Duarte Levy..

Freelance journalist

Madeleine McCann: Two versions, two documentaries.

“Jane Tanner gave the Portuguese authorities a version of the fateful night that was very different from what she later told the English authorities”

24horas magazine in Portugal

24horas magazine in Portugal

PortuguêsEspañol – Français

In 2007, after Gonçalo Amaral left the coordination of the Polícia Judiciária’s Criminal Investigation Department (CID) in Portimão, on the day of his birthday – October the 2nd – many diligences were still possible within the investigation into the disappearance of Madeleine McCann, but few or almost none were carried out.
Despite the fact that all the English people of the so-called “Tapas Group” were officially summoned to return, to participate in the reconstitution of what happened on the night that Maddie disappeared, none did so and the Portuguese authorities accepted that fact as if they were expecting it from the start. Another diligence, the questioning that was carried out in England, ended up revealing further contradictions in the statements but were regrettably sabotaged both by the English police and by the PJ.
Like Gonçalo Amaral had denounced already, the authorities in England didn’t cooperate at the level that was expected from them and the diplomatic interferences – that have become more than evident now – had produced their purpose: the head of the investigation was removed and replaced by someone more “malleable”, and the case was prepared to be archived.
With two versions of the same night, now recreated in documentaries that have been produced for television – one in Portugal under the guidance of Gonçalo Amaral and another, an English one, by the McCanns – 24horas has gone back over the witness statement of Jane Tanner, who is one of the key “characters”of a real case in which the victim remains solely one: Maddie.

24horas newspaper in US.

24horas newspaper in US.

Strangely, according to the videos and transcriptions of their interrogations, to which 24horas had access, all the English witnesses – David Payne, Fiona Payne, Dianne Webster, Jane Tanner, Russell O’Brien, Matthew Oldfield, Rachael Mampilly – were given, by the English police, the possibility to consult what they had already told the PJ directors earlier on.
Some of the English people – as was the case of Jane Tanner, among others – were also given the opportunity to read the others’ witness statements and to change their final statements. Despite this abnormal behaviour by the Leicestershire police, at least two video recordings of the questionings never arrived in Portugal, and given the fact that the PJ inspectors who travelled to England, following orders from Paulo Rebelo, were not present, their contents might be lost, if it wasn’t for so-called information “leaks”.

The alleged abductor as described by Jane Tanner

Jane Tanner, who is without doubt one of the key characters of the case and in both documentaries, described, in Portugal, a person, the alleged abductor, “who couldn’t be a tourist” because – as she says – “he was too heavily dressed”. The man would be between 35 and 40 years old, with very dark hair, thin and approximately 1,70m tall. Despite the distance, Jane tells the Portuguese inspectors that the suspect was wearing beige or gold-coloured trousers, a “duffy” type of jacket (but as thick) and black, classical shoes.

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Filed under: Madeleine McCann, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

“There were mistakes from both sides”

Maddie’s father wants Portuguese authorities to reopen the case of his daughter’s disappearance. The PJ don’t believe it

Gerry McCann Smile - Luis Silva © 2009

Gerry McCann Smile - Luis Silva © 2009

During his recent stay in Praia da Luz, Gerry McCann stated that it was necessary that the Police could look at the results of the inquiry and say: “Where the mistakes are and what else can we do?”
Maddie’s father, who never voluntarily cooperated with the PJ’s official inquiry into the disappearance of his daughter, has now adopted a harmonizing speech stating, regarding the work done by the Portuguese Police that “they worked very hard and there were many pressures. Looking back, there were probably mistakes from both sides.” But Gerry’s statements do not convince PJ officers who worked on the case from the beginning under Gonçalo Amaral’s orders and who continue to defend that Maddie was not abducted: “I don’t believe he wants the inquiry re-opened… especially if we take into account the fact that they did everything to prevent the investigation reaching a conclusion,” a PJ officer told 24 Horas. “Even the Public Ministry mustn’t be that interested in seeing the case re-opened because that would mean having to admit that they made a mistake when they decided to shelve it,” conclude the PJ inspector who still maintains that “both the parents of the little girl and the friends never told the truth”.

The ‘mistake’ of the interrogations

Paulo Rebelo, Like Obama, he started out with a superhero’s image, only to end up as a simple human being.

Paulo Rebelo, Like Obama, he started out with a superhero’s image, only to end up as a simple human being.

As predicted, the inquiry into the disappearance of Madeleine was shelved by the Public Ministry shortly after the arrival of Paulo Rebelo who replaced Gonçalo Amaral in the coordination of the Portimão DIC. Paulo Rebelo, the same who had negotiated the return of Fátima Felgueiras to Portugal, was unable to continue the investigation and to carry out procedural acts considered extremely important, namely the official reconstruction of what happened on the night of the disappearance.

It was also under the responsibility of Paulo Rebelo – now assigned to the Lisbon department – that a PJ team travelled to England where the inspectors, unlike what was expected from them, were unable to follow all the interrogations of the members of the so called Tapas group, the seven English citizens who were with the McCann’s on the night Maddie disappeared. A mistake whose consequences still can’t be evaluated.

McCann family controls the financial fund

Despite the promises of transparency, it was under great secrecy that Gerry McCann, Maddie’s father, entered the group of directors who manage the financial fund that was created nine days after the little girl’s disappearance.
‘Find Madeleine’ has officially collected almost three million euros, but, not being a charitable institution, it is legally exempt from presenting its accounting, exhaustively indicating the use that was made of the money, which doubtlessly explains the fact that the documents that have been published recently, don’t include any reference to the payments of the mortgage of Kate and Gerry’s house, as well as other personal expenses.
Gerry McCann himself has recently stated that the money in the ‘Find Madeleine’ fund is soon to run out, which has prompted many negative reactions from those who initially had contributed and supported the family. The entry of Gerry into the directory actually happens after several personalities, who initially had supported the family, started distancing themselves from the couple, which has also coincided with a major diminution of financial income.
With Gerry McCann’s entry into the fund’s direction, which officially took place by the end of 2008, under great secrecy, Maddie’s parents assured complete control over the ‘Find Madeleine’ fund, given the fact that the majority of its directors are members of the family: Kate McCann, Gerry McCann, Peter Hubner, Brian Kennedy, John McCann, Edward Smethurst, Doug Skehan, Jon Corner and Michael Linett.


Filed under: Madeleine McCann, , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Documentary “Maddie: What lies beneath the truth”

It was only after being aware that the documentary inspired on the book “Maddie: The Truth of the Lie” was soon going to be broadcasted on Portuguese TV that the McCanns understood the urgency to show the British public their version of the story. This information was now confirmed by a source close to the couple who added that ‘the campaign launched in the Algarve was only a way to prepare and justify the documentary that they want to show the British public as soon as possible”.
If the documentary with Gonçalo Amaral’s version is going to be the first to be aired in Portugal, even before the second anniversary of Maddie’s disappearance, the version given by the McCanns has already guaranteed a wider broadcasting in Europe: Channel 4 is broadcasting the documentary recently filmed in Praia da Luz and several contracts have already been negotiated, including in Portugal, where the channel chosen was SIC.
Based on the book by the former man in charge of the official inquiry into Maddie’s disappearance, taken off the case due to political pressures exercised on the highest level within the English government, the documentary by Multimédia Valentim de Carvalho doesn’t not contain much new information but, through the strength of the footage, completely destroys the version of an alleged abduction, like Kate and Gerry McCann always insisted happened.
Available in Portuguese and English, the documentary by Multimédia Valentim de Carvalho was directed by Carlos Coelho da Silva, produced by Manuel S. Fonseca and written by Nuno Ramos de Almeida.

Duarte Levy

Filed under: Madeleine McCann, Media, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

McCann : No comments, just “read the photos” I

Photo : © Luis Silva 2009

Photo : © Luis Silva 2009

Photo : © Luis Silva 2009

Photo : © Luis Silva 2009

Photo : © Luis Silva 2009

Photo : © Luis Silva 2009

Photo : © Luis Silva 2009

Photo : © Luis Silva 2009

Photo : © Luis Silva 2009

Photo : © Luis Silva 2009

Filed under: Documents, Madeleine McCann, Media, , , , , , , , , , ,

Portugal: Sara Sofia is 3 years old and was abducted by her mother over one month ago

Portuguese Child Abduction Alert System starts only in March and for now the information and communication means that are used by the authorities remain the same as before the Maddie case

sarasofia1Although the case is being handled by the Polícia Judiciária (PJ) with the same seriousness as a disappearance, Sara Sofia Lopes dos Santos, aged three, disappeared on the first day of 2009 within the frame of a parental abduction.

According to information from the PJ’s Criminal Investigation Department (CID) in Portimão, Sara was abducted by her mother and has been taken abroad, probably into Spain, where the investigators try to locate her with the cooperation of the Spanish authorities.

According to the same source, since the couple split in 2007, Sara’s parents have been in conflict concerning the exercise of parental rights over the child, that had been officially entrusted to her father, who accuses the mother of abandoning the child. Sara’s mother and her relatives tell a different version, accusing the father of abusing the child, a fact that was never proved.

Although Sara’s abduction took place on the 1st of January 2009, it was not until now that the information was placed on the Polícia Judiciária’s internet site (www.policiajudiciaria.pt), where a recent photograph of the child can be seen.

According to information that was now publicised by the PJ’s CID in Portimão – the same that was responsible for the investigation into the disappearance of Madeleine McCann -, the last time that Sara Sofia was seen, she was wearing a pink Nike track suit and pink sneakers.

The little girl, of Portuguese nationality, has brown eyes and brown hair, and a red mark on her back as a distinguishing  feature.

According to a PJ source in Portimão, there is no connection whatsoever between the disappearance of Sara Sofia and the Madeleine McCann case, yet the investigators fear that their work may be harmed by the intervention of English media, as the fact that both children are of the same age and disappeared from the same relatively close geographical area “will certainly be used to re-launch the media focus on the Maddie case and to concentrate attentions on the Algarve, thus diverting suspicions from the McCann couple”.

English press associates disappearance of Sara with the Maddie case

The information about Sara Sofia’s disappearance would have gone completely unnoticed in England if it hadn’t been for the intervention of a source that is close to the British authorities and to the McCann couple, who, unofficially, alerted a few journalists while stressing the fact that the investigation is under the responsibility of the PJ’s CID in Portimão, the same one that investigated the Maddie case.

The information that was forwarded to the journalists doesn’t even contain a single line about the possibility of a parental abduction, and the focus rests on the fact that Sara Sofia is of the same age as Madeleine McCann and disappeared “mysteriously” in the Algarve, the same geographical region where the British child disappeared from in May 2007.

According to the information that was offered to the English journalists, the disappearance of Sara Sofia in Portugal’s Southern region is evidence of the possible existence of a predator, a fact that the Portuguese police had excluded in Madeleine’s case.

Portugal adopts French Alert System model

From March onwards, the disappearance of children in Portugal starts counting on an “Abduction Alert” system which, through messages every 15 minutes, publicise the case and request for information through various platforms, from local radios up to public transportation terminals.

The system that is to be adopted in our country follows the French model, named “Alerte Enlèvement”, which has proved its effectiveness in practice, on several occasions.

The Portuguese version that was studied by the Justice Ministry counts on the media to join the project, and to publicise a common alert message, that can be local, regional or national, during the first three hours after the child’s disappearance.

Just like in France, the decision to launch the alert will be taken by the Attorney General in conjunction with the PJ through a “Crisis Cabinet”, in the case of an abduction or sequestration, and not yet including cases of parental abduction or simple disappearance.

In November last year, the Justice Minister, Alberto Costa, had already assured that the “Abduction Alert” system would soon be available, nevertheless stressing that in order for the system to be able to function, the cooperation between the Public Ministry (PM) and the Polícia Judiciária (PJ) would have to improve.

Duarte Levy

Filed under: Child Abduction, Madeleine McCann, Portugal, Sara Sofia, , , , , , , , , ,

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