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Dr Martin Roberts:  A Tanner in the Works Mm11

Dr Martin Roberts:  A Tanner in the Works Regist10

Dr Martin Roberts: A Tanner in the Works

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Dr Martin Roberts:  A Tanner in the Works Empty Dr Martin Roberts: A Tanner in the Works

Post by Verdi on 10.06.19 1:56


By Dr Martin Roberts
19 January 2010


If lies are two a penny, then a 'tanner' should give you at least a dozen.

Jane Tanner is the invisible woman, able to pass two people standing in an otherwise deserted street without herself being noticed; not even by the one facing her at the time.

Her visual acuity is such that, under sparse artificial lighting, at night, and at a distance of some fifteen feet plus, she was able to resolve at a glance the small pattern on a pair of recumbent child's pyjama trousers (which she could see), as well as suggesting the colour of the matching top (which she could not see), despite the orange cast imposed by street lamps ("I feel, I thought I saw pink pyjamas and I thought I could see colours but I don't know, it was fairly orange so I don't know"). And yet the child was being carried by an adult with seemingly no discernible facial characteristics whatsoever; not even in profile.

However, the official PJ account of Tanner's first witness statement, taken on 4 May, 2007 records that 'when asked, she says she would probably be able to identify the individual she saw, being able to identify him from the side and from his manner of walking.' Hence Jane Tanner managed to extract sufficient information from her encounter to allow her to identify the nocturnal pedestrian she saw crossing the street ahead of her. She believed it to have been one Robert Murat.

Understandably keen to assure themselves that Jane Tanner would subsequently recognise Robert Murat as the individual she saw on the night of Madeleine McCann's disappearance, Portuguese police execute a modest 'stake out'. They place Ms Tanner inside an unmarked car, whose tinted windows allow her to see out without being seen herself, and park the vehicle at the very spot where she claims to have been on the night of May 3rd. As Robert Murat, loosely accompanied by plain clothes police officers, passes up the road in the same way as the party previously spotted by her, Jane Tanner is adamant that it was Robert Murat whom she saw that night. She recognises his gait.

Robert Murat, I am sure, would not take offence at anyone remarking on his defining feature, which is not the disposition of his feet. Owing to an unfortunate motorcycle accident as a young man, he now has only one viable eye. Spectacles are essential and he wears them constantly. Whilst he has an understandable bias in his eyesight therefore, it is not mirrored in the action of his limbs, which are perfectly normal. Surely someone with night vision so acute they can describe the pattern, cut, and hue of a small area of textile glimpsed at a distance, would have noticed if the child carrier himself wore glasses, even seen from the side. He didn't. Therefore he was not Robert Murat, whom Tanner recognised simply on the basis of his walking 'purposefully.'

Tanner's memory has the extraordinary characteristic of becoming clearer with time and encouragement. Cognitively 'induced', she sees the child in pyjamas for what they were, rather than the amorphous textile bundle they might have seemed previously. It just took that extra stimulus for things to fall into place. She herself has said that she didn't remember the pyjamas until she was put under a cognitive 'spell' several hours after the original sighting. On 20 November, 2007 she told The Sun newspaper that "at around 11.15, two policemen arrived and I told them. Later CID arrived. They did this thing called a cognitive technique, where they put you back in the moment, and it was then that I remembered the pyjamas." But what did she tell the two policemen who arrived first?

One of the officers in question was Nelson Filipe Pacheco da Costa (GNR Patrol), who afterwards reported that '...his colleague went to check the area around the apartments and the Tapas Bar, while the witness remained next to the apartment, just outside it. At that moment a female individual... who was in the neighbouring apartment, said that she saw an individual carrying a child, running, and that because of the pyjamas she was wearing it could have been Madeleine.

There are already cases on record of psychopaths feigning hypnosis (e.g. Albert Bianchi), so coming forward with the notion of pyjamas (having previously articulated the same), when given a gentle nudge to the psyche by a police inspector, is hardly original.

You know who your friends are with Jane. Or do you? On 8 April 2008 she had the following to say, inter alia, to a detective constable from Leicestershire Police who was interviewing her at the time:

Jane Tanner: "Errr... so, yeah... so, David... so, we said... we decided, oh yeah, we'll go and it'll be nice to see everybody, and we know Kate and Gerry, we'd sort of socialised with them but not as well probably as the other... as the other two couples."

Leicestershire Police: "Mmm..."

JT: "Errr... but they'd been on holiday with David and Fiona before and so... and they've got children the same age as well, you know. Obviously Madeleine's the same age as E***, so a bit of a nice group."

LP: "So you knew them all but you hadn't all been on holiday as a group before?"

JT: "No, we've been with Matt and Rachael and David and Fiona. And David and Fiona had been with Kate and Gerry but we hadn't been, not the eight, or the nine of us including Fi's mum, we hadn't been on holiday before."

A year earlier and the information she disclosed might have been a little different.

'In September 2003, the McCanns and their friends Matthew Oldfield, Rachael Mampilly, Russell O'Brien and Jane Tanner spent a week in Umbria in Italy, where they went to attend David and Fiona Payne's wedding.’ (The Forbidden Investigation).

Neither David nor Fiona Payne is Italian. Hence, six friends found themselves at the wedding of two further friends, and all of them together in a foreign country. That sounds very much like eight people on holiday to me, and if a trained doctor cannot arrive at 'eight' as the sum of six plus two then something is seriously wrong with our educational system. (o.k., so we know that to be the case, but no one would suspect standards to have sunk quite that low).

This is, by any measure, a shameful catalogue of deliberate falsehoods. But if you can tell a man by the company he keeps, as well as acknowledging equality of the sexes, then Jane Tanner was not alone in her mendacity; not by a long chalk. Gerry and Kate McCanns' duplicity is risibly blatant. Matthew Oldfield talks of his activities inside an apartment as though his perspective view were from outside. Is it any wonder that these were the star players in the McCann inspired documentary 'Madeleine was Here'?

Whether by accident or design, the 'Tanner sighting' has become the maypole around which all the other colourful threads in the McCann fairytale are entwined. Yet there are more sides to it than a threepenny bit, suggesting that design might have played a role, and that this isn't quite a case of the tail wagging the dog.

Jane Tanner's seemingly coincidental sighting is but one of a medley of events itemised, for the benefit of the PJ in the first instance, by Tapas 7 members. So scrupulous were they concerning the chronology of the sequence overall, that they saw fit to annotate it twice, with small, and on the face of it insignificant, amendments. As is the case with so many things, the process itself turns out to be as interesting as the result.

The informational specifics are as follows:

The first list:

8:45 Everyone meets at the pool for dinner
9:00 Matt Oldfield listens at the windows of apts 5A,B,D
ALL blinds are closed
9:15 Gerry McCann goes to the room? bedroom door open
9:20 Jane Tanner checks 5D, sees a stranger carrying a child
9:30 Russell O'Brien in 5D, child is sick
10:00 Alarm given after Kate

The second list:

8:45 Pool
Matt returns 9:00-9:05 - listens at all, the 3 all have closed blinds
Gerry 9:10-9:15 - goes to room? bedroom door open
9:20/5 Jane checks apt 5D. Sees stranger with a child
9:30 Russell and Matt check the three
9:35 Matt sees the twins
9:50 Russell returns
9:55 Kate sees Madeleine is missing
10:00 Alarm

These lists, drawn up at the time the first GNR officers arrived on the scene, each include one entry shared almost verbatim: 'Jane (Tanner) checks apt 5D. Sees a stranger carrying a child.' The subject of this observation would later experience angst and remorse in equal measure; angst that inhibited her, so we are told, from telling the parents of Madeleine McCann, at the earliest opportunity, that she had personally seen someone who might have carried off their child, and remorse over not having done so until several hours later, once she had recalled the pyjamas; the same pyjamas she had previously mentioned at 11.15 p.m. when she thought her sighting important enough to bring to the attention of the GNR. So why should she not wish to inform the McCanns, even under duress? It is clear from her statements to police, both in Portugal and in retrospect, that her 'close encounter of the abduction kind' came as a surprise to Gerry McCann when first he heard mention of it.

Angst, remorse, and a revelation or two

From Jane Tanner's rogatory interview we glean the following:

Jane Tanner: "I didn't want to say to Kate at that point, which might sound odd now, you know, 'Oh, why wouldn't you say straight away to Kate', but, you know, the thought of telling the mother of a child that you might have seen being carried away is, it's too horrible to even say. So I just said to Fi, errm... you know, 'I think I might have seen somebody a bit odd when I came back to do one of the checks'. And I don't know whether she, I mean, she was just sort of like... I don't know whether she took it in properly, but, errm... and then they just carried on... carried on the searching."

News too sensitive for Kate's ears is therefore confined to Fiona Payne. Or is it? Way back in time (4 May, 2007) Jane Tanner gave a witness statement to the effect that 'As she (sic) concerns the man she saw, she only spoke to Gerald about this, not entering into details, and to the police.'

So it wasn't Fiona Payne she spoke to after all, but Gerry McCann. Well, maybe that depends on whether there’s an 'R' in the month. Jane Tanner's testimonial record is analogous to the lady who confesses adultery twice - once with the neighbour and once with the Rugby club's first XV, as further scrutiny of her Rogatory interview reveals:

LP: "Who else did you speak to?"

JT: "I'm trying to think of the order... it was, sort of like... it was Rachael first, then it was Fi and I can't remember when Russell and Matt came back, they came back at, errm... tut, I don't know whether they came back first or I told them or who else was there, but as soon, the police... when the police came, I know Rachael went straight away to get them to say, so that I could tell the GNR, I think... yeah, the GNR, what I'd seen, but I do'’t know if I told anybody else. I can't remember when people like Sylvie, who was the translator... I'm not sure when she arrived whether it was before the Police arrived or after the Police arrived or whenever, but..."

LP: "But you told the Police when they came?"

JT: "Yeah, when they arrived, Rachael, I think, went and got the GNR and I told the GNR chap and then when the PJ actually arrived they came and got me to go and talk to the, the PJ".

The actual sequence of disclosure is confirmed much later on in the interview:

"Rachael was the first person I told. And then Fiona and then I think when Russell and Matt or Russell and Dave, whoever it was that came back, I then, then told them."

Like the cuckolded husband, Gerry McCann is conspicuously absent from the roll call. Rachel Oldfield's own witness statement of 11 May, 2007 confirms:

'Further to that, about 10 minutes after Kate raised the alarm about the disappearance, the deponent was with Jane in the apartment of the latter. While talking, Jane told her that when she came to see their children, and passed Gerald talking to "Jez", she saw a man with a child, supported in his arms, which would not be a baby and could have been more or less the age of Madeleine... Asked, says that, initially Jane focused more on the description of the man and, only a few days later, did she make reference to the clothes that the child would have worn, which would be pyjamas.

So the world and its neighbour knew about Tanner’s sighting of 'man carrying child' almost from the outset, but 'child with pyjamas' was a later development; unless of course you happened to be GNR patrolman, Nelson Filipe Pacheco da Costa.

LP: "So when you went into Gerry and Kate's apartment who else was there?"

JT: "Errm... I think there was Russ... I think Russell came with me and there was Sylvie who was the translator.

"I can't remember which... there was some... there was a PJ chap was sitting on the... by the table. And there was Gerry who was standing by the... the bedroom door."

LP: "And how was Gerry at that point?"

JT: "Oh he was just, well obviously, obviously distraught..."

LP: "And what was Gerry's reaction to what you said?"

JT: "Well I don't even know whether he took it in, I mean, he was just... he was, you know, obviously just standing there looking absolutely horrified, so..."

So, despite Gerry McCann's being in the immediate vicinity as Russell O'Brien writes out the timeline featuring Jane Tanner’s sighting (indeed, as others have established, he was sitting at the table at the time), he appears to have been taken aback by Tanner's personal revelation. A sympathetic view of this reaction would be that Gerry was alarmed to discover that an opportunity for intervention appeared to have passed them by. A more quizzical interpretation rests on the supposition that GM actually furnished O'Brien and Oldfield with the details for the timeline, as well as the child's book on which they might write it (the latter is highly likely, the book having been Madeleine's own after all). Yet there is another possibility.

Gerry McCann's acting skills are, shall we say, noticeably underdeveloped. He cannot conceal his own discomfort when fielding awkward questions in public, for instance. Is it likely then that he would have feigned surprise for Jane Tanner's benefit? If not, and his surprise was therefore genuine, why should he have looked 'horrified?' Surely if his child had not long been spirited away, his face ought to have conveyed something more akin to relief, possibly even a certain animation, given that someone might be in a position to identify, or at least help identify, his daughter's abductor.

Simply playing devil's advocate and supposing that, whatever else, Madeleine was not abducted, provides an immediate explanation for Gerry's astonishment. For how can Jane Tanner be in a position to know something about the detail of an event that did not take place? That someone should come forward with independent validation of a lie must have been unsettling to say the least. Even more unsettling for Gerry McCann was Jane Tanner's continued insistence subsequently.

Other commentators have previously pointed out how the McCanns have been careful to disseminate their opinions/claims etc. among close friends, family members and various 'sources', making it the more difficult to lay blame for any misrepresentation at their door; a deliberate dissociation. Under the circumstances pertaining in the early hours of 4 May, 2007, one might reasonably expect the McCanns to have embraced Jane Tanner's revelation wholeheartedly from the outset. Yet they appear not to have done so. Although they each made mention of the Tanner 'sighting' during their respective police interviews, Gerry, rather than elaborate the description advanced by Tanner when given the opportunity, simply referred the police to her for details. Not a desperately committal attitude really, suggesting that Gerry had not quite immersed himself in Jane Tanner's representation of events.

Whilst this may appear to be stretching a point, or reading too much into the situation, the point is inexorably enlarged by examples of the McCanns' later behaviour toward their star witness and what she had to say. Isolated these may be. Contradictory they are not.

Under interview (and there have been quite several), Jane Tanner's confidence in her story, even if not her degree of accuracy, has been unwavering. From the outset she was sure she could identify the man she had seen in the darkness (from a distance of 50 metres according to Kate McCann). Is it not therefore a little odd, to say the least, that the McCanns seem not once to have encouraged the production of a 'visual' for the benefit of all those people they presumed to be searching for their daughter? That task was left to the Pinkertons. It was not the McCanns but Spanish detective agency Metodo 3 who commissioned the understandably derided artist's impression of 'Bundleman', fully five months after Madeleine's disappearance.

So much for urgency. How about faith in one's friends? The obvious illustration in this case has to be the documentary, 'Madeleine Was Here', and the reconstruction that wasn't. Which of us, having seen this production, can forget the confluence of Gerry McCann's and Jane Tanner's 'evidence' - the certitude; the unimpeachable unanimity? What we recall, as clear as crystal, are the disagreements, the McCann dogma, and the tears that flowed immediately afterwards. Now what was that all about? Without question, Gerry McCann's dissociation from Jane Tanner's story was apparent, even after an interval of two years.

If attention needed to be focussed on the evil abductor crossing the road ahead of all three bystanders (Gerry, Jane and Jes Wilkins), what difference did it make on which side of the road Gerry and his Tennis buddy were standing at the time? As far as the 'abductor' goes, nothing at all, since one or other of the conversationalists ought to have noticed him, whichever side of the road they were on. But Jane? Common sense dictates that, had she passed them on the same side of the street (as she claimed), she must have been nigh on unmissable. The chances of her not being recognised (or better yet, passing completely unnoticed) are somewhat improved when the parties are physically separated.

So why should Gerry McCann have been so determined to irrigate the seeds of doubt? Because Jane Tanner's so-called sighting was, and is, a double-edged sword, as keen along one edge as the other. On the plus side 'Bundleman' represents confirmation of the story. On the other, his reported presence on the street at exactly the same time as Gerry McCann implies, inevitably, that he must have gained access to apartment 5A before Gerry himself had done so. He could not have accomplished all he has been credited with otherwise. That being so, Gerry is faced with little choice but to entertain, albeit in retrospect, the likelihood that the intruder had hidden himself from view once Gerry had followed him inside, and that, as we know, was simply not possible (unless for some reason the intruder was in the process of abducting Madeleine from her parents' bedroom), since Gerry personally visited the children's bedroom, via the lounge, before leaving (he also visited the toilet). If Matthew Oldfield was able to see the twins breathing through a crack in the door, then Gerry McCann couldn't have missed an adult trying in vain to conceal himself.

Consistently (and conveniently) Gerry McCann fails to notice the abductor both inside and outside the apartment. Yet at the same time he is loathe to pass up the opportunity of capitalizing upon Tanner's 'evidence'. So what does he do? Exactly what he has always done - reap whatever benefit is to be had from favourable observations delegated to others, who then find themselves, knowingly or otherwise, to be the focus of attack should the information turn out to be questionable.

Thus has Jane Tanner been pilloried, even here, for her 'unreliability' as a witness, whilst Gerry has positioned himself strategically, such that he cannot be called upon to offer support. After all, he cannot even confirm that their paths crossed in the street. In truth it is not in his interest to do so. Cynically, he is prepared to accept the credibility that the sighting of an 'abductor' confirms, but should the story go 'belly up', then it was nothing to do with him was it?

Original thread here for comments:

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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