1.Everyone shall possess the right to freely express and publicise his thoughts in words, images or by any other means, as well as the right to inform others, inform himself and be informed without hindrance or discrimination 2.Exercise of the said rights shall not be hindered or limited by any type or form of censorship Constitution of the Portuguese Republic, Article 37.º

The Last Photo


On Thursday May 3, 2007 at 2:29pm, Kate McCann took a photo of husband Gerry and daughters Amelie and Madeleine. We are told this on the official Find Madeleine website:

Gerry and Kate McCann have released the last photograph of their daughter before her abduction in the Algarve three weeks ago.
The picture is of Madeleine sitting by the swimming pool on the day she was snatched from her bed. Kate took the photo of Madeleine at 2.29pm on May 3 - Mrs McCann's camera clock is one hour out so the display reads 1.29pm. Less than eight hours later, before 10pm that night, Madeleine disappeared.

There are several observations one may deduce from this information:

· The parents say Madeleine was snatched from her bed before 10pm.

· Was Kate was standing in the pool when she took the photo, or using zoom and standing on the other side of the pool?

· The McCanns emphasise the fact that this photo was taken at 2:29pm and also tell us that Mrs. McCann's camera clock was one hour out with (presumably) the date stamp on the digital photo being 1:29pm.

Another mystery concerns the release of this photograph. Why release it three weeks after Madeleine disappeared? Many older photographs were released into the public domain before this one - perhaps the most important photo of all. Why the delay? Could it be because this "last photo" is a forgery? Do the McCanns want us to believe Madeleine was alive at 2:29pm for a specific reason?

The "last photo" is shown to the right and above is a popular crop from that photo. Various versions of this photo have appeared in the media but the one at the right and above are the two most popular versions. The one at the right can be considered the image out of the camera and the one above has focused the attention on Madeleine.

A detailed analysis of the photo in relation to it being a forgery first appeared in the Daily Mirror Forum.

1.Click here to see original Daily Mirror article.

2.Click here to see an archived version of the article in case the original article gets deleted.

The focus of attention on this rather long and technical analysis is the sun and shadows which are used to estimate the real time of day when the photos was probably taken.

Photo A: The "Last Photo" as published by the McCanns


Looking at the last photo reveals several clues without resorting to technical analysis of shadow length and sun positions. Assuming the photo is a forgery, these are good reasons for it:

1. The composition of Photo A is bad. Most people centre the subject and are pretty good at doing so with a modern digital camera because you see a preview in the viewing screen. Madeleine looks off-centred in this respect.

2. Madeleine is clearly distracted at something funny off to her left. Amelie is disinterested in the distraction and Gerry is firmly looking at Kate as she takes the photo.

3. There are no overlapping features on Madeleine. Her body, arms, hair, and hat are all overlaid on the background. This makes it easy to "paste in" Madeleine.

4. Madeleine does not look to be wearing swim-wear. Kate is probably in the water and that would suggest the children were also in the mood to swim. Neither child nor Gerry look wet. Isn't it odd to take a photo from within the water?

5. Amelie's twin brother Sean is absent from the photo. For a family image, why exclude Sean? If Sean was making Madeleine laugh then why not pan round and included him so all 4 family members are in the shot?

6. The time/date stamp on a digital image is easily modified on a PC and a camera clock could be out by any number of minutes. Indeed, someone could alter the time before taking a photo. Why stress the one hour time difference or draw attention to it?

7. Why did it take 3 weeks to publish this photo? Surely there were many photos taken that week in Praia da Luz? Some say this photo seems staged or manipulated. It took 15 minutes to remove Madeleine from Photo A and less time than that to add Madeleine to Photo C. 3 weeks was plenty time enough to create any kind of photo or illusion.

PHOTO B: The "Last Photo" assuming that Madeleine was ever there.

PHOTO C: The "Last Photo" with Madeleine placed on father Gerry's right.


It is unknown whether or not the Last Photo is a forgery. The only way to prove conclusively if Photo A is the same image that came out of the camera is to examine the original. All images circulated on the Internet are modified from that original and as such cannot be scrutinised with any degree of accuracy.

What TruthforMadeleine has shown is how the Last Photo could easily have been forged without much more than a reasonable amount of skill with a software photo editing package.
The photo itself is odd. The circumstances of taking the photo are strange in that the family have stressed the time of the photo. TruthforMadeleine cannot conclude that this photo is fake or forged but does find that the family are not helping their own cause by releasing this image three weeks after Madeleine's disappearance.

We would like to see contemporary photos of Madeleine from the week in Praia da Luz in order to rule out any foul-play or suspicions about the clothes worn by Madeleine during that first week of May 2007. Did the parents not want other photos to be seen because it would reveal more clues? Old photos will not show any clues about the week in Portugal but there are plenty of those in the public domain. The reader can make up his/her own conclusions.

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