Prior to leaving Lisbon after proclaiming that Madeleine McCann’s body was in the family garden of Mrs Murat, he gave an interview to Expresso.
EXPRESSO interviews BIRCH at Lisbon Airport on 28th June 2007
BIRCH Madeleine died on the 3rd of May, 2007 and on that same evening, Madeleine went into the ground.
BIRCH I became interested in the case about a year ago. Ermm, and err, started reading about the case and realised that a tremendous effort had been put in by the Portuguese Police and the British Police in trying to solve the case. And err, it was then that err, I decided that I wanted to see if I could help. And erm, I began reading, er, all the doc… available documentation about the case, about approximately about 12,000 pages and it took me about a year, err, at great financial and emotional cost to myself.
Initially my team was four people but when I came to Praia da Luz I had to bring IT people with me, err, who were specialised, who assisted me with regard to, erm, the technical aspect of undertaking this investigation and also setting up all the machinery required to err, be able to do what we did. We brought very sophisitcated machinery in. We brought a MALÅ ground-penetrating radar machine in. Erm, and basically the, erm, the machine, er, locates cavities in the ground, ermm, where ground has been disturbed, err, and the machine can then show you, err, subsurface condtions of the ground err, and it was through the use of this machine that we believe that we’ve located the remains of Madeleine.
You know, without the technology one only has a hypothesis. One of the things I did do was I undertook a significant amount of mapping of the area to determine the routes and distances and I overlaid those maps er, in terms of activities and various things that occurred in that area er, and that it, it certainly narrowed down the options as to where Madeleine could be buried. But at the end of the day, it was technology that erm, confirmed my hypothesis and my suspicions.
Our investigation has shown that Madeleine’s remains are buried beneath a rear second driveway, err, of the property known as Casa Liana (SIC) in Praia da Luz. Well Casa Liana (SIC) is a large property. Its a large villa and it initially well it has a very large driveway on the, on the, on the northern side of the property. But this area where Madeleine is actually buried, er a new driveway, a secondary less important driveway was constructed over her. I, I personally don’t believe that that driveway serves any purpose. Its a small, little driveway err, you can hardly turn a vehicle on it and its covered in err, pebble stone. And erm, so I believe that this second driveway on the property was constructed over her. The property is approximately 174 metres away from where Madeleine went missing and err, I certainly believe that erm, Madeleine’s remains lie buried beneath that driveway.
The scans from the machine, err, presented three hyperbola on the scans and they clearly show that something is buried approximately between four hundred and six hundred and fifty millimetres below ground level. Ermm, what happens when a body decomposes is that it shrinks in size, leaving a cavity err, which was the original area where the body was. And its that cavity that, that we are looking for when we use that type of equipment.
Err, without going into too much detail my hypothesis is based and I agree with Mr. Amaral who put a tremendous effort into this case, that Madeleine’s body went, errr, into the ground that same evening. In other words I don’t believe that Madeleine’s body was transported in a motor vehicle twenty three days later. Madeleine died on the third of May, 2007 and on that same evening Madeleine went into the ground.
The investigation was made very difficult by various factors. The first factor was that the bulk of the witnesses actually left the crime scene and went back to their respective countries, being England. It makes an investigation very difficult when one has to conduct an investigation and your witnesses evaporate into thin air and go home to their countries. Thats the first problem. The second problem was language. Language err, the Port…, the Portuguese investigators having to interview ermm, English-speaking witnesses and then also having to rely on British investigators to conduct questions on their behalf made it very difficult for them because in an investigation, errr, an investigator normally would be able to change his questions at a spur of the moment. When one is undertaking questions over long distance it makes it very, very difficult. And then the third, err, factor that made it very, very difficult for this investigation was the tremendous international response that occurred world-wide and all the various sightings that occurred. Err, I believe that this had a, had a er, er, negative effect on the investigation. Whereas the investigation should have been narrowed down to the Praia da Luz area it spread out and became an international investigation putting pressure on the availability of err, resources for the police.
The equipment that I brought, the MALÅ ground-penetrating radar machine is probably one of the best machines in the world. Ermm, I, I cannot say whether the Portuguese Police have equipment of that standard or better, or whether this was just a case of them just having missed, err, a err, body which is, which is quite easy under the circumstances. Ermm, Madeleine was only 90cm tall, weighed 18.5 kilograms and if fold (SIC) in half she would only be 45 centimetres which is, err, quite easy to miss, err, something of that size in a large property.
If tbey decide not to err, err, undertake the err, excavation they could take legal action against me for tre…, for illegally trespassing on the property not once but four times. So I’ve decided to fly back to South Africa, release the information world-wide on the internet and erm, and er, then err, hope and, and plead that the Portuguese Police will immediately obtain the necessary, err, warrant, enter the property, excavate the site and err, exhume the err, the remains. If they are successful err, I will have no problem in returning back to Portugal to assist them further with their investigation.
I’ve appointed two major legal firms to represent me. Erm, the first is DLA Piper in London. Ermm, my err, attorney there is Eben Black. And then in South Africa I’ve appointed DLA Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr err, both firms are…, and I’m represented there by Tayob Kamdar.*** Both firms are very large international legal firms and they will both be acting and er, er representing me in this matter.
I’ve been working more than a year on this case. I’m, I’m exhausted. I’m tired. it has cost me a lot of money. Erm, and I’d like to see closure on this case for all parties concerned. Ermm and er, yah, I think I’d like to see closure on behalf of everybody.
*** (name does not sound like this but this was subtiltled name on Expresso Video and that is a lawyer with the firm as shown on their web page)
Additional Info re: these searches
Thanks also goes out to Tony of Hounding Blog who found this photo from the Daily Mail showing the area being cleared where Birch claims the body is hidden. If you look clearly at this picture you can clearly see that the area was searched properly by the PJ.
This picture appeared in the Daily Mail on the 5th August 2007