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The Complete Mystery of Madeleine McCann™   

Dr Martin Roberts: CATRIONA AND THE WAVES

Jill Havern | Published on the 14.07.19 9:49 | 926 Views

By Dr Martin Roberts
21 October 2012

CATRIONA AND THE WAVES

The cooler waters of the Atlantic coastline with Iberia are beautifully clear in Summer, when, at low tide, shoals of small fish can be seen just beneath the surface. At the Portuguese corner of the peninsular however the ambience is murkier. Things are altogether less clear there. Clarity of understanding is fundamental to attainment of the 'helicopter view;' that ability, beloved of management scientists, to envision the 'broader picture,' and something which is not, for good or ill, in everyone's gift. It is an accomplishment requiring a cultivated imagination, as the eventual construct is, when all's said and done, the perceiver's entirely. So what is one to make of a children's nanny who, when questioned about her recent experience in the role, exhibits such remarkable recall and awareness as to suggest that she is (or at least was) grossly under-employed?

As an initial 'for instance' we may take the psychological phenomena of 'recency' in memory and failures in recall over time, both tested scientifically (Sandra) and manifest in common experience. When our subject nanny was asked about diurnal events three days previously she had very little to say about them. When asked for those same recollections a year later she was able to provide considerably more detail. Odd that.

It appears at first blush that this was no ordinary nanny. But like the magical chess-playing mannequin of yore there was, in all likelihood, a measure of, shall we say, informative intervention, for in-between her first and second attempts at recall she paid a visit to a soothsayer, who had rather more details of the fateful day at their disposal. 'Never mind that. Can she think 'outside the box?' What's her 'summative overview?''

Basically this:
'On Thursday the 3rd of May 2007, I remember Gerry having accompanied Madeleine to the club between 9h15 and 9h20 in the morning. I do not remember who came to pick her up for lunch but after she returned in the afternoon for a dive/swim. These activities were realized with the other children. On this day I remember that we sailed and I saw friends of the McCanns on the beach, David and Jane. Around 14h45 Madeleine returned to the Minis Club on top of the reception but I do not remember who accompanied her. This afternoon we went swimming. Kate went to get Madeleine from the Tapas Bar area and according to what I remember she was wearing sporting clothes and I assumed that she was practicing some form of athletics. It was around 15h25/18h00. I think that Gerry was playing tennis.'
We'll come to the 'helicopter' in a while. First let's check out the launch pad.

'On Thursday the 3rd of May 2007, I remember Gerry having accompanied Madeleine to the club between 9h15 and 9h20 in the morning.'

The tense is wrong. The statement is literally describing the recollection of an activity prior to 3 May, as though what she recalls now is what she recalled then, and on that date precisely.

'I do not remember who came to pick her up for lunch but after she returned in the afternoon for a dive/swim. These activities were realized with the other children. On this day I remember that we sailed and I saw friends of the McCanns on the beach, David and Jane.'

The order of events is inverted. Despite serial ordered recall being the more demanding task, most people have no difficulty in dissociating morning from afternoon, together with associated events. Although you might not think so to read this, the afternoon 'dive/swim' (which took place at the pool) was preceded by the sailing and greeting at the beach, which occurred in the morning.

'Around 14h45 Madeleine returned to the Minis Club on top of the reception but I do not remember who accompanied her. This afternoon we went swimming.'

To be clear, Madeleine returned to the Minis Club from the beach and, if she were among the 'we,' went swimming in the pool in the afternoon.

Boarding the helicopter

'Kate went to get Madeleine from the Tapas Bar area and according to what I remember she was wearing sporting clothes and I assumed that she was practicing some form of athletics. It was around 15h25/18h00. I think that Gerry was playing tennis.'

In isolation this statement appears perfectly straightforward, apart perhaps from the extraordinarily imprecise interval of time. But there is another perspective viewpoint, on these details specifically, which obliges us to examine the statement more closely. That perspective is Kate McCann's ('Madeleine,' p.66):

"Together we took Sean and Amelie back to the Toddler Club at around 2.40 p.m. and dropped Madeleine off with the Minis ten minutes later. Ella was already there. Gerry and I had booked an hour-long couples' tennis lesson with the professional coach at three-thirty, and as the courts were unoccupied, we decided to have a knock-up for half an hour first. Near the end of our lesson, as I strove to improve my substandard backhand, another guest appeared, and he and Gerry decided to have a game together.

"Having arranged for Gerry to meet the children, I opted to go for a run along the beach, where I spotted the rest of our holiday group...I wondered whether Madeleine had been OK about staying behind at Mini Club when Russ or Jane had collected Ella.

"I had finished my run by five-thirty at the Tapas area, where I found Madeleine and the twins already having their tea with Gerry."

Now then, at some time between 3.30 and 6.00 p.m., according to super-nanny, 'Kate went to get Madeleine from the Tapas Bar area.' So where, exactly, was our observant witness positioned when she saw Kate, who was 'wearing sporting clothes,' make her way toward the Tapas Bar area? The question is not quite as simple as it appears, and the reason is this: 'Cat Nanny' signed Ella O'Brien out of the Kids' club at 4.30 p.m., the very time when the McCanns would conclude their tennis lesson. Kate left the court 'near the end' of the lesson, not to 'get Madeleine from the Tapas Bar area' but to 'go for a run along the beach.' It is highly unlikely therefore that 'Cat Nanny' Baker was in the vicinity of the tennis courts to witness Kate's departure therefrom. Had she been she would not have had to make any assumptions as to the purpose of Kate's 'athletic clothes' and would have been in no doubt as to whether or not Gerry was playing tennis.

Kate, wearing sporting clothes, must have been seen going to get Madeleine from the Tapas Bar area ('Kate went to get Madeleine') from somewhere other than the tennis courts therefore. Perhaps the reference is to what Kate did on leaving the beach at around 5.30. It is Kate's signature on the crèche register after all (although Kate claims in her book that all the McCann children were already with Gerry by the time she arrived at the Tapas Bar area).

OK, what was 'Cat Nanny' doing on the beach at 5.30? After lunch that afternoon she would have been with the children at the pool. At 4.30 p.m. she was present at the club to sign them out. And since Ella O'Brien's was an unusually early departure, she will have remained to supervise those three children who had yet to leave – Madeleine McCann among them. They must have been at the club by then, as Kate had 'wondered whether Madeleine had been OK about staying behind at Mini Club when Russ or Jane had collected Ella.' And 'Cat Nanny' must have been there to 'hand them over' at 5.30, in which case she will have been rather more aware of Kate McCann's coming than going.

If Cat Nanny was not at the tennis courts to observe Kate's movements, she was not at the beach an hour later to see Kate leave for the Tapas Bar area either. So how can she describe Kate as 'going' to get Madeleine? 'Getting Madeleine' must be regarded as an assumption in any case, unless Kate had announced her intentions to her personally. And yet 'Cat Nanny' is perfectly at ease giving a first-person account of what she herself apparently witnessed.

We have take off

The witnesses 'positivity,' despite not being present at either end of Kate McCann's trajectory in the late afternoon of May 3rd suggests that she has an overarching 'helicopter' view of the situation. However, without being an extraordinary visionary, the only way she can have acquired such a perspective is from someone else. And having been given that perspective it will not have been formed in her mind as a product of perception but of imagination. There is a world of difference between 'according to what I remember' and 'according to what I remember being told.' Does anyone even say, 'according to what I remember?' 'As I recall' is the stock phrase. Accordances are at one remove.

In sum therefore we have an important witness to events preceding the disappearance of Madeleine McCann, whose initial recollection of significant details appears defective. Madeleine's schedule of attendance at the crèche, as represented verbally by her to police, is not that described by corresponding entries in the register. Within three days of the child's disappearance she fails to advance any detail with respect to the Thursday itself, supporting the instinctive interpretation of possibly the most significant thing she did say about that day - that until Thursday May 3rd, the little girl came every day. Almost a year later and with a domestic visit to the McCanns in the interim, her memory of the relevant Thursday improves to the point where she can describe Kate McCann's actions, motivations and dress code without being in a position personally to observe or appreciate any of these things (unless she 'copped a peek' at Kate's running shorts when handing Madeleine over to Gerry, who left it up to Kate to sign the register without collecting anyone at all).

In the final analysis the only 'helicopter' Catriona Baker will have known anything about would have been one that air-lifted her out of Portugal and transported her across the waves to a secret destination known only to her employers – and the McCanns.

Comments can be left on this thread: https://jillhavern.forumotion.net/t5843-catriona-and-the-waves-by-dr-martin-roberts


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