I’ve said elsewhere that its not my intention to simply replicate on this blog material that’s widely available elsewhere. Which remains true, but there are exceptions. If I come across something that seems to me to be particularly interesting, or particularly significant, or worthy of specific mention, well, that’s a different matter entirely.

And this is one of those occasions.

So, from the Joana Morais blog…

Vodpod videos no longer available.

I’m especially intrigued by Dr Amaral’s mention that, whilst many enquirers appear to focus upon later stages of the timeline established by the testimonies of the “Tapas 9”, it could prove that an earlier segment of the timeline is quite revealing. This reinforces one of the impressions I’d formed when I first came to the matter and I have to confess that in studying the events of that evening I shall now probably end up looking very closely at the various testimonies about the entire day.

Dr Amaral also refers to some impressive research done by one “Textusa” that demonstrates the improbability of some variations of the “abductor theory” due to some very practical/logistical reasons which is well worth examining, although I have certain reservations about a particular theory that the same researcher appears to have developed.

And talking of videos I notice that the video “Maddie: The Truth of the Lie” that first started me on this quest has once again been removed from blip.tv… or at least it appears to not be accessible at the moment. Just as well then that I saved a copy to my archives.


Correction 06.06.09 16:49 – Its not Dr Amaral that refers to “Textusa” but Paulo Sargento. The reference from Dr Amaral at 12:33 is to an anonymous person who writes a blog and that we are going to know who that is.
Thanks to the visitor that spotted this. – Mike

I’ve received the following email from a correspondent that, with her permission, I reproduce in full hereunder:

As I don’t know where in particular I should put this comment, I’m sending you my musings this way (feel free to put it somewhere else, if you want). I must say that said musings were triggered by an extremely interesting research by poster bestbefore at 3arguidos, and some of other comments of theirs, on the background of this Thomson couple re:Hewlett (admittedly, you should keep away from the 3arguidos if you want to protect your virginity, but there is no way to beat their collective research skills!). Anyways:

I see you are keeping an eye on the UK press’ latest spin on the Madeleine McCann case. The Mail’s article by David Jones (that, incidently, has written in a very cogent way about the Jersey story, although I can’t vouch for the veracity of the thing) is quite interesting, especially the opening sentences:

“Addressed to an internet agency which peddles stories to low-brow media outlets, the email seemed absurdly far-fetched. [Editor’s note: hyperlink inserted and url removed from article to preserve page formatting]

During a road-trip through Pakistan a decade ago, the woman informant wrote, she and her husband had stumbled upon the secret lair of Osama bin Laden.

When they tried to report their sensational discovery to U.S. authorities, nobody would listen.

Oh yes, she added almost as an afterthought, and while travelling through southern Portugal more recently, the couple had become friendly with a British man whom they later discovered to be a serial child sex attacker.

What’s more, they now suspected him to be the monster who abducted Madeleine McCann. ”

Which, of course, begs the question, where does this latest whirlwind about Hewlett comes from: the McCann investigation? the press? And, a related question: where did this information arrive: now? months ago?

One thing I’ve learnt following this case is that timing is everything: many seemingly innocent faits divers in the PT press were stored for future (or immediate) use by the UK press and/or the McCann PR arm, like for example, these 7 cases of child sexual molestation that supposedly happened recently in Algarve. (To be more precise, there is only one that I can certify by tracking the precise story published in Diario de Noticias, plus the version of the UK press, both published in 2006 or 2007; maybe I could do the same with the other 6, but that one contains often details, like the name of the mother of the child, and incensed me in such a way at the time that I remember it without effort). So, knowing if someone sat on this information for better use in the future would be a most important piece of knowledge.

So, what have we got here: a couple that decides to cash in on the Maddie story, or would like the attention? A more elaborate thing a la Jane Goodwin, where a dying man decides to provide for his family with the help of some friends (against, check bestbefore’s research that seems to suggest that the Thompsons and Hewlett are probably closer than we know)? The result of the investigation of either the PR or the “police” arms of the McCann campaign?

The last possibility opens interesting perspectives:

1) a genuine investigation on the whereabouts of Madeleine McCann

2) the ace up the sleeve of a convicted paedophile in his dying bed, as you have already mentioned.

If 2 is the correct answer, are we approaching the endgame?

Oh, and in a (slightly) unrelated matter, did you realize that one of the great chroniclers of the Maddie saga at the height of its media value was Vanessa Allen for the Daily Mail… the same Vanessa Allen that received a medal from MoD for her work as an embedded journalist during the Iraq war?

Makes you kind of wonder, isn’t it…


Notes by mike:

  • I first encountered some of the concerns raised above on this blog, a reference to which I then added as an update to this post.
  • The 3 Arguidos forum is here.

I closed my intro blurb to this affair with the remark…

I came to this matter some two years later, and the posts on this site relating to it chart my attempts to understand what occurred, and find my way through the labyrinth of conflicting opinions that surround the case.

Well, it seems to me that part of that process (in addition to the methodology I’d initially visualised, which was simply to “report back” on the results of research into specific matters and the conclusions drawn therefrom) could also usefully include an account of my ongoing impressions as I wade through the reams of available material.

I say “usefully” for its been my experience that as one gets deeper into a protracted enquiry of this nature such impressions can change quite dramatically over time… without one necessarily being aware of it!
And equally its been my experience that all too often those initial impressions tend to contain fruitful insights that become lost as the impressions so change.

That may not be the experience of others. That’s fine. Its how it seems to work for me though. And consequently, none of these “ongoing impressions” should be taken as conclusions… they’re not. They simply reflect what my feelings about the case (or the various details thereof) may be at a given point in my enquiry… and could quite easily change as I learn more.

With that brief explanation out of the way then, let’s get to the meat of it.

Currently I’m steadily (and fairly slowly, having to fit the task in between a number of other things) ploughing through (about halfway so far) the statements and rogatory interviews of the “Tapas 9” as made available on Gerry McCann’s Blogs (a superb resource site incidentally, although it does seem to become “unavailable” at unusually frequent intervals) under the heads “GERRY & KATE MCCANN” and “TAPAS 7”.

Heavy going it is too… moreso with the rogatory interviews than the statements.

Rather more scrutinising than just skimming, but still passing fairly rapidly over the content that doesn’t actually address what I’ve been trying to focus on.
Specifically, my first “action point”: trying to pin down some of the questions that had occurred to me when I drew up my “plan of approach”.
Yet although trying to filter out all extraneous matters there are a couple of things that have already leapt out at me, although these are nothing more than impressions.

I’m struck by the way so much emphasis seems to have been put upon the increased rigorousness of the “checks” that were said to have been conducted by the parents on the Thursday evening compared to the previous evenings.

My first impression about this is that (and a fairly natural human reaction… the rationalising of one’s own shortcomings) the whole of the party are trying to minimise (for both the benefit of others and perhaps, more pertinently, their own consciences) their seeming negligence in leaving the children unsupervised. In a sense its as though they’re saying “we’d been doing all that could be reasonably expected”. (Whether or not one actually agrees with that is another matter entirely of course.)
But what this actually serves to achieve in my mind is the highlighting of how inadequate those checks were on the previous evenings, and perhaps a realisation within the whole party of such being the case.

Reading yet more into this, I don’t think it would be unreasonable to speculate that the entire procedure could be indicative of the attitude of the party to the holiday as a whole… kids’ time during the day, grown-ups’ time in the evening.

Nothing really unusual or noteworthy in that but what it does suggest to me is that maybe, just maybe, those checking procedures weren’t quite as thorough or as regular as the testimony would lead us to believe. On any evening, including of course the Thursday.
Possibly the testimony of the Tapas bar staff (when I eventually get around to it) will clarify that.

The other impression that’s gradually crept up on me is the sense that, aside from the checking routine in the evening, the entire Thursday differed in a number of ways from the preceding days. I get a sense that Thursday itself and not just the evening represented a sort of hiatus in the routine that the whole party had begun to establish for themselves.
To the point where I’m beginning to think this may well merit closer attention in its own right, if only to establish whether or not this impression is based on anything substantial. Or a mere product of my own imagining.

Well, I say “author” but what I really mean is yet another recruit to the veritable army of people digging into the Madeleine McCann affair.

So, this is a brief intro to Gary Austin (LifeSpy), another freelance photojournalist and, like myself, a member of the Radical Images photographers’ collective.

We’ve worked together as a team on several projects before, having slightly different approaches and of course we have different perspectives (plus, perhaps more significantly and usefully for this particular enquiry, different contacts).

So, hi Gary, and welcome aboard!

In the second of my first two “reports” one of the matters I discuss is how long an abductor may have spent in the McCanns’ apartment.

Initially I had presumed that speed (of entry and exit) would have been of the essence given the periodic checks being conducted by the “Tapas 9”.

On reflection I now realise that could be an unsafe assumption, so have added an addendum to that report.

An abject apology

This is a brand new blog (created 21 May ’09) set up principally to provideĀ  a permanent home for some Madeleine McCann material I’d recently published that caused an “exceeded bandwidth” issue on my home site.

Consequently, don’t expect to find too much here at the moment… particularly as its not my wish to just simply replicate material that is widely available elsewhere.

Hopefully however the content will slowly expand as my research progresses… and should breaking news items provoke me into spluttering somewhat.

It is good that another candidate for Madeleine’s abduction should have been found (trying to avoid cynically muttering to myself “Oh yes, another ‘suspect’ “) following from the recent flurry of media activity prompted largely by the McCanns’ visit to America, their interview on the Oprah Winfrey show, and that updated speculative image of Madeleine as she may now look were she still alive.

But I’m not without some reservations, not least of which is the concern about the possibility that Raymond Hewlett is little other than a scapegoat, absent finding the real culprits.
And what better candidate for being such!

_G105701A convicted paedophile… unlikely then that many people would believe much he has to say in his defence.
One apparently suffering from an illness that could prove terminal… what to lose by “confessing” in exchange for what inducement I wonder?
British… thus conceivably avoiding even further antagonising the already majorly upset Portuguese population that “discovering” a new suspect native to, say, Praia da Luz might achieve.
One could almost argue that Hewlett’s a “tailor made” suspect.
But possibly the most serious aspect of this so far (and one that causes me the greatest concern) is that of images of him having already been published… I wait interestedly to see whether that will now spark numerous reports of “sightings” of him at the time, and in the right places, by folk that had hitherto “forgotten”.

He does of course bear something of a resemblance to one of the many (oh, so many) different images that have been created of potential suspects. And there have been so many different images produced that in fairness it’d be difficult to not find someone who looked like one of them. Here’s a typically representative collection.

More on this latest development here.

Update 27 May 2009 16:55- Here’s an interesting take on the Raymond Hewlett… er… perhaps “farce” is putting it too strongly so let’s just say “situation”… that curiously echoes several of my own concerns.