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A bit more information on those controversial Smithman efits - From Met Police answers to some more Freedom of Information Act Questions (11 Jun 2018)

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A bit more information on those controversial Smithman efits - From Met Police answers to some more Freedom of Information Act Questions (11 Jun 2018)

Post by Tony Bennett on 11.06.18 21:34

My latest attempt to seek information from the Metropolitan Police about the work of Operation Grange and the disappearance of Madeleine McCann has finally been answered. Most of my questions, as usual, have not been answered. But in a long and much-delayed reply, the Met Police have yielded two interesting bits of extra information.

One is that the ‘Smithman’ efits were drawn up on 4 September 2008. This is significant as I’ll explain in a moment.

The other is that the Met Police first received the controversial ‘Smithman’ efits on 24 October 2011.   

The first point about the date the Smithman e-fite were drawn up (4 Sep 2008) is that this is over 16 months since 3 May 2007, when Martin Smith & his family members claim they saw a man carrying a child.in pyjamas. Or to put it another way, 489 days.

I had previously thought that they must have been done in the spring of 2008. Now it is clear that they were not.  

So I pose this question once again, with a minor amendment:

How credible is it that a man who sees a man, but does not see his face properly, for a few seconds only, in the dark, on a street with ‘weak’ street lighting, and who swears to the Portuguese Police that he would never recognise the man if he saw him again, and moreover after a delay of 16 months,  possibly be in a positon to draw up ANY efit?   

But this date of the efits being drawn up - 4 September 2008 - raises a whole new issue, for this reason. The rogue and criminal, the late Kevin Halligen, was unceremoniously sacked by the Find Madeleine Fund Directors in mid-August 2008. By then he had trousered £500,000 plus expenses for about 4 months’ work – paid for it seems largely or exclusively from donations from a willing, but gullible, British public.   

There was a long report  about this in the Daily Mail, 23 August 2008. I will quote relevant parts of it:

QUOTE

Madeleine fund in chaos as private eyes are axed after draining £500,000

Daily Mail - By DANIEL BOFFEY and MILES GOSLETT

Last updated at 10:14 PM on 23rd August 2008

A team of private investigators working behind the scenes to find Madeleine McCann has been axed after being paid £500,000 from publicly donated funds. The Find Madeleine Fund quietly engaged the services of a US-based company which was awarded the lucrative six-month contract earlier this year. The company, Oakley International, which boasts former British security service and FBI contacts, was hired to monitor the Madeleine Hotline, carry out detective work and review CCTV footage of possible sightings of the missing girl around the world…

However, the company's contract will now not be renewed. The Mail on Sunday has learned that double-glazing tycoon Brian Kennedy, who has been underwriting the fund's search for Madeleine, has conducted a review of the agency's work and has become unhappy with the progress it was making. The deal was abruptly ended following a meeting last week after the fund brought in independent monitors to assess how the money was spent. The cost of employing the agency - run by a Briton, Kevin Halligen - has drained the Madeleine fund…The development is likely to dismay the thousands who gave to the appeal, and raise questions about how the fund has been administered.

Oakley International won the contract after an introduction by another company, Red Defence International (RDI)…Listed as being involved with both companies was Mr Halligen, 47, a communications expert. He is given as the 'contact name' for Oakley International Group, a company registered in Washington DC as the manufacturer of search and navigation equipment. The company says it has annual sales of £33,000 and only one employee, who appears to be Mr Halligen.  The address given for the company is 2550 M Street NW Washington, which is the downtown office of Patton Boggs, one of the largest and most powerful law companies in America…

Among the main players working on the McCann contract were Mr Halligen and Henri Exton, 57, who headed the Greater Manchester Police undercover unit until 1993. He then worked for the government before moving into the private sector...

UNQUOTE.

We know virtually nothing about what Halligen and Exton were doing for four months, except snippets leaked out via the press.

But does it not seem strange that despite Brian Kennedy having contacted Martin Smith back in December 2007, that no e-fit of the man he claimed to have seen had been done by Kennedy, Halligen or Exton until Halligen was sacked in mid-August 2008?

Is it possible for example that the idea of doing the efits was only discussed after Halligen was sacked? And if so, did Brian Kennedy and Henri Exton recognise the utter impossibility of any of the Smiths being able to retain in their memory, after 16 months, ANY details of what the man looked like?

Also, if Halligen and Exton were sacked by the Find Madeleine Directors in mid-August 2008, how come Henri Exton was doing the efits three weeks later? Was he retained, after Halligen was sacked?
I believe this new information tends to strengthen my hypothesis that the efits are a forgery, probably derived from two random photograps, and were never drawn up by the Smiths at all.     

The date the efits were handed to Operation Grange: 24 October 2011       

The Met Police would not tell me who handed these two efits to Operation Grange on 24 October 2011. However, it does seem strange that from the date Operation Grange was set up (12 May 2011), it took 4½ months for the McCanns, or someone on their behalf, to hand them over to Operation Grange.

But at least we can now prepare a revised timeline of these efits ,as follows:

Smithman efit timeline

3 May 2007  Smiths see man carrying a child but don’t tell anyone

15 May 2007  Robert Murat, acquaintance of Martin Smith, who had met each other several times over two years, pulled in for questioning and declared a formal suspect

16 May 2007  Martin Smith and his son Peter ‘remember’ seeing a man carrying a child on 3 May and inform the police. Martin Smith is adamant that the man is not Robert Murat

26 May 2007 Martin, Peter & Aoife Smith travel to Portugal and make statements to the Portuguese Police. Each of them says they would never be able to recognise the man if they saw him again

9 Sep 2007  Martin Smith sees TV footage of Gerry McCann carrying his son Sean down the steps of an aeroplane

20 Sep 2007  11 days later, he reports this and tells polic eh is 60% to 80% sure that the man he saw on 3 May 2007 was gerry McCann, ‘by tnhe way he was carrying Sean’. None of the rest of hois family support him in this

Dec 2007  Martin Smith is first contacted by Brian Kennedy, for the McCanns, and agrees to help the McCanns and talk to Metodo 3

4 Sep 2008  Nine months later, the efits are drawn up, allegedly by Henri Exton

Oct 2009  In an obscure statement they mad erin early 2014, the McCanns claim thery haded the efist to Leiecstarhsaire Police ‘by October 2009’

24 Oct 2011  The efits are handed to Operation Grange

2012 & 2013  Martin Smith twice meets with officers from Operation Grange

13 & 14 October 2013  In a blaze of media publicity and on a BBC TV Crimewathc Specuial seen by 7 million people, the efits first see the light of day, as Det Chief Inspector Andy Redwood of Operation Grange describes them as ‘the centre of our focus’.

 

============================================================= 


MET POLICE ANSWERS

For convenience I set out below each of the questions I asked - and a summary of each of the Met Police responses:



1          Has the man in the efits been identified? REPLY:  No comment, this is a live investigation.
2.         If Yes, has he been positively ruled out as Madeleine's abductor?  REPLY: No comment, this is a live investigation.

3.         If No, is the Met Police still searching for him? REPLY: No comment, this is a live investigation.

4.        If No, is the Met Police still searching for someone else as the likely abductor? REPLY: No comment, this is a live investigation

5.        The efits still appear on the McCanns' 'Find Madeleine' website despite the MPS 'no longer using them as part of its appeal'. Has the MPS advised the McCanns to remove these efits from their website? - REPLY: Information that relates to living individuals is exempt from disclosure. The MPS will not disclose what has or has not been discussed with the McCann family.

6.        If Yes, on what date please. - REPLY: Information that relates to living individuals is exempt from disclosure. The MPS will not disclose what has or has not been discussed with the McCann family.

7. . On what date, and by whom, were these two efits first drawn up?  REPLY: The efits were drawn up on 04/09/08.  The request "by whom" seeks access to personal data – Refused. 

8. On what date or dates did the private investigators release these two efits released and to whom? T REPLY: The MPS do not hold and information in respect of these matters. 

9. On what date (if any) were these efits handed to Leicestershire Police? REPLY: The MPS do not hold and information in respect of these matters. 

10.  On what date (if any) were these efits handed to the Portuguese Police? REPLY: The MPS do not hold and information in respect of these matters. 

11. On what date were these efits first supplied to Operation Grange, and by whom? REPLY: The efits were supplied to Operation Grange on 24th October 2011.  The request "by whom" seeks access to personal data - Refused. 

12. If the Metropolitan Police first received these efits before Operation Grange was set up, on what date were they received and by which department of the MPS were they received?   REPLY: The fits were not received by the MPS before Operation Grange was set up. 

13. The recent MPS Freedom of Information Act reply refers specifically to the 'final' version of the private investigators' report. Therefore, in the interests of clarity, and having regard (a) to the public interest and (b) assurances by both the McCanns and the Met Police that the investigations into Madeleine's disappearance would be conducted with maximum openness and transparency, please state: (i) On what date was the 'final' private investigators' report compiled.  (ii) How many interim reports were there before the 'final report' and (iii) when was each of them compiled?   REPLY: The recent MPS Freedom of Information Act reply does not refer to the 'final' version of the private investigators' report.  As such we cannot answer these questions.

14. Does Operation Grange now agree that Dr Julian Totman was the man seen by Jane Tanner?  REPLY: No comment – live investigation.

 

Continued in next post...

____________________

Kate McCann, in her book 'madeleine', page 5: "Since 3 May 2007, there has undoubtedly been much going on behind the scenes we haven't known about and perhaps never will".  Goncalo Amaral: "We will know the truth about what happened to Madeleine when the MI5 files on her case are made public".   

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Re: A bit more information on those controversial Smithman efits - From Met Police answers to some more Freedom of Information Act Questions (11 Jun 2018)

Post by Phoebe on 16.06.18 14:35

@ Tony B. As I understand it your claim that Martin Smith, alone, felt that the man they had seen was Gerry McCann is not accurate. Mrs. Smith concurred with her husband that the man they had met on the night of May 3rd was Gerry McCann, the same man they saw descending the plane steps.
From the replies given it appears to me that the Smithman sighting was sidelined for as long as possible. There was absolutely no haste, on the contrary, there was incomprehensible delay, in drawing up e fits. This begs the question - why the delay. I absolutely agree that after the time lapse since the sighting these e-fits, allegedly drawn up with the Smiths' cooperation, would be regarded as extremely unreliable and of little value. I believe this was a deliberate tactic to lessen the effect of the Smiths' claim that it was Gerry they met that night. It has worked superbly! Few people (other than those who have followed the case attentively) even remember Martin Smith's claim to have seen Gerry carrying a child at the crucial time.

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Re: A bit more information on those controversial Smithman efits - From Met Police answers to some more Freedom of Information Act Questions (11 Jun 2018)

Post by Imari on 29.06.18 19:48

Those e-fits seem to have been based on cartoon like images of the Podesta brothers, and as they are supposedly of one individual this seems very fishy, as if they would later try and whip up a frenzy around those two, which did happen. However the idea that a whole family saw a man with a child hurrying along near the beach, and later that M Smith felt that it was the same person as GMcc getting off the plane does sound plausible.
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Re: A bit more information on those controversial Smithman efits - From Met Police answers to some more Freedom of Information Act Questions (11 Jun 2018)

Post by BlueBag on 29.06.18 20:09

@Imari wrote: However the idea that a whole family saw a man with a child hurrying along near the beach, and later that M Smith felt that it was the same person as GMcc getting off the plane does sound plausible.
Not to me.

How many ways can you carry a sleeping child?
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Re: A bit more information on those controversial Smithman efits - From Met Police answers to some more Freedom of Information Act Questions (11 Jun 2018)

Post by Verdi on 29.06.18 22:01

@Imari wrote:Those e-fits seem to have been based on cartoon like images of the Podesta brothers, and as they are supposedly of one individual this seems very fishy, as if they would later try and whip up a frenzy around those two, which did happen

Rubbish! The notion was cooked up by some idle beggar with nothing better to do with their time than look for mischief. The connection between the McCanns and the Podesta brothers is too absurd to even contemplate.

There is enough meat to chew on with this case without creating vaporous nonsense to satiate the salacious imagination.

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Re: A bit more information on those controversial Smithman efits - From Met Police answers to some more Freedom of Information Act Questions (11 Jun 2018)

Post by Imari on 30.06.18 6:01

I  am not saying that the Podestas are involved in this, just that their likenesses have been used in the creation of 2 e-fits, and that although anyone can easily read that those are supposed to be of the same man, public is easily led to a knee-jerk reaction. As the e-fits were generated supposedly by someone who couldn't remember then they are not useful. In my experience it would be possible recognise a person glimpsed once from the general impression of their stance, walk and appearance without being able to detail their face.  Also accept that it is odd that the sighting wasn't reported immediately, but people hesitate to get involved, and the reactions to this sighting have shown why they would have reason to hesitate. Whether true or not, the Smith family has become a target of attention.
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Re: A bit more information on those controversial Smithman efits - From Met Police answers to some more Freedom of Information Act Questions (11 Jun 2018)

Post by BlueBag on 30.06.18 6:34

The connection between the McCanns and the Podesta brothers is too absurd to even contemplate
Indeed,


The Podesta brothers were not on anyone's radar in 2008.
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Re: A bit more information on those controversial Smithman efits - From Met Police answers to some more Freedom of Information Act Questions (11 Jun 2018)

Post by skyrocket on 17.10.18 9:21


I’m not sure whether the following FOIA has been posted here before? It was posted on ‘Eumenides’ by tigger, whom I seem to remember was the name of a member here. The MPS state that the Smithman efits (released/discussed on Crimewatch 2013 – presenter Matthew Amroliwala) were produced by 2 members of the ‘Irish family’ referred to in the programme, which could only be the Smiths.
I’ve also reproduced The Sunday Times’ apology, with dates – if only because of the misspelling!
 
http://fytton.blogspot.com/2016/06/smiths-exton-sy-and-e-fits-part-two_4.html
 
FOI request:  Freedom of Information Request Reference No: 2014090001604 19 September 2014  to Metropolitan Police - answered 18 October 2014:
 
At Question 4 you asked:
Did members of the Irish family create these e-fits, or were the 'two witnesses' mentioned by Matthew Amroliwala who drew up the e-fits actually other witnesses? If so, please state who they were.
The MPS response is:  The programme was referring to members of the Irish family who created the e-fits.
At Question 5 you asked:
Are the e-fits of the same man, or not?
The MPS reponse is: Yes, they are the same man.
 
 
The Sunday Times published the following apology on 28 December (2013):
In articles dated October 27 [..] we referred to e-fits which were included in a report prepared by private investigators for the McCanns and the Fund in 2008. We accept that the articles may have been understood to suggest that the McCanns had withheld information from the authorities. This was not the case. We now understand and accept that the e-fits had been provided to the Portuguese and Leicestershite (sic!) police by October 2009. We also understand that a copy of the final report including the e-fits was passed to the Metropolitan police in August 2011 [..] we apologise for the distress caused.' Unquote
 
The Daily Star carried an article, which gives a good idea of the lighting condition in the area of the Smiths’ sightings.
 
https://www.dailystar.co.uk/news/latest-news/640497/madeleine-mccann-news-missing-found-parents-smith-sighting-2007
 
I have been pondering a couple of points:
 
Firstly, the letter annotations on the street location photos made by the PJ (attached to the Smiths statements in the files here: http://www.mccannpjfiles.co.uk/PJ/MARTIN_SMITH.htm) don’t make sense.
 
Peter (P) tells us that Smithman passed by him to his right, Peter being ‘in the middle of the street’:
States further that when he passed the individual, the individual was coming down to his right, going around the deponent in the middle of the street.
Martin (M) says that by the time Smithman had reached him (near to the bottom of the street) that the man was in the middle of the road:
States also that when he passed this individual he was coming down the middle of the road, in the street, also that at that time traffic is minimal or non-existent.
Aoife (A) says the following:
The deponent remembers that upon reaching the top of the stairs, she looked to her left and saw a man (1) with a female child (2) in his arms, walking along the pavement of Rua 25 de Abril. He was walking in her direction at a distance of, give or take, two metres.
— The deponent crossed to the other side of Rua 25 de Abril and began walking up Rua da Escola Primária in the direction of the Estrela da Luz apartment complex.

 
From the above statements it would appear that (P) and (A) refer to Smithman positions but that (M) seems to refer to Martin Smith’s position? A small point but one that is niggling.
 
Secondly, with reference to Aoife:
Imagine you are walking up the pathway/steps from Kelly’s Bar direction. Rua da Escola Primeria is in a slightly dog-leg, straight on direction, across Rua 25 de Abril. The top of the pathway (from Kellys) on the LHS is a right-angled building. You have no visibility around the corner until you step out on to Rua 25. The zebra crossing is actually slightly to your right.
You step out from the pathway at normal pace. You look left probably because it is a one-way street and you know which way the cars come from. There is a person about 2 metres away on the pavement carrying a child. What do you do next? After probably no more than 1 second, you look front again and continue across the quiet road and follow your dad up Primeria.

When you glanced left at the person, you looked at his face/head – it’s human nature (unless you’re a hormonal young male on a beach). You didn’t then look the person up and down. You may have glanced at the child he was carrying. If he was moving so quickly, you would have stepped forward and out of the way equally quickly. You probably wouldn’t even have had time to register that his hair was ‘short at the back/longer on the top, thickish’ never mind the colour of his trousers or any other detail thereof. You didn’t turn round to look at him again.
 
Two days ago, I was driving in daylight near to my home. There is a long rising hill with good visibility for about 400 metres (40mph area). The road was quiet and as there are no houses on that stretch there are few pedestrians. On my side I could see a figure in the distance walking towards me. As I approached I could see that he was a twenty something, slim dark haired male, with a beard. He was carrying a blonde haired boy of about 2 years of age, who was holding a small brown teddy. I made a mental note of both of them, just as an exercise. I’ve got a reasonable memory. Now, I can’t for the life of me remember what either was wearing, and I would have zero chance of making efits. Two days on; broad daylight; in sight for 10-15 seconds; conscious effort to remember.
 
There has to be doubt.
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Re: A bit more information on those controversial Smithman efits - From Met Police answers to some more Freedom of Information Act Questions (11 Jun 2018)

Post by Phoebe on 17.10.18 9:52

I did a very similar experiment, to @ skyrocket but in late May of 2017 in a narrow street in Spain at around 10.30 pm. A woman was walking toward me and my companion. I deliberately glanced at her and then away. To this day I can describe her cream polka dot top (dark, navy or black spots) and short, dark skirt. I could also still describe her to an e -fit artist - dark skin, short hair, natural wave, lean face, sharp features with a hard jaw-line and narrow bridged nose. I had asked my companion to do the same. He too, glanced at her as we passed. He could also remember what he saw months later.
 Just last month a sex attacker was convicted in Eastbourne. His modus operandi was to run up behind females and grope them under their clothing,operating in dark locations before fleeing into the night. According to police reports, he favoured the narrow streets of the old town area and acted after dark. He was caught thanks to an e-fit drawn up through the description provided by an 11.yr old who witnessed an one such assault. She produced, according to police, on of the best quality e-fits they had ever seen, despite the speed of the attack and the environment!
There were several of the Smiths group to pool their memories of what they had seen.

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Re: A bit more information on those controversial Smithman efits - From Met Police answers to some more Freedom of Information Act Questions (11 Jun 2018)

Post by skyrocket on 17.10.18 10:10

@Phoebe - ahh but, taking my memory out of equation, both you and your friend were doing an 'experiment' so whether you were conscious of it or not, your brain would have been trying to remember. Also, the woman was walking towards you, which gives much more opportunity to digest detail. Aoife hit a point blind, turned her head sideways, an image was flashed infront of her for 1 second maybe and humans look at faces, unless there is reason to look elsewhere. She didn't see a figure approaching or walking away. Also, the 11 year old you describe (well done to her) was witnessing an unusual occurence and she would be more likely to remember. I am not questioning a 12 year old girl's ability to notice/retain information compared to an adult - I suspect they would be better than a lot of adults. I do however doubt Aoife could recall so much information from a chance, momentary encounter with no motivation to remember details at the time. It's another of those points on which I ain't going to change my mind!
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Re: A bit more information on those controversial Smithman efits - From Met Police answers to some more Freedom of Information Act Questions (11 Jun 2018)

Post by Crackfox on 17.10.18 11:12

Forensic psychologists have done experiments and they have found that if there is more than one eye witness and if co- witnesses discuss their sighting then testimony becomes less reliable because of the potential to influence. That is why you need to get witnesses early and make sure they don't talk to each other.You also have to take personality into consideration - being a confident witness does not make you more reliable but it does mean you are more likely to influence less confident witnesses.

Other factors to consider when evaluating reliability:

Distance -:if you are more than fifteen metres away you are not going to judge accurately.

Duration - the longer the contact, the more accurate the identification.

Illumination - you need adequate light - the minimum light for accurate identification is 15 lux.

So much time has been spent discussing this testimony but it is a classic example of bad evidence IMO. The witnesses were not independent, the identification happened after the suspect was named, the lighting was poor, the interaction was fleeting...

I don't know when Madeleine disappeared - I think it was probably at least twenty four hours before the abduction was staged but the Smith's evidence is not helpful. Read up about estimator and system variables if you are interested in reliability of  evidence - it is really interesting - this is a classic case of poor testimony - just like Jane Tanner's.

I don't wish to undermine other people's theories but I do think this is a complete red herring and you need to look elsewhere, that's all.

Phoebe I love your posts and I like your reasoning - I just think you are off target with this. I think the Smith's are well meaning but really not helpful. Skyrocket you are spot on IMO. A twelve year old girl would be influenced by a more confident witness - particularly if that is someone she knows and looks up to.

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Re: A bit more information on those controversial Smithman efits - From Met Police answers to some more Freedom of Information Act Questions (11 Jun 2018)

Post by Phoebe on 17.10.18 12:19

I absolutely agree that a twelve year old witness, or indeed, one of any  age, would be influenced by the memories of others! I have also pointed out several times that I believe the Smiths, in Sept, became convinced (rightly or wrongly) that it was Gerry they had seen. The papers had been full of lurid stories suggesting the McCanns' guilt and therefore I am not at all surprised that the man they described matched Gerry in appearance, given that they had become convinced it was him they saw!
 Where I draw the line is on suggestions that the Smiths were part of some secret pact to aid the McCanns . The evidence which is available contradicts this claim.
There is absolutely no evidence of for how many seconds Aoife Smith (nor indeed any of the group) actually observed the man she saw approaching, but it was long enough for her to state with confidence, that she was aware of the fact that she had never seen him before. This suggests more than a split second glance!
 Unless the Smiths are actually interviewed again and explain why they said they noted certain things, everything else is just guesswork and speculation.
I don't believe, (and never have) that the Smith sighting itself would stand up in court. At best, they could only identify the man with a maximum of 80% certainty. However, I do believe that the Smiths did see what they claimed and cannot ignore the McCanns' extraordinary lack of reaction to it. For me, it is the McCanns' behaviour around the Smith sighting that is more important that the Smiths' statements about this sighting.

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Re: A bit more information on those controversial Smithman efits - From Met Police answers to some more Freedom of Information Act Questions (11 Jun 2018)

Post by Verdi on 17.10.18 12:50

I have also pointed out several times that I believe the Smiths, in Sept, became convinced (rightly or wrongly) that it was Gerry they had seen. The papers had been full of lurid stories suggesting the McCanns' guilt and therefore I am not at all surprised that the man they described matched Gerry in appearance, given that they had become convinced it was him they saw!
Additional statement from Martin Smith - 30th January 2008

I hereby declare that this statement is true to the best of my knowledge and belief and that I make it knowing that if it is tendered in evidence I will be liable to prosecution if i state in it anything which I know to be false or do not believe to be true.

I would like to state that the statement I made on 26th May 2007 in Portugal is correct. The description of the individual that I saw on 3rd May 2007 carrying a child is as follows. He was average build, 5 foot 10' in height, brown hair cut short, aged 40 years approximately. Wearing beige trousers and darkish top maybe a jacket or blazer. He had a full head of hair with a tight cut. This individual was alone. I saw Gerard McCann (sic) going down the plane stairs carrying one of his children on 9th September 2007 BBC news at 10 PM, I have been shown the video clip by Sergeant Hogan which I recognise. A clip I have seen before on the Internet. In relation to the video clips of Gerard McCann and the person I saw on 3rd May 2007 when I saw the BBC news at 10 PM on 9th September 2007 something struck me that it could have been the same person. It was the way Gerard McCann turned his head down which was similar to what the individual did on 3rd May 2007 when we met him. It may have been the way he was carrying the child either. I would be 60-80% sure that it was Gerard McCann that I met that night carrying a child. I am basing that on his mannerism in the way he carried the child off the plane.

After seeing the BBC news at 10 PM, footage on the 9th September 2007 I contacted Leicestershire police with this information.

During that time I spoke to all my family members who were with me on the night of 3rd May 2007 about this and the only one who felt the same way as me was my wife.

She had seen the video clip of Gerard McCann walking down the stairs of the plane earlier that day. We did not discuss this until some days later. This statement has been read over to me and is correct.
....................

So distraught was he that he left it for eleven days before reporting his concerns to the police.

Please note, this was the wife who didn't wish to give another statement, there is no evidence to support this claim.

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Re: A bit more information on those controversial Smithman efits - From Met Police answers to some more Freedom of Information Act Questions (11 Jun 2018)

Post by Phoebe on 17.10.18 13:17

@Verdi, So, the Smiths, (Martin and his wife Mary) believed they had seen Gerry McCann that night and were willing to put that on the record. Martin Smith (according to the police) "had not slept and was worried sick" about coming forward with the suggestion that he believed that the man he saw was Gerry McCann.
 His concern is understandable. Suggestions of the McCanns' involvement in their daughter's disappearance had been splashed across the media. In stating that he believed the man he had seen was Gerry, Smith was, to all intents and purposes, formally calling Gerry McCann a liar since Gerry's account of that night puts him nowhere near where the Smiths saw Smithman. It also lent credence to the idea of Gerry's involvement in his daughter's disappearance, something which McCann and his politically powerful friends were forcefully disputing.
 I am not in the least surprised that Martin Smith had concerns about making his Sept.07 statement, or that he might wish to protect his wife and other family members against being brought into such potentially explosive public row!
Given the accusations and slurs made against the Smith family, including children, ever since, I would be surprised if he didn't often regret ever having gotten involved!

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Re: A bit more information on those controversial Smithman efits - From Met Police answers to some more Freedom of Information Act Questions (11 Jun 2018)

Post by Crackfox on 17.10.18 13:30

Thanks for your reply, Phoebe. I think we are more in agreement than I thought, so I apologise for that. Like you, I really don't see anything malicious in the behaviour of the Smiths although I qualify that by saying I don't know if they knew RM and were unhappy that the McCanns were trying to put him in the frame. If that was the case then that might be a motive, most likely a subliminal one, to redress the balance.

Regarding your post, Verdi - the more times a witness is exposed to an image ( like that of GM coming down the steps of the plane) or a photo- fit of a suspect the more confident they become and more likely they are to believe the image is accurate. In an identity parade, the length of time it takes a witness to identify is an indicator of how reliable the identification is likely to  be. The fact that Mr Smith tells us he was exposed to that scene multiple times is very important. He probably watched it again and again and each time it would become more embedded.

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Re: A bit more information on those controversial Smithman efits - From Met Police answers to some more Freedom of Information Act Questions (11 Jun 2018)

Post by Crackfox on 17.10.18 14:20

...BTW I agree with HidiHo that the only really credible eye witness testimony comes from the cleaner who saw the McCanns on Sunday. That's not to say other people didn't see her later, rather that their testimony seems weak and vague and they don't give concrete evidence IMO. What's different about the cleaner's account is she noticed something unique - the flashing trainers. Research has shown that something unique or unusual makes us remember more accurately. In terms of 'estimator variables' she was up close, it was daylight and she gave a unique identifier which lends credence to her testimony.

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Re: A bit more information on those controversial Smithman efits - From Met Police answers to some more Freedom of Information Act Questions (11 Jun 2018)

Post by Verdi on 17.10.18 15:31

Email sent by Martin Smith to Richard D Hall of Richplanet..


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Re: A bit more information on those controversial Smithman efits - From Met Police answers to some more Freedom of Information Act Questions (11 Jun 2018)

Post by Tony Bennett on 17.10.18 18:20

@Phoebe wrote:@Verdi, So, the Smiths, (Martin and his wife Mary) believed they had seen Gerry McCann that night and were willing to put that on the record. Martin Smith (according to the police) "had not slept and was worried sick" about coming forward with the suggestion that he believed that the man he saw was Gerry McCann.
 His concern is understandable. Suggestions of the McCanns' involvement in their daughter's disappearance had been splashed across the media. In stating that he believed the man he had seen was Gerry, Smith was, to all intents and purposes, formally calling Gerry McCann a liar since Gerry's account of that night puts him nowhere near where the Smiths saw Smithman. It also lent credence to the idea of Gerry's involvement in his daughter's disappearance, something which McCann and his politically powerful friends were forcefully disputing.
 I am not in the least surprised that Martin Smith had concerns about making his Sept.07 statement, or that he might wish to protect his wife and other family members against being brought into such potentially explosive public row!
Given the accusations and slurs made against the Smith family, including children, ever since, I would be surprised if he didn't often regret ever having gotten involved!
@Verdi, So, the Smiths, (Martin and his wife Mary) believed they had seen Gerry McCann that night and were willing to put that on the record.

One more 'fact' claimed by Phoebe about this case which is untrue. Only Martin Smith put on record that he believed the man he said he saw was Gerry McCann. He SAID his wife felt the same, but she has NEVER gone 'on the record' to say so. Indeed she never made any witness statement in the first place, at least not to the PJ. Martin Smith's claim that she agrees is worthless hearsay evidence, as Phoebe should know. Therefore, if we ask how many of the NINE Smiths - who say they saw a man carrying a child - were prepared to say ON THE RECORD, that they believe they saw Gerry McCann, the answer is:
Martin Smith did
Mary Smith didn't
Peter Smith didn't
Aoife Smith didn't
The other 5 Smiths didn't

Martin Smith (according to the police) "had not slept and was worried sick" about coming forward with the suggestion that he believed that the man he saw was Gerry McCann.

He waited 11 days before making his call (9th to 20th September). Just like he waited 13 days (3rd to 16th May) before reporting the alleged sighting in the first place. Does the fact that he hadn't slept (for 11 days?) and was 'worried sick' add any weight to his evidence. I hardly think so.  

His concern is understandable. Suggestions of the McCanns' involvement in their daughter's disappearance had been splashed across the media. In stating that he believed the man he had seen was Gerry, Smith was, to all intents and purposes, formally calling Gerry McCann a liar since Gerry's account of that night puts him nowhere near where the Smiths saw Smithman.

Indeed, so why in December 2007 or certainly by 3 January 2008 had Martin Smith agreed to co-operate with the agents of this liar (Brian Kennedy, Metodo 3 Kevin Halligen) and why did he subsequently draw up efits for the agents of this liar and why did he keep totally schtumm as the McCanns gaily made good use of his sighting on the 2009 C4 doc, on their website and in Kate's book. Neither Phoebe nor anybody else who supports the daft idea that Smithman = Gerry McCann has ever given a plausible explanation for this conduct.
And to ask a second question, why didn't Martin Smith turn around and say 'There's no point in doing efits, I saw Gerry McCann'.
And to ask a third question, how the heck could he draw up ANY efit of a man he only saw partially, in the dark, with weak street lighting, for 2 or 3 seconds, 16 months later, and after he had told the PJ 16 whole months earlier: 'I'd never be able to recognise the man if I saw him again'?

It also lent credence to the idea of Gerry's involvement in his daughter's disappearance, something which McCann and his politically powerful friends were forcefully disputing. I am not in the least surprised that Martin Smith had concerns about making his Sept.07 statement, or that he might wish to protect his wife and other family members against being brought into such potentially explosive public row! Given the accusations and slurs made against the Smith family, including children, ever since, I would be surprised if he didn't often regret ever having gotten involved!

Let me explain again the core of the mystery of the Smith sighting.

Martin Smith knew Murat better than he admits. He was part of a 'Murat Team'.

When he reported his sighting (16th May) and made his statement (26th May) he was acting on behalf of Robert Murat.

There was a concerted campaign by the McCann Team to implicate Robert Murat as the abductor. They did so via Jane Tanner's false claim on 13th May that she had seen Robert Murat carrying a child on 3rd May. Three more of the Tapas 7 (RO, RO'B, FP) kept up the pressure on Murat on 17th & 18th May be claiming they'd seen Murat around G5A on the night of 3rd May They continued to do so at a PJ confrontation between them and Murat on 11th July.

In September he made a bizarre claim to have recognized Gerry McCann from 'the way he was walking and carrying his child'. Within days, a Mr Robert McClusky had made an identically-worded claim. McClusky, like Smith, had made a very dubious 'sighting' of a man carrying a child near Praia da Luz (on 5th May). I strongly suspect that the two identifications of Gerry Smith on the basis of 'the way he walked' were co-ordinated by Robert Murat, or an agent of his, to get back at the McCanns and the Tapas 7 for having so directly pointed the finger at hin.

On 13 November 2007 the lawyered-up McCann and Murat teams met as 'Salsalito' and sorted out their differences. The McCanns were now given permission to use the Smiths' sighting for their own purposes.

This they began to do in late December 2007/early January 2008 when Martin Smith accepted a request from Brian Kennedy to work for them.

The rest, as they say, is history.

======

P.S.  IMO 'creackfox's last two posts have been measured, informative and helpful



.

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Re: A bit more information on those controversial Smithman efits - From Met Police answers to some more Freedom of Information Act Questions (11 Jun 2018)

Post by Phoebe on 17.10.18 19:24

@ Tony Bennett you wrote above -
One more 'fact' claimed by Phoebe about this case which is untrue. Only Martin Smith put on record that he believed the man he said he saw was Gerry McCann. He SAID his wife felt the same, but she has NEVER gone 'on the record' to say so

Snipped form the OFFICIAL SWORN statement of Martin Smith (30th Jan. 2008) taken by Sergeant Hogan of the Irish Garda Siochana at the request of the P.J. -

" During that time I spoke to all my family members who were with me on the night of 3rd May 2007 about this and the only one who felt the same way as me was my wife. She had seen the video clip of Gerard McCann walking down the stairs of the plane earlier that day. We did not discuss this until some days later. This statement has been read over to me and is correct."


Are you now claiming that Martin Smith is lying, in sworn testimony, about his wife's agreement that it was Gerry McCann they met!!!


You state above -
Martin Smith knew Murat better than he admits. He was part of a 'Murat Team'.




This is merely your opinion, there is absolutely NO evidence to support it. The P.J. would have uncovered any such connection, unless of course you believe that this was yet another instance in which Dr. Amaral and the investigating team were "duped".

You write above - I strongly suspect that the two identifications of Gerry Smith (sic) on the basis of 'the way he walked' were co-ordinated by Robert Murat,

I thought you said many times that you disapprove of using such terms as   "I suspect"  - you certainly have chided me and others who disagree with your opinion for any use of that term.

You have previously claimed as a fact that the descriptions given by Jane Tanner, Nuno Lourenco and the Smiths are "carbon copies" of each other. 
So I ask you yet again, in hope of finally receiving a response -

Is DARK skin not the opposite of LIGHT skin: Is SHORT hair not the opposite of LONG hair. Is LIGHT BROWN hair not markedly different from DARK, GLOSSY hair.
Look at these descriptions and please show me how they can be "carbon copies" when in fact they are in direct contrast-

 1) A light skinned man, with short, light-brown hair cut in a  a traditional men's short-back-and-sides cut.

2) A dark skinned man, with long, dark glossy hair, long at the back.

3) A man with Latin colouring, with long, dark, curly hair in a pony-tail reaching down his back.

Is this carbon copy "fact" claimed by you not patently untrue.

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Re: A bit more information on those controversial Smithman efits - From Met Police answers to some more Freedom of Information Act Questions (11 Jun 2018)

Post by Verdi on 17.10.18 22:13

@Tony Bennett wrote: Just like he waited 13 days (3rd to 16th May) before reporting the alleged sighting in the first place.

Martin Smith's witness statement - 26th May  [snipped]

— States that it is not possible for him to recognise the individual in person or by photograph.

— 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 that time. He also states that the individual who carried the child was not ROBERT. He would have recognised him immediately.
....................

So cut to the chase.  Despite thinking, on the 4th May 2007, that the semi-clad child carried around the streets of Praia da Luz by a fully clothed stranger the previous night, could have been Madeleine McCann - 60% sure it could have been Madeleine McCann, he waits until the 26th May 2007 to contact the police.  Coincidentally just after Robert Murat had been fingered by the McCann group.

Add to that, a niggle that forever haunts me, why did Martin Smith return to Portugal on 26th May 2007 with his son and daughter to give a statement?  There are international policing procedures to accommodate citizens who profess to be witnesses that might assist a police investigation abroad.  Jeremy Wilkins being a perfect example - he could be considered a key witness yet he was interviewed by UK forces after his return to England.  There was no requirement to drag him back to Portugal, with or without partner, to give his statement even though he was on the scene when Jane Tanner allegedly saw the phantom abductor.  By coincidence fully clothed and carrying a child, a girl, semi-clad in nightwear  just as Martin Smith describes ???

Martin Smith said this, Martin Smith said that - it's only words.  There is no documented evidence to confirm that his wife agreed with him about the footage of Gerry McCann descending the aircraft stairway on the return to the UK.  There is no documented evidence to confirm Gemma O'Doherty's claim about interviewing Martin Smith and the exchange between her and the BBC - provide evidence and it will silence me forever.

On this point, all Bilton said was .... "The Smiths themselves now believe they saw someone else".  Possibly Martin Smith did say such - possibly he didn't say such, it is but hearsay.  Apparently the doubt was reported by the press, misguided journalists - isn't Gemma O'Doherty a journalist?  What makes her unverified word more convincing than any other journalist.  I could name quite a few 'journalists' who have hitched their wagon to this case, so far not one has proved themselves familiar with the finer detail of the case or convinced me they do not have an ulterior motive - invariably a few quid in the back pocket and/or career progression.

What we do know is Martin Smith and his family failed to report a sighting which could have been of major significance to the investigation for twenty three days and then later, four months later, failed to report his (and his alone) recognition of the man his family allegedly saw four months earlier, as Gerry McCann, with a broad margin of 60/80% percent certainty.

Something is not right here.

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Re: A bit more information on those controversial Smithman efits - From Met Police answers to some more Freedom of Information Act Questions (11 Jun 2018)

Post by Tony Bennett on 17.10.18 22:41

@Verdi wrote:
@Tony Bennett wrote: Just like he waited 13 days (3rd to 16th May) before reporting the alleged sighting in the first place.

Martin Smith's witness statement - 26th May  [snipped]

— States that it is not possible for him to recognise the individual in person or by photograph.

— 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 that time. He also states that the individual who carried the child was not ROBERT. He would have recognised him immediately.
....................

So cut to the chase.  Despite thinking, on the 4th May 2007, that the semi-clad child carried around the streets of Praia da Luz by a fully clothed stranger the previous night, could have been Madeleine McCann - 60% sure it could have been Madeleine McCann, he waits until the 26th May 2007 to contact the police.  Coincidentally just after Robert Murat had been fingered by the McCann group.

Add to that, a niggle that forever haunts me, why did Martin Smith return to Portugal on 26th May 2007 with his son and daughter to give a statement?  There are international policing procedures to accommodate citizens who profess to be witnesses that might assist a police investigation abroad.  Jeremy Wilkins being a perfect example - he could be considered a key witness yet he was interviewed by UK forces after his return to England.  There was no requirement to drag him back to Portugal, with or without partner, to give his statement even though he was on the scene when Jane Tanner allegedly saw the phantom abductor.  By coincidence fully clothed and carrying a child, a girl, semi-clad in nightwear  just as Martin Smith describes ???

Martin Smith said this, Martin Smith said that - it's only words.  There is no documented evidence to confirm that his wife agreed with him about the footage of Gerry McCann descending the aircraft stairway on the return to the UK.  There is no documented evidence to confirm Gemma O'Doherty's claim about interviewing Martin Smith and the exchange between her and the BBC - provide evidence and it will silence me forever.

On this point, all Bilton said was .... "The Smiths themselves now believe they saw someone else".  Possibly Martin Smith did say such - possibly he didn't say such, it is but hearsay.  Apparently the doubt was reported by the press, misguided journalists - isn't Gemma O'Doherty a journalist?  What makes her unverified word more convincing than any other journalist.  I could name quite a few 'journalists' who have hitched their wagon to this case, so far not one has proved themselves familiar with the finer detail of the case or convinced me they do not have an ulterior motive - invariably a few quid in the back pocket and/or career progression.

What we do know is Martin Smith and his family failed to report a sighting which could have been of major significance to the investigation for twenty three days and then later, four months later, failed to report his (and his alone) recognition of the man his family allegedly saw four months earlier, as Gerry McCann, with a broad margin of 60/80% percent certainty.

Something is not right here.
Excellent post of yours on Smithman as always, @ Verdi, thank you thumbup thumbup

A small but important correction.

Martin Smith first contacted the police in Ireland on Wednesday 16th May - THIRTEEN days after Thursday 3rd May.

I think the preferred version of how Martin Smith 'remembered' his dramatic sighting is that his son Peter 'phoned him up on the 16th, the day after Murat was declared an official suspect, opening the conversation with the immortal lines: "Dad, am I dreaming, or did we see a man carrying a child on the day that Madeleine McCann went missing?" (or similar words to that effect).

However, at different times the family gave wholly different accounts of why they suddenly reported this alleged sighting 13 days late, including:

a) we learnt that the description of the man was similar to the one we'd seen, and

b) because we now knew for the first time that the time of the Tanner sighting was similar to when we saw the man.  

Martin Smith's testimony is that he then contacted all members of his extended family and "We all remembered that we had the same memory".  I love that bit! All NINE of them had for THIRTEEN whole days - when missing Madeleine was the top story in Britain, Irealnd and Portugal - completely FORGOTTEN their sighting!

Until Peter came up with his historic "Am I dreaming?" line. And these are supposed to be nine people with accurate memories of exactly what they saw!

The flight to Portugal of the three Smiths was TEN days later, on Saturday 26th May.

The strong circumstantial evidence is that Martin Smith reported a sighting to help a man he knew, Robert Murat, who was now suddenly in big trouble.

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Re: A bit more information on those controversial Smithman efits - From Met Police answers to some more Freedom of Information Act Questions (11 Jun 2018)

Post by Phoebe on 17.10.18 23:16

@ Tony Bennett  you state -

"There is strong circumstantial evidence that Martin Smith reported the sighting to help a man he knew, Robert Murat, who was now suddenly in big trouble"

Actually, this is your opinion, there is no evidence, circumstantial or otherwise to support it! 
All the available EVIDENCE indicates that Martin Smith did not know Murat other than by sight. He has confirmed this to the police in sworn evidence, and has confirmed this to Richard D. Hall. His sighting would have been checked by the P.J. at the time, especially given that Murat was then the sole suspect!

  Fact 1 - the police uncovered nothing to suggest that Murat and Smith were known to each other in any way other than explained by Smith. There is no evidence anywhere suggesting that they were known to each other.

 Fact 2 - the experienced investigators of the P.J. regarded the Smiths as honest and credible witnesses.

 Fact 3 -  the description given by the Smiths of Smithman is of a light- skinned man with short, light brown hair - no resemblance whatsoever to the dark-skinned man with long, dark hair described by Jane Tanner or the pony-tailed "Latino" described by Lourenco.

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Did the Smiths actually see someone, if so who?

Post by Mainline on 18.10.18 0:26

Hello, I haven't posted here in a while. This thread has me confused,can both sides tell me some very basic facts:

1. Did the Smiths actually see someone, if so who?

2. If the sighting was fake, was it invented for Robert Murat, or for the McCanns?
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Re: A bit more information on those controversial Smithman efits - From Met Police answers to some more Freedom of Information Act Questions (11 Jun 2018)

Post by Verdi on 18.10.18 0:29

@Mainline wrote:Hello, I haven't posted here in a while. This thread has me confused,can both sides tell me some very basic facts:

1. Did the Smiths actually see someone, if so who?

2. If the sighting was fake, was it invented for Robert Murat, or for the McCanns?
Hello, it would appear from your profile you haven't posted here at all until now. 

Now that does confuse me I confess think .

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Mainline

Post by Mainline on 18.10.18 0:35

@Verdi wrote:
@Mainline wrote:Hello, I haven't posted here in a while. This thread has me confused,can both sides tell me some very basic facts:

1. Did the Smiths actually see someone, if so who?

2. If the sighting was fake, was it invented for Robert Murat, or for the McCanns?
Hello, it would appear from your profile you haven't posted here at all until now. 

Now that does confuse me I confess think .
Hi, Jill knows who I am, don't worry pet.

Can you answer my questions?
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