John Blacksmith writes: Before returning to the exoneration question we need to spend more time on the critical meetings between the police, parents and their lawyer on the night of September 6 2007. Twenty four hours later Gerry McCann outlined a plan for he, his wife and their their children to flee across the border by car. What had happened?
Carlos Pinto de Abreu. He knows.
Something doesn’t add up
Many readers have been puzzled by pages 240 – 245 of Kate’s book which describe the meeting with their lawyer, Carlos Pinto de Abreu, and the police interviews which preceded it. Some have said that they can’t make any sense of the meeting, others that there is something strange or “wrong” about the section. To sum up, the lawyer’s supposed words and the McCanns’ actions and emotions don’t seem to match up.
The Bureau suggested that Gerry McCann had “wanted” to confess and that he changed his mind and argued instead that they should tough it out hoping that the evidence against them was too weak to gain a conviction. That is the only interpretation that appears to make sense of what we know; as a Lisbon judge might say, however, it is only an interpretation.
Deal or no deal?
But first of all, what, in essence is Kate McCann’s claim? It was expressed by Philomena McCann when she contacted the news media under instructions from Kate McCann on September 7.
"They tried to get her to confess to having accidentally killed Madeleine by offering her a deal through her lawyer - 'if you say you killed Madeleine by accident and then hid her and disposed of the body, then we can guarantee you a two-year jail sentence or even less,’"
This was no vague media report: as Kate McCann describes on page 246 of her book she and her husband were on the phone for around two hours that morning “calling family and friends to make them aware of the situation and to give them the green light to voice their outrage and despair if they wanted to. Nobody needed a second invitation”. Philomena McCann gave the same version to all the major news media.
And the official police version? They stated publicly and categorically that it was untrue: the Portuguese police do not make deals. There is a clear conflict therefore – once again – between the police version of events and the claims of the McCanns. Either the police version is untrue or that of the McCanns is untrue and there is no possibility of reconciling them. For those who believe the McCanns were the victims of a police conspiracy throughout the affair that is no problem; for the rest of us the claim needs to be looked at carefully.
The missing evening
According to Kate McCann’s book she went into her police interview at 2.55 PM on September 6. Apart from a fifteen minute break at 5 PM the questioning went on until 7.50 that evening in an atmosphere that was”quite amenable”. There was a break, following which, she writes, her lawyer “disappeared into a meeting” with several of the PJ officers, leaving her feeling “upset and frustrated”. As you would if your lawyer had gone off without instructions or any warning and left you for over two hours. If.
“At last,” says Kate McCann, “Carlos re-appeared.” The time, therefore, would be just after ten. She then adds that the questioning finally finished as 12.40. What happened during those two and a half hours? Kate McCann has nothing whatever to say except for one ten second snippet – that in the corridor outside a room one of the officers, Paolo Ferreira, told her that she should listen very carefully to what her lawyer had to say since it was very important.
According to the police records of her statement:
“At this moment, and because it is late, 11 p.m., the interview was interrupted and will be continued the next morning. She says nothing further. Reads, confirms, ratifies and signs, as do the interpreter and the defence lawyer.” Significantly,perhaps, the questioning had ended at this point:
“At 10 p.m. she got up from the table, as it was her turn after having been replaced by Matt. She entered the apartment by the balcony door which was closed, but as already said, not locked.”
It should be clear by now that Kate McCann has deliberately made no attempt to describe what actually happened on that critical evening, in stark contrast to her descriptions of the August 8 interview, which cover pages 212 to 214 of her book. There is no description of the attitude or demeanour of the police so graphically described in the August 8 pages, almost none about her state of mind, almost nothing about her discussions with her lawyer; the only time she quotes a police officer – out of many hours of questioning – is the Ferreira comment above which just happens to fit in with her “deal” claim and which just happens to have taken place in a corridor away from the stenographers and witnesses.
He won’t testify. But he talks.
And so we come to the discussions in the villa later that night. To make any sense at all of Kate McCann’s description the reader has to bear in mind that both the lawyer, who has a record of this discussion, and a second witness, his assistant, were present, thus putting certain constraints on what she can claim Abreu said. This is the reason for the apparent senselessness that so many readers have noticed in the section, as though the records of two different conversations have been mixed up. The chronology is quite unclear and the reader has to study the text very closely indeed to know just when Kate McCann is addressing Abreu (rarely) and when she is talking rhetorically and melodramatically to the reader.
First, Abreu’s description of what the police had said, as mediated by Kate McCann in the book. Does it match what Kate McCann claims?
It does not. Here is Philomena with the authorised version again:
"They tried to get her to confess to having accidentally killed Madeleine by offering her a deal through her lawyer - 'if you say you killed Madeleine by accident and then hid her and disposed of the body, then we can guarantee you a two-year jail sentence or even less." [my italics]
We do not have a similar public record of what her lawyer actually said in quotes; we have Kate McCann’s paraphrase of what he said:
- If Kate McCann admitted that Madeleine had died in an accident in the apartment and
- If she confessed to having hidden and disposed of her body then
- The sentence she would receive would be much more lenient than if she was “charged” [sic] with homicide.
Nowhere does she quote Abreu – who as I say has a record of the conversation – as saying what Kate McCann claimed via her relative on September 7, “if you say you killed Madeleine by accident”. That is an invention by Kate McCann passed on to Philomena McCann to be given to the media.
Nowhere does she quote Abreu as saying that the police said then we can guarantee you a two-year jail sentence or even less." That is an invention by Kate McCann passed on to Philomena McCann to be given to the media.
And that’s it. Kate McCann, four years later and now having to give a description of the “proposal” for the first time, has completely withdrawn her initial claims (in italics above). But without those claims what she describes is not a deal! It is a statement of fact. There is no carrot and stick: no reward is being offered to her on the one hand and no threat is being made on the other.
A pity it took four years for it to come out.
How dare they!
Following her lawyer’s factual statement Kate McCann then goes off into transports of shock and indignation, how dare they, this tactic isn’t going to work with me, blah, blah. Trouble is, there is no record that she actually said this to Abreu – who, I repeat, has a record of the conversation – rather than to the pages of Madeleine four years later.
And try as she might to take the couple of sentences she claims to be quoting from Abreu out of context and chronology to maintain the fiction of a proffered deal,with her earlier claims deleted they now make no sense. “You need to think about it,” Abreu says at one point, though Kate McCann uses the word “insisted". Think about what? Since no deal has been offered he cannot be talking of acceptance of a deal. And, “it would be only one of you. Gerry could go back to work”. Yes, he could. So what?
There is no point in going through the rest of this lamentable chapter to see the various ways in which Kate McCann has endeavoured to complete the impossible task of quoting Abreu more or less accurately when the original claims which justified it being called a deal have been deleted. The reader merely has to check. Her ringing peroration, “do you want me to lie? What would you do, Carlos?” again makes no sense with the revised wording: the police haven’t asked her to lie, her lawyer hasn’t brought her a message asking her to lie. And nor does Gerry’s tearful collapse and cries of “we’re finished, our life is over”immediately following her description of the harmless non-proposal make any sense.
But of course it wasn’t a reaction to a non-existent, gun to the head deal, was it? Because a page earlier, before the “deal” was mentioned, Kate McCann was writing, “I could see by this time that Gerry was beginning to crack”. So what was it that made him first “crack” and then, eventually, collapse?
He began to crack, according to his wife, as his lawyer finished outlining the apparent strength of the case against them, given on the same page. That certainly does make sense and so does his eventual recovery from despair after he’s thought the evidence through, recovered himself and made the judgement that, despite what his lawyer had told him, there was a good chance that if they hung on and admitted nothing the evidence might not be strong enough to convict either of them of anything.
Which is exactly what they did.
Doing what you know
In conclusion the reader may note what happened next, after they took the decision not to confess and Gerry asked their lawyer “whether he was up to the job” of defending them on the new basis.
On a previous occasion, the McCanns, having made up their mind about events, made desperate phone calls in the middle of the night seeking assistance from those they thought might help them, followed by calls to friends and family asking them to contact the media with their version of events ahead of that of the police.
That was on the night of May 3 and the morning of May 4 2007.
On the night of September 6 and the morning of September 7, Gerry McCann rang the British police officer Bob Small and desperately sought his help, after which both parents made calls to friends and family asking them to contact the media with their version of events ahead of that of the police.
Enough said. The evidence shows – and Abreu knows – that no deal was ever offered.
HistoryHolmes...knows all about Kate McCanns lies.
Kate McCanns book of DECEIT