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Murat recommended as translator by British diplomatic staff

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Murat recommended as translator by British diplomatic staff

Wednesday, 19 December 2007

Murat recommended as translator by British diplomatic staff

Staff from Bill Henderson's office suggested the name of Robert Murat as a reliable translator who could be used in the police inquiry, the days following Madeleine McCann disappearance. Murat was already known among diplomatic staff, as he had recommendation letters from Norfolk Police, where he worked for Bernard Matthews, one of the largest poultry farm companies in UK, which employs hundreds of Portuguese workers.

The fact that Robert Murat has acted, before, as translator for Norfolk Police, and the recommendation issued by Bill Henderson's office, at the time the British consul in Algarve, took police to accept the suggestion, according to PJ sources. After Murat was named a formal suspect, Police went through all translations he has done, checking its accuracy, but no problem was found, according to the same sources. Bill Henderson retired from his diplomatic post and went back to UK in August.

The secret of life is honesty and fair dealing. If you can fake that, you've got it made" - Groucho Marx

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Murat recommended as translator by British diplomatic staff :: Comments


Post on 26.05.18 6:17 by BlueBag

What is the source for that?

That is extremely interesting if true.

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Post on 26.05.18 13:42 by Verdi

Police went through all translations he has done, checking its accuracy
A serious question mark over this short statement - how could 'the police' possibly know whether or not Murat's translations were accurate?

The provenance is paramount.

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Post on 26.05.18 15:55 by skyrocket

@Bluebag - this is what Goncalo says in his book (chapter 7) regarding the use of Murat as a translator. The day he is describing is 11 May. Note: no mention of any recommendations from the British.

Part Chpt 7 'The Truth of the Lie:

At around 8 o'clock that morning, I drive towards Portimao. I could drive with my eyes closed; this helps me to focus on the latest developments in the investigation. All I notice is the impasse we find ourselves in. I have the impression that we are chasing a ghost. The previous night, we had reviewed Jane Tanner's witness statement in detail: the individual whom she saw parading around in the open street with a child he had just abducted seems less and less credible to us.

- And where would he go then? If, as we have assumed, he didn't have a vehicle, he must have hidden in an apartment in the area.

- On the route he took, there are several apartment blocks and two houses. They were all searched on May 5th, but nothing was found.

- A thorough search?

- More than 500 apartments were visited that day; in those conditions, only a general examination can be conducted, except where something seems suspicious. The houses in the area have gardens, swimming pools, numerous hiding places that are not easily spotted during a first visit.

Instead of taking the exit road for Portimao, I continue my journey on the motorway. I need to reconstruct the individual's path. If he had planned his crime, he probably wouldn't have taken this direction. And if, on the other hand, he hadn't planned it? I need to work it out for myself. In Vilada Luz, I park my car below the apartment blocks. Journalists are on the lookout around the apartment; fortunately, they don't see me. I walk the same route that the stranger must have taken. I arrive in front of a house with a neglected garden. Inside, there are two parked cars, whose registration numbers I note down. I communicate the numbers to the police in Portimao and wait there for the result of the check. After a few minutes, a green vehicle, driven by an individual wearing glasses, stops in front of the entrance to the house. The driver goes in quickly. His face is familiar to me but I don't know who he is. I notice a child's seat inside the car. The man comes back out a little later, supporting an elderly lady whom he accompanies towards the area of the swimming pools and the Tapas restaurant. They cross a park where a few buildings have been erected. Madeleine's parents took this route to take their children to the play centre, near the main reception area of the hotel complex. Since the start of the investigation , a team has been permanently on the premises and an apartment has been placed at their disposal. I am about to make enquiries of the police officer on duty when the individual comes back from his walk and greets him as he passes.

- You know that man?

- Yes, he presented himself to the GNR on Friday morning and offered his services as an interpreter. He is of English origin but speaks good Portuguese. He's called Robert Murat.

As the law demands, all foreign people interviewed by the police must have the benefit of an interpreter. In this investigation, the considerable number of interviews we had to conduct in record time forced us to call on the services of volunteers.

- And this guy, you checked him out? No criminal record or trouble with the law?

- No, no, it's all OK, but I didn't know he lived here. It's true that his house is on the route taken by the abductor.

- Stay here, carry on being friendly with him; I'm going to Portimao to see what we've got on him: we've got to find out more about this guy.

I immediately telephone the team to alert them. The Director of the Department of Criminal Investigation in Faro has to be involved in a meeting the same morning, where we will discuss the case of Robert Murat. We decide to request the latter's help again in order not to lose sight of him. We must act with the utmost speed, because Madeleine could be in one of the houses he has access to. The investigators continue to check the information we have about him. He is English, aged 33 and is separated from his wife. The latter lives in Great Britain with their daughter; the latter is nearly the same age as Madeleine and looks like her. The English journalist to whom he gave this information during an interview was immediately distrusting of him and the reasons that motivated him to help the police. Murat has lived with his mother in Vila da Luz for several years, but he goes to England regularly. Back from his last stay in Exeter on May 1st, he has to return there on the 9th. He is ready to postpone his departure, desirous above all, he states, of helping the police to find Madeleine.

His behaviour starts to seriously intrigue us. He often makes reference to similar cases that happened in the United Kingdom and which he seems to know in detail. He displays suspicious curiosity and seeks to know more. He offers to help us identify possible suspects. He knows the workings of the Ocean Club and the habits of the holiday-makers very well. He even, allegedly, tried secretly to access the investigation files. It is also known that he visits web sites of a pornographic nature.

His mother has set up a desk near the Tapas restaurant in order to gather and give out information about Madeleine. We don't know if this woman's actions are philanthropic in nature, or if she is hoping to keep well-informed of all the information circulating about the case. Members of the British agency CEOP (Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre), take a close interest in Murat and work to develop his psychological profile.

If it's him that's holding Madeleine, we must monitor all his contacts and places he has access to. His house is therefore being closely watched. Technicians arrive from Great Britain with sophisticated equipment, capable of detecting the presence of people inside a building. Unfortunately, the characteristics of the building make this computer display impossible. So, stick to the investigations and conventional tailing. This is how we discover his relationship with a married woman of German origin, Michaela Walczuch. She is 32 and works as an estate agent. She is the wife of Luis Antonio, a Portuguese man aged 33, a technician responsible for the maintenance of swimming pools. The couple have an 8 year-old daughter and live in Faro. The relationship is strange. Michaela is still living with her spouse, and Robert visits them as if it's no big deal. All of them seem happy with this situation. And the little girl? What does she think about it?

On May 12th, the suspect rents a car, in which he drives kilometres over rough tracks for basic essentials. He explains later: that day, his mother had needed his car for her information desk. We are assuming that he noticed he was being followed.

We then decide to search his residence and the vehicles he uses. During the night of May 13th, the Prosecutor of the Republic and the judge go to the court in Portimao, which, in view of the growing suspicion and the urgency of the situation, issues them with a search warrant.

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Post on 27.05.18 2:49 by Verdi

02-8 Outros Apensos II  May 2007 (File 08) Pages 01 to 08

Time line - Beginning of Robert Murat's participation as translator

Based on contradictory statements, a time line was prepared from the moment Robert Murat began his activity as 'translator'.

It is noted that only three members of the Group of 9, and only after him having been considered suspect, came forward to affirm that he was seen in the area of the apartment on the night of 3 - 4 May, a short time after the disappearance of Madeleine. The rest of the witnesses questioned about his participation [being in the area], namely members of the GNR, affirmed not having seen him, or that they saw him only on May 4.

But, generally, they classified his demeanour as being, not like someone who was interested solely in translations, but as having an attitude that exceeded that role, wanting to acquaint himself with the things discovered and 'to drive' some investigation activities.

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Post on 27.05.18 7:38 by BlueBag

I thought Paulo Reis was considered a bit dodgy as regards his claims.

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Post on 27.05.18 9:57 by Tony Bennett

@BlueBag wrote:I thought Paulo Reis was considered a bit dodgy as regards his claims.
I think you may have confused him with another Portuguese journalist, Duarte Levy. There were doubts about his claims and on one occasion he was demanding a lot of money for photographs allegedly taken in the Tapas on the evening of Thursday 3 May.

Paulo Reis conducted some excellent research on the Madeleine McCann case in 2007-9 before he moved to Macau - and did the translation into Portuguese of MMRG's long letter this March to the Portuguese Attorney-General, Dr Joana Vidal Marques.

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Post on 28.05.18 11:44 by inspectorgadget

@Verdi wrote:
Police went through all translations he has done, checking its accuracy
A serious question mark over this short statement - how could 'the police' possibly know whether or not Murat's translations were accurate?

The provenance is paramount.
Accuracy of statements - hasn't this been done to death after 10 years ? It's part of the process that those involved in the interviewing process have to sign a declaration that they are content with accuracy of the recorded interviews , is it not ? In which case Murat's translations were confirmed by the interviewee at the time ? Has any witness come forward to officially retract anything translated by Murat ?

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