Chapter 15: Almost the last word on the 'Last Photo' !


In the Chapter Floppy sun hats and flapping curtains I showed how the Last Photo, the Pool Photo could not have been taken at lunchtime on 3rd May.

In the Chapter The Last Photo I showed how it was clearly possible for four clearly identifiable people, acting in concert, to take the image, alter the EXIF Metadata, take it back to PdL, and hand it to the person responsible for putting it into the public domain.

Both Chapters concentrated on proving what the photo was NOT.

Here I return to the theme, and try to establish what the photo actually IS
In other words, when was it taken ?

Why is this so important ?
Why should we spend so much time bothering about this one photograph?

It is for this reason:

The initial story about forced and broken shutters did not last even 24 hours. The “man carrying child” meme lasted longer until it was picked to pieces by researchers and then officially destroyed by DCI Redwood. Team McCann find it impossible to let this go, and it is still shown on their official website.

The complete and total lack of any forensic trace of an intruder, and then the devastating ‘evidence’ of the alerts by the blood and cadaverine dogs left the McCanns in a perilous position. It leaves them with absolutely nothing to support their official story.

They rely therefore on this one image.

The McCanns put this image in the public domain nearly three weeks after the alleged event as proof that Madeleine was alive and well at lunchtime on Thursday 3rd May. No other images have been used in that way, no other dated images from the rest of the holiday - Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, for example - were ever put into the public domain.

For a close and loving family, on an exciting early season holiday with little children the lack of photos and video footage - the Canon PowerShot A620 is capable of taking video at very good resolution - is, it is submitted, very significant and very revealing.

But there is nothing. No video of the children trooping through the village holding on to Sammy Snake, eating ice creams, sitting on the bed reading, sailing, swimming, playing tennis, painting, dancing, having ‘high tea’, . . . NOTHING!

And that itself is highly suspicious.

So let us re-cap on the Holiday weather.

We have
• Official weather reports
• Statements from the Tapas group,
• statements from independent observers
• photos taken by independent people, timed and dated, and posted online.
• Video and stills from a major wind-surfing competition just along the coast.

ALL agree, and ALL make it impossible for the Last Photo to have been taken on 3/5/7.

As was said a long time ago, the weather that week was pretty much a washout.
The Algarve - despite what Gerry clearly believes - is on the North Atlantic. This is a cold sea, and brings with it cold air temperatures. April and May are still spring.
When we look at the statements and rogatories of the group, all say the same thing. After the arrival day - Saturday - and the first full day - Sunday - the weather was dreadful. It was cold, and even raining, necessitating wearing all their available warm clothes; two families at least saying they did not lift the shutters all week; the McCanns driven back from the beach after 20 minutes because the children did not like the cold wet sand.

And it only seems to have started to change significantly by the evening of Thursday 3rd.

Matthew Oldfield
"Erm, it wasn't, erm, not specifically, it was a better day on the Thursday than it was on the Wednesday, because we had rain, and I think it was sort of warmer and bit more clear, I don't remember the, it may have been a bit cloudy, but I don't remember specifically".
* * *
Rachel Oldfield
“. . probably that the weather had been a bit better that day
* * *
Fiona Payne

"I actually am wondering whether we went to the beach at all before Thursday, just because I’m thinking about the weather and I remember thinking at the time, it’s such a shame for the kids that we haven’t really gone to the beach, because, you know, that's a part of the reason we chose the resort”.
* * *
1485 “The first time?”
Reply “We definitely went on the Thursday and I think that might have been the first time we actually did that as a group, minus Kate and Gerry”.
* * *
"And I remember the Thursday was a bit of a transition day, as I say, you know, with the weather, it just seemed to warm up, it was sunnier, erm, and it was a very pleasant evening, you know, it was a nice sunny evening, warm”
* * *
Reply    “Yeah, I think err so it wasn’t, that’s one reason why we didn’t open the shutters to open the window or anything in that room, it wasn’t actually really hot at all, it was actually quite cloudy in the days and at night it was actually quite chilly.”
4078    “So it wasn’t sort of going in the pool weather or, only if you’re very brave.”
Reply    "No it was really, really cold,"
* * * *
Diane Webster
4078 "But Wednesday stands out to you because you know the weather wasn’t very good?”
Reply "Wednesday I remember because it was raining in the morning, we thought oh no tennis, you know, but we did have the tennis later on because I remember err we were waiting for the courts to dry.”

GM AND KM First statements
Apart from the Kids Club and the apartment, they only went to the beach with Madeleine and the other children once, and only for a very short period of time, because the weather was unstable, which happened between 1.30 and 3 p.m., when they returned to the club.

GM Second statement
They were at the beach for about 20 minutes, the deponent and MADELEINE having put their feet in the water. During this time the weather changed with a cloudy sky and cold, therefore they went to a terrace at a café near the beach, on the left, where they bought five ice-creams and two drinks.
* * *

In any event the pattern is well established

Thursday is described as “transition day”, the weather beginning to change, with the evening being rather better.
It was “a bit better” on Thursday, - but this is in comparison with Wednesday when it was raining and the tennis was cancelled.

Thursday is the first day in their collective recollection that the sun had begun to come out. It was a bit more clear. But still not warm enough for sunbathing.

And so on.

We recall the strange description by Kate of the whooshing curtains and slamming door, (see previous Chapter) and note that not one other person records this significant and major event.

What the McCanns failed to notice is that PdL is a small town on the Atlantic coast.
It has a small fishing fleet. This means that weather conditions are, and have always been, very important to the locals.
This in turn means that, as with any other sea faring nation, the system of Meteorological reporting and the keeping of records has become highly specialised and extremely detailed.
Portugal has acquired air transport, and Air Traffic records are even more detailed.
Those reports are in the public domain, and go back a very long way.

And from those records we can say with certainty that the Tapas 7’s descriptions of the weather are absolutely correct.
The weather that week was ghastly, heavily overcast, cold, windy, with rain on the Wednesday. There was a major wind-surfing competition just along the coast, and video from that event bears this out.
On Thursday it began to change. By mid to late afternoon the cloud was beginning to break up, and by late evening had largely dispersed, leaving a clear and still, and fairly cold night.

Clear and still - being the operative words.

So let us now look at some contemporaneous account of the weather that week, recorded by a retired professional observer of these phenomena, and meticulous diarist.

Extracts from communications
Witness / Commentator 1
Calendar of Events, and notes about weather
[This has been heavily edited to focus on the weather related items]
Saturday, April 28 2007. Clear skies with warm temperatures for time of year enabled a full entry in the golf competition at the nearby Boavista Resort. From 1 til 4pm, warm dry conditions. Clear skies at night resulted in cooler conditions by dawn the following day.

Sunday, April 29 2007. Another fine day (warm once the Sun got up) but some evidence of weather on the change by evening. No threat of frost for the following day due to cloud cover that night.

Monday, April 30 2007.
Cloudy day, but dry and average temperatures.

Tuesday, May 1 2007.
Cooler cloudier weather,

Wednesday, May 2 2007.
  Cool, cloudy with sunny spells and moderate winds

Thursday, 3 May 2007.
Weather continues cool and cloudy with sunny intervals, but not pool dipping weather.
Noticed first evidence of weather change, as by 7.15 pm cloud was clearing from the North. Just after 11 pm night sky clear with full moon
I arrived at my apartment about 11:45 pm. It was a clear dry moonlit night and no sound of human or vehicular activity, and it was good to reflect that better weather had now set in.
In fact, the rains did not return until 14 June.

Friday 4 May, 2007.
  I was awakened at c.0750 on a fine clear morning,

Saturday 5 May, 2007.
Weather continues fine and sunny.
_ _ _ _ _
This witness was then shown the sequence of photos. All are in the public domain. They are posted on various sites dedicated to photos, notably Flickr

Saturday 28th April 2007

And compare the clouds with the clouds in the photo we reasonably believe was taken on Saturday, late afternoon, after the families had settled in and were beginning to explore.

Sunday 29th April 2007

By the evening of Sunday 29th April a cloud bank can clearly be seen on the horizon

  Monday 30th April 2007

Tuesday 1st May 2007

Wednesday 2nd May 2007

Thursday 3rd May 2007

Friday 4th May 2007

Having viewed the sequence of photos above, the expert and local resident said:

"The sequence indicates a typical weather system movement in Portugal.
In short, it shows clearer cooler, but brighter weather, moving down from the North on a NW wind (the prevailing western Algarve wind) and displacing milder but wet and cloudy weather as it does so. [The Pictures] of a local Algarve scene taken on the 4 and 5 May [ . . .] indicate that a period of clear northerly airstream weather (typically lasting a week or so) has finally moved in."

_ _ _ _ _ _ _

The Met sequence and the photo sequence coupled with the evidence of conditions given by the Tapas 9 confirms a typical Algarve weather pattern; thereby casting serious doubt on the McCann's date for the last photo. Wind speed is still the overriding factor in eliminating 3 May as the date of photo in my opinion. It is difficult to judge the wind conditions from the pictures on either date, but the evidence of all (on the ground at the time) consulted indicate that the photo as posed would not have been possible on 3 May.

However of much greater importance - is the wind speed and cloud factor.
At 1400 on 3 May, wind speed is recorded as force 4 with a still air temperature of 17 C. Although the pool area is to some extent sheltered, with the westerly direction component the wind would be markedly chilly with a chill factor pulling the temp down to as low as 15C - definitely not suitable for scantily clad pool activity.

Of far greater importance; however, on the photo there is no sign of any disturbance of Madeleine's hair which hangs lankly below her hat. A hat which, moreover, is perched loosely on top of her head and would not remain unsupported in a Force 4 wind. Clearly, the cloud factor on 3 May would rule out such a photo.
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

(Short discussion about the photo dated 3/5/2007

Solar zenith - noon - on 3rd May 2007 was at 13:29.
The temperature rises to its maximum two hours or so after this time.
The photo shows the sea, which by definition in the Algarve is to the south.
The shadow cast by the pillar of rock indicates that the sun is to the right, i.e. to the west.
The time of the photo may therefore be calculated and estimated using common sense.
It is some hours after Solar noon.
The cloud cover is beginning to break up, but is still at least 6/10, even 7/10.
Unless there are other reasons, people take posed photos when the sun is shining, not when it is obscured.)

All these pictures have been put in the public domain by their owners, but for various reasons the personal details have been erased / redacted, and it is not intended to reveal the exact source of each, other than to the proper investigative authorities.

Anyone with sufficient internet skills can however find them for him- or herself.

- - - - -

Where else might we look for confirmation ?

This shows an extract from the ”Last Photo” showing the reflection from GM’s forehead, allegedly taken on Thursday 3rd May, and a photo verified as taken on Sunday 29th April, showing a very similar reflection on a slightly moist forehead.


What then can we reasonably conclude ?
On the balance of probabilities - but moving very close to “Beyond a reasonable doubt”; certain, so that we are sure . . .
The Last Photo = the Pool Photo was taken around lunchtime on Sunday 29th April 2007, and was NOT taken at 13.29 on Thursday 3rd May

It was taken on the Canon PowerShot A620 - the McCanns’ camera. It was taken by Kate as she has stated, with Sean somewhere to the side, very probably the focus of Madeleine’s attention.

It was not used for the poster, nor was it handed to the PJ. Its existence was concealed from the PJ by Gerry - when he said he had no more photos in his possession.

Nearly three weeks later it was revealed to the world by Clarence Mitchell who drew attention to the time and date recorded in the EXIF Metadata.

The identity of the person who altered the metadata, and the person who physically brought the altered image to PdL to hand to Gerry and Mitchell can be guessed at with some degree of confidence.

So we conclude that the photo is a forgery. It tells a lie about itself, in that it “purports” to be an image recorded on Thursday 3rd May 2007.
It is not.
The placing of this image into the public domain, with the clear intention that it should be used to persuade people of its veracity, including Portuguese and British Police officers, and the investigative and prosecution authorities of both countries is capable of amounting to

Conspiracy to Pervert the Course of Justice under English law,
and its equivalent under Portuguese Jurisdiction.

Much of this material was presented in Richard D. Hall's film -  'When Madeleine Died?' - published in February 2016 and is to be found on disc 2, at 25:15 onwards,    
or on this video about 2 hrs onward.