Chapter 21: Is the Tennis Balls photo the NEW LAST PHOTO?

Is the Tennis Balls photo the NEW LAST PHOTO?

Close friend, confidante, and uncritical McCann supporter, journalist Tracey Kim Kandohla seems to suggest this may be about to happen.

In a Mail Online article recently, à propos the McCanns’ blog site, she said:

Pictures include the iconic last known image of Maddie in pink sunhat and clutching tennis balls while on holiday “ [1]

There are at least two possibilities here:

1 That Tracey Kandohla is simply very stupid, and has not read Kate's autobiography, where it clearly says that the Pool Photo was the Last Photo,

“We then sat round the toddler pool for a while, dipping our feet in, and I took what has turned out to be my last photograph to date of Madeleine.” p. 66 [4]


2 That Kandohla was under orders to put that in.

If so, then more questions pose themselves. Who told her to word it like that ?

Has Team McCann been watching Richard D. Hall’s excellent films, been reading the fora and e-books and blogs, and have they now begun to realise that the Pool Photo is indefensible, forensically toxic, and as much a liability - or more - as the smashed and jemmied shutters, the whooshing curtains, slamming doors, the waterslide, Tannerman, Smithman, and all the other nonsense ?

IF - and only if - the Pool Photo has been altered then at least four and probably five people, whose names are very obvious, would be involved in a serious Criminal conspiracy to pervert the course of Justice - both in English Law and its Portuguese equivalent, as was pointed out a long time ago.

So are we now going to see an attempt to dismiss the Pool Photo as having been taken on the Sunday after all, and the Tennis Balls photo being promoted to “official Last Photo”?

It is variously described as having been taken by Kate on Tuesday 1st May,
“. . . I ran back to our apartment for my camera to record the occasion. One of my photographs is known around the world now: a smiling Madeleine clutching armfuls of tennis balls” p. 57 [4]

or by Jane Tanner on Thursday 3rd May [5]

Rachael Oldfield (Rogatory interview):
1578 "The third of May, are you able to summarise the days activities"?
Reply "Yeah, ... . . . Madeleine and Ella and their sort of group came to have a tennis lesson as part of their crèche activities, erm and Kate didn't have her camera and Jane was there then as well and Jane took some photos of both Madeleine and Ella, that's one, that poster of Madeleine with the tennis balls, that sort of pictures".
1578 "That was taken on the"?
Reply "Yeah that was that morning."
1578 "Thursday"?

Or perhaps not by Jane Tanner, even on Wednesday 2nd May - she doesn’t say. [6]

Jane Tanner (Rogatory interview):
Reply "No. Err the Wednesday, err again I think it would have just been a, Evie would have had a sleep and just round the pool or in the, each other apartments, until, until high tea but I think Ella, and Ella would have, Ella went to err, Ella went to the err the kids club.
Actually that morning was the morning Ella and Madeleine had the tennis lesson I think on the Wednesday. You've got the picture of..."

Many years ago a commentator and researcher posted this on a blog [2]

In short, Rachael describes how Jane took the photograph on Thursday, Jane describes the event taking place on Wednesday and Kate describes how she (Kate) took it on Tuesday. SNIPPED 
And yet the photograph cannot have been taken during a mini-tennis session on the Tuesday either, because there wasn't one. Mini-tennis took place, according to the 'kids' club' schedule, on the Monday morning. If this photograph is construed as representing Madeleine McCann's 'last hours' therefore (as a recent Sunday Telegraph report would suggest), then these will have been spent on the morning of Monday April 30th, not the early evening of May 3."

In any event
There was only one mini-tennis session scheduled for Madeleine's play group – on the Monday morning (10.00 – 11.00 a.m.).

But what if they do try to run with this one, and to change everything they have said over the last ten years?

Let us go back to Prosecution Exhibit 1 - Kate’s autobiography ‘madeleine’.

On 10th May, they both went to Portimão police station, where Gerry was interviewed at length. Kate continues
“I made use of the long wait I anticipated by sitting down with a notebook, pen and my camera, containing dated photographs of the holiday, and trying to write a detailed account of everything that happened the week before."
p. 123 [4]

So the Pool photo must have had its real date - 29 April 2007 - or we would have been told that she tried, but the internal dating system had apparently gone wrong and could not be relied upon, but that she remembered the dates of the photos . . .
But we were not.
She sat and made a list of however many photos were on the camera for that week with dates and times.

Meanwhile Gerry was making his second statement in which he says
“Asked, he clarifies that, apart from the personal photos already delivered by him to the police authorities after the disappearance of his daughter MADELEINE, he has no others in his possession. [3]

He says he has no others. His wife says she is sitting in the corridor with a camera-full !

Was he trying to be clever ?
Not in MY possession, officer, you will have to ask my wife whether SHE has any in HER possession.

That is more tricky since in common with many romance languages, in Portuguese
na sua posse
can mean in His -, in Her -, in Their -, and in Your - singular or plural - possession

But they have only one camera. The Canon PowerShot A 620.
So that argument, frankly, will not wash.

Or was Kate trying to be clever when she said
my last photograph “ ?
Not THE last photograph, but MY last photograph ?

Doubtful. And since she insists the Pool Photo was taken at lunchtime on Thursday 3rd there is simply no window of opportunity after that for the Tennis Balls photo. She is very clear what they did after the Pool Photo - dumped the children back in their crèches, played tennis, and then she went for the run among the beach, before returning to find Gerry having high tea with the children - her version, from the book. p. 66 [4]

“I had finished my run by five-thirty at the Tapas area, where I found Madeleine and the twins already having their tea with Gerry. The others had decided to feed their kids at the beachside restaurant, the Paraíso. Madeleine was sitting on the Tapas terrace, eating.“

There are of course several possible versions.

From the book:
“Having arranged for Gerry to meet the children, I opted to go for a run along the beach, where I spotted the rest of our holiday group. They saw me . . .” p. 66 [4]

(Banishing the entire Tapas group to the Paraiso for the first and only time is interesting as it ensured that there could be no witnesses to this alleged family high tea.)

But then we look again and find that another version involves Kate herself signing Madeleine out of the crèche at 5:30 pm [7]

(It is a strange and compelling characteristic of this case that so many witnesses give stories which simply do not match, and often totally contradict everyone else’s, and in several cases individual witnesses themselves give several ‘versions’ which are totally incompatible one with the other.)

In any event Mitchell told the world to look at the time of the Pool Photo, and clearly intended the date to be noted. The agency rubric for the photo says clearly:
Picture released by the McCann family 24 May 2007 and was taken 03 May 2007 the same day Madeleine McCann (R) went missing from the family’s holiday apartment in the southern Algarve region.

So that is what they were told.

The question is therefore, is this simple Tabloid invented nonsense, not intended to be read closely, nor to be questioned and certainly not believed by anyone ?
Or is it the start of something else entirely ?
Only time will tell.

As another researcher has observed -

It’s surely something you’d think Tracey Kandohla would have known by now, what with her weekly cup of tea and cakes with Clarence Mitchell in the early days, and trading on recycling Clarence’s notes into the press for the past 10 years?

Further information.

Tracey Kim Kandohla lives in Rothley and is a friend of the McCanns, belonging to the same Gym Club as Kate. She is frequently described as “a source close to the McCanns”.






4 Various quotes from ‘madeleine’ by Kate McCann, Bantam Press, 2011

5 Rachael Mampilly (Oldfield) Rogatory interview

6 Jane Tanner - Record Of Tape Recorded Interview


Note: The site has sadly been suspended, but the above may be referenced by use of the wayback machine. It is merely necessary to insert the code before the refence given