17 - AVR 27 - L'heure du crime
10 years ago, the disappearance of Maddie MC
in "l'Heure du Crime" - Jacques Pradel's radio RTL program – 27.04.2017
This summary focuses on the participants' statements and leaves out archival materials that do not provide anything new (broadcast in collaboration with "Le Parisien").
Jacques Pradel introduces his guests:
- Timothée Boutry, a "Le Parisien" journalist who has been following the case for a long time (he was twice in Praia da Luz) and
- Georges Moréas, Honorary Commissioner, former Head of the OCRB (Office central de lutte contre le crime organisé, a sort of French equivalent of SOCA, Serious Organised Crime Agency), currently a lawyer at the Paris Bar, novelist, scriptwriter and author of columns about the Maddie McCann case on his blog POLICEtcetera.
-Anne Guedes, Professor of French in the Lisbon University Luis de Camoes, who devoted a lot of time to this particular case. All that is related to it is exhaustively recorded in her blog, Madeleine etc.
JP says he will aks AG why she is so interested in this case, apart from the fact that it happened in Portugal where she lives.
TB brings to mind a short retrospective of the Scotland Yard review of the case, decided by David Cameron in 2011. He talks of a recent SY release (note: Martin Brunt's interview with the assistant commissioner Mark Rowley on April 25) alluding to a critic lead among others but remaining blurred, as always since the beginning of Operation Grange.
JP points out that SY never questioned the McCann family.
GM, who read the alluded interview, finds it amazing that the commissioner seems very embarrassed and does not actually answer the journalist who has to repeat questions several times. He reckons that SY definitively ruled out the thesis of an accident, of a sedative overdose ... an hypothesis also plausible. In France, there are similar cases of children who are reported "abducted" by their parents whereas they died accidentally. He refers to the alleged "kidnapping" in 2008 of little Antoine Brugerolle (note : he has never been found) whose mother has recently been arrested with her partner because according to the latter's fellow prisoner the child died of an accidental ingestion of drug when he was alone at home.
In England, the police adopted a political position, it was considered at once that the parents were victims and that the Portuguese police had not done the job.
JP recalls that Gonçalo Amaral's book sums up his thesis and that he finally and definitively won at the High Court the lawsuit against him, hence will not have to pay the half million euros to the McCanns.
GM emphasises that the High Court judges’ ruling reminds that the parents had not been cleared (by the filing order of July 2008), even if there was not enough evidence to charge them. The case was dismissed and the McCanns came out neither guilty nor innocent.
TB speaks about the layout of the premises in PDL. The apartment was accessible from the outside, on the ground floor.
JP : The room was on the ground floor which would have allowed to go in through the window, but there was no evidence of breaking and entering and it seems that the mother said she had closed the shutters ... another unanswered question.
TB : According to him, the parents, in the restaurant, were not far away, visual contact was possible from the restaurant ... the parents were criticized for leaving the children alone .. but people are free to have their own opinion. He talks about the Algarve.
JP, after having highlighted that Robert Murat (note : the first formal suspect) had been cleared, speaks of the concrete elements of suspicion against the parents, in particular the "cadaver" dog and the "blood" dog.
GM talks about the alerts of the dogs in the McCann apartment and the car, mentions swabs collected in the car related with Madeleine's DNA. He recalls that the samples were sent to the UK (note : FFS of Birmingham) , the results were said to be inconclusive as (components of more than two contributors) were mixed. Then strangely the samples disappeared and the counter-expertise was impossible.
JP : There were 15 markers matching MMC's DNA profile, it is at least disturbing (note : it means that 15/19 components of MMC’s DNA profile were also in the reference sample) .
GM : In France 15 markers would have sufficed for a parents' indictment.
TB : The McCanns put forward the thesis of the kidnapping which imposed itself in U.K, they overplayed it, even if they are probably innocent. SY might have evidence, may be we'll know it some day.
GM : At first the apartment was not considered as a crime scene, there was no test made to begin with. It is a pity but it also happens sometimes in France because the first concern is to find the child.
TB reports that Gonçalo Amaral told him he regretted that the crime scene was not preserved (the police was called only at 22h41) and moreover not to have being able to make a re-enactment that would have allowed to assess the parents' (statements') inconsistencies.
JPasks GM's opinion about the updated e-fits of missing children.
GM says that it can be eventually useful for adults but that e-fits have never proved to help in the case off missing children.
JP asks GM what, as a policeman, has disconcerted him in this case.
GM : The behaviour of the parents was disturbing. They opposed the re-enactment demanded by Amaral and erased all the sms of their cell phones which is rather typical of criminals attempting to escape the police and not the first reaction of parents who are searching for their three-year-old child. This suggests that they wanted to hide something about the recipients of their calls. The police could not go further because the McCanns refused to answer the questions as soon as they became relevant and as they refused to take part in the re-enactment (note : actually being arguidos they couldn't refuse, but their friends and acquaintances could and that was enough) , their contradictions could not be examined.
JP : If it had happened in France, what would have outcome ?
GM : With the evidence gathered by the police, the parents would have been taken into custody, a judge would have ordered the re-enactment and they could not have countered it. But in Portugal, the system of justice protects more individual freedoms.
JP is now on the phone with Anne Guedes :" Why did you get so passionate about this case that of course takes place in Portugal, but you have been doing an incredible job that one can see on your blog " Madeleine etc." and for a long time ?"
AG says the media circus could not be ignored and she had a neutral position, living in Lisbon, neither Portuguese nor British but at ease in these two languages. Besides she was gobsmacked by the way the tabloids treated the Portuguese police and the Portuguese people, even going so far as to ask the ambassador of Portugal in England to "just keep his stupid, sardine-munching mouth shut".
There was a lot of contempt and also misunderstanding right from the start. This is clearly highlighted in the recent interview with the commissioner Mark Rowley. Scotland Yard's primary mission was to review the case, and a review must start from the very beginning and question the main protagonists, here the parents and their friends or acquaintances. This was not done because the British assumed that the Portuguese had cleared the parents. In fact they probably only read the last page of the Public Ministry filing order of July 2008 which says that the McCann's status as arguidos (formal suspects) are lifted.. (note: it was wrongly taken for granted that it was a certificate of innocence) .
JP asks AG if she believes like Amaral that the abduction covered up an accident.
AG refers to her blog about her opinion on that matter. She thinks that "this little girl no longer exists". There is no indication of kidnapping, it seems unlikely where it (the disappearance) occurred, the parents did not answer the questions asked by the police (note : the mother, not the father), refused a re-enactment, a behaviour that didn't make sense, even for some tabloids' editors.
JP (question from listeners) : Concealing the body was difficult since they did not know the area.
AG firmly disagrees but does not want to exhibit her thought on the phone, on the air. She thinks the McCanns took a terrible and wrong decision and soon could not go backwards anymore. Asked, she says she thinks the friends were not aware of what happened, she does not believe there was any complicity.
JP asks whether it was "behind closed doors" and AG answers yes, that's what she thinks it was.
AG : The McCanns made a bad choice and it would have stopped there, had they not told incredible tales like for instance the abduction through the open window without trace of break-in, etc.
JP : Do you think that the body of the child will be found one day ?
AG : The answer is no. I think that Madeleine has stopped existing materially for a very long time.
As JP encourages everyone to go and have a look at her blog, AG points out that this blog mainly establishes facts so that people, after reading, will be able to make their own opinion. There were many fake news in this story.
And so it ended.