Evidence does not have to be in the form of forensic evidence - DNA, fingerprints, hair, physical damage, etc. - for a case to be built and for guilt to be proven in a court of law. Although it is very popular today for juries to rely more and more on forensics to come up with a guilty verdict, direct testimony and circumstantial evidence without any forensics at all can still be enough to prove someone's guilt. If thirty people give direct testimony that Joe Smith came into the room with a rifle and gunned down a bunch of people, this would be pretty good evidence even if Joe ran off with the gun and ditched it down a mineshaft.
Likewise, Jane Tanner's eyewitness testimony could be credible if there was not the question of her actually being on the street when and where she said she was (since two other eyewitness accounts state she was not there at all). Add to this, issues over whether the lighting was good enough and the witness close enough for her to have really have seen a man carrying a child, a child in specific clothing, and likely, this testimony would be torn to shreds in court. So let's move to the circumstantial evidence in this case. The McCanns made an effort to build the case for an abductor from circumstantial evidence that did not include forensics of any sort. The theory is that an abductor was hiding in the room while Gerry was checking on the children. This theory is based on the timing of the raised shutters and open window and the ever-changing position of the bedroom door. And, of course, Jane Tanner's sighting. But let's stay with the physical evidence for now.
If all these things can validate a stranger in the room at the very time Gerry is in the apartment, then Jane Tanner's story gets a boost because as soon as Gerry walked out the sliding doors, the abductor would grab Maddie from the bed and run out of the front door, crossing the street just in time for Jane to see him. There is nothing wrong with developing a theory based on such things, if, in the end, these things are supportable in some way and make logical sense when the day is done. It still doesn't mean it is true, but at least it could be a good theory. And, if the direct evidence and circumstantial evidence really holds water, that theory may be good enough to accept as a factual rendition of what indeed did happen and eventually will stand up in a court of law as part of a criminal case. Okay, so can we find evidence to support Jane's 9:15 sighting and the hypothesis that a kidnapper was in the McCann apartment and in the children's room at the same time Gerry was?
IMPORTANT: FIRST STATEMENTS ARE THE MOST IMPORTANT STATEMENTS. THERE IS MORE TRUTH IN THEM AND MORE ATTEMPTS TO QUICKLY STAGE (USING SIMPLE LIES) THAN IN LATER INTERVIEWS
May 4, 2007 Gerald McCann Witness Statement
Thus, at 9.05 pm, the deponent entered the club,using his key, the door being locked, and went to the children's bedroom and noted that the twins and Madeleine were in perfect condition. He then went to the toilet, where he remained for a few instants, left the apartment, and then crossed ways with someone with whom he had played tennis, who had a baby buggy, also a British citizen, with whom he had a brief conversation. He then returned to the restaurant.
At around 9.30 pm, his friend MATT (a member of the group) went to his apartment where his own children were, and on his way he went into the deponent's apartment, going in through a sliding glass door at the side of the building, which was always unlocked (so why is Gerry going through the front door?). He went into the room, saw the twins and didn’t even notice if Madeleine was there, as everything was quiet, the shutters closed and the bedroom door half-open as usual. Then MATT went back to the restaurant.
At 10pm, his wife Kate went to check on the children. She went into the apartment through the door using her key (Why is Kate not going through the sliding door?) and saw right away that the children’s bedroom door was completely open, the window was also open, the shutters raised and the curtains drawn open. The side door that opens into the living room, which as said earlier, was never locked, was closed.
It is stressed that when one of the members of the group, JANE, went to her apartment to see her children, at around 9.10/9.15 pm, from behind and at a distance of about 50 metres, on the road next to the club, she saw a person carrying a child in pyjamas. JANE will be better able to clarify this situation.
Okay, let's stop here. What we have learned is that Gerry says BOTH he and Kate used a key to enter the apartment through the locked front door. This would be consistent with a locked apartment which would not allow a stranger easy access and increase safety of the children staying alone in an exposed corner apartment.
Then Gerry immediately states that the sliding door was always left open which invalidates the behavior of going to the front door and using a key. Why? To me, in conjunction with other information, this appears to be an addition to his story which allows Matthew Oldfield to do a check at around 9:30 (even though members of the Tapas group did not do visual checks on each others' children previously).
But, what does Gerry say about the bedroom door? Nothing. He does not point out anything alarming about this door in his interview. And he even states that when Matthew went into the room that the shutters were closed and the door half-open as usual.
Gerry did not see the shutters raised nor the window open nor the door anything but half-open. In fact, everything was normal when he went into the apartment using his key. He saw his children (allegedly) and left because nothing was out of place (allegedly). He chats with Jes, doesn't see Jane, but wants Jane to tell her story of a man with a child she saw from behind and from a hell of a long way off.
Let's go to Matthew Oldfield's May 4th Witness Statement.
Gerry allegedly went into his apartment and that he checked to make sure that
Madeleine and the twins were sleeping in their bedroom, where it was quite dark. The bedroom door
was half-open. That five minutes later, Gerry came back to the group in the restaurant.
In answer to a question from the inspector, the interviewee does not know if Gerry met anyone while
he was checking the children. He did not mention it.
At around 9.25pm, the interviewee went into his apartment and Madeleine's apartment to check on
the children. He states that the door of the fourth apartment (room?), that was occupied by
Madeleine and the twins, was half-open and that there wasenough light in the bedroom for him to
see the twins in their cots. That he couldn't see the bed occupied by Madeleine, but as it was all
quiet, he deduced that she was sleeping. That the light in question was from an artificial source but
not inside the bedroom, rather from outside through the bedroom window. That it seemed to him
that the shutters of the bedroom window were open without knowing if the window was also open.
Clearly, if the McCanns were fabricating a story, the one thing they can't have happen is for the abductor to have taken Maddie before Gerry checks since Gerry is supposed to have seen the child at around 9:10 pm. So, the room should have to be dark at that time. Interestingly though, at this point, Gerry is not saying the door was anything but in the usual position which is corroborated by Matthew. The usual position seems to be half-open, at least at this point in the renditions.
Note that Matthew says he can see the children quite well (although Gerry could also in the dark as he looked at Madeleine and thought what a lucky man he was although, perhaps, we don't know, if another light from inside the apartment had been turned on and filtered through the door). Remember this until the end of the post. (It is odd though that he can also see an empty bed against the wall and, since he has never been in the apartment before to know where Maddie sleeps, the empty bed does not worry him enough to step in the room and see if Maddie is in the other one).
Now, to Kate McCann's May 4th Statement
At around 10pm, the witness came to check on the children. She went into the apartment by the side door, which was closed, but unlocked as already said, and immediately noticed that the door to her children's bedroom was completely open, the window was also open, the shutters raised and the curtains open, while she was certain of having closed them all as she always did.
Later, the witness would learn that a member of the group, Russell's partner Jane, at around 9.15pm, when she went to her own apartment to check on her children, saw from behind andat a distance of about 50 metres, on the road along the club, a long-haired person, she thinks wearing jeans, with a child in his arms, walking very quickly. But she is better able to tell about that herself.
Kate mentions nothing in her statement about Matthew observing more light or a half-open door. Her statement appears to be the only one with a changed door position which would indicate that there was no proof "the abductor" was in the bedroom with Gerry. Furthermore, since Matthew said the door was half-open, then "the abductor" must have flung it the rest of the way open AFTER Matthew left the apartment (if he was ever even there).
You might stop and note that Kate, who gave her interview later in the day, is now entering the sliding door like Matthew, in spite of the fact Gerry says she used her key on the front door like him.One could think Gerry simply forgot how the both of them came into the apartment but it is highly unlikely he would not remember something so important the morning after. It is far more likely, as the hours went on, the story was altered to support the abductor theory. It is not uncommon to see fabrications develop as people attempt to convince someone of a particular story. I am not saying the McCanns and their friends did this, but the radical changes and inconsistencies in their stories are a red flag.
Interestingly, Jane Tanner rendition of her sighting of the man with the child is vastly different from the McCanns on May 4th. It is my belief both of them thought she was going to state that she saw a man going down the road behind her after she turned the corner, not before it, whenever it was she went for her check, if she even did. If you have read any of Jane's interviews, they are far, far longer than anyone else's; Jane has motormouth and simply can not keep it simple. I believe she may have overdone her scenario and, in doing so, added in Jerry and Jes and ended up with a problem of not being seen by Gerry and Jes. Later, as often happens when someone is trying to convince the police and public something happened, the McCanns may have worked to make her story fit because it gives Gerry an alibi at the time "the abductor" is seen.
Of course, then if the Jane saw the abductor while Gerry was talking to Jes, then the abductor had to be in the room with Gerry; hence; the shifting door story evolves.
Some very fascinating things comes from the McCann own documentary, Madeleine was Here (Part One: 00:10-1:30)
I did my check about ten o'clock. I went in through the sliding patio doors and I just stood actually... and thought, oh, all quiet....and to be honest, I might have been tempted to turn around... I just noticed the door, the bedroom door where the three children were sleeping, was open much further than we left it. I went to close it to about here and then as it got to here, it suddenly (Kate slams the door shut) slammed and then as I opened it..... it was then that I thought I would look at the children...at Sean and Amelie in the cots (which she could not have seen in her demonstration because the she has the door nearly closed with just room for her face to peep in at Madeleine)....all of which negates her May 4th statement that she immediately noticed that the door to her children's bedroom was completely open, the window was also open, the shutters raised and the curtains open.
And I was looking at Madeleine's bed which was here....and it was dark and I was looking...is that Madeleine or is that the bedding....I couldn't quite make it out.
So it seems to be much, much darker than when Matthew was there or Matthew has far better eyes than Kate or he made up that it was lighter if he was ever even in the room (and it may be impossible at this late stage to reenact the exact lighting circumstances of the night, but it seems the shutters being raised doesn't change the lighting in the room substantially from Kate's view; however, if one argues this point, then it being lighter for Matthew is meaningless as well). Her story is radically different from her original statement and it would seem in an effort to dramatize the event, the facts don't quite jibe.
So, what do the facts prove? That no abductor could have been in the room until after Matthew was there and Kate's statement about what happened when she came to the apartment has questionable elements. So does Gerry's and so does Matthews and so does Jane's. It is no wonder why the PJ questioned their involvement and that there was ever an abduction. Even if you chalk up all these inconsistencies to bad memories and distraught witnesses, what they have stated hardly offers any support for Jane Tanner's 9:15 sighting or an abductor hiding in the children's bedroom during Gerry's check. The statements and McCann reenactments, in fact, caused the police and others to question their involvement and rightly so.
Criminal Profiler Pat Brown