Reading behind the lines: the Irish Times

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Reading behind the lines: the Irish Times

Post by tigger on Mon 1 Sep - 11:32

To illustrate the dangers of using material from the press to help theories along here is the full text of the Irish Times on Sunday, imo clearly a strong pro McCann point of view and some purposely or accidentally misinformation - although on that date afaik the full text of the relevant statements was  available. However, it does look as if it lost something in translation... 

Drogheda businessman told police he saw Gerry McCann carrying a child towards the beach the day Maddie disappeared The Irish Mail on Sunday (no online link, appears in paper edition)

10 August 2008
Father-of-six gave garda a signed statement saying he and his wife were ''60 to 80% sure'' that the man they saw holding the child was Maddie's father.

The claim, which was taken seriously by the Portuguese police, was made almost four months after Maddie disappeared on May 3rd this year.
This statement came soon after 9/9/07 and could hardly have come earlier as it was occasioned by Smith seeing Gerry on TV. 
Note that no mention is made of an earlier statement here. 

Since then the McCanns have been totally exonerated of any involvement.
Leicester Police don't seem to share this opinion. At this time of writing they'd only just been de-arguido'd. 

Mr. Smith had initally told police he had seen a man carrying a child that night, but that he couldn't identify him because he had not been wearing his glasses. The following September, however, the businessman saw clips of the McCanns returning from their holidays and said the footage of Mr McCann carrying his younger child had instantly reminded him of the mystery man.
He adds that in May and August of 2006, he saw ROBERT MURAT in Praia da Luz bars. On one of these occasions, the first, he was inebriated and spoke to everyone. He did not wear glasses at this time. He also states that the individual who carried the child was not Robert, as he would have recognised him immediately.
Witness Statement 26/5/07  Martin Smith. 
It seems clear to me that the sentence concerning glasses describes the appearance of Murat.

''I would be 60 to 80% sure that it was Gerry McCann that I met that night carrying a child," Mr Smith said in his statement. ''It was the way Mr. McCann turned his head down that was similar... It may have been the way he was carrying his child.

'I am basing this on his mannerism, in the way he carried the child off the plane.''

Mr Smith's claim was passed to the Portuguese police who took it as more evidence in support of their mistaken belief that the McCanns had something to do with their daughter's disappearance.

It that remark isn't pro TM, I don't know what is. 
Friends of the McCann family said last night that the decision of the Portuguese police to pursue Mr Smith's claims prove that they were determined to pin the blame on Maddie's parents come what may.

- and here we have the 'friends' with nothing but the words TM wish to broadcast:
One said ''Look at the facts. This man sees an individual carrying a child on the night Madeleine vanished. He waits 13 days to report this to the police, going back to Ireland.

I take this as dissing the Smith sighting at the request of TM. 
"The McCanns returning to England - It was this image that alerted Mr Smith in the meantime. At this stage he admits he has no idea who the man is, other than a basic description. A further three, almost four months go by before, after seeing him on television, he feels it could be Gerry.

''By now the police have dozens of statements putting Gerry back at the apartment complex at that time. Yet the Portuguese ask a combination of the Leicestershire police and the Garda to re-interview this witness. About what??

''And why? The truth is that this is part of the victimisation of Gerry and Kate which has gone on from the very beginning by the Portuguese,who were clearly desperate to get something against them."
As clear a prepared statement from the mouthpiece as you can get imo, so we can take it that TM aren't at all keen on the Smith sighting, might even be worried about it. Note Gerry can prove with dozens of statements where he was. Shame that all sort of - hmm went.

The extraordinary saga began on the night of May 3rd 2007, as Martin and his wife, Mary, walked back from a local pub in Praia da Luz to their apartment with members of his family. They had decided to return to their apartment within an hour of dining out becasue their son, Peter, was catching an early morning flight the next day.
Note, only Peter was leaving the next day. That is the 4th. 

As they made their way back, they crossed paths with a slim man with a full head of chestnut coloured hair and dressed in beige trousers coming in the opposite direction.

It was 9.55 pm and the man was carrying a sleeping little blonde girl of about 4-years of age. The child's head was was resting on the man's left shoulder.

At this stage Maddie had already disappeared but the Smiths were unaware that a child had gone missing from PDL.

It was not until the following morning that a family member living in Ireland told them of Madeleine's disappearence. Mr Smith returned to Ireland six days after the litle girl went missing and it was another 2 weeks before he travelled back to Portugal to make a statement about what he saw that night.
Here also the time of the rest of the Smiths leaving was correct, they left on the 9th. They would have travelled back on the 25th, allowing time for booking the flight etc. on the 24th, 23rd, statement to the Gardai would have been around the 19th 20th as there were two days between the statement and the Leicester Police phoning them. So somewhere between the 16th - 20th Martin Smith phoned the PJ. 
The date of the 16th can only come from the 'friend' below who mentions 13 days after the kidnap. However, this is mere hearsay and from a TM mouthpiece too. 

In the statement to Portuguese police on May 26th, the grandfather -who wears glasses but was not wearing them at the night in question - said he would not be able to identify the man he saw.
Complete misinterpretation of the glasses question, see above. At no time has Martin Smith stated that he himself wasn't wearing glasses that night. 

Significantly though he was able to tell Police that the man was not Robert Murat, as he had met him on a number of previous occasions.
Totally pro McC line here, 'significantly' casts suspicion on a man 'without glasses'  and 'a number' is a very open statement. The average reader would get from this line that it's rather suspicious that a man  practically blind without his glasses in the dark sees Gerry. Note that the journalist and the friend are both busy doing the 'not Gerry' bit. Just as in their other half-baked excuses on blood and DNA they don't deny the event/presence but come up with excuses. 

After making his statement, Mr Smtih returned to Drogheda and it was not until four months later that that he made contact with the police again.
That's because Sky/BBC didn't send out the return until four months later...

This weekend, Mr Smith's wife Mary told the Mail on Sunday her husband had no regrets about coming forward.
He [Martin] doesn't want to talk, said Mrs Smith. He said what he had to say. I was with him [that night]. We saw a man carrying a child and that's all we know. We told them all that and that's it.

''The man he saw had the same stature as Gerry McCann. We felt we had to help. We're happy we did. We reported exactly what we saw.

"We only did what we thought was right for a missing girl and our hearts are breaking for her parents, as it would be if it were one of ours.

''I feel very much for them [the McCanns]. I have six grandchildren of my own and six children of my own.

"The poor McCann family must be heartbroken.''
The ending here makes the Smiths out as well-meaning but mistaken people. 

Last edited by tigger on Mon 1 Sep - 11:44; edited 1 time in total

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Re: Reading behind the lines: the Irish Times

Post by tigger on Mon 1 Sep - 11:37

Thanks to Unchained Melody I have greatly enjoyed the Forensic Psychology course from the OU. 

Creating photofits and recognition from photographs is very difficult for the brain. However E-fits are quite a different proposition. 
The brain doesn't remember the shape of individual features very well but is much better at recognising faces even if seen only once. 

Below from OU: (btw. I believe the course can still be accessed and I'd highly recommend the witness section)

From Forensic Psychology: OU
Recall and recognition
The police only need one person to recognise a composite to provide them with a lead. 

Although E-FIT was based on psychological knowledge of how we remember faces, it still relied on a witness picturing the face in their mind and then describing it to an officer.

In a previous activity you had to recall a face and describe it, and you probably found this a very difficult task. In the activity involving two halves of celebrity faces, you attempted to recognise faces that were either shown in halves or as a composite image. Despite this, you probably found recognising the faces far easier than you did recalling a face previously. The difference between recall and recognition is an issue that has been explored extensively in psychological research. In general, our brains seem to be far better at recognition. Just think how many different objects and faces you can recognise, how quickly you do this and how rare it is that you make a mistake. By contrast, recall is something we find much more difficult and tend to make far more errors when doing.

As you will see in the next video, the difference between recall and recognition was a key element in the design of the next generation of composite systems.

 Comparing E-FIT and EFIT-V

Is it possible to design a composite system based on recognition rather than recall?

In the ‘Comparing E-FIT and EFIT-V’ video Graham worked with a participant to produce a face using E-FIT and then using EFIT-V, which is the latest composite system to be used by the police. As you will see, EFIT-V is designed to try and utilise face recognition, rather than face recall. The design of EFIT-V once again demonstrates how important it is to have psychological knowledge of how the mind works when it comes to police investigations.

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Daily Mail 3/1/08

Post by tigger on Thu 11 Sep - 11:48

Maddie: Irishman provides dramatic new clues Daily Mail (appeared in paper edition only)

EXCLUSIVE: Tourist met rude man carrying child in blanket on night Madeleine vanished


January 3, 2008

AN IRISH holidaymaker has spoken publicly for the first time of his disturbing encounter with a man carrying a child wrapped in a blanket on the night Madeleine McCann disappeared.

This does not look like an interview to me, possibly some rehashed remarks from a phonecall to the Smiths.

Now investigators hired by Madeleine's parents hope Martin Smith and his family can provide a crucial breakthrough.

Speaking from his home in Drogheda, Co. Louth, Mr Smith recalled the sighting, which is strikingly similar to one by a friend of the McCanns, Jane Tanner. In hindsight, the retired Mr Smith said, the mans rude behaviour should have aroused his suspicions.

He explained: "The one thing we noted afterwards was that he gave us no greeting.

"My wife Mary remembered afterwards that she asked him, 'Oh, is she asleep?' But he never acknowledged her one way or another.

"He just put his head down and averted his eyes. This is very unusual in a tourist town at such a quiet time of the year."

Their description of the barefoot child and the man, who wore beige trousers, echoes that of Miss Tanner, who said she saw a man carrying a sleeping child away from the McCanns apartment about 9.15pm.

Though the Smith family believe they met an almost identical man closer to 10pm, the coincidence prompted them to contact police after they returned to Ireland. Mr Smith said: "Luz is such a small place and so quiet, we felt a duty to tell police and let them decide if it was important."

Last night, McCann family spokesman Clarence Mitchell said detectives from the Spanish agency Metodo 3 now hoped to speak to the family. "Metodo 3 is being very methodical, working through a number of people they think might be able to help them, and this family will be on their list."

It seems the earliest TM took an interest in the Smiths was on the 2nd of January, Metodo3 had been working for them for months.

On the night of the disappearance, Mr Smith was dining with his wife in the Dolphin restaurant in Praia Da Luz, where they are frequent visitors.

 The couple were with their daughter Aoife, their son Peter and his wife Sile,as well as four grandchildren Tadhg, Cole, Aisling and Eimear.

 All nine met the man holding a child but their recollection differs slightly from Miss Tanner's.

"In the image she gave, the man was holding the child forward in his arms. The man we saw had put the child over his shoulders. But Luz was very, very quiet at that time of the year and the likelihood of two young children being carried around like this is very small.
"Also, our timings are a bit different. She saw the man at 9.15pm. We say 9.45or 9.50pm and the sighting was only a five-minute walk from where the child was staying.
In none of the statements is the time given as early as 9.45.
"I dont know if this information will help the McCanns. We kept interested in whats going on but we tried to avoid the limelight."

 The father of six yesterday said the Irish family would do anything they could to help the McCanns find their missing daughter.

 "We have not been contacted by the private detective hired by the McCanns, and have had no contact with the investigating police since May 26 last year.

No contact with Kennedy at the time of this communication - of which the date is probably 2/1/08.

"But anything we can do to help try to solve it, we will." Recalling the event she witnessed, Mr Smith said it was some time before the family realised they could be star witnesses

 "We were out the night it happened. My son and his family were leaving on the Friday and we were going for a family meal. We went home about 9.50pm and we heard nothing at all about Madeleine McCann until the next day.

"I was taking my son Peter to the airport and on my way back, I heard that a kidnapping had happened in the village of Luz.

 "We were looking at all the commotion on Sky News and we really felt quite helpless.

 "We had two grandchildren with us at the time, aged four and five, and it had a terrible effect on them.

 "They all wanted to sleep in the same room as us until we went home on the Wednesday.

It is quite possible that the existence of bundleman or indeed any man seen walking around with a child was not known at this time. If I heard of an abduction, certainly one that was so 'daring'I'd presume a car was involved. Smith here talks about what concerned him most at the time, his own children and grandchildren. In short, it's quite possible that they didn't connect man with child to abductor who would have been taken a tremendous risk walking around with a child that could wake up any moment and let rip. It doesn't fit the crime imo.

"We were home two weeks when my son rang up and asked was he dreaming or did we meet a man carrying a child the night Madeleine was taken. We all remembered that we had the same recollection. I felt we should report it to the police.

I'm taking that as two weeks after 3/5 as there is little time for subsequent events otherwise if it was as from the 9th, their arrival home.

"I rang the Portuguese police and they took a statement from me on the phone.Then they asked me to make a statement to gardai, which I did in Drogheda two weeks after the disappearance.

So that makes it the 17th for a statement to the Gardai, which I don't think we've seen.

"Two days later, Leicestershire police got on to us and said they wanted to speak to all nine of us. But we felt there was no point dragging grand children and the whole lot out to Portugal so just my eldest son, Peter, and youngest daughter, Aoife, and I flew to Luz to make a statement.

 That is confirmed by the note from LP in the official statements, where the distress of  M.Smith on discovering the possible importance of the sighting was mentioned by the officer who wrote the note.

"The police were fairly busy and the station was pretty typical. They didnt seem to be the most efficient police you ever came across but they are probably no different to police anywhere else. We were interviewed separately and told them what we saw, and showed them on the map where we met the man and child.

"We spent the whole day there from 10.30am to 7pm with an interpreter. That day, May 26 last year, was the last time we had any contact with the investigation.I remember clearly because it was my wedding anniversary.

"I told them we went for dinner at the Dolphin Restaurant and then went on to have just one drink in Kelly's bar, just 50 yards away.

 "We would normally have stayed out longer but my son and his family were going home the next day.

 "As we made our way back to our apartment in Estrella da Luz, we met a guy with a child that appeared to be asleep.

 "It looked like a blonde child, and I thought she might be four years old, as she was the same size as my grandchild who was with us.

 "It was around 9.55pm and it was getting dark and he was looking downward so I couldnt tell you exactly what he looked like.

Journalist has just missed the time, 9.55 as in the statement and not  9.45.

"None of us was 100 per cent sure what he was wearing but we all told police he was wearing beige trousers and a darker top. We all put him in his early 40s. I didnt think he was Portuguese." Insisting he knew chief suspect Robert Murat visually for years, Mr Smith told police the person he saw carrying a child could not be him.

This is terrible journalism, none of us knew for sure but we all said...etc. if this was an interview the interviewer should have asked for clarification.

At the same time it is implied that he and Murat are buddies who go back years. Not at all according to the statements of 26/5/07 and  'knew visually for years'  is quite untrue, suggesting very close and frequent contact.

"I told police it was definitely not him because the man wasn't as big as Murat. I think I would have definitely recognised him."

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