Sunday, February 13, 2011

Witness Statement of Maria Cecilia Pereira Pires

Processos VI
1581 to 1584
Witness Statement of Maria Cecilia Pereira PiresDate: 2007.05.23
Profession: Journalist for Portugal Resident

She has been a journalist for about 16 years, but has worked for the above-referenced paper for about one month.

Questioned, responds that on the 4th of May, 2007, she was asked to go to Praia da Luz, Lagos, in order to cover the case of a missing child.

She clarifies that she was informed that the disappearance of the child occurred in the Mark Warner Ocean Club resort, and that the family/child’s family surname was McCann.

She responds that when she arrived at Praia da Luz around 09H30/10H00, and as she headed to the GNR post where she gathered some information, she then headed next to a group of journalists where she learnt further case details.

Because so little time had passed since the disappearance, she took the decision to walk around the area of the resort.

She adds that this decision was also made due to the information that the child may have left the apartment of her own accord, and may still be in the immediate area.

During her walk, she came across a bare patch of land, situated north, a few meters from the resort. She met a male individual, about 50 years in age, who approached her and asked if she was involved in the [read organized?] search for the missing child.

The deponent told him that she was not, even though she confirmed that she was looking, in order to calm her conscience a bit.

In this context, the individual proposed that both of them head towards a house, apparently unlived in, but not abandoned, with the intent of looking for the child, and so it would not appear like trespassing.

After entering the parking area of the residence, where they called out to see if anyone was home, they verified that a woman was inside.

This was a woman of advanced age, around 70 years old, 1,5 to 1,6 metres in height, with grey hair combed and coiffed in the shape of a “banana”.

 The individual with the deponent asked this older woman to help them search for this child.

 This older woman agreed.

She clarifies that the individual headed toward the pool zone and the deponent, accompanied by the older woman, lagged behind as the older woman walked slowly.

During this time, the older woman exclaimed to the deponent that she was bothered with the entire situation of the disappearance and further commented that the parents had to be going through great anguish.

The above conversation occurred in English, with the older woman indicating that she lived about 100 metres from the resort, and that the night prior she noticed the arrival of the police due to their sirens. This was around 22H00.

The woman in question told her that she had been having dinner with her son when she heard the sirens, and assumes that it was at this time that the disappearance was noted.

She clarifies that the older woman did not speak about a ‘child or a boy child’ and specifically mentioned “a girl child”. The deponent did not find this strange because by that time, May 4th, everyone knew it was a girl child that had gone missing.
The woman above also indicated that her son was working with the police in trying to locate the child.

She adds that after searching the area around the residence where they found nothing, (the same can be said for the pool neat the house), they were stopped by a neighbor.

 From what she could make out, he was German but asked them in English what was going on, and then after responded that the Police had been searching the area with dogs.

During the conversation with the older woman, the deponent was introduced to this individual. The deponent confirmed that she was a journalist. The other individual told them that he was searching for the child. The deponent then left the area and the other individuals staying behind.

This situation appeared to her very normal.

She responds that during her work, she came to know the son of the older woman.

The journalists referred to him as Robert Murat. He was someone who was involved with the journalists and police with much freedom. He spoke both English and Portuguese.

She states that on the 5th of May, the British journalists affirmed that Robert Murat was one of the suspects in the missing child case.

He appeared very much surprised at this and confirmed that he was going to back-off so that he would not be the subject of such comments. Following this point, it was very difficult to contact him.

She clarifies that when she saw the pictures at the information kiosk operated by Robert’s mother, she was certain that his mother was the same one she had met on the 4th.

She responds that when she read the notices, offered by Robert’s mother, she was taken aback by one sentence.

That sentence read that the child had gone missing at 07H00 on the 4th of May.

 This information was supposedly proffered as a result of a telephone call she received. As a result, she set up the information kiosk. The deponent found this strange, given what had occurred between her and this woman on the 4th of May.

She affirms that she became aware of the name of the older woman from newspapers.

 On the day she initially met her (the 4th of May) this older woman did not identify herself.

She adds that she has many times pondered this situation but always thought it was of no significance.

 Only today and when she saw what was written did she decide to communicate the fact. She knows with absolute certainty that this older woman was aware of the disappearance given what this older woman had stated to her the morning of May 4th.

Because she is asked, the deponent responds that she bears no grudge against these individuals who she has never seen before.

 She is certain that this appears an attempt to construct an alibi.

 There is incongruence between what the older women is stating regarding the 4th and what can be read in the newspapers of today (23 of May, 2007).

 She felt it her obligation to communicate these facts to the authorities.

And nothing more was said.

Reads, ratifies and signs.

COMMENT: Once again the 'talk' of hearing sirens...Martin Brunt spent a great deal of time asking people in the village if they had heard sirens that night ,for some reason it seemed important to him to establish this fact. NO ONE heard sirens...or certainly no one he spoke to...AND once again Mrs . Murat speaks of sirens as' proof' she was at home with her son...