Total Pageviews

Monday, 25 November 2013

Martin Smith – A Timeline from 3 May 2007 onwards

Martin Smith – A Timeline from 3 May 2007 onwards



3 May 2007



7pm-9pm approx: The Smiths say they were dining in Dolphins Restaurant, Praia da Luz with their family, who consisted of Martin and Mary Smith, his son Peter and his wife Sile [Sheila] and two children (T**** aged 13, and C****, 6), his youngest child, A**** (aged 12), and two other grandchildren (A***** aged 10, and E*****, 4) from his daughter Barbara.



9pm approx. to 9.55pm The Smiths say they were drinking in Kelly’s Bar, Praia da Luz.



9.55pm The Smiths say they left to return to their apartment in the Estrela da Luz complex, Praia da Luz. They say they paid for their drinks on leaving and later there are claims of a bar receipt for the drinks at 9.55pm



10.00pm The Smith say they saw a man carrying a child. They said they had just climbed some steps on the way from Kelly’s bar to the Estrela da Luz complex and saw him walk down the Rue da Escola Primaria.



4 May



The Smiths stayed in Praia da Luz but none of them thought about reporting their ‘sighting’ to the police.



5 May



The Smiths stayed in Praia da Luz but none of them thought about reporting their ‘sighting’ to the police.



6 May



The Smiths stayed in Praia da Luz but none of them thought about reporting their ‘sighting’ to the police.



7 May



The Smiths stayed in Praia da Luz but none of them thought about reporting their ‘sighting’ to the police.



8 May



The Smiths stayed in Praia da Luz but none of them thought about reporting their ‘sighting’ to the police.



9 May



The Smiths flew back to Ireland.



9 to 15 May



For a further 7 days, none of the Smiths – now back in Ireland - thought about giving details of their sighting to the Portuguese Police.



13 May



Jane Tanner tells police that when Robert Murat walks past a police van which has a two-way mirror, she is adamant that he is the person she said she saw at 9.15pm on Thursday 3 May.



14 May



Robert Murat is pulled in for questioning and made an arguido in a blaze of publicity.



15 May



Rachael Mamphilly/Oldfield, Russell O’Brien and Fiona Payne all make statements to the Portuguese Police that they are certain that they saw Robert Murat hanging around near the ocean Club on the evening of 3 May 2007.



16 May 2007



Martin Smith reports his sighting to the Portuguese Police



Martin Smith says that he gets a telephone call from his son, Peter. He says: “We were home two weeks [actually 13 days] when my son rang up and asked was he dreaming or did we meet a man carrying a child the night Madeleine was taken. We all remembered that we had the same recollection. I felt we should report it to the police".



At this time, no information about the possible sighting by Jane Tanner has yet been announced.



Martin Smith claimed in one interview that it was his son, Peter, who prompted him to call the Portuguese police about the family’s claimed ‘sighting’ of a man carrying a child. He said: “We were home two weeks when my son rang up and asked was he dreaming or did we meet a man carrying a child the night Madeleine was taken. We all remembered that we had the same recollection. I felt we should report it to the police". [COMMENT: That statement, taken at face value, is significant for a number of reasons. If correct, Peter is reported as saying that he wasn’t sure if he was dreaming or if he really did see someone. How he can then go on to (apparently) remember so many details about the man and the child raises a major question mark about Martin Smith’s comment].



26 May 2007



The Portuguese Police, having very few leads, ask Martin Smith and his two children Peter and A**** to comes to Portimao to make a statement. They do so secretly on 26

May.



The main features of Martin Smith’s statement were:



• He owns an apartment in Praia da Luz, on the Estrela da Luz estate, number. This is co-owned by a friend whose name is Liam O’N****.

• He normally visits Portugal three times a year. He arrived on 30 April 2007 and had booked a return flight on Wednesday 9 May.

• After drinking in Kelly’s bar on Calheta Street from about 9.00pm to 9.55pm, he left (early) as his son was due to return home very early the next day. This bar is located on Calheta Street.

• He saw a man carrying a child past him, a not unusual sight in the tourist season. He assumed it was a father and daughter and ‘thought nothing more of it’. The child’s head lay on the man’s left shoulder; he did not appear to be comfortable holding her.

• He only became aware of Madeleine’s disappearance ‘the next morning’, from his daughter in Ireland. She had sent him a message or called him regarding what had happened. At this point he thought that Madeleine could have been the child he saw with the individual. [NOTES: He failed to act on his claimed ‘sighting’ for a further 13 days despite remaining in Praia da Luz for a further six days (until 9 May) and despite the huge search and surrounding publicity].

• He said that the man he saw was white, ‘normal complexion, 1.75m to 1.80m in height (5’9” to 5’ 11”), a bit thin, 35-40 years old, short hair, a . He had a normal complexion, a bit on the thin side. His hair was short and brown, in ‘a basic male cut’, didn’t wear glasses and had no beard or moustache. He wore cream or beige-coloured cloth trousers in a classic cut. He didn’t look like a tourist, but can’t explain why he thinks this.

• He didn’t see the man very well, so said ‘it would not be possible to recognise him again in person or by a photograph. However, he can definitely say it wasn’t Robert Murat as he knows what Murat looks like. He would have recognised him ‘instantly’. He had met him in Praia da Luz bars in May and August the previous year.

• The child he was carrying was female, ‘about four years of age’, of ‘normal complexion’, about a metre (3’ 3”) in height, had medium blonde hair, was ‘very white’, her skin was very white, typical of a Brit, and she was ‘in a deep sleep’.

• She wore ‘light-coloured’ pyjamas, had no cover over her, he can’t remember if she was barefoot or not, but others in her group say she was.

• Having already seen various photographs of Madeleine, he says it could have been her, and his family think the same.

• He says that the man didn’t speak, nor did the child as she was ‘in a deep sleep’.

• He states that it is not possible for him to recognise the individual in person or by photograph.



The main features of Aoife Smith’s statement were as follows:



• her elder brother and her aunt Barbara and her two children aged 13 and 6 were already staying in the Estrela da Luz his sister and two children.

• they left the Dolphin restaurant at about 9.30pm [NOTE: Martin Smith says ‘about 9.00pm]. They were then in Kelly’s bar for ‘about 30 minutes’, leaving ‘around 10.00pm. She claims that she knows the time “because her brother and father decided to leave early that night. There were two reasons for this: her sister-in-law was not feeling very well and the other reason had to do with her brother, sister-in-law, nephew and son of her sister-in-law, who were catching a flight to Ireland the very next day”.

• she recollects seeing the man just after reaching the top of some steps leading to the Rua 25 de Abril. She says she turned left at the top of the steps, “looked to her left and saw a man carrying a child in his arms, walking down the Rua 25 de Abril”. He was about 2 metres (6 feet) away. She says that the man “crossed to the other side of the Rua 25 de Abril and began walking on the street that leads to the primary school, in the direction of their apartment complex. She didn’t see which way he walked after that”. [NOTE: If she saw the man 6 feet away, and was passing him in the opposite direction, there would only be about half a second before they crossed, a very short time in which to absorb any information].

• she has seen photographs of Madeleine McCann and thinks that it could have been her. She is “about 60% certain”.

• The street lighting there was ‘weak’.

• she was able to give the following detailed description, although she added that “she would probably not be able to recognise the individual or the child again”:

- the man was white

- ‘light-skinned’ but ‘of normal complexion’

- between 20 and 30 year old

- 1.75m to 1.8m in height (5’ 9” to 5’ 11”)

- of ‘normal physique’

- thinks he was clean-shaven, doesn’t remember any tattoos, scars or earrings

- had thickish, light brown hair, cut short

- was wearing trousers which were beige in colour,

- his trousers were made of cotton

- his trousers possibly had buttons on them

- she can’t say what he was wearing on top because ‘the child he was covering him completely from the top’

- he was walking ‘normally’

- the child he was carrying was female, and had straight, long, light or light brown hair down to the neck, she says she was about four years old ‘because her niece (who was in the group) is of the same age and same height’; she didn’t see the child's face because she was lying vertically against the man’s left shoulder; she appeared to be sleeping; her arms were suspended along her body and were not around the man’s neck; she thinks the child was white; she had no covering; she e was wearing light, white or light-pink trousers that ‘may have been pyjamas, made of light material and ‘could have been cotton’. She can’t remember if they were patterned as it was dark. She also had ‘a light top, with long sleeves’. She can’t remember seeing any shoes on her feet.



[COMMENT: It is a very detailed description indeed, given that she had, according to her own testimony, less than a second before he passed her on the street].



The main features of Peter Daniel’s Smith’s statement were as follows:



• He says he is employed as a ‘Commercial Manager’.

• He says that his father visits his Estrela da Luz apartment ‘at least’ three times per year.

• He arrived in Portugal on 26 April with his wife and two children and went back on 4 May.

• They all left the Dolphin Restaurant at ‘around 9.00pm’ and went straight to Kelly’s Bar.

• After leaving the bar, they went up some steps that led to a road just above. On this road, they walked towards another street, heading for Estrela da Luz. At the beginning of this road, at about 9.55pm to 10.00pm, he saw a man individual carrying a child.

• The man was “walking normally although with somewhat quick steps as he was walking downwards. He appeared ‘normal’, as if this were father and daughter. He was walking down the street as they were walking up it. He doesn’t know in which direction the man went.

• He didn’t know at that time [10.00pm on 3 May] that a child had disappeared.

• He didn’t find out about Madeleine’s disappearance until the morning of 4 May ‘through someone he knew, the son of the builder of Estrela da Luz, who was also at the airport, as he (Peter Smith) was waiting for his return flight to Ireland.

• At this time (Friday 4 May), Peter Smith claims that “he did not associate the man with Madeleine’s reported disappearance, but having thought about the subject and about the coincidence of the time, he had [now] inferred that Madeleine could have been the girl who was being carried by the individual he saw.

• He gave the following description of the man:

- white

- slightly brown skin, perhaps tanned, ‘normal complexion’

- ‘in good form’ [maybe meaning: ‘in good health’ or ‘in good shape’]

- 1.75m to 1.80m tall (5’ 9” to 5’ 11”)

- around 35, or older

- short, brown hair

- can’t remember if he had glasses, or had a beard or moustache – can’t remember any other details ‘as the lighting was bad’

- didn’t remember the clothes he was wearing “as his pregnant wife was rather unwell and he was constantly looking at her, so did not pay attention to the man

- the child was female, perhaps two or three years old, a bit smaller than her 3-year-old niece, she had ‘normal complexion, white skin which looked ‘typically British’, blonde hair, of medium tone (not shiny) . She appeared to be a bit smaller than his niece of the same age. The girl was asleep; her eyelids were closed

- he didn’t remember the girl’s clothing very well, but “believes it was light summer clothing, light in colour. He can’t say if she was covered with a blanket or whether or not she was barefoot. Having now seen various photographs of Madeleine and various TV images, he says that the child being carried by the individual ‘might have been her’. He and all his family are ‘convinced’ that it ‘could have been Madeleine.

- the man ‘did not say a word’, did not try to hide his face nor did he lower his gaze. He did not notice anything strange about him. He says “it would not be possible to recognise the individual in person or from a photograph”.



• He walked past them ‘in the middle of the street’ [NOTE: In Aoife’s very detailed description, she claimed to have observed him “crossing to the other side of the Rua 25 de Abril” -a statement that is very hard to understand if she was just two metres away from him when she first saw him, as she also states.

• Peter Smith says that his son Tadgh [aged 13] was questioned in Ireland [presumably by the Irish Gardai although this is not stated] and that his son claimed to have remembered seeing him “wearing a long-sleeved coat, black in colour” and that he [Tadgh] could also remember that “the child was barefoot”.



6 June 2007



News leaks out about the Smiths’ sighting in the Drogheda Independent. It is just 11 days after their interviews in Portugal. The article, by Angela McCormick, tells us:



Local family may have seen missing Maddy



“A DROGHEDA family may have been the last people to see abducted four-year-old Madeleine McCann in Portugal. The family is understood to have seen a child in the arms of a man on the night and at the time Madeleine was taken from her parents' apartments in Praia Da Luz. They have reported the matter and recently gave statements to the Portuguese police. The Portuguese police have asked the family not to speak to the press in case they compromise their investigations. The family declined to give any details to the Drogheda Independent… A number of Drogheda-based families holiday in the nearby Estrela Da Luz apartments, part of a complex built by Drogheda man Gerry Fagan of Oceanico Developments. 'Estrela Da Luz is just around the corner from Praia Da Luz. Loads of Drogheda people go there. It is an absolute paradise’, said Jem O'Neill, a regular visitor”.



It is not known who leaked this information to the Drogheda Independent.



9 June 2007 (Saturday)



Dr Gerald McCann does an interview for ‘Crimecall’ - the Irish version of ‘Crimewatch’.



He writes in his daily blog:



“Kate and I had a slightly busier day on the media front than expected. We did a short press interview for the Irish Sunday papers, mainly to thank the Irish for their fantastic level of support. We followed that with one for the British Sundays which is likely to be the last one we do for a while…After returning from the beach [at Sagres], we did the Irish version of Crimewatch -'Crimecall'. There are a lot of Irish tourists in and around Praia da Luz and although the awareness of Madeleine's disappearance in Ireland is extremely high, we want to ensure that everyone is aware of the appeal and we want the Irish public to come forward with photographs of people who they do not know who were in and around Praia da Luz in the 2 weeks leading up to the 3rd May. The address to upload photographs is: to www.madeleine.ceopupload.com. We have also asked for people to contact their local police if they have seen a man matching the description of the suspect carrying a child seen around the time of Madeleine’s abduction. He is 30-40 years, 1.70-1.80m (5' 7"- 5’ 11"), Caucasian and was wearing a dark jacket, beige or mustard coloured trousers with dark shoes…”



8 August 2007



The Drogheda Independent runs a story headed: ‘Drogheda family hit out over Madeleine case clue coverage’.



Extracts from the article ran as follows:



“A DROGHEDA family who may hold vital clues as to the disappearance of Madeleine McCann have hit out at media distortion of evidence that they have given to Portuguese police. Maple Drive man Martin Smith, his wife and his children had just left the Kelly bar…400 metres from the McCanns' apartment at the Ocean Club between 9.50-10.00pm on the night Madeleine disappeared.



“They returned to Ireland the next day, and because the reported abduction times didn't originally match, they never had cause to examine their journey that night.



“As it emerged that Madeleine was abducted around the same time, one of the family members [Peter Smith – see above] had a flashback of the moment some time later and encouraged the others to jog their memory.



“They remembered passing a man walking towards the beach with a child in his arms.

Other than his approximate height and the fact that he was wearing beige clothes they cannot be more specific than that. 'We are annoyed at how vague our description is’, said the family member.



“The family contacted the Portuguese police and flew back over to give evidence.

However, contrary to media reports, Mr Smith had not seen chief suspect Robert Murat in a bar the evening that Madeleine was abducted. 'He definitely didn't see him on the night in question,' said a family member.



“The family are also mystified at reports that he knows Mr Murat. 'They met once in a bar about two years ago. My Dad would only know Mr Murat by sight,' said the family member. 'However, from what he knows, he can say that the man who was carrying the child was not Robert Murat”.



COMMENT: This was the Smiths’ first reference to Robert Murat. The ‘family member’ [presumably Peter Smith] said of his father, Martin Smith, ‘They [Martin Smith and Murat] met once in a bar two years ago”. However, in later statements, Martin Smith was to admit to knowing Murat much better than that and to having met him ‘on several occasions’.



9 Sep 2007



Martin Smith sees Gerry McCann coming down the steps of the plane as he lands at East Midlands Airport on his way back from Portugal. As Goncalo Amaral records this in his book. ‘The Truth About A Lie’: “The Smith family see this recording on the news at 22h00 and are hit hard: they know this person, this way of carrying a child and of walking. It is Gerry McCann, they believe with a high degree of certainty, that they saw on 3 May at about 22h00, carrying a 4-year old girl who appeared to be deeply asleep”.



However (see below), it is not certain whether Martin Smith reported this immediately. The report to the Portuguese Police about Martin Smith’s recollection was not dated until 20 September.



Following the report dated 20 September, Goncalo Amaral decides to bring the Smiths back to Portugal for a further interview. But before this can happen, Amaral is replaced as the investigation co-ordinator on 2 October -just 12 days later.



20 September 2007



John Hughes sends an e-mail to the Portuguese Police



UK police communication re: Martin Smith's sighting, 20 September 2007: From:

Processos Vol XIII Pages 3996 – 3997 (in English)



Email from John Hughes to DIC Portimao, C.C. to Stuart Prior



20th September 2007



Subject: Fwd Smith family



From Lindsay Long to John Hughes



20th September 2007



Re – Smith family



Location : Portugal - Out of Force Area



Origin: Mr Martin Smith Ireland.



Text: Reported that he had passed a male carrying a child in Praia da Luz the night Maddie went missing. Went and made a statement to Portugal police in Portimao on 26th May and returned to UK. Is saying that after seeing the McCanns on the news on 9th Sept when they returned to UK he has not slept and is worried sick. He states he was watching the 10pm news on BBC and saw the McCanns getting off the plane and coming down the steps. He states it was like watching an action replay of the night he saw the male carrying the child back in Portugal. He states the way Gerry was carrying his twin triggered something in his head. It was exactly the same way and look of the male seen the night Maddie went missing. He also watched ITV news and SKY News and inferred it looked like the same person both times carrying the children.



He is asking a member of ‘OP Task’ ring him back. He was with group of nine family and friends the night he saw the male in Portugal. He sounded quite worried and shaken whilst speaking to me.



3 January 2008: Sun article



The Sun reports that the Smiths are to be interviewed by the McCanns’ private investigators. And a rash of articles appear in other newspapers.



Irish family's Maddie quiz From: Veronica Lorraine in Praia da Luz



QUOTE



PRIVATE detectives hunting for Madeleine McCann are to quiz an Irish family who may have been the last to see her alive. Martin Smith, his wife and children told cops they saw a man carrying a little blonde girl in Praia da Luz on the night Maddie vanished. Investigators from the Metodo 3 agency hired by Maddie's parents Gerry and Kate are preparing to travel to Ireland to interview them. The family, from Drogheda, Co Louth, believe they saw the man taking the sleeping tot down to the beach at the Portuguese resort.



The Smiths were leaving Kelly's Bar…between 9.50 and 10pm on May 3 last year.



They flew home to Ireland the next day, but when the times of Maddie's abduction were revealed, the family remembered seeing a man, 5ft 7in to 5ft 9in tall and dressed in beige, carrying the child. Significantly the description matches that given by Jane Tanner, 37, a friend of the McCanns.



Mr Smith, who has already spoken to Portuguese cops over the sighting, said yesterday: "I'd talk to anyone to move this investigation on. I think about Maddie every day." He added: "I found the Portuguese cops not to be the most efficient bunch”.

His wife Mary said: "We saw a man carrying a blonde child. It was just such a normal thing to see in a holiday resort - we didn't think anything of it at the time..."



UNQUOTE



3 January 2007 in The Mirror



As in the Sun article, apart from these passages:



“The group saw a man walking towards the beach…”



“His top clothing was obscured by the child…”



“Jane Tanner saw a man carrying a child wearing pink pyjamas…”

similar to those worn by Madeleine.



“The McCanns' spokesman said yesterday: ‘Our detectives are being very methodical and I am quite sure that this family will be on their list’.”



3 January 2008 in the Daily Mail (much longer article)



Maddie: Irishman provides dramatic new clues Daily Mail (appeared in paper edition only)



EXCLUSIVE: Tourist met rude man carrying child in blanket on night Madeleine vanished - by Sandra Murphy, Vanessa Allen - January 3, 2008



The following is extra information supplied by the Daily Mail:



AN IRISH holidaymaker has spoken publicly for the first time of his disturbing encounter with a man carrying a child wrapped in a blanket on the night Madeleine McCann disappeared.



[COMMENTS: This does appear to be the first time Martin Smith had spoken publicly. We do not know how he did so. Did he speak to a journalist? – if so, who was it? Given that so many newspapers covered the story, it seems likely that one person or agency (such as the Press Association) may have interviewed him and then sent out a report of the interview to all the mainstream press. We simply do not know. Martin Smith is quoted as saying that they saw the child ‘wrapped in a blanket’. But that’s not what the three family members said to the Portuguese Police on 26 May. They declared that they had seen the child’s pyjamas or trousers].



“Now investigators hired by Madeleine's parents hope Martin Smith and his family can provide a crucial breakthrough.



“…the sighting…is strikingly similar to one by a friend of the McCanns, Jane Tanner. In hindsight, the retired Mr Smith said, the man’s rude behaviour should have aroused his suspicions.

[COMMENT: Where in the recorded statements on file of Martin Smith, Aoife Smith and Peter Smith is there any mention whatsoever of the man being in any way ‘rude’?]



“Martin Smith said: ‘The one thing we noted afterwards was that he gave us no greeting. My wife Mary remembered afterwards that she asked him: 'Oh, is she asleep?' But he never acknowledged her one way or another. He just put his head down and averted his eyes. This is very unusual in a tourist town at such a quiet time of the year".



[COMMENT: There is no statement from Mary Smith in the files. It is possible, but unlikely, that Martin Smith’s statement is one of those still being kept secret by the Portuguese Police. It is certain that Mary Smith did not travel to Portugal on 26 May to make a statement. Now let us examine what Mary Smith claims happened. She claims that, without warning, she approached the man with the question: ‘Oh, is she asleep?’ The first question about that is: who would approach a man in the street carrying a child and say, just like that: ‘Oh, is she asleep?’ Second, all the other Smith family statements make no reference to any attempted conversation with the man. Third, Peter Smith says explicitly that the man didn’t put his head down: Quote from his statement: “…he did not try to hide his face nor did he lower his gaze”.



“Their description of the barefoot child and the man, who wore beige trousers, echoes that of Miss Tanner…Though the Smith family believe they met an almost identical man closer to 10pm, the coincidence prompted them to contact police after they returned to Ireland. Mr Smith said: ‘Luz is such a small place and so quiet, we felt a duty to tell police and let them decide if it was important’."



[COMMENT: This cannot pass without comment. The Smiths are trying to maintain that it was ‘the coincidence of their sighting with that of Jane Tanner’ that prompted them to contact the Portuguese police. But Jane Tanner’s description was not revealed to the public until the Portuguese Police and Dr Gerald McCann announced that description on Friday 25 May. Martin Smith contacted the Portuguese Police on 16 May – nine whole days before the details of the Tanner sighting were made public. So, if the Smiths were acting on a ‘coincidence’ of their statement with that of Jane Tanner, where did they get that description from? Besides all that, Martin Smith and Peter Smith have both (see above) stated explicitly that they only contacted the Portuguese Police after (so they say) Peter Smith contacted his father after 13 days to say: “Am I dreaming, or did we see a man carrying a child on the evening of 3 May?” Either, as stated in the Daily Mail article, the Smiths acted because their ‘sighting’ was similar to Jane Tanner’s, or they did so because Peter Smith ‘phoned his dad and asked him: “Was I dreaming about seeing a man with a child on 3 May?” Both cannot be true. Further, the Drogheda Independent story of 8 August (above) gave another version of why they delayed contacting the Portuguese Police, namely: “They returned to Ireland the next day, and because the reported abduction times didn't originally match, they never had cause to examine their journey that night”. In fact, the reported abduction times given in the media were anywhere between 9.00pm and 10.00pm, so any claim that this was the reason for their delay is, to put it mildly, unconvincing].



“Last night, McCann family spokesman Clarence Mitchell said detectives from the Spanish agency Metodo 3 now hoped to speak to the family…”



[COMMENT: So now, with this additional information, we see that the McCanns’ chief public relations officer seems to be very close indeed to the creation of this press story about Martin Smith and his sighting].



“On the night of the disappearance, Mr Smith was dining with his wife in the Dolphin restaurant in Praia Da Luz, where they are frequent visitors. The couple were with [the Mail names all members of the party]…All nine met the man holding a child but their recollection differs slightly from Miss Tanner's.



"The family added: “…Luz was very, very quiet at that time of the year and the likelihood of two young children being carried around like this is very small. Our timings are a bit different. She saw the man at 9.15pm. We say 9.45or 9.50pm…I don’t know if this information will help the McCanns. We kept interested in what’s going on but we tried to avoid the limelight”.



“Martin Smith added: ‘We have not been contacted by the private detective hired by the McCanns, and have had no contact with the investigating police since May 26 last year’.



"Mr Smith said it was some time before the family realised they could be star witnesses: ‘We were out the night it happened…We went home about 9.50pm and we heard nothing at all about Madeleine McCann until the next day. I was taking my son Peter to the airport and on my way back, I heard that a kidnapping had happened in the village of Luz”. [NOTE: Peter Smith says he found out about Madeleine’s disappearance at the airport: QUOTE: “He didn’t find out about Madeleine’s disappearance until the morning of 4 May through someone he knew, the son of the builder of Estrela da Luz, who was also at the airport, as he (Peter Smith) was waiting for his return flight to Ireland”.



"We were looking at all the commotion on Sky News and we really felt quite helpless. We had two grandchildren with us at the time, aged four and five, and it had a terrible effect on them. They all wanted to sleep in the same room as us until we went home on the Wednesday”



[COMMENT: Confirming that he didn’t return from Praia da Luz until 9 May, and apparently never thought of contacting the Portuguese Police about his sighting until several days after that].



"We were home two weeks when my son rang up and asked was he dreaming or did we meet a man carrying a child the night Madeleine was taken. We all remembered that we had the same recollection. I felt we should report it to the police. I rang the Portuguese police and they took a statement from me on the ‘phone. Then they asked me to make a statement to Gardai, which I did in Drogheda two weeks after the disappearance. Two days later, Leicestershire police got on to us and said they wanted to speak to all nine of us. But we felt there was no point dragging grandchildren and the whole lot out to Portugal so just my eldest son, Peter, and youngest daughter, Aoife, and I flew to Luz to make a statement.



"The police were fairly busy and the station was pretty typical. They didn’t seem to be the most efficient police you ever came across but they are probably no different to police anywhere else. We were interviewed separately and told them what we saw, and showed them on the map where we met the man and child. We spent the whole day there from 10.30am to 7pm with an interpreter. That day, May 26 last year, was the last time we had any contact with the investigation. I remember clearly because it was my wedding anniversary.



"As we made our way back to our apartment in Estrella da Luz, we met a guy with a child that appeared to be asleep….it was getting dark and he was looking downward so I couldn’t tell you exactly what he looked like.



"None of us was 100 per cent sure what he was wearing but we all told police he was wearing beige trousers and a darker top”.



[COMMENT: That’s not true. None of the three of the Smith family who made statements: Martin, Aoife and Peter, mentioned a dark jacked. This apparently came from Martin Smith’s nephew, Tadgh.



“We all put him in his early 40s.



[COMMENT: That’s also untrue. They gave widely varying ages from 20 to 40 but none of them said ‘early 40s’].



“I didn’t think he was Portuguese".



“Insisting he knew chief suspect Robert Murat visually for years, Mr Smith told police the person he saw carrying a child could not be him. I told police it was definitely not him because the man wasn't as big as Murat. I think I would have definitely recognised him".



[COMMENT: From ‘having only once met Murat in a bar two years ago, Martin Smith has now rapidly changed his story to ‘I have known him for years. Why?]



4 Jan 2008: SKY News



The focus of the SKY News article on 4 January was about Mr Smith’s absolute certainty that the man they claimed to have seen on 3 May was not Robert Murat.



Here are the relevant extracts:



“An Irish tourist who saw someone carrying a child in a blanket on the night Madeleine McCann disappeared insists that the mystery man was not Robert Murat…But Mr Smith is certain that the man he and his family saw that night was not Robert Murat, who is still officially an ‘arguido’ in the Madeleine McCann investigation. I told police it was definitely not him because the man wasn't as big as Murat - I think I would have recognised him because I'd met him several times previously.



There are other interesting points in the article. It says:



“The Smith family's suspicions were aroused because the man made no response when they asked if the barefoot child was asleep. ‘He just put his head down and averted his eyes, which is very unusual in a tourist town at such a quiet time of the year’, said Mr Smith”.



[COMMENT: Here Mr Smith says that ‘the family’s suspicions were aroused’ because they ‘asked if the barefoot child was asleep’. Yet neither Martin Smith, nor Aoife, nor Peter Smith refer to this event in their long statements of 26 May. None of them say ‘he put his head down’, in fact he declared: “…he did not try to hide his face nor did he lower his gaze”.



The article continues: “Initially the Smith family thought nothing more of the encounter - and even the next day when the story broke they still didn't make the connection. ‘We were home two weeks when my son rang me up and asked was he dreaming or did we meet a man carrying a child the night Madeleine was taken? We all remembered the same recollection, and I felt we should report it to the police’, said Mr Smith”.



[COMMENT: He thus repeats one of the claimed reasons for contacting the Portuguese Police, namely that it was his son Peter ‘phoning him saying: ‘Am I dreaming?’



There is then this strange quote from Martin Smith: "We've all been beating ourselves up that we should have made the link sooner, if only we'd remembered the next day. But the Portuguese police said you see these things on holiday all the time." When exactly did the Portuguese police say that? He has never said he contacted the police before 16 May].



Finally, SKY News tells us: “Retired Mr Smith, 58, does not wish to appear on camera in order to protect his family from media intrusion”.



9 January 2008



The Drogheda Independent also covered the Martin Smith sighting on 9 May, under the heading: Local family's anguish over 'Maddy' sighting



The Drogheda Independent informed its readers that: “The Drogheda family, who first spoke to the Drogheda Independent last August, say despite current media reports that they will be contacted by the detective agency hired by parents Gerry and Kate McCann to find the missing toddler, no one has been in contact with them: 'We are willing to talk to anyone but our information is vague. It cuts us up that we can't be of more help but what we saw is not going to crack the case',.said Peter Smith.



Peter Smith also told the Drogheda Independent: “…it was only after we were home two weeks that I remembered seeing him. At the time my attention was focused on looking after my wife. 'When I mentioned it, it jogged my father's memory and he too remembered seeing the same man’, Peter added. He went on: ‘We knew that what we had seen was so vague that we couldn't identify the guy’.”



30 January 2008: Martin Smith’s Statement to the Irish Gardai



Here it is in full:



QUOTE



“I hereby declare that this statement is true to the best of my knowledge and belief and that I make it knowing that if it is tendered in evidence I will be liable to prosecution if I state in it anything which I know to be false or do not believe to be true.



“I would like to state that the statement I made on 26th May 2007 in Portugal is correct. The description of the individual that I saw on 3rd May 2007 carrying a child is as follows. He was average build, 5 foot 10” in height, brown hair cut short, aged 40 years approximately. Wearing beige trousers and darkish top maybe a jacket or blazer. He had a full head of hair with a tight cut. This individual was alone. I saw Gerard [sic] McCann going down the plane stairs carrying one of his children on 9th September 2007 BBC news at 10.00pm. I have been shown the video clip by Sergeant Hogan which I recognize; a clip I have seen before on the internet. In relation to the video clips of Gerard [sic] McCann and the person I saw on 3rd May 2007 when I saw the BBC news at 10.00pm on 9th September 2007 something struck me that it could have been the same person. It was the way Gerard [sic] McCann turned his head down which was similar to what the individual did on 3rd May 2007 when we met him. It may have been the way he was carrying the child either [sic]. I would be 60-80% sure that it was Gerard [sic] McCann that I met that night carrying a child. I am basing that on his mannerism in the way he carried the child off the plane. After seeing the BBC news at 10.00pm, footage on the 9th September 2007, I contacted Leicestershire police with this information. During that time I spoke to all my family members who were with me on the night of 3rd May 2007 about this and the only one who felt the same way as me was my wife. She had seen the video clip of Gerard [sic] McCann walking down the stairs of the plane earlier that day. We did not discuss this until some days later. This statement has been read over to me and is correct”.



[COMMENTS: Martin Smith says the man was ‘of average build’. On the contrary, he originally said he was ‘a bit thin’. He said the man was ‘wearing a darkish top’. As we saw above, neither he nor his daughter Aoife nor his son Peter made any reference at all to a ‘dark jacket’ in their original statements. The reasons given for him being ‘60% to 80% certain’ that it was Dr Gerald McCann that he saw remain unconvincing, especially the claim that it was ‘because of the way he turned his head down’, which again, none of the three of them mentioned in their 26 May statements.



20 January 2008 - Accompanying statement by Liam Hogan



This cover note was sent to the Portuguese Police by Detective Sergeant Liam Hogam of the Detective Branch, Drogheda. County Louth



re: Investigation into the disappearance of Madeleine McCann



“I took an additional statement from Mr Smith as requested. His wife does not want to make another statement. I showed him the video clip and he stated that it was not the clip that alerted him but the BBC news at 10.00pm on 9th September 2007.



“He has been contacted by numerous tabloid press looking for stories. He has been contacted by Mr Brian Kennedy who is supporting the McCann family to take part in a photo fit exercise. He has given no stories or helped in any photo fits. He sent a solicitor’s letter to six papers in relation [to] material that was printed that was misquoted. The Evening Herald paid his solicitor's fees and all papers printed an apology. His photograph appeared in another tabloid paper and this matter is being pursued at the moment.



“I do not believe that Martin Smith is courting the press and my view his is a genuine person. He is known locally and is a very decent person”.



7 July 2008 – Correia da Manha article about Martin Smith



There was nothing significant in this article.



July 2008



57-page final Portuguese Police report assesses the Martin Smith sighting and dismisses it because ”…It was established that at the time that was being mentioned, Gerald McCann was sitting at the table, in the Tapas Restaurant”.



4 August 2008



Goncalo Amaral tells IOL PortugalDiário that there is ‘uncertainty’ about Gerald McCann’s whereabouts at around 10.00pm. He says the evidence amounts only to “people…sitting down and getting up from the table” and adds that “[The Smiths’ testimony is very credible…The way that the person walked, the clumsy manner in which the child was held…is information that has to be worked further”.



5 August 2008: BBC News: Police files give McCanns 'hope'



This BBC report told us: “When detectives replayed video footage of the couple's arrival at East Midlands airport [to Martin Smith], the witness said he was 60-80% sure that the man he passed was Gerry McCann. But this was later dismissed by prosecutors because at the time of the reported sighting, shortly before 10.00pm, Gerry McCann was sitting in the Ocean Club's Tapas Bar with other members of his party”.



10 August 2008: Irish Mail on Sunday



This was quite a long report, titled: ‘Drogheda businessman told police he saw Gerry McCann carrying a child towards the beach the day Maddie disappeared’ (article in their paper edition only)



Points of interest from this report are as follows:



“Father-of-six gave Gardai a signed statement saying he and his wife were ''60 to 80% sure'' that the man they saw holding the child was Maddie's father...Since then the McCanns have been totally exonerated of any involvement.



“Mr. Smith had initially told police he had seen a man carrying a child that night, but that he couldn't identify him because he had not been wearing his glasses. The following September, however, the businessman saw clips of the McCanns returning from their holidays and said the footage of Mr McCann carrying his younger child had instantly reminded him of the mystery man.



“Friends of the McCann family said last night that the decision of the Portuguese police to pursue Mr Smith's claims prove that they were determined to pin the blame on Maddie's parents come what may. One said: ‘'Look at the facts. This man sees an individual carrying a child on the night Madeleine vanished. He waits 13 days to report this to the police, going back to Ireland. The McCanns return to England…it was this image that alerted Mr Smith in the meantime. At this stage he admits he has no idea who the man is, other than a basic description. A further three, almost four months go by before, after seeing him on television, he feels it could be Gerry. By now the police have dozens of statements putting Gerry back at the apartment complex at that time. Yet the Portuguese ask a combination of the Leicestershire police and the Garda to re-interview this witness. About what?’



''And why? The truth is that this is part of the victimisation of Gerry and Kate which has gone on from the very beginning by the Portuguese, who were clearly desperate to get something against them."



“As they made their way back, the [Smiths] crossed paths with a slim man with a full head of chestnut coloured hair and dressed in beige trousers coming in the opposite direction.



“In the statement to Portuguese police on May 26th, the grandfather - who wears glasses but was not wearing them at the night in question - said he would not be able to identify the man he saw. Significantly though he was able to tell Police that the man was not Robert Murat, as he had met him on a number of previous occasions.



“This weekend, Mr Smith's wife Mary told the Mail on Sunday her husband had no regrets about coming forward. ‘He [Martin] doesn't want to talk, said Mrs Smith. He said what he had to say. I was with him [that night]. We saw a man carrying a child and that's all we know. We told them all that and that's it. The man he saw had the same stature as Gerry McCann. We felt we had to help. We're happy we did. We reported exactly what we saw…our hearts are breaking for her parents, as it would be if it were one of ours. 'I feel very much for them [the McCanns]. I have six grandchildren of my own and six children of my own. The poor McCann family must be heartbroken.''



COMMENTS: It seems extraordinary that, on the night of 3 May of all nights, this should be the one when Martin Smith was not wearing his glasses. One wonders why this was. He does not explain. In his statement to the Irish detective on 20 January, Martin Smith said the man he saw was ‘of average build’. But now Martin Smith is back to telling us once again that he is ‘of slim build’. The man’s ‘brown hair’ has now been embellished into ‘chestnut coloured’.



19 August 2008: Publico article



An article in the Portuguese journal Publico on 19 August 2008 featured the sighting of Martin Smith, but added nothing new, concluding that as Dr Gerald McCann had been seen by many people around the Ocean Club at around 10.00pm, then the Smith family’s sighting could not be him.


1 comment:

Lesly Finn said...

16-Processos, Volume XVI, pg 4134 to 4139

Detective Branch
Drogheda
County Lough

Re – Investigation into the disappearance of Madeleine McCann

I took an additional statement from Mr Smith as requested. His wife does not want to make another statement. I showed him the video clip and he stated that it was not the clip that alerted him but the BBC news at 10 PM on 9th September 2007.

He has been contacted by numerous tabloid press looking for stories. He has been contacted by Mr Brian Kennedy who is supporting the McCann family to take part in a photo fit exercise. He has given no stories or helped in any photo fits. He sent a solicitor's letter to six papers in relation material that was printed that was misquoted. The Evening Herald paid his solicitor's fees and all papers printed an apology. His photograph appeared in another tabloid paper and this matter is being pursued at the moment.

I do not believe that Martin Smith is courting the press and my view his is a genuine person. He is known locally and is a very decent person.

Forwarded please

Sergeant

Liam Hogan