Saturday, November 13, 2010

Collusion for beginners


r189713_711839 Move one, you move ’em all
Three people are known to have been involved in the creation of the first two, illustrated yesterday:  Gerry McCann, David Payne and Russell O’ Brien. Where? In apartment 5A. When? Between, say, 11.30 PM- 2AM on the night of May 3/4. More details? Few: only O’ Brien – who’d been seen in possession of them by the Portuguese police – has been questioned about them: that was in 2008 and by then he’d forgotten all about them, even their very existence.

The Third Timeline

This is different from the other two. It is a typed document which, according to David Payne, “represented the views of the whole group”. It was finalised after the first police statements had been given on May 4 but before the second round of questioning on May 10.
The group asked if they could take it into their second interviews so that they could refer to it! The request was refused. So far, so daylight.


The possible motivations are numerous and obvious. What is the “innocent” explanation – the one that the participants have given and that, out of fairness, we should accept? There isn’t one – after three and a half years! They will not agree to clarify them or reconstruct the movements they claim to describe. That is the heart of the “why won’t you?” question.

Taking all the evidence together the explanation that is most favourable to the group is that they conspired to stretch the evidence in order to protect themselves against potential accusations of child neglect.
All other credible explanations are less favourable to the group.


In group investigations the “first cut is the deepest”: if the first  statements are compared with later ones and remain absolutely the same then there is no evolution. If changes occur – natural changes in recollection- they should show a random pattern of disorder, since nobody remembers the same things in the same way.
If, however, changes occur but form a distinctly evolving, ordered pattern leading from initial divergence to close agreement then something is wrong and suspicions of collusion – conspiring to agree false or dubious evidence - rise to red flag level. If  the story then remains fixed, with no further development, then its time for people to start seeing their lawyers.

Evolution & the Tapas Nine

There is unmistakeable evolution to convergence in the T9’s evidence, indicating the construction of a timescale to fit supposed events. We cannot bore the reader with all the many examples but will give just one, the very beginning of the evening.

The witness evidence that all nine were at the tapas bar by 8.45, give or take a few minutes,is quite unambiguous. O’Brien’s first timeline is based on what he saw and knew: “8.45 everyone meets at the pool for dinner”. The second, after consultation with Gerry McCann, repeats: “8.45 Pool”. In his first police statement he makes an alteration: he says he went there “around” 8.45 but now says the Payne group were not there. They arrive, he says, five minutes later, 8.50.

David Payne, who helped create the first two timelines, was ahead of the game: he stated that they arrived at the bar at “around” 8.55 – but he hadn’t squared the change with his family: Fiona Payne, a pretty sharp observer who was not involved in the first two timelines, said they left at 8.45 for the two minute journey to the bar. Dianne Webster says “around” 8.45. Not one of the three  mentioned meeting Oldfield on the way.

Famous for fifteen minutes

In his statement Oldfield didn’t mention meeting them either but contradicts all three by saying that they arrived at 9PM. Rachael Oldfield agrees with her husband’s timing but she remembers them arriving after Mathew, who had left, apparently on his famous first check of the evening, which fitted in with the early claims of a couple of the group to the police that they were all checking “every fifteen minutes”. Whoops!  Fifteen minutes just wasn’t on and the timeline creators knew it.  Catch up Mathew! To complete this disarray Jane Tanner stated that her partner  O’ Brien - who’d written “8.45, everybody at the pool” - arrived at nine!

The day after those police statements, and after discussions with the group, Payne wrote the third timeline. It is an absurd, as well as a thoroughly dishonest document, which shoehorns these differing recollections into an unsustainable narrative. “Every fifteen minutes”, by the way, is never mentioned again.

And every half an hour was no joke to slot in either. Payne  changed the evidence of his wife and mother-in-law to state that they were “on their way” to the bar at 8.55, corroborating this with the previously unmentioned meeting with Oldfield. The vagueness of “on their way” is then turned into farce by the stop-watch precision of “20.57 (!) MO listens...”

Could they explain these changes to the police, though? David and Fiona Payne have still, after three and a half years, not done so. Along with Kate McCann they missed the second round of questions on May 10, leaving elderly Dianne Webster to fend for herself.

Early in her second  interview Webster introduced the helpful detail, previously unmentioned, that although the dinner booking was always for 8.30, the whole group “never gathered before 20h45/21h00” due to chronic unpunctuality.

Further on she “recalled” that they had been late because they only managed to get to the Restaurant around 21h00. So far so good. She was asked if she had “crossed paths” with anyone (Oldfield obviously included) on the way. Whoops! She said no.

[A year later, interviewed by the Leicester police she forgot her lines again and fell back on something nearer the truth – arrival at 8.50 or 8.55 – and, perhaps remembering some interesting conversations elsewhere, hastily added " and the thing that I didn’t mention at the original interview in Portugal was that I do vaguely remember seeing Matt, he was coming up...” Whoops!]

In his second interview Mathew Oldfield was on the ball about the third timeline arrivals-board, except for Payne’s fictional “8.57 Oldfield listens...” And Jane Tanner too, who had previously remembered nothing about arrivals except O Brien’s lateness, had a giant burst of Recovered Memory Syndrome.

She “recalled” that Oldfield had left “a few minutes before nine”. Oh, and she remembered him talking about it before going, announcing that he was off to hurry the group up and, blimey, she even remembered that “on the way he took the opportunity and looked in on the children’s  bedrooms.”

It gets deeper, like hypnosis. Jane Tanner climaxed by  “remembering” that Oldfield had passed the Paynes and Dianne Webster on the way and “made a circuit to listen at the apartments”. To be blunt about it – and this applies to most of the other claims - how did she know those things?  She didn’t. She is not recalling anything. She is, for whatever reason, attempting to falsely corroborate a friend’s story to the police about which she has no corroborative knowledge. Not for the last time.

A completed work of art – Timeline 3

2030: Standard booking for meal at Tapas restaurant for group - same all week (Sun-Thur)

2035: Gerry McCann (GM) and Kate McCann (KC) arrive at table at Tapas Restaurant.

2040: Jane Tanner (JT) arrives, followed shortly by Matthew Oldfield (MO) and Rachael Mampilly Oldfield (RMO).

2045: Russell O'Brien (RJO) arrives at table.

2055: MO returns to apartments to check on ground floor flats, passing David Payne (DP), Fiona Payne

(FP) and her mother Dianne Webster (DW) on their way down to the table.

2057: MO listens outside all ground floor flats' windows on the car park side of the apartment (5A, 5B and 5D) to make sure they were asleep. At this time, all the shutters were down on each window.

2100: MO return to the table. Starters were ordered.
[Post arrival stuff omitted]

Done – for now

So we see the evolution of a version in progress, the creation of a fictional story that not one of them could have known to be true, from which they never again deviated.

But, you might say, all this fuss about a mere ten minutes? Yes, since it is a vain attempt to fit their purported actions into a bounded timeframe that cannot accommodate them, just as, later in the evening, even with everything shifted along by ten minutes, it  couldn’t accommodate the supposed actions of Jane Tanner, Gerry McCann and Mr Abductor: the pieces were moved around  the board but as each one was moved, like a board game or a Rubik’s cube, it affected all the others.

When Rachael Oldfield, questioned by BBC after the rogatory interviews, was asked, if “the story” had changed she replied, “no, because there never was a story to change.”

Tapas7                   Do you come here often? Will you be back?