Although the second episode of the series is titled “Person of Interest” [singular] it basically looks into two individuals, Robert Murat and Sergey Malinka. It’s interesting that Robert Murat was quickly regarded as a prime suspect, despite having an alibi and despite no eye-witnesses placing him at the scene. Murat was neither implicated nor associated with the two sightings known as Tannerman and Smithman, because he didn’t resemble either of these figures in body shape, hair style or facially.
Murat also has another rather obvious distinguishing feature – his glasses. Was Murat really a better suspect to seize on than the folks staying at the hotel, including the McCanns themselves?
For some time now Malinka has been agitating about a book that is coming out. As of this writing, in March 2019, there is still no book. I was contacted at one stage to work with and ghost write for Malinka [not directly by Malinka, but by a third party]. I turned down the offer. It seems I’m not the only one.
Sorry to disappoint, but due to the content of the second episode, I won’t be analysing episode two because I consider both “suspects” to be debunked anyway. What I think is far more interesting to address is the gloss-over of the timeline in episode one. The next blog will return to a chronological analysis of the remaining six episodes over the next six days.
The essential timeline is dealt with for [are you ready for it] less than three minutes total in the Netflix documentary, between 12:00 and 15:00. It starts with the McCanns making their way down to the Tapas bar at 20:30, and they’re the first to arrive. There’s no mention whether them being early or arriving first that particular evening was unusual compared to the preceding week. That’s an issue I deal with in detail in the DOUBT series.
The next timecheck is at 21:00 when Matt Oldfield arrives at the restaurant, apparently volunteering the all clear that the McCann children were sleeping soundly.
Matt Oldfield was very much in the picture immediately after Madeleine’s disappearance, as can be seen in these images.
At 09:05 Gerry leaves the restaurant, presumably before eating anything [and it’s unknown whether he’d ordered anything, or what he ordered if he did] to make his first and only check on the children that night.
We see it dramatized how Gerry closes the door without closing it completely. In some descriptions, Gerry is so specific he even describes how wide the door was opened down to the last degree. This is an important precursor to the actions of the door that follow.
The next timecheck given is 21:25. It’s made explicit that Kate INTENDED to do her check but was forestalled by [guess who?] Matt Oldfield who volunteered to take her place.
And right here is where the timeline goes wonky. Oldfield enters the unlocked apartment the same way Gerry did, via the side patio door, and “saw light” and “heard the sound” as if of a child moving in their blankets.
Thanks to door being open enough to perceive without really seeing, Oldfield is able to do his check without really doing his check. If one of the kids was awake, Oldfield apparently heard it but didn’t look in to make sure. If he had would he have seen Madeleine?
In my opinion Madeleine was already dead at this stage, so she wouldn’t have been in bed, but her body was likely still in the apartment. Her body was either in the cupboard of her parents’ bedroom, or behind the couch, based on cadaver alerts, or possibly laying in the flower bed below the balcony.
It’s also possible immediately after Oldfield left, Madeleine woke up, fell over the balcony railing or down the patio stairs, and died. However since it takes at least an hour for cadaver odor to form it’s more likely Madeleine died earlier in the evening [prior to the McCanns leaving for dinner] than later. Cadaver traces were so strong they were still picked up in late August, three months after the incident, and in spite of the apartment being cleaned numerous times. This strongly suggests her little body remained inert – dead – for some time before it was removed from the apartment.
The Oldfield witness testimony is wonderfully inconclusive and murky, because it doesn’t confirm anything. Maybe all the kids were there and maybe they weren’t.
At the same time, Oldfield’s entry into the narrative means the fact that neither McCanns checked on their brood is justified because a third party is given the responsibility [except that he doesn’t actually check to make sure]. Also, the leaving of a door unlocked is justified to allow access to this known third party, which also – just incidentally you understand – paves the way for the imputed abductor.
So even in a scenario where Madeleine could be proven to have died, who would be to blame? Where would it begin and where would it end? Whose testimony, assuming there was ever a trial to test this version, could be relied on one way or another?
The Netflix timeline picks up again at 22:00. Kate gets up and heads to the apartment. Once again, the door becomes the central feature of her visit. There’s something very strange about the door!
All told, the documentary spends less than two minutes thirty seconds going through the critical timeline. There is virtually no analysis or explanation, no mention of several important witnesses within the timelines. Instead the door, “light” and sounds are emphasised supposedly confirming that everything was okay when it wasn’t.
Strangely, in another reconstruction of the door narrative, this one done inside the McCanns’ residence in Rothley, Kate seems to suggest the door was left virtually closed but that when she approached it, it had opened “quite wide” and it then slammed shut right in front of her.
This witnessed moving of the door and inconsistency of the door conjures the door as a sort of witness to an abductor is who is not otherwise seen or heard, and who doesn’t leave any traces.
That reconstruction can be viewed at 27:58 in the clip below.
Interestingly, in her checking of the children Madeleine is missing, but no mention is made of the twins who are also in the room, or whether they are awake or asleep, or safe. And having just had one child stolen [apparently through the open window], what does Kate do – she abandons both children, runs out of the apartment and raises the alarm, thus leaving the twins vulnerable to additional abductions.
Another easy point to miss: immediately after Madeleine disappears, an awful lot of running happens. Kate runs, then “everybody sprints back to our apartment…”
Now let’s focus on a few observations in terms of the aspects the Netflix timeline implicitly doesn’t address:
- Between 20:30 and 22:00 Gerry makes a total of one visit to check on the children, and according to Gerry, verifies that at 20:30 Madeleine was alive and safe. This effectively makes this observation the last time Madeleine was seen alive by any witness, assuming the observation is true and accurate.
- Kate McCann also makes a total of one visit to check on the children. When she does the incident has already happened, so arguably Kate’s visit doesn’t count. One can say that technically in the space of 90 minutes, when the plan was to check on the children every 20 minutes, Gerry made the only check and only did so once. In 90 minutes at least 4 checks ought to have been possible.
- It’s not clarified what happened after Gerry’s check. We know he checked, but there’s not clarity on what time he was seen returning to the table. One way to establish this would be to look at what food he ordered when, whether he paid for it, and how much of the meal he actually ate that evening.
- In the police interviews it’s established that Gerry didn’t go straight back to the restaurant after checking on his children. Instead he is seen on the street by a witness, Jes Wilkens at 21:08 and by Jane Tanner at 21:10. What this does is it pinpoints where Gerry is, giving him an alibi there and then, while also “allowing” Gerry not to be where he’s supposed to be [eating at the restaurant].
- Jane Tanner also – very conveniently – sees the prime suspect carrying away a child while at the time seeing Gerry in the street [not carrying anyone, while talking to Jes].
- Thirty minutes pass and it’s Kate’s turn to check on the children. During this interval Gerry’s movements aren’t known precisely. During this time, at approximately 21:50, the Smithman sighting occurs about 5 minutes’ walk from apartment 5A. The man and the child spotted in the alley broadly fit both the father and Madeleine’s description, and the man is said to be walking “briskly” in the direction of the sea. In addition, the child in his arms doesn’t appear to be conscious, and is being held “awkwardly”. Even the clothing of the child seen broadly matches what Madeleine was wearing the night she went missing.
- Although Kate McCann is quoted in the documentary and in her book saying she ran out of the apartment and when she saw the table shouted “someone’s [singular] taken Madeleine”, others on the scene remembered it differently. One nanny described Madeleine’s mother shouting “they’ve taken her”. Another account from the Moyes couple who were staying two floors above the McCanns, quotes Kate shouting “the fucking bastards have taken her”. And wouldn’t it have made more sense to simply shout the message from the balcony, if the Tapas Bar was within earshot and visual range, as is so often emphasised?
- It appears that at no point did either of the McCanns contact the authorities themselves, even when a neighbor offered the use of her phone. Gerry dispatched Oldfield relatively early, at 22:10, to head to receptions and call the police.
- For several years the focus of the media was on the Tapas 7’s star witness account – fingering Tannerman – even though the cops had long since dismissed this theory. Meanwhile, Smithman was dismissed or disregarded by the McCanns and their private investigation into that sighting…well…was treated in a very different way to Tannerman.
- A straightforward way to figure out who was where, when, and saw what, how and why events played out in a particular pattern, is for all the folks to return to the scene to do a recorded official reconstruction. Put the people like chess pieces on the board and move them about according to what everyone did and saw. This is precisely what the Portuguese cops asked the McCanns to do. This was their response at 4:19 in the clip below.
UPDATE: The clip above has been removed since the publication of this blog, so here’s another. This was the resconstruction response at 0:27in the clip below.
Also visit 1:46 in the clip below.
More: What happened on the day Madeleine disappeared? [Timeline] – The Guardian
The Prodigal Nanny Returns – Shakedown
The timeline leading up to the events of May 3rd, 2007 are explored in meticulous detail in DOUBT., available exclusively on Amazon Kindle Unlimited.