Yes we have all watched Crimewatch and we have seen the numerous appeals for information. But what people seem to forget is the fact it is surprising the number of crimes that get solved due to programmes like Crimewatch.
It is surprising the number of people, who watch the programme and recognise someone or remember something. Sometimes even if that little bit of info means nothing much to them and it seems trivial, that trivial piece of information could turn out to be the piece of information that solves a case.
That little bit of info could lead to a person being charged, brought before a court and a family having closure in knowing that the person who harmed their loved one, or the person who stole their goods is now facing the Courts and getting their just deserts.
Now in May 2007, during those early days, a reconstruction would have been most beneficial, especially if it had been televised. Think of the number of people that flew home that Friday or Saturday. People who may have witnessed someone strange in their holiday complex. Cars are available and for all we know the person that harmed Madeleine could have been going from resort to resort.
By televising a Crimewatch style reconstruction back in May 2007, it could have led to Madeleine being found and the person responsible behind bars, locked away and not out on the streets where they could commit another crime.
But no, the PJ decided against a reconstruction, even though the parents of Madeleine wanted one done. They decided that there was too much media, too many tourists and it was hard to close down airspace.
So what did they not want the media to witness? Surely if the media broadcast this reconstruction it could only be beneficial in finding Madeleine. And why wasn’t Rebelo concerned about the airspace, the tourist when he was planning a reconstruction in 2008?
Goncalo speaks about the reconstruction in his book and the reasons why it was not carried out, he says:
By the middle of May we had already proceeded with a second series of questioning of the nine tourists who spent their holidays in Vila da Luz. There was an increase in the number of contradictions between the various statements.
Despite the importance of a second questioning of Kate Healy it was decided to wait a little longer because the mother of Maddie would be too upset/shaken.
This is when the need arises to proceed with a reconstruction of the events of that night in an attempt to make things clearer. This is a very common investigative procedure especially when details and contradictions are piling up in a given case.
Considrable progress is made when a reconstruction is done. We would be in the presence of many of those involved – the group of tourists, the restaurant workers, the nursery teachers, and other witnesses. So the reader can see how very important a reconstruction of that night would have been.
The reconstruction can work as a catalyst for clarifying the sequence of events and their respective timings. If there are contradictions during the reconstruction they are immediately explained by those involved.
The reconstruction never happened. Why? Given the large number of tourists in the village whose holidays would be affected if it were closed for several hours, the necessity to close the airspace, the large number of journalists in such a small area and the fear that the parents of Maddie and their friends were coming under suspicion and naturally we did not wish to see a trial in a public arena.
The team of investigators discussed the possibility but a decision was taken that there would be no reconstruction in spite of some dissenting voices..
Even so, the reconstruction of that evening could have been done in a more discreet way with only the parents of the child who had disappeared. Essentially it would have the same effect of clearing up what happened at the time. Due to their direct responsibility (Parent-child) and the meaning and value of their statements the parents are the driving force of that night. No a priori judgement is intended, quite the contrary. It simply follows from the duty of cooperation, normal in such situations.
It is my opinion that this reconstruction, whether with all those involved or only with the parents, remains extremely useful. The “staging” of the night in the technical and investigative sense of the term, the act of reconstruction starting from the list of elements contained in the process allows, in conjunction with these the night of 3 May 2007 to be kept alive as a living memory today. It isn’t clear, therefore, why it is not happening.
Em meados de Maio já se tinha procedido a uma segunda leva de inquirições deste grupo de nove turistas que passava férias na Vila da Luz. As contradições entre os diversos depoimentos aumentaram.
Apesar de ser importante uma segunda inquirição de Kate Healy, decidiu-se esperar mais algum tempo porque a mãe de Maddie estaria demasiado abalada.
É nesta altura que se coloca a necessidade de se proceder a uma reconstituição dos factos daquela noite numa tentativa de os esclarecer. Esta constitui um acto processual e investigatório muito comum, sobretudo quando se avolumam os pormenores e contradições de um determinado caso.
Progride-se consideravel- mente quando uma reconstituição se concretiza. Estaríamos na presença de dezenas de intervenientes – o grupo de turistas, os empregados do restaurante, as educadoras e as demais teste- munhas. Percebe assim o leitor o incomensurável valor que a reconstituição daquela noite teria.
A sua realização pode funcio- nar como catalisador no esclarecimento da sequência de factos e sobre a sua simultaneidade. Se houver contradições durante a reconstituição, instantaneamente estas são explicadas pelos seus protagonistas
Mas a reconstituição não se realizou. Porquê? Atendendo ao número de turistas que estava no aldeamento, o qual teria de ser fechado durante algumas horas, afectando as suas férias, pela necessidade de fechar o espaço aéreo, pelo elevado número de jor- nalistas num espaço que se tornara exíguo e ainda porque se temia que se achasse que os pais de Maddie e os seus amigos estariam a ser considerados suspeitos e, naturalmente, não queríamos um julgamento na praça pública.
Foi discutida esta possibilidade no seio da equipa de investigação, mas a decisão acabou por ser a sua não realização, apesar de algumas vozes discordantes.
Ainda assim, a reconstituição daquela noite poderia ter sido feita de uma forma mais discreta, apenas com os pais da criança desaparecida. No essencial, obter-se-ia o mesmo efeito esclare- cedor sobre o que então ocorreu. Pela responsabilidade directa (pais-filhos) e pelo teor e valor dos seus depoimentos, os pais são o fio condutor daquela noite. Isto sem que, antes pelo contrário, se faça qualquer juízo a priori. Apenas decorre do dever de coo- peração, normalíssimo nestas situações.
É meu entendimento que esta reconstituição, seja com todos os intervenientes ou apenas com os pais, ainda é extremamente útil. A «encenação» da noite, no sentido técnico e investigatório do termo, acto de reconstituição a partir do rol de elementos que constam do processo permite, em articulação com estes manter ainda hoje a memória viva da noite de 3 de Maio de 2007. Não se percebe, assim, porque não se realiza.
Well we know for a fact, because the files tell us that Kate and Gerry McCann never refused to attend a reconstruction. The files state:
Public Ministry of Portimao
Case 201/07 GALGS
Kate Marie Healy arguida in the case referred to above, having been notified (page 3947) expresses her availability to participate in the reconstruction of the events on the second of the dates suggested, in other words on the 15 and 16th of next May. Her husband, Gerry McCann has also already expressed his availability.
So why would their friends refuse to attend a reconstruction? Simple really, when you think about it. They had asked for assurances and they had sought legal advice. And the advice given by their lawyers was not to attend.
I can understand why.
- They knew it was not going to be aired on TV, so they knew that the PJ were not asking for information from the public and holidaymakers who were in and around PDL during that week.
- They also knew that their friends did NOT do as they were accused of by the PJ and were made arguidos and the PJ were accusing them of a heinous crime, and they feared that they too could become arguidos.
- They feared that if they did attend there was nothing stopping the PJ from arresting them (with the Courts permission) and detaining them.
- They also knew that one member of their group, namely Matthew Oldfield, had already been interviewed and they were trying to make him to confess, that he passed Madeleine through the window to another person. (Reference Kate’s book page 123).
- And they knew that the PJ had already refused to do a reconstruction at a time that would have been more beneficial to the enquiry, when Kate and Gerry McCann were not suspects.
- And finally they took legal advice and listened to their lawyers.
Even I can see that the reconstruction was not designed to gather information from the Public but was solely being carried to possibly implicate them in the disappearance of Madeleine. And I think if I had been in their shoes, I would have sought legal advice and listened to my lawyers. I too would have been worried about returning and petrified that I could be banged up.
Already they were witnessing what happened to their friends, Kate and Gerry by them being made arguidos, so it is only natural to fear the worst.
It was not that they did not want to help find Madeleine because Jane Tanner freely went to Portugal and helped in the Channel 4 Documentary. It was solely because they did not trust the Portuguese Police and what they said.
And if you are truthful to yourself you will understand the fear they must have had, knowing about what happened and knowing that there could be chance that they could be held in custody and not see their children.
Just think about it, would you run the risk of being separated from your children?
Sometimes there comes a point, no matter how hard it is, that you have to put yourself and your family first before others and I think this was one of those situations. It was not because they didn’t want to help Madeleine, it was out of fear that they a) took legal advice and b) acted upon that advice.
I will be honest, I think I would have done the same and I know my husband would have done.
UPDATE – Re Goncalos book and Reconstruction in May 2007: