Sunday, 21 November 2010

Lifting the Lid on Suspicion Without Foundation




One holidaying friend of the McCanns (whom I shan’t name) is the subject of scurrilous on-line innuendo and also the subject of statements made in the files. The allegations are serious enough; the evidence in support of them almost non-existent.

The power base of paedophiles is, of course, secrecy. Their secrecy is frequently blown. Were that not true, paedophiles would never be brought to book. But seldom, if ever, is the secrecy of a paedophile blown by (almost always!) him freely divulging in public what is personal, sordid and likely to land him in prison for a long time if known. Paedophiles are generally a bit more guarded than that.

In the light of what I’ve already said, try to imagine a man with sordid secrets sat at a table eating a meal with his wife, the parents of a small child of their own, and another couple, also, with small children of their own, and casually divulging those sordid secrets. You can’t? Neither can I, but that’s what the allegations against this man demand that we believe if we are to think them true. Another question: if you had heard (or witnessed) such damning revelations, would you have a crystal-clear recollection of what had occurred and report it immediately, or keep it to yourself and do nothing, until some, unrelated, event two years later? I suspect few of us would fall into the latter category.

Two years before the Praia da Luz holiday, this man and his wife and children with Dr Katrina and Aural Gasper, and Kate and Gerry, took a holiday in Majorca. While they were all sat at a table eating a meal, the Gaspar couple observed the man perform certain actions. If there was conversation accompanying these actions, Mrs Gaspar has vague and half-remembered recollections of what might have been said, while her husband has none. A point on which they are both agreed is that there was no discussion between them about what was observed. Neither was anything reported.

That’s the sum total of the ‘case’ against the man to whom I refer.

Yet in Mrs Gaspar’s statement there is a startling contradiction and a revelation that surely comes as a surprise given the nature of her suspicions. As indicated earlier, Mrs Gaspar says that she didn’t discuss what they saw. Her statement is without qualification and therefore (presumably) includes her husband who, in his statement, also says that they did not discuss the joint observation. The revelation is that this man assisted in the bathing of the children, including the Gaspars’ own daughter. Mrs Gaspar says that she gave a firm directive to her husband to keep a wary open when this man was bathing the children. Quite how she would have issued this directive having not discussed anything with her husband is a mystery. A further mystery is that, given her evident suspicions, she was willing to countenance him bathing, particularly their own daughter, at all. Mr Gaspar is much less suspicious in his assessment. While he felt the gestures they both witnessed to be inappropriate, he emphasizes that he trusted the man throughout the holiday, that he was popular with the children and (this observation apart) that his conduct aroused no suspicions in him whatever. He makes no reference to bathing, nor to this apparent directive from his wife. He also says that he and his wife continued to socialize with the man and his wife after the holiday.

What Amaral makes of these observations in his book is profoundly disturbing. In his rendering, he focuses exclusively (and inaccurately) on the statement of Mrs Gaspar, but describes it as a joint statement (which it isn’t). He says that Mrs Gaspar forbade this man to go anywhere near his daughter, which you, perhaps, might expect in the light of what she did say, but as I’ve indicated, she didn’t!

There is also some dispute about when the statements, made to Leicestershire police by the couple, were handed on to the Portuguese police. They were made about a fortnight after Madeleine went missing, but according to Amaral, were not passed on to the Portuguese police until after he had been dismissed from the case in October 2007. The actual date the statement was received is not recorded in the files, so we must take Amaral’s word.

Most alarmingly, Amaral says that these statements were very important and key to the progress of the investigation. He believes that the investigation was compromised by the apparent ‘failure’ to pass these statements on sooner. He even says that this man’s behaviour towards the children was ‘questionable’, an assertion not even Mrs Gaspar made.

You may have noted that throughout, I have deliberately avoided using the word incident. That is for the excellent reason that there wasn’t one. There was an observation. Actually, there were two, quite different, observations. If there were to be an investigation, the investigation would be carried out by the police force of the country where the observations were made – Majorca. But nothing was ever reported to the police force of Majorca.

At no point was there a question mark over this man’s behaviour in Praia da Luz on that fateful holiday. So how does Amaral believe that the investigation was hindered by these statements not being forwarded earlier?

We should be told.

By Honestbroker.