The video contains a very impressive passage about a little episode that was reported by Mrs Fenn, the lady that lives in the apartment directly above apartment 5A, in her witness statement to the Polícia Judiciária, on the 20th of August 2007, as follows:
“She [Pamela Fenn] thus mentions that on Tuesday, the 1st of May 2007, and while alone at home, at around 10.30 p.m. she heard a child crying, that by the sound of it seemed to her to be coming from a young child and not from a two-year-old or younger baby. Simultaneously with the crying that lasted for about one hour and 15 minutes, and became increasingly more intense and expressive, the child screamed “daddy – daddy”, the deponent has no doubt that the crying came from the lower floor. At around 11.45 p.m., which is to say, one hour and fifteen after it started, she felt the parents arriving, but didn’t see them, nevertheless she heard the balcony door opening, which she noticed because she was quite worried, given the fact that the crying lasted for over an hour and increased steadily. When asked, she said that she didn’t know the reason for the crying, maybe a nightmare, or any other destabilising factor. She adds that as soon as the parents entered the house, the child stopped crying.” in Process 201/07.0 GALGS, pages 2412-2413
Now, instead of following diversionary tactics that lead us to faraway places like Australia, fun as it could be, maybe it would be interesting to take another look closer at home. Literally.
The witness statements that were given to the PJ by the McCann couple and their friends are widely available on the internet, duly translated by so many people who have offered their time and knowledge and did not receive thousands of pounds from any Fund for their work. As anyone can verify, the ‘crying incident’ is briefly mentioned in Kate and Gerry McCann’s statements:
“Between April 28, the day of arrival, and the time at which the disappearance was detected, the deponent [Kate McCann] said that nothing out of the ordinary had happened, except that on the morning of Thursday, May 3rd, MADELEINE asked the deponent why they hadn’t come into the room when the twins were crying. The interviewee had not gone into the room because she hadn’t heard anything, yet found her daughter’s comment strange, even because it was the first time that she had made it.” Kate McCann's statement on 04.05.2007 in Process 201/07.0 GALGS, page 59
“Between April 28, the day of arrival, and the time at which the disappearance was detected, the deponent [Gerald McCann said that nothing out of the ordinary had happened, except that on the morning of Thursday, May 3rd, MADELEINE asked the deponent why he had not come into the room when the twins were crying. The interviewee had not gone into the room because he hadn’t heard anything, yet found his daughter’s comment strange, even because it was the first time that she had made it.” Gerry McCann's statement on 04.05.2007 in Process 201/07.0 GALGS, page 35/36
Now maybe you have noticed the same thing that I did: the McCanns told the police the exact same episode, mentioning the exact same details – that the twins had been crying – in a manner so similar that their witness statements read almost identically. We’ll retain this curious detail for later use.
Thank goodness we have the McCanns' spokesperson, former Media Monitoring Unit director Clarence Mitchell, that paragon of truth, to assure us that the McCanns were absolutely truthful in these initial statements:
“The only reason this has come out is because of Kate and Gerry’s utter honesty in their original statements.” in The Telegraph, on April 10, 2008
So truthful, that Mr McCann even reveals what I can only presume to be the truth about his wife’s visit to the apartment:
“At around 22H00 it was his wife KATE who came to check on the children. She entered the apartment through the door, using the key, and immediately discovered that the door to her children’s bedroom was completely open, the window also open, the shutters up and the curtains apart. The side door [patio door] that opens into the living room and as mentioned earlier was left unlocked, was closed.” in Process 201/07.0 GALGS, page 37
Now that opens a whole different can of worms, but we’ll leave it for another day, when the Australian-Spanish-Swedish hullabaloo dies down and news are slow again.
“It is very curious that this is being released now, having been sitting in the police files for 11 months. The timing of this is frankly suspicious.” Clarence Mitchell, cited in The Telegraph, on April 10, 2008
Mr Mitchell is right about one thing, though: The timing was suspicious, especially because at the same time that the news was being broken live on tv by a Spanish journalist on a morning talk show on Telecinco, Fiona Payne was being interviewed by DC Messiah, at the Leicestershire Police Headquarters in Enderby, telling him in considerable detail how Kate McCann had mentioned the crying incident over dinner, on the 3rd of May 2007, at the Tapas Bar.
And also at the same time, the McCanns were holding a press conference in Brussels, to push their petition that hijacked an already existing project in the European Parliament for a missing child alert system.
The 10th of April, 2008, was a busy day, by any measure.
But let’s go back to Mrs Fenn for a moment. She stated that on Tuesday, the 1st of May, two days before Madeleine vanished without a trace, she heard a child – one child – crying in the apartment downstairs, for over an hour. She said that the crying had stopped exactly when the parents entered the apartment.
Now I’m the first one to acknowledge that all children are different, and although my own experience tells me that a child that has been crying incessantly for over an hour does not stop crying instantly, as if it had a switch, I’m not going to say that this is impossible. What I do find rather strange, is that the parents never heard the child’s cries as they approached the apartment – while Mrs Fenn upstairs was worried enough about the situation to call a friend for advice -, nor did they notice anything unusual inside the apartment after entering it. Not a sigh, not a whimper, nothing. Or so they say, in their truthful initial statements.
Of course, their truthful initial statements mention the episode as having taken place on Wednesday night. Nobody asked them about Tuesday.
Fast forward to late November 2007
The McCanns are back in England. The Portuguese investigation is stalled, swamped with bureaucratic issues concerning the questioning of the so-called ‘Tapas Seven’, under the rogatory letters that take months to be accepted by the Home Office. A meeting at a hotel in Rothley reunites the couple with their friends, for the first time after the events in Luz. The press reports that the rogatory interviews are “weeks away”.
In fact, they would only take place in April, more precisely between the 8th and the 11th of April, 2008. A team from the PJ, led by Paulo Rebelo, then the coordinator of the CID in Portimão, travelled to Leicester to attend the interviews, but returned to the Algarve in the early hours of the 11th of April. They missed the questioning of what would be considered a key witness in any criminal case: David Payne, allegedly the last person, apart from the arguidos, to see Madeleine alive.
According to the transcripts of these interviews, it was Rachael Mampilly who first mentioned the crying incident to the British police, during the morning of the 9th of April:
“Kate did, when we sat down at the table on the Thursday night, Kate said that erm, Madeleine and Sean had cried, said they’d been crying, erm and you know wondered where she was, or wondered where you know, Mummy and Daddy were, erm I mean this was kind of after Madeleine disappeared, we talked, she mentioned that when we sat at the table on Thursday and then after Madeleine had disappeared, erm McCANN’s said, oh well I wonder whether on the Wednesday, you know somebody had tried to get in perhaps or had got in and they’d seen something, erm you know and I was next door in the apartment but I mean I didn’t hear any, well you know, I didn’t hear anything, I could well have been asleep, erm you could hear quite a lot through the apartments because Grace, she always wakes up early but because she seemed to have diarrhoea every night, she’d wake up sort of six o’clock most mornings and we’d always have to put her in the, in the shower or in the bath first thing, and Gerry and Kate would always hear that and so you know, most of the comments first thing in the morning would be like, oh so Grace was up early again, she’d be invariably screaming her head off, so.” in Rachael Mampilly’s rogatory statement on 09.04.2008
This ‘crying incident’ seems to have been a rather significant episode for Kate and Gerry McCann. Significant enough to be mentioned at dinner, apparently for no reason, and to be offered by the couple, separately and almost in the same words, to the PJ in their very first statements.
Another curious detail is the fact that Rachael’s husband, Matthew Oldfield, states that Rachael stayed home on the Tuesday night, contradicting his own wife and placing her in the apartment next door to the McCanns’ on the night that Mrs Fenn reported hearing the crying:
“Rachael was sort of, erm, became unwell the Tuesday evening, erm, and she stayed in the apartment, yeah.” in Matthew Oldfield’s rogatory statement on 09.04.2008
The next morning, while the McCanns were conveniently concentrating the world media’s attention on their visit to Brussels, and Fiona Payne was repeating the story of the crying incident to DC Ivor Messiah at the Leicestershire Police Headquarters, a well-known Spanish journalist, Nacho Abad, was breaking the news live on ‘El Programa de Ana Rosa’, a morning talk show on Spanish channel Telecinco.
“’El Programa de Ana Rosa’ has obtained, in first hand, and for the first time in the world, the exclusive statements from the parents and friends of Madeleine McCann, hours before and after the little girl disappeared. These highly impacting and chilling statements render Kate and Gerry’s innocence in their daughter’s disappearance clear, and point towards the window of the apartment where they were staying, as a key element in the famous disappearance.” in Telecinco website, on 10.04.2008
Mr Abad launched a controversy of epic proportions, with consequences that would have been hard to imagine only days earlier.
It took the British media only a couple of hours to release an avalanche of articles reporting on the “leak” by the Portuguese police, that allegedly had given Mr Abad copies of the McCanns’ early statements to the PJ, to be deliberately “exposed” exactly on the same day that the couple was visiting the European Parliament, "undermining" their campaign. One of the first articles that appeared online was from the Mirror, and it cited an array of “friends” of the couple, as well as the unavoidable Mr Mitchell:
“Kate and Gerry have been utterly honest and utterly open with the police and all of their statements from the moment that Madeleine was taken. The very fact that the comment from Madeleine is now in the public domain is entirely because they themselves told the police about it at the time. It is more than curious that this comment, taken in isolation and out of context, that has been in the police file for some 11 months, should now emerge on the very day that they are in Brussels trying to improve children's welfare and child safety. They would be more than interested to know if the Portuguese justice ministry will now demand an internal review of the police investigation to get to the bottom of how this material emerged in the way it has, on the day it has.” in The Mirror, 10.04.2008
On the 11th, Mr Mitchell was in full combat mode, going as far as stating live on Sky News that he knew what the PJ was "up to":
“We are not happy and the gloves are off.” in Sky News, 11.04.2008, Video here
In an unprecedented move, the Polícia Judiciária, which had endured all sorts of humiliating, degrading remarks from the British media without uttering a word to defend its reputation, or that of its officers, released a press note from its National Directory, four days after the scandal broke:
“At the end of last week, the Spanish television station Telecinco broadcast a news piece that reported that they had enjoyed exclusive access to alleged statements from the McCann couple to the "investigators" into the disappearance of the underage child, Madeleine.
Based on this news piece, the spokesman of this couple, Clarence Mitchell, expressed publicly, to several media, the certainty that the Polícia Judiciária had been responsible for its publication.
The Polícia Judiciária clarifies that it is entirely false that the contents of the news piece reproduces matter that is part of the inquiry, which is under judicial secrecy.
On the other hand, the Polícia Judiciária cannot fail to lament the baseless intervention of the spokesman, especially at a moment when significant diligences to the investigation were being carried out.” in Polícia Judiciária’s website, 14.04.2008
Now, the fact is, the Polícia Judiciária could, potentially, have leaked the information to Mr Abad.
There would have been two possibilities:
a) To source the information from Kate and Gerry McCann’s initial statements, which mentioned that Madeleine had told them that the twins had been crying, and never cited the actual sentence that had been spoken by the missing child; or
b) The officers that attended Rachael Mampilly’s questioning, on the previous afternoon, could have called Mr Abad and instructed him to act accordingly. The timing is feasible. They would, of course, have nothing to offer Mr Abad apart from an oral reproduction of what Rachael had said under questioning.
The only problem is, Rachael didn’t say much. The already anecdotal inability of the Tapas Seven to produce a single fluid, coherent sentence, makes it impossible for anyone without previous knowledge of the matter, to make much sense of her mention of the crying incident. Transforming the confusing half sentences that Rachael had said about the matter, into the following, requires more than a bit of imagination:
“Crime reporter Nacho Abad, read out in Spanish an excerpt of the statement he said Kate had given Portuguese police. He said: "While we were having breakfast, Maddie said, 'Mummy, why didn't you come when we were crying last night?' "Gerry and I spoke for a couple of minutes and agreed to keep a closer watch over the children.” in The Sun, 10.04.2008
I have no doubts in saying that none of the statements that were made public, in the official case files, contains anything that matches the above citation.
There is only one possible source for the above mentioned ‘statement’, which seems to be a complete fabrication, based on facts that had only been superficially mentioned the day before, in Leicester, and 11 months earlier, in Portimão.
The very same source that, despite feigning for the PJ its availability to take part in the upcoming reconstruction, which was to take place in May, had absolutely no interest in its fulfilment – and didn’t bother to conceal the fact, either:
“Portuguese detectives want the McCanns to go to the Algarve for a reconstruction but the couple’s lawyers are concerned about being summoned back to Portugal.” in The Telegraph, on 10.04.2008
The friends would ultimately be responsible for the reconstruction flop, as one after another, they informed the PJ that they would not be attending. Nobody can actually state that the McCann couple refused to attend the reconstruction; merely that the re-enactment would have been incomplete without the presence of their friends. And how terribly that is true.
So, did Madeleine McCann cry for her daddy on Tuesday night, for over an hour? Did she cry on Wednesday? Did she cry at all?
I suppose that, like so many other details in this case, this question will have to remain a matter of personal opinion, rather than fact. Whom we choose to believe has made an enormous difference in the manner how we individually perceive the Maddie case.
What I don’t think anyone can refute is the fact that the manner in which this story was broken to the public – once again, involving Spanish ‘resources’ at a time when Método 3 was still employed by the McCanns, thus placing the source of the ‘leak’ conveniently outside the PJ’s jurisdiction – was actually a rather clumsy attempt to turn a negative fact that would, sooner or later, become public anyway, into something that would ‘work’ in favour of the McCanns, painting them as victims of a conniving Polícia Judiciária.
After all, the PJ had taken all sorts of ridicule and abuse, lying down, for almost a year.
But what it did, was to reinforce my personal belief that Mr Mitchell is capable of anything, including lying, manipulating and scheming against the legitimate police force of a sovereign country, to defend his clients’ image. Because according to the data that is publicly available, that is precisely what he did, in this case.
I’m haunted by the sound of a crying child, tonight.