Madeleine McCann could not have died from an accident, nor from anything else, after 5.30pm on Thursday 3 May 2007
In July 2008, the Portuguese police and its judiciary, in the person of the regional Attorney-General, issued reports in which they said there was insufficient evidence for charging any one individual or individuals with responsibility for the disappearance of Madeleine McCann.
Two possible hypotheses were ‘archived’, or, as it were, left on the shelf, awaiting what they said would need to be ‘new and credible evidence’ sufficient to justify re-opening their investigation.
These were: (1) Madeleine had been abducted by a person or persons as yet unknown, or (2) Madeleine had died in the McCanns’ apartment and her body had been hidden.
The contrary view: she died in an accident after 5.30pm on 3 May
A different view from that of the Portuguese judicial authorities was set out by the investigation co-ordinator, Dr Goncalo Amaral, on 22 July 2008, in a book, ‘The Truth of the Lie’, and by one of his senior investigators, Detective Chief Inspector Tavares de Almeida, in an interim report dated 10 September 2007.
Tavares de Almeida’s view
This was how Tavares de Almeida expressed the investigation’s preliminary conclusion – I just reproduce his first six points:
“From everything that we have discovered, our files result in the following conclusions:
1 the minor Madeleine McCann died in Apartment 5A at the Ocean Club resort in Praia da Luz, on the night of 3 May 2007
2 simulation - a staged hoax - of an abduction took place
3 in order to render the child’s death impossible before 10.00pm, a situation of checking of the McCann couple’s children while they slept was concocted
4 Dr Gerald McCann and Dr Kate McCann are involved in the concealment of the corpse of their daughter, Madeleine McCann
5 at this moment, there seems to be no strong indications yet that the child’s death was other than the result of a tragic accident
6 from what has been established up to now, everything indicates that the McCann couple, in self-defence, did not want to deliver up Madeleine’s corpse immediately and voluntarily, and there is a strong possibility therefore that it was moved from the initial place where she died. This situation may raise questions concerning the circumstances in which the death of the child took place.
Goncalo Amaral’s view
These are the relevant extracts from Goncalo Amaral’s book (AnnaEsse’s translation):
“On the fateful day of May 3rd, the attendance register at the play centre indicates that Madeleine arrived at 9.10, accompanied by her father. Her mother came to fetch her at 12.25 for lunch and took her back at 2 o'clock. After jogging on the beach and going to fetch the twins, she collected Maddie at 5.30pm. From that moment on, no other person saw the little girl, apart from her parents and their friends. What happened then in the apartment remains a mystery.
“We finally decide to question her as a witness, but not to pose questions on the events after 5.30pm, the time at which she returned to the apartment with her three children.
“A DISAPPEARANCE, A WINDOW AND A BODY
"It is now important to present a summary of this case, based on our deductions: reject what is false, throw out what we can't show with sufficient certainty and validate that which can be proven.
“Point 5. The body, the existence of which has been confirmed by the EVRD and CSI dogs but also by the results of the preliminary laboratory analyses, cannot be found.
“The conclusions my team and I have arrived at are the following:
“1. The minor, Madeleine McCann died inside apartment 5A of the Ocean Club in Vila da Luz, on the night of May 3rd 2007;
“3. Kate Healy and Gerald McCann were probably involved in the concealment of their daughter's body.
“4. The death may have occurred as a result of a tragic accident…”
I will refer to the theory that Madeleine died from an accident (or worse) after 5.30pm on 3 May as ‘The PJ Theory’.
If Madeleine died after 5.30pm on 3 May, what would the McCanns have had to do?
First of all, what is known for sure about the period between 5.30pm and 10.00pm?
Do we know for sure that Madeleine was with her family in her apartment at 5.30pm?
Well, that depends on whether or not you accept as gospel the claims of Gerry and Kate McCann, Catriona Baker and Charlotte Pennington that Madeleine was at a high tea in the Tapas restaurant from (according to Gerry McCann) 4.45pm onwards to somewhere between 5.30pm and 6.00pm.
But for the purposes of this article, I shall assume that she was.
Then we have the McCanns and their friends dining at the Tapas restaurant. There is agreement from the McCanns, their friends, other holidaymakers and Ocean Club staff that they were all settled at their table at around 8.30pm to 8.45pm.
So, if she had died, as suggested by both Goncalo Amaral and Tavares de Almeida, what would the McCanns have had to do between, say, 5.30pm and 10.00pm?
Or more pertinently, between when they arrived back at their apartment (5.30pm to 6.00pm) and sat down in the restaurant for dinner and drinks at 8.30pm to 8.45pm. A period of about three hours.
A preliminary point to raise is: were the twins present when, according to the PJ theory, Madeleine died? It seems unlikely. But according to the PJ theory, she must have been.
So I suggest that all these things must all happened during these three hours:
1 (If the twins were there) The McCanns would have had to make swift arrangements to move them out of the way whilst they decided what to do. That would take some time and probably they would have had to take them to one of their friends’ apartments.
2 They would first have to decide if Madeleine really was dead or could be revived or resuscitated. This may or may not have taken some time to decide.
3 There would then have to be a rapid decision-making process during which all the following decisions would have to be taken:
A Do we take her to hospital?
B If so, what are the risks?
C Can we pass this off as a genuine accident?
D Is there any other reason why we dare not risk going to hospital and possibly facing a post-mortem?
E Would we be investigated by the police?
Then (assuming that they then decided that they are not going to inform the authorities of Madeleine’s death) there are more decisions to be made about what to do with Madeleine’s body:
F Hide it straightaway?
G If so, where?
H Or ’phone a trusted friend first and ask for advice?
I Where can we get a car quickly so as to hide it?
J Have we got anything we can carry her body out in, without anybody thinking there might be a body in it?
K Can we get all this done before 8.30pm, when we’re supposed to meet our friends for dinner?
Maybe other related questions.
Then there’s another very tricky question to answer:
L Who do we tell about this?
M Just David and Fiona?
N Just Russell and Jane?
O All four of them?
P Matt and Rachael as well?
Q What can we say to the staff, to our other friends we’ve met on holiday?
R How are we going to explain this away?
They then will have to consider these questions:
S What is our excuse for not having Madeleine anymore?
T We could say that Madeleine must have wandered off somewhere
U We could say that we took her down to the beach and she got swept out to sea
V Maybe other ideas were discussed
W Or could we get away with faking an abduction
Let us presume at this point that they decided to tell all their friends: Dave, Fiona, Russell, Jane, Matt, Rachael (I assume at this point that those who say that Madeleine died after 5.30pm fully accept that the McCanns must have let all their Tapas 9 friends know what had happened to Madeleine - and that they all agreed on a plan - though I am aware that some still maintain that maybe, in this scenario, the McCanns didn’t say anything to any of their friends, none of whom therefore knew that Madeleine was dead).
In such a scenario, the McCanns would probably contact their friends on their mobiles. Or quickly nip round and knock on their doors.
Could they have discussed this desperate situation bilaterally? Surely not. They would have to have a meeting about it – at the very time they were all getting the children ready for bed and beginning to dress up for dinner.
In such a scenario, how likely is it that all six friends would have agreed within, say, 5-10 minutes that they would all play their roles in a fake abduction?
I suggest that it is unlikely in the extreme.
Even had they all rapidly agreed to go along with an abduction hoax later that evening at 10.00pm, there would be all manner of questions and suggestions.
We also need to bear in mind that on the basis of the PJ theory as it stands, this was a holiday to a place the McCanns had never been to before. They knew no-one in the area who could help them. They had no immediate access to a car, and so on. Madeleine had been happily playing with her brother and sister, her friends in the Lobsters club, and her Mum and Dad for six days.
So the McCanns and their friends would be rapidly tossing these sorts of ideas around:
X Where are going to hide the body?
Y What about down the beach?
Z In the sea, using a boat?
AA In a derelict house in Praia da Luz?
BB Get hold of a car and drive the body somewhere well away from Praia da Luz.
Then, again assuming that they had all agreed to a plan of action, there would be loads more questions about (a) the apartment and (b) how to execute the hoax.
CC The apartment. If there had been a bad accident, or something equally bad had happened, who would clean the room?
DD How would it be done?
EE Was there any blood to clear away?
Then there would be questions about how the abduction hoax was going to be performed.
FF Who will raise the alarm?
GG What shall we all do after we raise the alarm? – Do we go frantically pretending to look for her?
HH Or do we ring the police?
II Do we inform the Ocean Club?
JJ When shall we do all this?
KK Do we need someone to pretend to see an abductor?
LL Who will do it? Jane perhaps?
MM What time shall we get her to say she saw someone?
NN Where shall we positon the abductor?
OO What about a description? She needs to have a believable description to give to the police.
Then we come to them all sitting down for dinner at 8.30pm to 8.45pm. Do those who suggest Madeleine had died after 5.30pm believe that all nine of the Tapas 9 could have, with every appearance of calm, nonchalantly sat down for dinner that night as though nothing had happened? With the body already hidden by that time? – somewhere where no-one could find it? The room cleaned of any blood? The abduction hoax ready scripted and ready to carry out?
Could they chat away merrily to the Carpenter family and ther children, for example, knowing that their first-born daughter had suddenly died within the past three hours?
I suggest it is unlikely in the extreme.
Some suggest that maybe the body wasn’t hidden before 8.30pm, but lay there while they were eating, with someone - presumably Gerry McCann - carrying his dead daughter to a temporary or final resting place somewhere after that.
Some of course suggest that Gerry McCann went back to the apartment during the meal, picked up his dead daughter clad in her pyjamas, and carried for about half a mile or more through the streets of Praia da Luz, being seen at 10.00pm by the Smiths, who negligently failed to do anything about their extraordinary sighting for 13 days afterwards. We have discussed the likelihood of that scenario on CMOMM. The theory would require Gerry McCann to have made an extremely risky, not to say crass, decision to walk for some 15 or 20 minutes across the village at the very moment that his wife and/or others was raising the alarm.
So finally I ask: is the PJ theory that Madeleine died after 5.30pm on Thursday 3 May credible?
I ask this not to undermine the work of Goncalo Amaral and the PJ, who, after all, only had four months’ worth of evidence to consider before they wrote their interim report.
I ask this not to attack any of those, including some well-known names amongst established Madeleine McCann researchers, who defend this theory and have stuck by it.
I raise these questions only to tease out whether the PJ theory is a reasonable hypothesis that can be built on and developed…
…or whether it is now time to completely abandon it.