dad came forward in 2007 to say he was the person seen carrying a child in Portugal at the time the three-year-old vanished.

Who did he say this to? And if he is an "innocent dad," is there a guilty dad? Yes, I am as pedantic as that! 

But the information was overlooked and the British holidaymaker remained the main focus of the hunt until this year when Scotland Yard detectives finally tracked him down.

Overlooked by whom?

The revelation will be a blow to Madeleine’s parents, Kate and Gerry, as they endure a seventh Christmas without their oldest daughter.

Not much of a blow since the McCanns still have the E-fit of this "innocent dad" up on their official Find Madeleine web site. (See "IMPORTANT: Who are these people?") 

The unnamed dad – spotted in the Praia da Luz resort by McCann family friend Jane Tanner at 9.15pm – was among a number of British witnesses who completed questionnaires for Leicestershire police six years ago.

Right! They completed a questionnaire for Leicester police! Is there any proof that Leicester police forwarded this to the Portuguese police? And if they did, was this done any more quickly than the statements from Katherine and Arul Gasper which were given to Leicester police on May 16th 2007 and forwarded to the Portuguese police approximately six months later? 

He is understood to have provided a detailed description of his movements on the night, including the fact he had picked up his own two-year-old daughter from a crèche close to where Madeleine vanished.

That'll be the night creche then, the one that parents can leave their children at while they have dinner, the one the McCanns didn't use, preferring to leave their three children alone in an unlocked apartment. 

But his ‘alibi’ was only looked at this year.

Surely Leicester police looked at it in 2007? And where is this man? Why hasn't he gone to the Daily Mirror or one of the other tabloids that would surely have been delighted to put him on their front page? He could have remained anonymous! 

A source said: “He had been clear then that he had picked her up at around the time of the sighting but for whatever reason he was not eliminated as a suspect. The fact the details of the prime suspect have been known all along doesn’t look good.”

Around the time of the sighting doesn't mean that he was anywhere near the place where Jane Tanner alleges that she saw the man definitely carrying Madeleine. 

Following Madeleine’s disappearance, Leicestershire police were responsible for collating all UK-based inquiries at the request of the Portuguese authorities.

And what did Leicester police do with the information received? Did they forward all of it, some of it, all of it at six months intervals? 

It is not clear if the questionnaires were analysed by the British force or simply forwarded to Portugal.

Or forwarded to Portugal at all. The Leicester police don't seem to have exhibited any great alacrity in forwarding statements. 

Ms Tanner, a close friend of Kate and Gerry, previously told officers that she saw the dark-haired man carrying away a child wearing pink floral pyjamas at 9.15pm on May 3, 2007.

I don't believe Jane Tanner saw anyone carrying a child. Her initial statement about the "sighting" was that she had seen a man carrying a bundle that could have been a child. This metamorphosed into a man carrying a child in pyjamas identical to those worn by Madeleine. That "bundle" became more and more clear with time! Gonçalo Amaral did not believe that Jane Tanner saw "Bundleman." 

One of the so-called “Tapas Seven”, she had been dining with the McCanns in a nearby restaurant when their daughter went missing.

A nearby restaurant? Nearby to what? It was over 120 yards from the McCanns' apartment, down a public road, through a reception area and round a swimming pool.

Her sighting meant that from 2007 onwards, Portuguese and British police presumed any abduction most probably took place between 8.30pm, when the McCanns went to dinner, and 9.15pm.

The Portuguese police ruled out abduction when they made the McCanns arguidos and that is obvious in the details of the legal case currently before the court in Portugal, where the McCanns are suing Gonçalo Amaral for his account of the investigation which concluded that Madeleine had probably died in apartment 5A. 

The realisation that it was a false lead has shifted detectives’ focus on to a later sighting at 10pm when an Irish family reported seeing a man walking towards the beach carrying a blonde girl in pyjamas.

This would be the man drawn in the E-fit which the McCanns' private detectives obtained five years ago and which the McCanns did not pass onto the Portuguese police. Perhaps the fact that Mr Martin Smith stated that he was fairly sure that the man he had seen was Gerry McCann had something to do with the decision not to share the information until Scotland Yard retrieved it from the detectives this year. But why do the McCanns still have "Bundleman" on their official web site? 

The revelation was described by DCI Andy Redwood, the Met officer leading the new investigation called Operation Grange, as a “revelation moment” when it was finally made by his team.

Well, it wasn't much of a "revelation" to those of us who have been following this case for six and a half years and have had doubts about Jane Tanner's "sighting." 

DCI Redwood said in October: “Our focus in terms of understanding what happened on the night of May 3 has now given us a shift of emphasis. We are almost certain that the man seen by Jane Tanner is not Madeleine’s abductor.

Hallelujah! Give that man a lollipop! 

“It takes us through to a position at 10pm when we see another man who is walking towards the ocean, close by to the apartment, with a young child in his arms.”

Look at a few maps, Mr Redwood. The Smith sighting was not close to the apartment! 

The innocent dad agreed to be pictured in the clothes he wore in Praia da Luz at the time to prove he was the man in the police sketch previously seen as key to cracking the case.

A very frugal "innocent dad" then. He had those clothes six and a half years later? 

His two-year-old’s pink pyjamas, which were described by Ms Tanner, were also brought to Scotland Yard to help prove his innocence.

And he still had the pyjamas? That stretched credulity just a bit for me! But then, Jane Tanner only "saw" the bottoms of Madeleine's pyjamas, which were not pink.

The new prime suspect was spotted by Martin Smith from Drogheda, Co Louth, as he returned to his apartment in Praia da Luz about 9.50pm.

And reported at the time and described to the McCanns' private detectives over 5 years ago! 

He saw a British-looking man carrying a motionless, barefoot girl in pyjamas. Madeleine was noted to be missing by Kate at 10pm.

So, there we have it! Must have been the abductor! 

The Smith family provided two efit images of the man more than five years ago. However, the sighting was viewed as too late to be significant because of Ms Tanner’s sighting– which is why the efits were only released publicly in a Crimewatch appeal broadcast in October.

The E-fits were only released publicly this year because they had been withheld by the McCanns! 

Detectives from Scotland Yard’s Operation Grange said they received an “overwhelming response” from viewers.

I wonder how many of them thought the E-fits looked like Gerry McCann? 

The programme featured a new reconstruction of the hours leading up to the three-year-old’s abduction.

Now that Scotland Yard has the E-fits from the McCanns' detectives and finally the Smith sighting is being taken seriously! Anyone pointing a finger at a "guilty dad."? Ask Mr Martin Smith! 

In a statement, Kate and Gerry said at the time: “We are absolutely delighted with the overwhelming public response to Crimewatch. We know that the public desperately want to help the search for Madeleine. We are genuinely hopeful that one or more of these responses will lead to a major breakthrough in the investigation.”

How very gracious of the McCanns. The public have been very helpful over these six and a half years, with so many "sightings," weird characters hanging around in Praia da Luz and so many new suspects! Pity the McCanns themselves were too busy on the night Madeleine disappeared to do any searching themselves! 

They added: “If anyone was in Praia da Luz around the time of Madeleine’s abduction and has not spoken to the Metropolitan Police, or if they know who any of the Efits might be, please have the courage to come forward and speak to the police in confidence.”

Excuse me, but Mr Martin Smith spoke to your private detectives and you kept his descriptive E-fits to yourselves! 

More than 1,000 people have come forward with fresh information and several named the same man as the prime suspect.

The "guilty dad."? Has he been arrested yet? Who is he? We should be told! 

Leicestershire Police yesterday refused to comment on the latest revelations.

Well, there's a novelty! Not!

A spokeswoman said: “The disappearance of Madeleine McCann is being investigated by the Metropolitan Police and it would be inappropriate for us to comment.”

Not the abduction then? 

A Scotland Yard spokesman said: “We are not giving a running commentary.”

So, let's just leave the tabloids to make up stories about "bungling police." The only "bungling police" ever mentioned previously by British tabloids were the Portuguese and I am sure that the way this Mirror journalist has worded this story, many readers will read this as the Portuguese police again! So, who are being called "bungling" by the Daily Mirror? The Leicester police? The Portuguese police? All of them? Nothing new there! 

A spokesman for the McCann’s last night declined to comment saying it is “a matter for Operation Grange.”

So, they're not going to comment on the fact that Jane Tanner's sighting was ruled out six years ago or that they had the E-fits of the man described by the Smith family for five years or why they still have the E-fit of this "innocent dad," on their official web site? Not even through a "source close to the family"? Well, one wonders why they have gone very quiet! 

Saturday, 21 December 2013

Friday, 1 November 2013

"It's a disaster," said Gerry McCann

Gerry and Kate McCann speaking at the Ocean Club Resort in Portugal the night after Madeleine disappeared: McCanns' friends angry as Portuguese police close Madeleine case

Kate and Gerry McCann speaking at the Ocean Club the night after Madeleine disappeared. 

This blog post has almost the same title as a very interesting one of today's date by the American profiler Pat Brown 

When Gerry McCann phoned his family on the night in which Madeleine disappeared, he told them, "It's a disaster," an expression which, to Pat Brown seems incongruous in describing the event of a child's disappearance. If Madeleine McCann died in an accident and her parents covered this up, as Pat Brown and many other people think, then it surely can't be described as "a disaster." A tsunami or other traumatic event on a grand scale, some out of control event, is a disaster, where there is a mess to clean up: an accident is not. 

I'm wondering too about Gerry McCann's use of the expression, "It's a disaster." When we describe some catastrophic event as a disaster, the "it," is the event. The tsunami, it's a disaster. So, what was the "it," that Gerry McCann was referring to? I agree with Pat Brown: whatever happened to Madeleine was not a disaster. An abduction, though I don't think Madeleine was abducted, is not a disaster. Devastating for the parents, but not a disaster. A child's death in an accident, tragic, heartbreaking for parents, but not a disaster. An accident, Pat Brown says, requires mourning: a disaster leaves a mess to clean up. 

But returning to Gerry McCann's words: "It's a disaster," I'd ask, "What's a disaster?" A plan where everything goes wrong can turn into a disaster, even if the plan is not for something on a grand scale. The performance of a play, where the actors fluff their lines, the props are in the wrong places and the music is badly played could be described as a disaster. And we often use the word in a more mundane way for something that's not a major event to anyone else, but just feels like it: my attempt at baking 100% rye bread ended in two brick-like objects hitting the bottom of the bin with a loud thud! What a disaster! The "what," here is my attempt to bake rye bread. 

But what was the "it," that Gerry McCann described as "a disaster."? Madeleine's disappearance? Everything was going swimmingly and then disaster struck? That doesn't make sense to me. We had all these plans and then, oh disaster! Madeleine's gone missing! This was not like my bread turning out like bricks: a child had vanished into thin air. Nor was it a disaster on a grand scale with a mess to clean up. 

If Madeleine had died in an accident and Kate and Gerry did indeed cover it up, then the "it," could refer to the plan put into action to cover up the tragic event and provide an alternative reason for Madeleine's being missing. But if Gerry had been communicating that the plan had gone awry and was a disaster, surely that might imply that the person he was speaking to knew that the "it," was the plan to cover up an accident? If indeed "it," was the plan, then as a Portuguese police officer said, it was "a badly told story," one that didn't ring true from the beginning: no jemmied shutter; no trace of an abductor in the apartment; no witness other than Jane Tanner's sighting of "Bundleman." 

We could actually decide that this was just another example of Gerry McCann's not being good with words! In an interview outside the court in Lisbon, Gerry McCann stated in an answer to a question, "We're not denying the existence of the dogs..." Well, that's good Gerry, because I may not have encountered these dogs in the flesh, as it were, but I have seen videos of them and they did look real to me! Then, there was Gerry's statement to the Leveson enquiry. "”I strongly believe in Freedom of Speech…I don’t have a problem with somebody purporting a theory…”

To purport: 1. To have or present the often false appearance of being or intending; profess: selfish behavior that purports to be altruistic.
2. To have the intention of doing; purpose.

So, no Gerry, somebody cannot purport to be a theory, or present the false appearance of a theory. They could purport to be somebody with a theory, or purport to have a theory, but not purport a theory. I think you meant... 

pro·pound (pr-pound)
tr.v. pro·pound·ed, pro·pound·ing, pro·pounds
To put forward for consideration; set forth..

So, Gerry may just have done another hatchet job on the English language, but maybe not. Could the "it," that was a disaster, have been the holiday itself? Whatever the holiday was planned for, if there had been a purpose other than an enjoyable family holiday, it was a disaster? Surely no one would describe the disappearance of a child being a disaster that ruined a holiday? But consider the holiday from the start until the events of Thursday May 3rd. In the video recorded on the airport bus on the way to Praia da Luz, Kate McCann is sitting with a little row of children, seemingly as far away as she could be from Gerry, who is sitting in a corner by himself, like a little boy on the naughty step. Gerry is reported as having said, "I'm not here to enjoy myself." Had sports loving Gerry just been told that he wasn't going to spend the whole week playing tennis and like the little boy who was told he had work to do first, he sarcastically stated that he wasn't there to enjoy himself? Disaster on day one for Gerry's plans!

And then what about the report from Mrs Fenn that she had heard a child crying one evening for almost two hours? Holiday not going too well! 

There have been suggestions that the McCanns' marriage had not been going too well before the holiday, and that the week away in Praia da Luz was time for them to be together in a relaxed environment, doing things together. So, when Gerry told his family, "It's a disaster," did the family member he spoke to understand that "it" was the plan for time together and that it had turned into a disaster because something had happened to Madeleine? Not a very happy start to the week away, time spent out there enjoying themselves had led to complaints about children crying and on one night Kate had slept apart from Gerry because of a row? And then something happened to Madeleine? The planned week of "us" time together had been a disaster from its start to the finish on the evening of May 3rd? We planned that, mum, and this is what happened? "It's a disaster."

"Bundleman," has been cleared of being involved in Madeleine McCann's disappearance, the McCanns withheld those e-fits of the man the Smith family reported seeing carrying a child, and now we have the finger pointing at a conveniently, it might be said, dead ex-employee of the Ocean Club. Well, I guess the finger is thus pointing away from the fact that the e-fits seem to look like Gerry McCann. 

What happened to Madeleine McCann? She wandered out looking for her parents and met with an accident? She was abducted by an opportunistic passing paedophile or a paedo who had been watching the family? She got out of bed and because she had been sedated (there was a star chart on the fridge freezer in the Rothley house, awarding Madeleine stars for staying in her own bed) she fell behind the sofa while trying to look out of the window? Tensions were running so high because one or both of the McCann parents had such high expectations of the holiday, that one of them lashed out at Madeleine and she fell behind the sofa, banging her head so badly that she died of her injuries? 

Just purporting a few theories! Either Gerry was erroneously purporting to be someone with a good command of the English language or "it" as in "it's a disaster," was the unforeseen circumstances of a chain of events during that holiday and, in my opinion, not simply a result of three small children being left alone. Not the result of someone entering the apartment and taking Madeleine. It happened, as Kate McCann stated, "under other circumstances."

With thanks to Pat Brown for a very thought-provoking blog! 

Tuesday, 29 October 2013

Joana Morais: PJ searches for Maddie's body again

Hypothesis of homicide is investigated by the authorities. Follow the investigation with CM.

by Ana Isabel Fonseca/ Tânia Laranjo

The Judiciary Police has already taken steps to try to find Maddie's body, following the reopening of the case. The hypothesis that the British girl was murdered is one of the lines of investigation being followed by the inspectors. The thesis of homicide integrates the framework of a kidnapping for reasons connected to paedophilia.

The CM knows that the Judiciary Police has undertaken several steps in recent days to try to discover Maddie's body, who disappeared on the night of May 3, 2007 from her bedroom at the tourist resort of the Ocean Club in Praia da Luz, Lagos.

The inspectors in charge of the case have for that matter presented evidence supporting this hypothesis to the Public Ministry, who decided, last Thursday, to reopen the investigation.

Read the full article on Joana's blog

Thank you Joana.

Friday, 25 October 2013

Madeleine McCann: Video of sniffer dogs in the McCanns' apartment today on CMTV Portugal

Video of sniffer dogs in the McCanns' apartment today in CMTV

This evening Portuguese CMTV has an exclusive showing of the "sniffer dogs," videos. These show Eddie, the Enhanced Victim Recovery Dog (Cadaver dog) and Keela the CSI dog, who is trained to alert to human blood: in the McCanns' apartment; in the car the McCanns hired three weeks after Madeleine disappeared; alerting to items of clothing belonging to the McCanns.

Today in a strict exclusive, see the complete video of the sniffer dogs’ search in the McCann’s apartment and of the McCann couple’s clothes, at the beginning of “CM Jornal” at 19.45 and on the “Rua Segura” special, at 23.30. Maddie Case, investigative journalism by Correio da Manhã.

(The above translated by Ines MCF)

Video by HiDeHo4 "Who Died in the NcCanns' Apartment"

Eddie and Keels in apartment 5A

Eddie and Keela search the McCanns' hired car

Thursday, 17 October 2013

Georges Moréas: Little Maddie's disappearance turns into melodrama

In its Crimewatch programme, three days ago, the BBC attempted reconstruct the investigation into little Madeleine McCann's disappearance. As we know, it was on May 3rd 2007, in a seaside resort in the south of Portugal. 

By coincidence, the broadcast was screened in the middle of the case brought by the little girl's parents against Gonçalo Amaral, the police officer who led the investigation.  

The broadcast exploded the ratings. It must be said that the transmission was simmered in a slow cooker. We had to wait for Scotland Yard's sensational revelations, perhaps even for live arrests according to certain tabloids ...Interviewed by Spanish TV the following day, Amaral summed up the opinion of many Portuguese, "Nothing new!"

In any case, even if the criminal investigation is a failure, the television series was a success: 6.7 million viewers, representing 27.4% of the ratings. A BBC spokesman said: "It's the best audience for Crimewatch since 2002." Almost double the average. Nearly a thousand people contacted Scotland Yard about the broadcast. Potential witness statements and tip-offs all came after the showing of several E-fits. The case has turned out to be so juicy that other channels are predicted to follow in the BBC's footsteps.

Pamalam's blog, which since the start of the investigationhas listed every detail of the case in "McCann: PJ Files," registered a hundred visitors a minute after the broadcast.

It's now more than six years since Madeleine McCann disappeared. Was she abducted? Is she dead? Millions of people are fascinated by this case, which will remain, without doubt, in the record books as the first criminal investigation to have set the internet ablaze. And without doubt, also the one that has amassed the most money. Shortly after the events, Maddie's parents opened a web site to collect donations and celebrities from several countries got their cheque books out, people like Joanne Rowling (Harry Potter) and Cristiano Ronaldo. 

At the same time, the McCanns threatened with prosecution for defamation, several news media, who chose to negotiate terms of settlement. In total, close to £1.2 million. Kate McCann also wrote a book, whose promotion was guaranteed by a tabloid, which had undertaken to pay £200,000 for exclusive rights to publish the final proofs.

Today, their kitty must be comfortable. With that money, after having slammed the door in the Portuguese PJ's face, they were able to engage a myriad of private detectives, some of whom just sniffed a good money-maker. The McCanns are stars. They were received by Pope Benedict XVI and it was David Cameron who personally asked the Met in May 2011 to attach a team of investigators to this case - following in the footsteps of his predecessors, Tony Blair and Gordon Brown, who intervened personally in the case. On the other side of the channel, however, people were astonished at this use of resources and wondered if taxpayers' money was being well spent. 

Maddie's parents have also taken action against Gonçalo Amaral who, after being thrown off the case, gave his version of events in a book (In France L'Enquête Interdite, published by Bourin) They are suing him for £1 million. 

For the former police officer, the little girl is dead, in all probability following an accident, and the parents concealed her body to escape responsibility. A situation we have recently encountered here. The trial is currently being held in Lisbon. Amaral denies all claims of defamation. He has done nothing but report the facts, he says. Several police officers have appeared in the witness box to confirm that in his book all he has done is repeat the details that figure in the official PJ records. Not without humour, in referring to the back cover of the book which promised unpublished revelations, the judge declared: "OK, so this is misleading advertising!" 

And so it was, in the middle of the trial, that Scotland Yard decided to take its findings to the BBC to demonstrate that it was well and truly an abduction and that Maddie was probably still alive, which, as a result strengthens the accusation of defamation against Gonçalo Amaral. Elsewhere, there are murmurs that this might be about a manoeuvre to influence the Portuguese trial. If that is the case, it has not succeeded because the judge does not seem to have allowed herself to be influenced by it. She has put in his place Gerry McCann, who, after having stated that he would not be appearing at the trial has applied pressure to give evidence. We'll see after the appearance of the listed witnesses if hearing the plaintiff and the accused is necessary, the judge responded dryly. The verdict is predicted for the end of November.   

But why the devil would Scotland Yard want to whitewash the McCanns at all costs?

Pat Brown, an American profiler, talks in her blog about a ridiculous reconstruction (the film was made in Spain with professional comedians) and of a story adapted for television. She has studied this case and written a book on the little girl's disappearance. (Profile of the disappearance of Madeleine McCann) This book was withdrawn by booksellers Amazon at the request of the McCann family, but it is possible to find it on other sites. She includes the theory (without believing it) that the investigators tried to entrap the McCanns. In any case, stone by stone, she demolishes the BBC's "investigation." 

Scotland Yard is offering a reward that could amount to £20,000 for any information useful to the investigation. It's almost an admission of failure, because, it must be said that in spite of all their talk, the British investigators have done no better than their Portuguese colleagues. It's probably an abduction "to order," says Andy Redwood. Unless, he adds, it's a burglary gone wrong. But nothing was stolen. The only troubling detail is in the timing. Until now, it was thought that the events took place at around 9.15pm. In fact, according to the Met, it would be more likely to have been around 10pm. 

If this theory is confirmed, it will be necessary to re-interview all the witnesses, taking into account where they were at the time of the events. That could only be done seriously during a total reconstruction, each person taking up where they were on that evening of May 2007. That is obvious! 

The significant lead (the famous revelation that the world was waiting for), centres on this unknown who was allegedly seen carrying a child in his arms. But this detail was already present in the Portuguese police investigation. It's about the witness statements of an Irish family, the Smiths, who were on holiday in the area. Mr Smith and his wife had flinched when they saw Gerry McCann on their television, descending from the plane which had brought him from Portugal in 2007. It was his way of walking and the way he was holding one of his children in his arms, which drew their attention. They gave a statement to the Gardai (Irish police) who alerted the PJ. Amaral then took up their statements to get them to return to Portugal and organise a reconstruction. But shortly afterwards, he was removed from the case and his successor didn't find it important to follow up this lead. A pity, because without being one hundred per cent sure, both said that the individual whom they saw on the evening of the drama, strongly resembled Maddie's father. - 
That's worrying, is it not! 

(Original article by Georges Moréas 17/10/2013)

Tuesday, 15 October 2013

Madeleine McCann: The Documentary Based on Amaral's Book

At present the McCanns are suing Gonçalo Amaral for defamation over what was written in his book about the disappearance of Madeleine. This is the documentary based on the book, which the McCanns tried to have banned.

Sunday, 13 October 2013

Madeleine McCann: "What You Know Is Not The Truth"

The Daily Star on Sunday

Daily Star, Sunday October 13th

The small text window says:

Key details of the original Madeleine McCann investigation were wrong, police said last night.
They will reveal a new timeline of the crucial minutes when Maddie, three, was snatched in Portugal in 2007.
And they'll release several E-fits of suspects.

What we know is not the truth? So, what do we know? We have statements from the McCanns and the friends they went on holiday with and we have the police files. We also have the timelines drawn up by the McCanns and friends on the covers of a childrens' sticker book on the evening that Madeleine disappeared into thin air.

Version 1

 photo stickerbook1.jpg

Version 2

 photo Book2.jpg

Slightly different, but not significantly.

So, if what we know is wrong and there is a new timeline, what does that mean in terms of what the McCanns and friends have stated as the timing of events?

I've spent the day today feeling quite confused about what the police are being reported as having said, such as the statement about the tennis balls photo in today's Sky News article. The voice-over on the video on this page describes a tennis match played by Kate and Gerry as being the "backdrop to her last photo." I don't recall reading about that tennis match and Maddie being ball girl in any of the statements by the McCanns or their friends. The tennis balls photo was originally stated to have been taken by someone, Kate McCann or Jane Tanner, on the day that Madeleine's creche group took part in "Mini Tennis." That was on Tuesday, May 1st 2007, according to Kate McCann in her book, "Madeleine."

Kate McCann states in her book that she ran back to the apartment to get her camera to record the occasion. So, she wasn't playing tennis and Madeleine wasn't being ball girl on the occasion that photo was taken! Rachael claims that Jane Tanner took the photo. There is also a question of who was actually there at the time because of discrepancies in describing which tennis court the Mini Tennis was held on and whether it was taken on that day or on another day. If the tennis balls photo was taken at Mini Tennis on May 1st, how can it be the "last photo," of Madeleine when Sky news prints the image below as having been taken on the day before Madeleine disappeared, which would be May 2nd?

Madeleine McCann

And again, if the tennis balls photo is the "last photo," what about the one which has been purported to be that for over 6 years now? 

When was the tennis balls photo taken? When Kate and Gerry were playing tennis or, as Kate McCann states in her book, during the Mini Tennis session for Madeleine's creche group? And when did they have a tennis match? 

If what we know is not the truth and the police have drawn up a new timeline, focusing on the time period between 8.30pm, when the McCanns stated that they had gone to dinner at the Tapas Bar, and 10pm when Madeleine was reported missing by Kate McCann, what is the truth and what is that saying about the timelines drawn up by the McCanns and friends?

But wait folks! Dr Martin Roberts thinks the Mini Tennis session was on Monday April 30th! Here is just a little snippet from his "Anyone for tennis" article on The McCann Files about that tennis session, when it took place and who took that photo!

In short, Rachael describes how Jane took the photograph on Thursday, Jane describes the event taking place on Wednesday and Kate describes how she (Kate) took it on Tuesday. Imagine. 'Just hold that pose, dear!' 'How long for?' 'Er...tomorrow.'
And yet the photograph cannot have been taken during a mini-tennis session on the Tuesday either, because there wasn't one. Mini-tennis took place, according to the 'kids' club' schedule, on the Monday morning. If, this photograph is construed as representing Madeleine McCann's 'last hours' therefore (as a recent Sunday Telegraph report would suggest), then these will have been spent on the morning of Monday April 30th, not the early evening of May 3."

Sunday, 6 October 2013

Notes From A Potting Shedder: "The McMobile Trawl"

Brilliant blog post by "A Potting Shedder."

"The McMobile Trawl"

October 2013 - London's Metropolitan Police say authorities are combing phone records of tourists and residents who were in a Portuguese resort at the time of the disappearance of Madeleine McCann. Detective Chief Inspector Andy Redwood told reporters Thursday that authorities were trawling through phone traffic of people in Praia da Luz around May 3, 2007, when the then-3 year-old vanished.

Interesting, but I thought the British authorities had already participated in this? Or have I got deja vu again..

Read the whole blog post here

Well done Potting Shedder!

Thursday, 3 October 2013

Police chief's book made Madeleine McCann's family's grief ‘one hundred times worse

THE distress of missing Madeleine McCann’s parents was “multiplied a hundred times” after a police chief accused them of being involved in her disappearance, a court heard yesterday. Daily Express Thursday October 3rd

Their grief was 100 times worse than this? 

Above: Kate and Gerry McCann on Madeleine's fourth birthday in 2007, just days after she disappeared.

Isabel Duarte's assistant issues threats with regard to photograph taken of her by Anne Guedes

Yes, our very own Anne Guedes, who has been reporting from the court in Lisbon as the McCanns' witnesses give evidence, has been told that she must take down a photo she took of Isabel Duarte. It seems the link to the photo is no longer available, but if it's the photo I'm thinking of, then it was taken in a public place, which is surely not illegal?

Ricardo Afonso @RicardoCAfonso
11:14 PM - 2 Oct 13
@aacg @xklamation Mrs. Anne Guedes I thank you to remove from the UK justice forum the photo which you know was not allowed. You have until 12pm tomorrow

Ricardo Afonso @RicardoCAfonso
11:15 PM - 2 Oct 13
@aacg @xklamation if it is not removed, she will react accordingly

Is Ms Duarte going to ask every newspaper that printed her photos to take them down? 

Seems to me this threat has rebounded on Isabel Duarte. There appear to be quite a few people on social media now looking for the photo. 

Wednesday, 2 October 2013

Happy Birthday Gonçalo De Sousa Amaral - Updated

Lizzy Hideho Taylor's photo.

Five years ago today, on his birthday, Gonçalo De Sousa Amaral was removed from the investigation into Madeleine McCann's disappearance. Today, the libel case against him brought by Kate and Gerry McCann resumes in Lisbon. 

Forca Snr Amaral!

With thanks to Anne Guedes, this is the possible line up of witnesses for today:

MCCANN Versus GONCALO AMARAL - Trial will resume Wed 2nd Oct

WITNESSES who would have been heard on 27th Sep are as follows - (Henrique Machado (journalist of Correio da Manhã), Eduardo Dâmaso (political analyst) and Mrs Cameron). 

From this I deduce that 1) Mrs Healy will not be heard and 2) Mrs Cameron is the last witness for the accusation. Presumably, if the judge grants Gerry McCann's request to appear as a witness, then he will take the stand also.

Thanks to Joana Morais for updates. Gerry McCann has once again been refused permission to give evidence. The judge will decide by October 10th. Mrs Healy, Kate McCann's mother, was unable to give evidence as the McCanns' lawyer, Isabel Duarte had removed her from the witness list. Oh dear!

There is an ongoing translation of a Portuguese news video on Joana's web site. Link above. 

Thursday, 26 September 2013

Fiona's Disappearance: when the parents are suspected

A poster appealing for help finding Fiona

Sky News reports today that Fiona's mother, Cecile Bourgeon, has admitted that Fiona is dead following a number of blows delivered by Fiona's step-father, Berkane Maklouf. Fiona's mother had originally stated that Fiona had disappeared while she, her mother, had fallen asleep in a park in Clermont-Ferrand, in central France. Cecile Bourgeon has told police that Fiona's body is buried near Clermont-Ferrand. 

Europe1 carries a very interesting article on what the author considers to be good police procedure when parents are suspected of a crime. Published before Fiona's mother had confessed and updated today, September 26th.

Four months after the disappearance of a little girl called Fiona, aged 5, from a park in Clermont-Ferrand, investigators took her mother and her step-father in for questioning, in the course of which, they confessed. What strategies are used by investigators to get to the truth when the weight of suspicion falls on the parents in this type of case? 

Have a solid case: Criminologist Michel Roussel starts by saying, "The ideal is to be supported by a solid case and have a team of investigators who are experts in their subject. Then it's useful to have at your disposal a psychological profile of the suspects, notably by listening in, because that is a good way to understand and get a handle on the the people who are going to be questioned.  That's what the investigators did within the framework of the Fiona case. 

Don't humiliate the suspect: "The investigators work involves talking and listening, and not in judging or getting worked up," Roussel adds. To get at the truth, "you must never humiliate the suspects," the criminologist, Pierre Lamothe contributes. He stresses that, "In a case where the parents are responsible for the death of their child, their distress may be authentic." 

Don't go for a confession: when suspects are in police custody, the way in which the questions are formulated is very basic. "Don't go for a confession, but rather ask, "what do you think happened?" Michel Roussel explains. "To stop the suspect feeling guilty, it's preferable to suggest an accident or bad luck than to speak of a crime where infanticide is suspected," states this former gendarme. 

"You mustn't throw at the suspects: "tell me everything," but rather "did something happen that you did not intend?" Pierre Lamothe suggest. "In the same vein, never ask: "Did you do it?" but "Do you know how that happened?" which allows you to offer the suspect a way out. 

Carefully observe the responses: The attitude of the suspect faced with the questions is as informative as the language used. For Pierre Lamothe, "an innocent person accepts being confused and doesn't have an answer for everything. He is not hiding the truth and, in as a result, can have gaps in his memory, which is generally not the case with the guilty person, who leaps in with an explanation," he concludes. 

The above is very interesting when we look, once again, at the 48 questions that Kate McCann refused to answer after she was made an arguida in September 2007. 

1. On May 3 2007, around 22:00, when you entered the apartment, what did you see? What did you do? Where did you look? What did you touch?

2. Did you search inside the bedroom wardrobe? (she replied that she wouldn’t answer)

3. (shown 2 photographs of her bedroom wardrobe) Can you describe its contents?

4. Why had the curtain behind the sofa in front of the side window (whose photo was shown to her) been tampered with? Did somebody go behind that sofa?

5. How long did your search of the apartment take after you detected your daughter Madeleine’s disappearance?

6. Why did you say from the start that Madeleine had been abducted?

7. Assuming Madeleine had been abducted, why did you leave the twins home alone to go to the ‘Tapas’ and raise the alarm? Because the supposed abductor could still be in the apartment.

8. Why didn’t you ask the twins, at that moment, what had happened to their sister or why didn’t you ask them later on?

9. When you raised the alarm at the ‘Tapas’ what exactly did you say and what were your exact words?

10. What happened after you raised the alarm in the ‘Tapas’?

11. Why did you go and warn your friends instead of shouting from the verandah?

12. Who contacted the authorities?

13. Who took place in the searches?

14. Did anyone outside of the group learn of Madeleine’s disappearance in those following minutes?

15. Did any neighbour offer you help after the disappearance?

16. What does 'we let her down' mean?

17. Did Jane tell you that night that she’d seen a man with a child?

18. How were the authorities contacted and which police force was alerted?

19. During the searches, with the police already there, where did you search for Maddie, how and in what way?

20. Why did the twins not wake up during that search or when they were taken upstairs?

21. Who did you phone after the occurrence?

22. Did you call Sky News?

23. Did you know the danger of calling the media, because it could influence the abductor?

24. Did you ask for a priest?

25. By what means did you divulge Madeleine’s features, by photographs or by any other means?

26. Is it true that during the searches you remained seated on Maddie’s bed without moving?

27. What was your behaviour that night?

28. Did you manage to sleep?

29. Before travelling to Portugal did you make any comment about a foreboding or a bad feeling?

30. What was Madeleine’s behaviour like?

31. Did Maddie suffer from any illness or take any medication?

32. What was Madeleine’s relationship like with her brother and sister?

33. What was Madeleine’s relationship like with her brother and sister, friends and school mates?

34. As for your professional life, in how many and which hospitals have you worked?

35. What is your medical specialty?

36. Have you ever done shift work in any emergency services or other services?

37. Did you work every day?

38. At a certain point you stopped working, why?

39. Are the twins difficult to get to sleep? Are they restless and does that cause you uneasiness?

40. Is it true that sometimes you despaired with your children’s behaviour and that left you feeling very uneasy?

41. Is it true that in England you even considered handing over Madeleine’s custody to a relative?

42. In England, did you medicate your children? What type of medication?

43. In the case files you were SHOWN CANINE forensic testing films, where you can see them marking due to detection of the scent of human corpse and blood traces, also human, and only human, as well as all the comments of the technician in charge of them. After watching and after the marking of the scent of corpse in your bedroom beside the wardrobe and behind the sofa, pushed up against the sofa wall, did you say you couldn’t explain any more than you already had?

44. When the sniffer dog also marked human blood behind the sofa, did you say you couldn’t explain any more than you already had?

45. When the sniffer dog marked the scent of corpse coming from the vehicle you hired a month after the disappearance, did you say you couldn’t explain any more than you already had?

46. When human blood was marked in the boot of the vehicle, did you say you couldn’t explain any more than you already had?

47. When confronted with the results of Maddie’s DNA, whose analysis was carried out in a British laboratory, collected from behind the sofa and the boot of the vehicle, did you say you couldn’t explain any more than you already had?

48. Did you have any responsibility or intervention in your daughter’s disappearance?

The Portuguese police had what they thought was a solid case: the two English sniffer dogs had detected human blood and cadaver odour in various places associated with the McCanns and in the car they hired weeks after Madeleine's disappearance. It is probably more difficult, though, to be subtle with questions when the people being interviewed have to have every question and their answers translated.

Perhaps the Portuguese police also had the notion that they might not get a second chance to question the two arguidos, which did turn out to be the case when just a couple of days later, Kate and Gerry hot-footed it home to the UK.

Fiona's mother and step-father attracted a great deal of sympathy for their plight: Fiona had been playing with her younger sibling in a public park and she just disappeared. So, maybe Kate and Gerry would have attracted a lot less suspicion if their daughter had been said to have disappeared from a crowded beach while her mother was snoozing! Much more credible than an abduction from an apartment with no evidence and only one witness whose memory of the event changed with stunning regularity!

Fiona is just another child who was harmed by those who should have protected her, and who faked an abduction to cover up their crime. Too many of these little ones being harmed by those who should protect them from harm.

Hoping for justice for that other child, Madeleine, who was gone before we knew her name, but somehow I'm not expecting anyone to confess.

Monday, 23 September 2013

Madeleine McCann: Stephen Birch Press Release

I don't have a source for this, as yet. Will investigate later. Stephen Birch is the South African who reported that he had investigated Robert Murat's driveway in Praia da Luz with ground-penetrating radar and found an anomaly that he thought could be Madeleine McCann's body. Read the details here. (McCann Files)

Press release follows:

As of 10.30am this morning I received a call from Portugal advising me that Robert Murat has consented to me digging up his driveway to ascertain whether the remains of MADELEINE MCCANN lie buried beneath it. A formal letter will be emailed to me today. Mr Murats attorney has advised that as part of the negotiations, Mr Murat will undertake to withdraw all charges against me for trespassing. Legal documentation would need to be formalized. A third party is currently acting as an intermiadiary in the negotiations and will own the media rights to the entire operation. They have advised me that they will put a helicopter in the air above Murats house to protect the airspace from rival newspaper groups. It is estimated that the excavation of the Murat driveway will be viewed by over 1 billion people over a week...

Press release ends

Ground radar scan, taken by Stephen Birch, showing area below the Murat driveway

Image courtesy of McCann files. (Link above)

Saturday, 14 September 2013

The Madeleine McCann Case: Gonçalo Amaral's "Outrageous Claims."

Image from the paper edition of The Sun of today's date, Friday September 13th.

Gonçalo Amaral's "outrageous claims."

Claim One

Amaral suggested Maddie died in the apartment - most likely near the sofa and maybe as the result of a tragic accident.

Pages 37 and 38 of the PJ's final report on the investigation describes the places where two sniffer dogs, which were trained by Martin Grime, at that time working with South Yorkshire Police, alerted to human blood and cadaver odour. Eddie, an Enhanced Victim Recovery Dog, was trained to alert to human cadaver odour and human blood; Keela was trained to alert to human blood. Both dogs alerted behind the sofa in the lounge of apartment 5A and only Eddie alerted to an area in the McCanns' bedroom inside a wardrobe. 

Until they were brought in to work on the McCann case, Eddie and Keela had a 100% record of accuracy. If they were right with their alerts in this case, then someone died in apartment 5A and since there are no recorded deaths there and Madeleine McCann disappeared into thin air from that place, a reasonable conclusion would be that Madeleine died in the apartment and that at some point her body was either in or near the wardrobe and perhaps behind the sofa. Eddie the cadaver dog also alerted to an area of flower bed outside the apartment.

If Madeleine is alive, who died in apartment 5A? The following video cannot be embedded for copyright reasons.

Claim Two

The cop claimed that Kate and Gerry McCann staged a "fake abduction," concocted a story with the Tapas Seven and were involved in concealing the body. 

If Eddie and Keela were right about the odours of blood and cadaver in the apartment, then something happened to the body the odours came from. Either the "abductor" took away a dead body or the McCanns concealed it, with or without help from the Tapas Seven, but in my opinion, this would have been very difficult without the help or at least the knowledge of at least one or two of the McCanns' friends. The only evidence for an abduction is Jane Tanner's "sighting" of a man carrying a child and the fact that Madeleine was said to have been tucked up in her bed and she was found to have disappeared when Kate McCann went to check on the children at 10pm. 

Claim Three

Amaral accused the McCanns of negligence over their children. 

The McCanns have admitted to leaving three children, all under the age of four, in an unlocked apartment, in a foreign country, every night for 5 nights while they were dining at the Tapas Bar. They stated that they checked on the children every half hour. Not something I'd have done and the McCanns left the apartment unlocked even after being informed about a spate of burglaries in the area. Negligence? Do you reckon that if I left my 2 year-old grandson in bed, left the door unlocked and nipped over to the pub that would be alright if I checked every half hour? What about if something happened to him? It takes a couple of minutes for a small child to choke to death. If my grandson wandered out and met with an accident, would it be my fault? Would I have been negligent? I think my local police and social services would probably conclude negligence. 

Claim Four

He inferred a fund to finance a search for Maddie was a cynical plot to get rich

I don't recall that inference from the book, but the fund was used to make two payments on the McCanns' mortgage.

See: "Madeleine's Fund - Analysis of Accounts to 31/03/2012" By Enid O'Dowd FCA 

Claim Five

In his book, just days after the Portuguese cops declared the McCanns were not suspects, Amaral said there were no signs of a break-in at the flat.

Although Kate and Gerry McCann were reported by family and friends to have telephoned them in the early hours to say that the shutters of Madeleine's room had been "jemmied" and the window "forced open," John Hill, manager of the ocean Club, stated that "there was no sign that anyone had forced their way in while the McCanns ate at the tapas restaurant 200 yards away." (24

And who else said there were no signs of a break-in? As reported in the Irish Independent of 25th October 2007, none other than Clarence Mitchell, spokesman for the McCanns.

THE spokesman for the family of Madeleine McCann has reversed a statement made in the early days of the search for the missing child.
Speaking to RTE's 'Prime Time', Clarence Mitchell said she could "easily" have been kidnapped by an abductor who did not leave the trail of a break-in.

However, in the early part of the hunt, friends and family members told journalists that the shutter on the apartment where the McCanns were staying had been broken.

Mr Mitchell made his comments when questioned by a 'Prime Time' team in a report on the disappearance to be screened tomorrow. "There was no evidence of a break-in," said Mr Mitchell.

Straight from the official horse's mouth folks! Clarence Mitchell confirmed what Snr Amaral said, "No signs of a break-in."

Claim Six

He suggested Jane Tanner, who described seeing an abductor carrying a small child, colluded with the McCanns to describe what Maddie was wearing.

Jane Tanner's descriptions of what she saw have changed quite dramatically from her first statement, which was rather vague.

Jane’s Tanner statements have changed until now, two times, first account was: The man, looking Caucasian, was wearing beige trousers, black shoes and was covered in a thick jacket. He was slim, his height was 5'7" and with dark short straight hair. According to her words, he was carrying "a child or an object that could have been taken as a child wrapped in a blanket" or “bundle of clothes”. He was going towards the church.

In her second report in BBC Panorama’s documentary she morphed the description of the abductor, from a white man to a 5'8'' tall swarthy Mediterranean looking man with “quite a lot of dark, reasonably-long-to-the-neck hair”; the vagueness description of the bundle was changed to the certainty of a girl in pink pyjamas.

According to her statement, the child was wearing pink pyjamas, seemed to be asleep and was barefoot. This was the detail that she found the strangest “…and I can remember thinking oh that parent is not a particularly good parent, they've not wrapped them up”.

So, what happened to the blanket?

The child or the object that could have been a child morphed into a child wearing pyjamas just like the ones Madeleine had been wearing? Well, kind of because there's something not quite fitting about those pyjamas.

Jammmies photo PyjamasBestPhoto.jpg

Pyjamas said to be identical to the ones Madeleine was wearing when she disappeared.

Those pyjamas have wide, cropped legs. Would they have reached the ankles if a child had been carried as described by Jane Tanner or would they have ridden up over the knees? They would definitely not have been tight around the ankles.

Abductor photo Abductor251007.jpg

Sketch produced from Jane Tanner's improved description. Definitely not a man carrying an object that could have been a child wrapped in a blanket and, in my opinion, not wearing those pyjamas as displayed by the McCanns. Jane Tanner did not initially describe an abductor carrying a small child, but a man carrying an object that could have been a child. This morphed into an abductor definitely carrying away Madeleine and the white man became the swarthy man! Something helped her memory!

Claim Seven

Kate and Gerry were adamant the kidnapper did not go into the apartment from the back entrance because they could see it from their table at the tapas bar - but Amaral says this was a lie.

At 1.20 on the following video, "view from the tapas bar. Only the very top of the balcony of the McCanns' ground floor apartment is visible. A large whitewashed wall and thick bushes obscure the view from the poolside tables."

The video shows the view from the tapas bar in daylight. These photos show the view at night. The McCanns' table (1) was behind the high screen, further obstructing their view of the apartment.(2) It would have been impossible to see anyone entering or leaving the apartment, who was under 8' tall and not carrying portable floodlights!

Thanks to Pamalam for images.

Claim Eight

The book says there were contradictions among the McCanns and the Tapas Seven over whether the apartment window was open.

All of the statements can be read on Nigel Moore's web site hereToo many contradictions for me to list! Read and judge for yourself.

Claim Nine

Amaral said the McCanns were preoccupied with dealing with the press rather than police.

What can I say? Just go to Google images and you'll find so many images from the first few days after Madeleine disappeared. The McCanns held regular press conferences and when they hot-footed it from Portugal soon after being made arguidos, Gerry contacted Sky News, told them what flight they'd be on and said "Be on it."

After three-year-old Madeleine McCann disappeared on a family vacation in Portugal, her parents pursued a high-stakes strategy: media saturation...

...It is Gerry who is behind what he tells me is “the marketing … a high public awareness” of Madeleine. At his side while we talk is Clarence Mitchell, a voluble former government media analyst and BBC reporter, handpicked by Gerry to be the latest in a line of spokesmen. On October 17, Mitchell spoke at Coventry University. His topic: “Missing Madeleine McCann: The Perfect PR Campaign.” Except that it has been anything but perfect.

It has in fact been so counterproductive that, as winter approached, Portuguese attorney general Fernando Pinto Monteiro suggested that one way or another the McCanns were responsible for their child’s death. Specifically he said that if indeed Madeleine had been kidnapped, it was the carefully contrived publicity engineered by her parents that likely sealed her fate. “With the whole world having Madeleine’s photo,” he observed, any abductor would have been pushed to such a degree that “there’s a greater probability of the little girl being dead than alive.”

Claim Ten

He claimed the McCann children were given drugs to help them sleep - which might explain why the twins did not wake and how Maddie accidentally died.

When the Portuguese police arrived at the McCanns' holiday apartment on the night Madeleine disappeared, there were around 20 people already there, searching the rooms and calling Maddie's name. Throughout the noise and commotion, twins Sean and Amelie slept in their cots and did not wake up. Even when they were lifted and carried to another apartment, they remained sound asleep. This was commented on by various people at the time and one observer stated that Kate McCann kept putting her fingers under the twins' noses to make sure they were breathing. At the time, it seems, that Kate McCann did not explain why she was doing this and she did not express any suspicions about the "abductor" having drugged the children.

However, during an interview for the launch of her book, "Madeleine," Kate McCann described how the twins slept through everything that was going on and how she suspected that the "abductor" had drugged the twins.

Mrs McCann said she had to check that twins Sean and Amelie were still breathing because they did not wake as they began a frantic search for the missing three-year-old...

...Asked if the twins had been drugged, she said on BBC Radio 4's Woman's Hour today: 'On the night I just remember the twins lying in the cot and not moving - with lights going on and people moving around.

'There was a lot of noise and they just didn't move and I remember several times checking for chest movements. I did feel it was a bit strange that they were not moving let alone waking up.

'I did consider with Madeleine perhaps she had been given something too.'

Daily Mail May 13th 2011

In the very small window of opportunity the intruder would have had to enter apartment 5A and make off with Madeleine, he/she had time to drug all three children?

Most of us who have children know that little ones do not usually sleep as well as the McCann twins slept that night. So, it would appear that there was a reason other than tiredness or that Sean and Amelie were incredibly sound sleepers. It seems reasonable to ask who drugged the twins and also to consider that Madeleine was drugged too, but by whom. Gonçalo simply puts forward the theory that Madeleine may have died accidentally of a drugs overdose. This was not just Amaral's person idea, but one of those put forward by the joint English and Portuguese teams of investigators. They are the police. They are allowed to develop theories as to what has happened when a child disappears. It's their job!

I think The Sun has done a brilliant job there in publishing some of the basic narrative contained in Gonçalo Amaral's book. With the libel trial now underway in Lisbon, The Sun has given readers a glimpse of what the case is about. "Outrageous claims"? I think not!

Thursday, 12 September 2013

Sunday, 28 July 2013

Killer of two young girls unmasked after twenty-two years?

Ten-year-old Saïda Berch, who was strangled, was found in an irrigation ditch on 26th November 1996 in Voreppe, two days after she disappeared.

Betrayed by his DNA and arrested on Tuesday, (23/07/2013) a 37 year-old man is suspected of having killed Sarah and Saida in 1991 and 1996 in Voreppe (Isère). Aged 15 at the time, he was close to the families of both young girls. 

So many years of doubt and distress have gone by. And on Tuesday, more than twenty years later, the development that nobody expected: the man who is thought to have killed the children, Sarah Syad aged 6 and Saïda Berch aged 10, who were both abducted in Voreppe, has been arrested. The suspect, first name Georges, now aged 37, was still living in Voreppe, a stone's throw from the families of the two girls. This man remained close to the brothers of the two young victims whom he would see every day. 

Now in his thirties and just under 16 at the time, he was interviewed as a witness, but there was nothing to implicate him. He was finally unmasked my new developments in DNA analysis and samples which had miraculously been preserved intact. His sperm and traces of DNA allowed him to be formally identified.   

A magazine and soiled tissues.

Since March 2008, a group of Grenoble police officers have been investigating ten cases of missing and murdered children in Isère. The investigation was close to being archived on many occasions, but the police officers continued to methodically retrieve lost or mislaid evidence. And their perseverance paid off. 

On April 15th 1991, little Sarah Syad was playing at the bottom of town in Bourg-Vieux in Voreppe. She was last seen in the early evening of that day. The child's strangled body was found the next day in woods a few hundred metres from her home. In the area surrounding the scene of the crime, investigators found a pack of tissues bearing a fingerprint and traces of sperm on the paper tissues. The post-mortem revealed that the child had been sexually abused. Another case was then on everyone's mind, that of little Rachid Bouzian, aged 8, who had been abducted from outside her apartment building in Echirolles near Grenoble. Her killer, Karim Katefi, has since been sentenced to life in prison. 

On November 24th 1996, once again in Voreppe, Saïda Berch aged 10, disappeared in the Béraugodière quarter. This very clever schoolgirl had just left her parents' home to go to the gym. Her body was found in an irrigation ditch forty-eight hours later. She had also been strangled but had not been sexually abused. At the scene of the crime, investigators found a soiled pornographic magazine. 

Nearly twenty years later, analysis of the DNA traces has implicated a neighbour and friend of the victims' brothers. New molecular analysis of traces recovered at the time has confirmed that Sarah and Saïda were definitely abducted and killed by the same man. A suspicion became a certainty for the police and the presiding judge Catherine Léger. The genetic profile was entered into the police files and Georges' name came out.  

Georges had been implicated in a case of car theft and put on file and he was already among the small group of witnesses in the case of Saïda Berch: he had been seen with his mountain bike not far from the location of the child's disappearance. 

Le Parisien 25/07/2013

With thanks to "Frencheuropean" for the link to this article.