Below The 'last photograph', with Gerry, Amelie and Madeleine
EXCLUSIVE to mccannfiles.com
By Dr Martin Roberts
29 March 2012
A PICTURE OF INNOCENCE
As any half awake reader of 'Madeleine' will have discovered, the McCanns appear to have an answer for everything. Even though there may be questions yet to be put for which they might struggle to offer a convincing response, there is one in particular that they have already demonstrated they cannot answer. They could not answer it when it was put to them in 2007. And they still cannot answer it five years later. It surely does not require a clinical psychologist to point out that there is something seriously wrong when a parent deprived of his or her child cannot adequately recall that child's last moments with them.
When interviewed in 2007 for Spanish broadcaster Antena 3, the McCanns were asked:
"Allow me to take you both back to the 3rd May. What's the last thing you remember about Madeleine?"
KM: "Just a happy little girl. A beautiful, happy little girl"
(Not: 'She was sleeping beautifully' or 'was sound asleep').
GM: "Just think of all the times... the nice times that we've had with her in our house, and in her playing, in the playroom with her... with her... the twins."
The father could not even place Madeleine in Portugal. Instead he describes happy times at home in Leicester.
Fast forward now to 2012 and a very recent interview for Swedish Television:
Fredrik Skavlan: "Errm... If we could start by going back, errm... to... to May, errr... 3rd 2007. What's your strongest memories of Madeleine from that day?”
Gerry McCann: "I think the strongest memory I have is of really, the photograph that was the last photograph we have of her and, errr... you know, we'd had a lovely holiday. Madeleine was having a great time and just after lunch we went over to the pool area and, errr... she was sitting there paddling in the pool and I was sitting next to her and she turned round and she's just beaming. And then the... the last time I saw her, which was probably minutes before she was taken, when she was lying asleep, and it's terrible how... I've said this a few times but I had one of those poignant moments as a parent where... I went into her room, and the door was open, and I... I just paused for a second and I looked, and she was sound asleep, and I thought how beautiful she was. The twins were asleep in the... in their cots and I thought how lucky we were. And within, you know, minutes that was shattered!"
However intriguing one might find Gerry McCann's reference to his reverie being 'shattered,' or the verbatim repetition of his 'proud father moment' anecdote, the more revealing aspect of his response to the interviewer's question is the opener; the description, ostensibly, of his strongest memory of Madeleine from that day, which turns out not to be a particularly vivid memory of Madeleine at all, but the description of a photograph in which both Gerry McCann and his daughter Madeleine appear. As Gerry says:
"I think the strongest memory I have is of really, the photograph."
The 'last photograph we have of her' gives nothing away as regards the date it was taken but that is not the crux of the matter.
When Gerry speaks of his strongest memory being of a photograph he means exactly that. He does not describe his memory of accompanying two children by the pool and being photographed at the time. Oh no. He describes the photograph, from the onlooker's point of view:
"...just after lunch we went over to the pool area and, errr... she was sitting there paddling in the pool and I was sitting next to her and she turned round and she's just beaming."
Look at the photograph in question. Gerry is staring directly at the camera from behind a pair of sunglasses. Madeleine, a sun hat shielding her face, has turned away to her left with a broad smile. But from their relative positions at the time the shutter was pressed, Gerry would not have been able to tell whether Madeleine was beaming, frowning or crying. 'She's just beaming' is a description of what Madeleine looks like to anyone viewing the photograph. It is not a personal recollection of Gerry McCann's, the father who, despite attempts at convincing the PJ that his memory actually improved with time, has, five years on, a stronger memory of a photograph (its details, by virtue of the photograph's very existence, do not need to be remembered) than he does of a later interaction with Madeleine; an interaction which, in keeping with well-documented 'recency effects' in memory (last item(s) in a series best recalled), should constitute the stronger recollection, being nearer in time and, by definition, the last experience of its kind.
Amnesia apart, there are two reasons in particular why anyone should be unable to recollect the fundamental detail of a significant personal interaction: They have either forgotten all about it (it was not that significant after all), or the memory was not established in the first instance, i.e., what was supposed to have happened did not.
The McCanns have been propped up by two classes of supporter over the years: The enthusiastic subalterns with their own political and/or professional agendas, and the cohorts of the gullible. Head of the Portuguese Lawyers Order Dr. António Marinho e Pinto, a witness for the McCann couple in the forthcoming libel action against Dr. Gonçalo Amaral, the first co-ordinator of the investigation to Maddie's disappearance, belongs in the former category, as illustrated by a recent statement of his on Portuguese Television:
"I am highly critical of the options taken by the Judiciary Police officers, namely of Dr. Gonçalo Amaral [MeP seems oblivious to Paulo Rebelo's role as coordinator of the 'second part' of the investigation that lead directly to the archival]. I believe that it is absurd to attribute... first of all to conclude that the child died, secondly to attribute that death to the parents. I believe that an English couple that is holidaying in the Algarve did not come here to murder their daughter. And if indeed she died, due to an accident, the first thing they would do, obviously, wouldn't be to hide the cadaver, it would be to try to save her, to take her to a hospital. A couple that sees their daughter in that situation, in that situation..."
Dr. António Marinho e Pinto (and anyone else sharing his belief in the seemingly absurd) is cordially invited to read/re-read as appropriate, 'There's Nothing to Say She’s Not Out There Alive' (McCannFiles, 27 June, 2009). Anyone capable of playing the game 'noughts and crosses' should be able to interpret a matrix of four possibilities. If they cannot do that then they have no right to opine as 'experts' in front of a T.V. camera. Assuming they can recognise four discrete conditions, then what is it about the following pairing the likes of Dr. António Marinho e Pinto currently fail to understand?
If Madeleine McCann is not 'out there alive' then she is dead.
Abduction is the only route to being 'out there alive,' all other possibilities having been dismissed by the parents. Hence 'out there alive' equates to 'abducted.' So if Madeleine McCann was not abducted then, as surely as night follows day, she is dead - and then some. The statements by Jane Tanner and Aoife Smith tell us, in effect, that Madeleine McCann cannot have been abducted, unless she was tossed in the air like a pancake just before being witnessed (sighted, call it what you will) by Tanner, or else changed out of her Eeyore pyjamas 'on the hoof' before being spotted by the Smiths.
The abduction story more than verges on the ridiculous. It is ridiculous. It most certainly does not deserve to be called a 'thesis.'
As for the second of Dr. António Marinho e Pinto’s 'beliefs,' it too has already been addressed ('A Line in The Sand:' McCannFiles, 19 March). So it's 'back to the drawing board' for April then...?