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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...

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Tony Bennett
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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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