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How Jane Tanner identified Robert Murat as the chief suspect Mm11

How Jane Tanner identified Robert Murat as the chief suspect Regist10
The Complete Mystery of Madeleine McCann™
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How Jane Tanner identified Robert Murat as the chief suspect Mm11

How Jane Tanner identified Robert Murat as the chief suspect Regist10

How Jane Tanner identified Robert Murat as the chief suspect

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How Jane Tanner identified Robert Murat as the chief suspect Empty How Jane Tanner identified Robert Murat as the chief suspect

Post by Jill Havern 22.04.19 0:16

by Tony Bennett on 12.02.10 21:58

How Jane Tanner identified Robert Murat as the chief suspect

On Sunday 13th May, Jane Tanner and her partner Dr Russell O’Brien positively identified Robert Murat as the man they both saw on the night of 3 May. Jane Tanner claims to have seen the abductor. Dr O’Brien claimed he’d seen Robert Murat hanging around the Ocean Club. This is how her positive identification of Murat occurred.

Tanner was taken by a Leicestershire Police Officer, Bob Small, into a police van with darkened windows, from where she could see passers-by. Amongst those who walked by whilst she was hidden with police officers in the van was Robert Murat. She instantly identified Murat as the probable abductor she had seen a few nights previously. Crucially, Robert Murat has poor eyesight and wears glasses all the time. However, when Tanner was asked to give a description of the abductor she claimed to have seen, she did not mention his wearing glasses.

Bob Small had already been in Praia da Luz for several days. Tanner orignally claimed that when she first met Bob Small, she didn’t know who he was, and asked her partner, Russell O’Brien, to write down the registration number of the car in which the policeman rode. But during the same questioning session, Tanner says that at the time she was taking her collaboration with the authorities ‘very seriously’ and that she didn’t even tell her partner [Russell O’Brien] that she was meeting Bob Small and why. We don’t know when she was first introduced to Small.

It had been on Sunday 6 May that Lori Campbell contacted Leicestershire Constabulary about Murat. A female CID Officer in the Leicestershire Constabulary [Folio 307 of the CD in the files] faxed the ‘Portugal Incident Room’ in Praia da Luz stating that Lori Campbell, a reporter from the ‘Sunday Mirror’, had been in contact. The Officer reported as follows:

“Lori has been speaking to an interpreter who has been helping the Portuguese authorities with the investigation into Madeleine’s disappearance. He has only given his name as ‘ROB’ and has not given any background information about himself. Lori has become suspicious of Rob as he has given conflicting accounts to various people and he became very concerned when he noticed his ’photo being taken by the Mirror’s photographer. ROB stated to Lori that he was going through a messy divorce in the U.K. at the moment and that he had a 3-year-old daughter just like Madeleine, who he is separated from at the moment. He made a big show of telephoning his daughter in front of reporters and Lori felt he was being too loud and making a big thing of speaking to his daughter on the ’phone. The things that ROB has said to Lori have raised her concerns about him. Could you please call Lori who is still in Portugal to establish further details to identify ROB in order to eliminate him from your enquiries on 07917 XXXXXX”.

This information was relayed immediately to Portugal - in stark contrast, we may note, to the way Leicestershire Police handled some other matters of potential interest, for example, their five-month delay forwarding the statements of Drs Katherine and Arul Gaspar to the UK police. These were two Doctor friends of the McCanns, whose statements claimed that, while on an earlier holiday with the McCanns and the Paynes, Dr Payne, in the presence of Mr McCann, had made disturbing remarks about Madeleine in what might be construed to be a sexual and perverted way.

As Paulo Reis commented: “Miss Campbell’s report must have hit the hot buttons, because Mr Murat came under suspicion and the PJ intercepted his telephone (see folios 1017 and 1267), picking up some interesting chats with Martin Brunt of SKY TV (see folios 1675 and 1692). But little else was picked up except for a conversation with ‘Phil’, a British Police Officer, whom Murat asked about the ways mobile ’phone signals could be tracked to specific locations. Mr Murat’s interest seemed to be whether such tracking could prove that he was at home during the late evening of Thursday 3 May 2007 as he claimed.

In the early afternoon of Sunday 13 May 2007, Jane Tanner spoke to what she called ‘some of the people that Kate and Gerry brought in’. It has since been established that these were almost certainly two men, Kenneth Farrow and Michael Keenan, from a group called ‘Control Risks Group’ (CRG), a private intelligence agency which appeared to have no track record whatsoever of looking for missing children and seemed to operate covertly and very much ‘in the shadows’. They had arrived at Faro Airport on the flight from Gatwick that very morning. Some CRG staff may already have been in Praia da Luz before that flight. Mr Farrow is the ex-head of the Economic Crime Unit in the City of London Police and Mr Keenan had been a Superintendent from the Metropolitan Police with specialist fraud and investigative experience. These were just two out of a vast collection of professionals that seemed to descend on Praia da Luz in the days immediately following Madeleine going missing: public relations experts, British police officers, counsellors and advisers, Consular staff and private investigators. It is hard to know how some of them could realistically have been flown in to help search for Madeleine. Some of these people seemed much more used to crisis management than to helping to find a missing child.

Returning to Control Risks Group, the question of who actually asked them to become involved and who agreed to pay for their services has never been made clear. Reports suggest that they were a top-level ‘crisis management team’ who had been brought in by media advisers Bell Pottinger on behalf of Mark Warner. But what seems clear is that their initial mission was to advise Jane Tanner in connection with her identification of the abductor.

It seems probable that she told CRG, as she had earlier told an officer from Leicestershire Police (probably Bob Small), that she could identify the ‘abductor’ if she were to see him in profile and in context.

It seems that no sooner had Jane Tanner finished speaking to the two top CRG men than she took a telephone call from Bob Small, a senior Leicestershire Police Officer already in Praia da Luz helping the Portuguese Police. He told her that the police wanted to see her. He actually made a mistake and said ‘the Spanish police’. It is likely, by that time, that covert plans had already been made to induce Mr Murat to walk across the top of the road, north of Apartment 5A, where Miss Tanner claimed to have seen the ‘abductor’. This situation was thus the precise context in which she believed she could make an identification.

Mr Small then told Miss Tanner not to discuss anything with anyone, including her husband. She claims she followed this instruction to the letter, but questions have been asked about whether she could realistically have followed such an instruction. By this time, Murat was under suspicion but had not been made an ‘arguido’. He had been around the Ocean Club a lot from 4 May 2007 onwards and had translated the PJ’s interviews with Catriona Baker, Stacey Portz, Leanne Wagstaff and Amy Teirney (Folio 457).

It is very possible that during that week most of the ‘Tapas 9’ knew that Murat was under suspicion. They would have either watched the news bulletins or been briefed on them. Besides that, their spokesman, Clarence Mitchell, had already publicly compared Murat to Soham double-murderer Ian Huntley. It appears, though, that by this time Jane Tanner had not yet been formally introduced to Murat as many of the other members of the ‘Tapas 9’ had.

Arrangements were then made for Miss Tanner to be collected by Mr Small and his PJ colleagues in a car park near to Mr Murat’s home at around 7.30pm that day. Goncalo Amaral was in a meeting room at the Public Ministry, waiting to pounce if Tanner gave a positive identification.

Miss Tanner has given a rather dramatic account of being ‘worried sick’ that the ‘Spanish Police’ (as she called them) might be about to cart her off to destinations unknown. So she got her partner Dr Russell O’Brien to walk with her to the rendezvous with Mr Small. That is another reason for questioning whether she could possibly have kept secret from her partner the information that she was meeting Bob Small in order to identify a possible abductor. If, as she claims, she did not discuss the identification operation with her husband, what precisely did she say to him? What did he think was going on? Who looked after their children at this time and what did Tanner and O’Brien tell those who were looking after the children? Like many other questions in this affair, we don’t have answers, and this brings to mind Dr David Payne’s notorious claim to the Sol newspaper that he couldn’t talk to them because of a ‘Pact of Silence’ amongst the ‘Tapas 9’.

If Tanner had indeed discussed her meeting with Bob Small with her partner Russell, we might therefore reasonably infer from that that all of the ‘Tapas 9’ group probably had more than a shrewd idea why Tanner had met with Bob Small.

The police went on to arrange to pick Tanner up very close to Murat’s home. One might ask why so close? On their way to the car park, and just outside his home, Robert Murat, whom we know had met Russell O’Brien on the morning of 4 May, was driving his mother’s green VW van. He stopped, got out of his van and chatted, showing Tanner and O’Brien posters he had made to ‘Find Madeleine’, and generally rattling on about nothing in particular. This was the first time, so we are told, that Tanner had been introduced to Murat, but, as Paolo Reis pointed out, “given the events that were about to follow, it is amazing she did not cry out ‘That’s him…that’s the person I saw: that’s the abductor!’” But she didn’t say a single word.

In her later ‘Rogatory’ interview with Leicestershire Police in April 2008, she claimed that she had been concerned at the time that ‘there was some strange conspiracy going on to abduct me’, adding that “Mr Small scared the daylights out of me”.

She continued as follows: “But that made me even more suspicious because it was like, so I think at that point, I think I actually spoke to Stuart [Stuart Prior, the lead Leicestershire Police investigator in Praia da Luz]”. It seems from other sources that she did indeed speak to Mr Prior and thus had no reason whatsoever to believe that she was about to be abducted.

If Tanner did indeed have a discussion with her partner about the identification operation, that would have enabled him to point out Murat and enable her to identify him. Was it merely a coincidence that Russell accompanied Jane to the pick-up by Bob Small?

When you add into the mix that the pick-up was just outside Murat’s house, and that on top of that they just ‘happened’ to bump into Murat, the whole sequence of events looks less and less as if they were by mere chance.

Tanner was taken away by Bob Small and the Portuguese Police and she says Russell wrote down their car registration number, presumably so he could rescue her if the Spanish Police abducted her. She was driven to another location and hidden in the back of an undercover surveillance vehicle, a van, which was driven to a position near the side entrance to Apartment 5A, facing north.

Tanner then apparently saw three people walk across the top of the road: but Mr Murat was the first to do so. It is not clear exactly what words she used to the police at the time but, whatever she says now, it was very clearly strong enough to make them believe that Tanner had positively identified Murat as the ‘abductor’. This was despite Murat not matching her verbal description, nor looking anything like the ‘egg man’ sketch of the alleged abductor that Tanner had approved, nor wearing glasses. Immediate plans were made to arrest Murat.

Three of the ‘Tapas 9’ now go on to identify Murat as a man they saw on the night Madeleine was abducted

Mr Murat’s home was searched on 14 May and he was made an ‘arguido’ on 15 May 2007. His face was then on every TV screen in Europe.

It seems that what happened next, so we are told, is that a SKY News report caused Rachel Mampilly to immediately walk to the Tanner’s apartment saying she recognised Murat from her sighting of him at the Ocean Club on the night of 3 May 2007. Fiona Payne immediately corroborated this and Russell O’Brien added that he had met Mr Murat during the searches for Madeleine on the night of 3/4 May. He says he entered Murat’s telephone number into his mobile’s memory at that time.

Tanner has claimed that she had not told her friends anything about her outing in the police van and said that their reactions to Mr Murat’s exposure on SKY News were spontaneous. However, in her April 2008 interviews with the Leicestershire Police, Tanner made a slip. She said that her friends suggested that she should speak to Bob Small about Mr Murat. That raises the question of how they knew that she had Bob Small’s contact details, if she had not already discussed the identification charade with them?

Tanner told Leicestershire Police [this is taken from the official Transcript]:

“Cos I’d got, I’d got his number from the day before (for/from?) them and you know, they sort of, you know, to say, oh is this, is this relevant and also I wanted to tell him that I’d seen him [Murat] on the way to doing the surveillance as well as, yeh, just for that so it’s just to make the point really that I think at that point, they didn’t know that Robert Murat had said he wasn’t there on that night”.

Later in the interview, Tanner said:

“…get to the truth of the matter and the truth is, you know they, when they asked me to ring Bob Small to make these statements, we didn’t even know that he’d, erm, hadn’t, hadn’t said he was there on the night and they didn’t know that I had done the surveillance…I mean when I got back, I didn’t even tell Russell what I’d done ’cos I took everything seriously what the police said in terms of, you know, not telling anyone”.

It has been suggested, by contrast, that there may have been a deliberate plan between members of the ‘Tapas 9’ and some the police officers, criminal profilers and private investigators who were talking to them, to accuse Murat and have him arrested. We make no comment on that suggestion.

Tanner then ’phoned Bob Small and relayed her friend’s concerns, but it is not clear whether or not she told him about the compromising, supposedly accidental, encounter with Murat outside his house, just five minutes before identifying him as the ‘abductor’. In most jurisdictions, this encounter would have invalidated Miss Tanner’s identification evidence. It would also have raised suspicions that there had been a deliberate plan for her to bump into the prime suspect (accompanied by someone who knew him) so that she would see what he was wearing and, based on such knowledge, identify him as the ‘abductor’ a mere five minutes later.

Whether this suspicion is true or not, it does not alter the fact that the identification exercise was thoroughly incompetent. Murat denied being at the Ocean Club on 3 May 2007. Now there were three members of the ‘Tapas 9’ who suddenly claimed to remember seeing him there. Let it be noted that it was on 15 May that these three members of the ‘Tapas 9’ first told Portuguese Police that they had seen Murat on the night of 3/4 May. They had therefore waited twelve days to do so.

There is nothing in the Portuguese Police CD files to indicate whether the supposedly accidental encounter was ever reported to Bob Small. It may have been. The critical unanswered question, though, is whether or not Small reported this evidentially corrupting incident to the Portuguese Police and to the Portuguese judiciary.

On 15 May, Dr Russell O’Brien, Fiona Payne and Rachael Oldfield/Mampilly all made statements to the police placing Murat in the Ocean Club late on the evening of 3 May. Their evidence conflicts with that of a number of Portuguese Police, GNR Officers and Mark Warner’s staff who say Murat was not there that night. There was some activity on his computer that night but not enough to rule out the possibility that he left his mother’s home for a period that night (see Folio 1166).

On 11 July 2007, a formal confrontation between the above 'Tapas 3' (Dr Russell O'Brien, Rachael Oldfield/Mampilly and Fiona Payne) and Mr Murat took place in Portimao. He stuck to his guns, they stuck to theirs, and it became a stand-off. Tanner continued to maintain he was the person she had seen carrying the child on 3 May 2007, despite the fact he looked nothing like the ‘egg man’ sketch.

The Portuguese Police seemed to believe Mr Murat.

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