Grâce à la liberté dans les communications, des groupes d’hommes de même nature pourront se réunir et fonder des communautés. Les nations seront dépassées.
Friedrich Nietzsche (Fragments posthumes XIII-883)

07 - DÉC 24 - MMC,The Mystery (Brunt)

Madeleine MC - The Mystery
Martin Brunt (Sky News) - 24.12.2007


David Barclay (VO) : There are two options. She came to harm at the hands of some member of the family or friends or it was some paedophile who happened to be passing by. Both are really very, very unlikely, but we know she's gone...


Martin Brunt : The mystery of Madeleine McCann's disappearance became the biggest or at least the most enduring new story of the year. Eight months on detective still don't know if Madeleine is dead or alive. What makes the case so perplexing is the lack of any trail of evidence beyond this point, the apartment in PDL rented by the McCanns for an early Summer break. 
Like many holiday resorts, by day Luz is bright, whitewashed and family-friendly, but at night, outside of the peak season, it becomes a more chilling aery place, one of deserted streets, empty promenades, dark corners and shutted windows. It was on such a night on the 3rd of May that Madeleine was left sleeping while her parents went to dine at the nearby Tapas bar. At 10 o'clock, when Kate MC went to check on the children, Madeleine had vanished. 
This apartement is just a few yards from the McCanns', it doesn't go right onto the road but in all other detail it's exactly the same. On the night the shutter was up, the patio door was closed but it was unlocked, easy for the McCanns to get in to check on the children, just as easy for an abductor to get in and out. The Tapas bar is over there, the view from there to here is not a good one, it's partially obscure and of course at the time it was dark. In here the lounge, in the corner a small kitchen, that's the front door to the apartment and in here the parents' bedroom with the view over the Tapas bar and the scene beyond, and furthest away the children's bedroom. 
According to Gerry McCann when he checked on the children, the door was slightly ajar, he thought that was odd, he believes that the abductor was already hiding in here when he came in. When Kate MC checked later, she said the twins were still asleep and Madeleine had gone. 
It's now generally accepted that the police investigation got off to a slow start, there was no real sense of urgency, the first police officer on the scene refused to accept the McCanns' view that Madeleine had been abducted. (1)  In fact a witness (Pamela Fenn) here overheard him telling the parents she can't have been kidnapped, she must have simply woken up and wandered off.
That night the search fell mostly to a volunteer force of holidaymakers and ex-pats like Claire G. They were searching this built up areas and here this is very different, there are lots of areas like this, what was the scene here at 3 o'clock in the morning that night ?
 
Claire G. : It was dark, nobody around, just us who were searching and then we stopped, looked around and said right where should we go now because it could be any way, we didn't know where to go.
 
MB : How many of you were here ?
CG : There were about 20 of us. 

MB : And how many torches did you have ? 
CG : About 2 or 3. 
MB : I don't suppose you could see very far...
CG : No (inaudible).
MB : There must be hundreds of these bins around Luz..
CG : There is and there were bins we looked into.
 
MB : When you were looking in a bin, did you think you would find a child hiding or a child who had been killed.
CG : We thought anything. A child never hides in a bin, so we were thinking of someone checking the child into the bin. (2)
MB : So even at that stage you were already thinking of the possibility that Madeleine had been killed. 
CG : Yes.
MB : At 4:30 am the search was called off, the bins were still collected as usual and dumped to the nearby rubbish tip. (3) The police insistence that Madeleine had wandered compromised the investigation from the start. Tony Rogers is one of Britain's most experienced detectives. He helped solve the Soham schoolgirls murders. Today he helps police forces review unsolved crimes.
TR : The child missing was four, it's a very young age, very vulnerable, it was late at night, the chances of that person was wandering off diminishes as a few hours go by.  (4)
 
MB : The detectives' failure to treat Madeleine's disappearance as a crime was to rebound on them, because they did not immediately seal off the apartment, because they allowed evidence to be contaminated by people traipsing in and out, because they did not properly interrogate Kate and Gerry MC. Incredibly, after six weeks, the apartment was returned to the owner and relet twice. And even today a low gate with a flimsy chain is all that guards this still vital crime scene. (5)
DB : I'm disappointed that the apartment wasn't kept, I honestly think in the UK, with a bit of luck we would have done it very differently.
 
MB : David Barclay is one of Britain's top forensic consultants involved in many cold cases reviews. 
 MB : I've been involved in cases in which murders happened in a house and the police have actually bought the house so they could keep the house until after the trial and in at least one of those we went back and we examined the crime scene after a year because we thought something had changed about our interpretation and we were able to find cast of blood on the ceiling of one in the bedroom that had never been spotted before. By working out what must have happened and then looking for confirmation on the roof...
 
MB : Right from the start the McCanns insisted their daughter had been abducted and they've clung to that belief ever since, but how could an abductor get into the apartment ?
DB : There are two methods to get into, one is through the window at the back overlooking the car park and I think it's impossible for somebody to get in through that window without leaving traces. (6) Apart from anything else, the window sills in that area is covered in green lichen, the minute you try and scrape over the window sill you would have left marks and we know that the crime scene lady the next morning was looking for exactly that. But the sliding door was left open, unsecured. 
If it was possible for the MC and their friends to go inside and check on the kids, it was possible for somebody else to go up the little stairs to the back, open, take Madeleine may be asleep and leave. Not without leaving any track, but without leaving any trace unfound. That is when the crime scene has been unexamined. In the UK we always look at not the crime scene but methods of ingress and egress from how you're getting into..
MB : What makes the case so mysterious is that as far as we know the police have no firm evidence of abduction. We've been told that a part of the investigation centres on a bag that went missing from the apartment, a blue hold all tied tennis bag belonging to Gerry MC, he had been playing tennis at the complex in the hours before Madeleine disappeared. (7)
 
TR : If it is a bag of a size that could be taking away from the flat a child, that could be of great interest for the investigating officer. 
MB : Police do have a witness, Jane Tanner, one of the seven friends holidaying with the McCanns. She said she saw a man carrying a child near the apartment 45 minutes or so before Madeleine was reported missing, but her description was remarkably vague (oeuf chevelu), she wasn't even sure at first the man was carrying a child and police considered her an unreliable witness. (8)  Six months later, Ms Tanner helped produce another drawing of a suspect, more detailed even down to the pattern on the child's pyjamas that seem to match Madeleine's. 
But stranger still has been the case of Robert Murat. Twelve days after Madeleine disappeared, police made him an arguido, a formal suspect. He insists he was at home all night with his mother at their villa, a hundred yards from the McCanns' apartment. But three people claim he was out searching the night Madeleine vanished. He admits helping search and translate for detectives early next morning. Image shows Mr Murat directing police near the McCanns' apartment. (9)
Tante RM : All the people that know Robert were out on that night in bars, restaurants, businesses they closed them to go and search for Madeleine, they were interviewed and questioned by the police and they all didn't see him. Of course they didn't, he wasn't there. But three complete strangers that never met him before say that they saw him in the dark, with his dodgy eye which actually is a detached retina, it is not a glass eye by the way. I can understand that question has to be answered...
 
MB : And those three people... 
Tante RM : are friends of the McCanns. 
MB : In a remarkable tactic, the detectives later invited the three friends back to the Portimao police station where they identified Murat. It's thought that the police have no forensic evidence linking Murat to Madeleine's disappearance, so who else could have taken her ?
Paul Luckman :  Abduction for sexual purposes of children of 8,9,10. It is really, really unusual to take a child of 3,5 years.  It would be somebody overcome by the urge at that time. I mean, how often can you do that and get away with it? There are no people in Praia da Luz that have got that sort of history. I know people who have got that, they have been looked at but they [the Portuguese police] didn't check up on the other people staying in the apartments.
MB : The police investigated 52 British sex offenders with links to the Algarve. One is still a potential suspect. The fact is that if someone had wanted to take Madeleine, the dark streets and car park around the apartment would provide perfect cover and there are numerous  routes (?) out of town.
If she had been taken and killed, the hinterland of the Algarve offers countless places to hide the body. It's a cast mix of rolling hills and mountains, often dense forest and desolate scrub dotted with thousands of disused wells and long abandoned farm buildings. It's an almost impossible task. If Madeleine is out there, will she ever be found ? That's a devastating thought for her parents, but detectives were exploring another, more chilling theory.
In September, the investigation took a dramatic turn. Kate and Gerry MC were called in for more questioning and then made arguidos. Détectives accused Mrs MC of being involved in Madeleine's accidental death. Suddenly people in Portugal and in the UK began to question their sympathy for the couple.

PL :   And then we started to think the unthinkable. You know, nobody wants to think that, nobody wants to think that this charming couple, professional, both doctors, particularly well presented, how was it possible they were involved ? Even now people don't want to think that, but why did they leave those children alone, what happened that night ? What is going on ?

MB : It's a fact that continues to influence public opinion, which is often hostile to the MCs. How could they leave their 3 children alone while they wined and dined nearby. I'm in the Tapas Bar, sitting at the table where the MCs and their friends were eating on the night when Madeleine disappeared. This place is shut now for the winter. The apartment is some distance away, it's beyond the swimming pool, there a wall and a hedge and  behind that there's a path. It would be very difficult from here to see anybody going in and out of the apartment, going to check on the kids wasn't easy. 
Voix off de Gerald MC disant qu'ils ont reçu des tonnes de messages de gens qui avaient fait la même chose et que c'était comme dîner au fond de son jardin.
MB : Many consider Mr MC's analogy unconvincing and a neighbour (Pamela F) said that on a previous night  she heard Madeleine wake up and cry for her parents (en fait seulement son père) for 2 hours (en fait 1 heure et quart).  (tout en parlant MB a marché en comptant ses pas) Well, 80 paces as far as the gate, the distance between the Tapas bar and the apartment, not quite as Gerry MC described it.

We've established that the apartment is owned by a woman called Ruth McCann, a teacher from Liverpool. She and Kate and Gerry say they aren't related and the name is purely a coincidence. But it's enough to add one more conspiracy theory to the thousands that continue to circulate.
Portuguese police sources say that potentially crucial evidence against the MCs is forensic. Madeleine's blood found in the apartment.
DB : If you find a small amount of blood of Madeleine in that apartment, it really means very little, because she's supposed to be in there. 4 years olds fall and cut themselves all the time. One of the things you should be looking for would be signs that something has been cleaned up that hasn't been told you by the parents. Whether it's the MCs' or any other crime of that sort, you look for things that don't fit, anomalies between the stories they've told you and the results you get.
MB : More crucial perhaps is what was said to have been found in the MC's hired car, rented 25 days after Madeleine's disappearance. Police sources describe blood traces, hair and bodily fluid and one complete match to Madeleine's DNA, evidence, police say, of the girl's body in the car.
DB : I guess that's a theory that is necessary because of the alleged findings of blood, body fluid and hair of Madeleine in the hired car. It's those findings that made me, like all forensic scientists, say when they came out, what ? That just doesn't make sense. And it still doesn't because the only explanation is that the body was kept somewhere for that laps of time. It seems very, a strange thing to do and very unlikely.  How would they manage to do that with all the publicity they got ? And it's really unpleasant to have to move a body, any body, after such a time. It is an explanation, it is the only one that explains the findings if they're correct.

MB : Astonishingly, after having established the hired car as a potential crime scene, the police gave it back to the MCs. The couple even drove it to the police station when they were declared suspects. The MCs say their own experts' tests on the vehicle found no trace of Madeleine. Any DNA from the boot may have come from the twins' soiled nappies and Madeleine's sandals when they moved apartments. We since established that the car was returned to the car hire company and then handed back to its suppliers. The vehicle could still hold vital clues, yet it ended up in a second hand car firm near Lisbon.
Less tangible evidence is the so-called scent of death around Kate's clothes, said to have been detected by sniffer dogs from the UK. Mick Swindells is one of the leading dog handlers..
MS : Best way to describe it is if you have a fragrant soap you can smell it but there's nothing physical coming between the soap and your nose, when it's something non tangible it's very difficult for humans to comprehend it. One thing we do have though is the dog hasn't the ability to lie, they cannot lie, they don't know about lying. So if the dog indicates, you may genuinely believe, yes, there's something there.
MB : Sometimes the MCs' own behaviour has fuelled suspicion.
DB :  I understand the police did ask for Cuddle Cut, it had been washed. We all found that very strange. Why would you wash CC, it's the last thing, your daughter's favourite possession, it still has the scent of your daughter on it, it must have, the idea that you grab it and put it in the washing machine fairly late in the investigation strikes me as being  bizarre
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MB : It's always been a difficult story for reporters to follow. Police uses the Portuguese secrecy law to avoid any official comment, but leak most scurrilous stories to the local newspapers. (10)
Father Hubbard : Those stories haven't affected the facts that there's a little girl missing and parents waiting for her to come home. Nothing has changed in that regard and ups and downs and the role the media has played in this sensationalism and sensationalizing of the whole thing has certainly affected many people's opinions, but hasn't certainly affected ours. To some extent we try not to listen.
MB : The new detective in charge of the case, Paulo Rebelo, has been reviewing the investigation for several months, but forensic evidence may not be enough on its own. 
DB : It's absolutely true that DNA can't convict in court  and the courts have found that you cannot do that. You need some other piece of evidence to corroborate. 
TR : I suspect the investigating officer will be praying for the day when Madeleine is found. And if she’s been tragically murdered, that scene will give up so much information, so much evidence, that will help to explain the gaps in the story that we’ve got at the moment.
MB : At the end of 2007, Mr and Mrs MC refused to believe that Madeleine is dead, but a happy conclusion to the mystery seems increasingly unlikely. Without that  they may face 2008 with a cloud of suspicion still swirling around their heads. As the world wonders how a little girl can disappear of the face of the earth.

 (1) Le sentiment d'urgence était si fort que le commandant du poste GNR de Lagos est venu dans sa voiture personnelle au lieu de rentrer chez lui, a appelé la PJ, des renforts et des chiens, car la petite fille perdue pouvait être blessée et il ne faisait pas chaud. Les gendarmes n'ont pas refusé d'accepter, ils ont vu simplement immédiatement que le volet roulant et la fenêtre, désignés comme preuve d'enlèvement par les parents, n'avaient pas été forcés. S'ils avaient été ouverts, ils l'avaient été de l'intérieur, ce dont la fillette n'était pas capable, comme le confirmaient ses parents.
(2) Ce témoignage est douteux. La réponse est manifestement induite par la question orientée de Martin Brunt. Il peut y avoir une confusion de jour, Claire G. habitant Lagos et PDL s'étant rempli de chercheurs venus des environs le lendemain, quand la nouvelle de la disparition leur est parvenue. Aucun autre chercheur n'a déclaré avoir cherché autre chose qu'une petite fille vivante. Chercher un cadavre est le travail de la police. Il est d'autre part étonnant que le témoin ne dise rien sur l'état des poubelles. À l'heure indiquée (3h), elles avaient déjà été vidées ou le camion était en train de le faire.. 
(3)Il n'y a pas de "nearby rubbish tip", mais une seule décharge pour toute la moitié occidentale de l'Algrave, le Barlavento. Les résidus urbains sont apportés et compactés dans des stations intermédiaires avant d'être acheminés vers la décharge par d'autres camions. L'image de résidus couverte d'oiseaux prédateurs ne correspond pas à la réalité. À Chao Frio, les galettes de résidus urbains sont enfouis et recouvert de bâches. Le biogas est récupéré et transformé en électricité.
(4) C'est précisément pour cette raison que la police n'a pas de temps à perdre. La procédure suivie par la police portugaise, n'en déplaise à MB, est absolument réglementaire.
(5) La scène du crime, et étrangement l'indice unique d'enlèvement, a été polluée quelques minutes après le constat de la disparition par Gerald MC qui, plutôt de courir dans tous les sens en appelant sa fille, plutôt que téléphoner à la police, a expérimenté l'ouverture du volet roulant de l'extérieur, une opération qu'il jugeait impossible mais qu'il a été surpris de réussir. En fait il n'a pu réussir qu'à soulever le volet, condamné à retomber dès que lâché, non à l'enrouler, ce qui ne peut se faire qu'avec la sangle intérieure.
Toutefois MB a raison, les MC auraient dû être auditionnés séparément, or KMC l'a été avec GMC derrière elle, une main sur son épaule.
(6) Il n'est pas le seul à penser ainsi. Mais cette fenêtre est côté rue, non côté cour.
(7) C'est un mythe de MB. Par ailleurs ce n'est pas un "indice solide" d'enlèvement qui manque à la PJ, c'est un indice tout court. Quand MB a tourné ce reportage, la presse savait déjà qu'une famille d'Irlandais avait croisé un homme portant une petite fille semblable à Madeleine, vers 22h, ce lui qui allait entrer dans l'histoire comme Smithman.
(8) Indirectement SY l'a confirmé, 6 ans plus tard, en éliminant ce ravisseur entré dans l'histoire comme Tannerman.
(9) RM a été suspecté par 3 des TP, curieusement une seule personne par couple. RM était chez lui et dit qu'il n'a entendu parler de l'enlèvement que le lendemain matin. Mais même s'il avait cherché, en quoi cela pouvait-il l'incriminer ? Pour le comprendre il faut évoquer l'affaire Soham où le meurtrier de deux fillettes s'était surpassé en recherches, collaboration avec la police, etc.. et se rapporter à la mémétique.
(10) On est ici à la limite de la diffamation. Que MB sait-il du processus de fuite ? Un OPJ est intrigué par un détail dont il parle à un ami qui en discute avec sa femme qui, voulant démentir une rumeur, informe du détail la coiffeuse, qui le raconte à Mme Truc dont le compagnon est journaliste au Correio da Manhã ?