Sunday, May 24, 2015

Bring Out Your Dead: Dr Martin Roberts


Many years ago, more years ago than what is acceptable in solving the solvable case surrounding the unlawful killing of Madeleine McCann, I opined.

I opined that out of the many theories proffered by many sharp thinkers, and some not so sharp, on the many forums that abounded at the time, that there was a very good chance, that unwittingly and unknowingly, someone had already offered a theory that essentially would answer, pretty well, the Madeleine conundrum. The conundrum of who, what, but doubtfully the why, the why of this case remaining a conundrum in its own right until such a time as the fat lady sings.

 That was then, but this is now. Now sees me doubting such former opinions. So much so in fact, that they are dismissed. To be replaced by what, you might ask? By something I like, the answer.

By something I like so much, it actually gives me the shivers. And the cause of said shivers; the latest offering of Dr Martin Roberts.

Before reading Dr Roberts' narrative, might I ask you to watch this short video clip, it being critical to the whole post? It is a well known clip, it depicts Kate McCann in what I once described as: what has to be the most unconvincing appeal by any mother of a missing child in the annals of history. Link

Wooden yes, but wooden for a reason, and it is here the plot thickens. But far be it for me to write a spoiler, much better you read Dr Roberts' essay.

But I will ask you to pay attention, not only to Kate McCann's message, that being the reason we are here, but to the actions of Gerry McCann.

Watch Gerry McCann throughout, including the sneaky look that passes from him to her, (1min 07secs) but I suggest you watch his hand in the first few seconds, then whizz it back and watch his face over the same period, You can’t watch hand and face simultaneously, it’s too quick.


Bring Out Your Dead
By Dr Martin Roberts
24 May 2015

During those dark, dreadful Middle-Ages, and afterwards, the wistful trundling of a cart, accompanied by melancholic appeals from its driver, signalled to the surviving residents of a rapidly dwindling metropolis that someone was at hand to relieve them of whatever corpse might now be menacing the health of their entire household. Nowadays we are more accustomed to bells announcing the arrival of ice cream, although the need for waste disposal in the 21st century has certainly not abated, as was made manifest in Portugal eight years ago.

Blogger, Tania Cadogan has once again drawn attention to the question of putrefaction, and the behaviour of dogs when presented with a pungent odour of any kind. Link

As any dog owner/handler will confirm, whether or not a canine is specifically trained to associate one or other smell with a particular innate behaviour, be it a wagging tail, a bark, or ‘pointing’ with its nose, it will smell (and inevitably notice) any odour of potential interest to it. (Anyone will hear a busker in the street, even if only a few recognise the tune). The dog’s decision either to ignore or investigate then becomes a function of the odour’s significance (to the dog) and/or its prior training in avoidance, as is the case with animals tasked with ‘tracking’ or ‘search and rescue’, among other specialisms, where common-or-garden aromas, including food waste, are ‘screened out’ at the training stage.

What Tania brings to the fore are the Police reports of early searches conducted in Praia da Luz, using dogs (variously described as ‘tracker’ or ‘search and rescue’ animals), in the aftermath of the McCanns’ announcement of their daughter Madeleine’s abduction; specifically the dogs’ deployment at the Ocean Club complex, where apartment 5J was noted to have been peculiarly provocative as far as these dogs were concerned, each of them separately introduced to its front door: two on the night of 7 May (c 23.00), four (two of either ‘discipline’) late in the evening of the 10th (c. 20.10).

The observations of GNR officers present at the first of these searches led directly to the second, during the course of which the conspicuous interest of the dogs in said apartment was confirmed. Whereas on the first occasion the apartment was merely ‘checked’ for any indication (by the dogs) of a missing (presumed alive) child, it was duly noted on the second visit, that whatever odour was attracting the animals it appeared to emanate from the vicinity of the fridge, the door of which was open. Inside was some rotting meat and vegetables. (Sound familiar?)

The invitation to move toward a conclusion here is nigh-on irresistible, and one that Tania herself understandably accepted. We may take a further step forward however.

It is apparent from the reports filed in respect of these two ‘sweeps’ of the Ocean Club, that the second was a more determined attempt to locate Madeleine McCann utilising the dogs, the first being somewhat speculative, since the animals were engaged outside of their normal operational parameters. As regards the first ‘check’, it is unclear whether the dogs or their GNR handlers proceeded beyond the front door even. No specific mention is made in the report, from that inspection, of the fridge, its door or its contents. What was recorded was the similarity of the first dogs’ reactions when passing the front doors of apartments 5A and 5J, the two animals having earlier been ‘primed’, as it were, by first sniffing Madeleine’s clothes.

What this suggests is that these two dogs at least, and quite possibly all of them eventually, reacted to the same odour, which was not that of rotting meat, but something else, since we know for certain that no rotting meat or vegetables were left on the premises at apartment 5A, where Rex and Zarus had each become somewhat agitated, afterwards exhibiting the same agitation once outside apartment 5J.

Whilst the exact status of the 5J fridge on the night of 7 May is unconfirmed, had it been closed at that time the first two dogs (Rex and Zarus) could not have smelt its contents, but will have been drawn to something else; so too the hounds that came after them.

Although an alternative continuity might be proposed, given the dogs were first introduced to certain of Madeleine McCann’s clothes, the supposition that they later, on this basis, indicated the transient presence in both apartments (5A and 5J) of Madeleine McCann , does not stand up to scrutiny. What would she have been doing in 5J in the first place, having been ‘abducted’ from downstairs, and why was she not still there on the 10th? Unless the ‘abductor’ had a professional connection to the Ocean Club, they could not have gained entry to one of its unoccupied (locked) apartments, much less incarcerate a small child in complete and utter silence for any length of time. Overnight perhaps. But the dogs, as we have seen, were drawn toward the fridge, not the bedroom.

An even more naïve interpretation might be that the dogs simply over-reacted to each of two different odours - Madeleine’s (emanating from 5A, naturally) and the meat left abandoned in 5J. However, since the dogs would have been trained to avoid ambient stimuli of no relevance to their ‘target’ scent, such an explanation goes only half-way. Furthermore, among the dogs introduced into apartment 5J were ‘search and rescue’ animals, trained, obviously, in the detection of human scent(s). There is no suggestion that the meat housed in the fridge was human flesh.

It is not unreasonable to infer therefore that these dogs (usually deployed for either ‘tracking’ or ‘search and rescue’ purposes), although not trained to react to the smell of a dead body necessarily, did exactly that at both apartments. As the PJ officers noted with respect to 5J (and as the files record), there must have been “some unusual odour, but which with all certainty did not have anything to do with the odour being searched for, but there must have been something strange inside”.

What may be distilled from all of this is the strong possibility that a corpse had been temporarily accommodated in apartment 5J of the Ocean Club. 5A and 5J shared something in common and it was not the smell of rotting meat. Nor was it the trace of a live child. And since we have available to us the results from a very specific canine examination of 5A subsequently, it is again not unreasonable to infer that the common odour (with 5J) was that of a dead body, not a live one.

Waste removal

And so to the communication between disposal operative and the recently bereaved. In this case it is not a matter of the former extending an invitation to the latter, but the converse.

At 2.00 p.m. on the afternoon of 7 May (the day the first of these dog-assisted searches was to take place), Kate McCann delivered a televised appeal to her daughter’s supposed abductor, with (so we are told by Kate in her book, ‘madeleine’) encouragement from British Embassy press officer Andy Bowes, together with Alex Woolfall, a PR crisis-management specialist from Bell Pottinger (UK). Said appeal was altogether extraordinary, not in terms of its delivery per se, but the manner in which it was worded, as noted fully six years ago (see: Who Were You With Last Night?, McCannfiles 31.7.2009). The written statement was as follows:

"We would like to say a few words to the person who is with our Madeleine, or has been with Madeleine.

“Madeleine is a beautiful, bright, funny and caring little girl. She is so special.

“Please, please do not hurt her. Please don't scare her. Please let us know where to find Madeleine, or put her in a place of safety and tell somebody where.

“We beg you to let Madeleine come home. We need our Madeleine. Sean and Amelie need Madeleine and she needs us.

“Please give our little girl back.

“Por favor, devolva a nossa menina. [Please give our little girl back]"

Read for the cameras by Kate McCann, It was intended to represent the heartfelt plea of a mother whose child had recently been abducted. But set these same words in the context of a parent who already knows their daughter to be dead and they take on an altogether different complexion. Who would ask for the return of dead body in any case?

Instead, Kate McCann is literally telling the person who has been looking after Madeleine to move her (‘put her in a place of safety’) – and on the very day the Police would later bring dogs to bear in searching the Ocean Club apartments!

If this should sound far-fetched, then consider her next instruction: ‘tell somebody where’.

Not, you will notice, ‘tell US where’, given that most desperate parents in anything like this sort of situation would wish to be the first to know. Kate McCann appears strangely nonchalant in contrast, as she suggests ‘the person’ (whom she does not know) first contact ‘someone’ (whom she doesn’t know either). Her use of the phrase ‘put her’ also indicates a change in Madeleine’s status from that of a happy-go-lucky, nearly four-year-old child.

As literal actions, ‘Putting’ and ‘placing’ are things we usually do with inanimate objects. Whilst the English language includes various expressions involving the putting and placing of people, these are usually figurative (e.g., ‘I put him in his place’, ‘He was placed second in the race’, etc.). Even if someone has to be ‘put down’ (having first been picked up) they are not themselves animated at that moment.

Since Kate McCann was reading from a prepared script, there seems little justification for her not using conventional idioms when asking Madeleine’s abductor to treat her with care and respect, i.e. ‘Please leave her’ (‘somewhere safe’, ‘where she will be safe’ or, ‘in a safe place’). ‘Put her in a place of safety’ is a most unnatural turn of phrase to use in the context as publicly understood.

The verbal corruption in fact arises from Kate’s initial temptation to say ‘place her’ (somewhere safe?), which she only narrowly avoids doing. But the word ‘place’, having thrust itself forward in her mind, proves impossible to ignore, and even supercedes the word ‘safe’ in what should have been the phrase ‘safe place’, had that phrase been correctly prepared in Kate’s mind. It wasn’t. Hence we hear: ‘or pla….put her in a place of safety.’

Translated, this is Kate’s (somewhat muddled) message to the operative, that they move Madeleine to a different place (they will already be somewhere) and let their own ‘fixer’, know the new location.

Even the ‘suggestion’ (by Andy Bowes) that part of the message be delivered in Portuguese has potentially more profound an implication than its simply being a straightforward attempt to cover all the bases.

The police and their dogs were admitted into 5J by a female representative of Mark Warner, who had a key. The apartment had been unoccupied for a considerable period of time. (So who left the meat in the fridge, and who opened the fridge door?)

Should it be accepted that a corpse occupied 5J for any period of time, the corollary that Ocean Club management staff enabled it to happen at some point becomes inevitable.

Immediately we have a scenario of third-party involvement in the disappearance of Madeleine McCann. As regards the chain of command, that ‘person with Madeleine’, would have been a ‘grunt’, whose identity was unknown to the McCanns – probably a Portuguese ‘grunt’ at that. Making the focal point of her little speech in Portuguese therefore would have been Kate’s best shot at seeing to it that her message reached its ultimate recipient.

The golden key

Apartment 5J of the Ocean Club appears to assume significance beyond its merely being vacant on the occasion of Madeleine McCann’s disappearance. There are grounds for suspecting that it was used temporarily to house the infant Madeleine (although not as an abductee). For that to have happened, someone would have had to gain access, more than likely without the knowledge or consent of the apartment’s owner, who would have been elsewhere at the time. (The apartment was still unoccupied by 10 May)

The hypothesis that, come 7 May, the McCanns were keen on some re-location, lends a degree of support to the view that 5J may indeed have been a transient stop-over for their missing daughter. It has already been suggested elsewhere that such a location existed and that the McCanns had concerns about it – not so much the venue, as its proprietor – from as early as 25 May (See: That Key Bit Of Information, McCannfiles 24.1.2010).

The reports concerning the ‘searches’ conducted using the GNR’s tracker dogs, and afterwards ‘search and rescue’ animals, were not in fact written until 30 November that year, so there would not have been any publicly available ‘hard copy’ for the McCanns or anyone else to refer to. Why therefore might the McCanns, having successfully given the go-ahead for their daughter to be moved, harbour a serious on-going concern with respect to proprietors of empty properties in general, 5J the Ocean Club in particular?

Tania Cadogan concludes her piece on the subject with the statement: “If prints or DNA turned up from the McCanns, Maddie or any of the tapas group, I would be asking a lot of awkward questions.”

Given that the outcome of those searches, in terms of the behavioural pattern of the dogs, was known and clearly understood by those involved in planning and executing the task, is it not highly likely that the PJ subsequently proceeded to ask one or two ‘awkward questions’ themselves concerning apartment 5J? They were diligent enough after all to establish the ownership and movements of a particular vessel moored in Lagos Marina when it did not even go anywhere.

From what even we, the general public, can ascertain of these significant searches, it would seem almost a dereliction of duty had the PJ not identified the owner of the apartment, its last occupants (who may have been there on a holiday booking) and any interim service routines. And that would explain at a stroke why Gerry McCann appears to have been equally keen to do likewise.


Given the title of Dr Roberts' piece, I'm sure you will indulge me in a little satire? After all, what would a blog post be without a little satire*?

*For satire, read contempt. And for contempt, read Metropolitan Police.


tigger said...

Great analysis as ever. Just one niggle: the GNR never had any clothes or shoes of Maddie to find the right scent.
They had the pink blanket, after that the towel allegedly used by her.
They asked for clothes but never got them.
I believe the pink blanket only featured in the earliest search on the night when crowd control dogs were used. The search and rescue dogs got the towel on the 4th.

I'm sure that any dog would react to cadaver scent and imo they would be able to smell it even amongst rotting meat, although they'd not have been trained to convey that information.

Anonymous said...

The same Pink blanket of which Kate subsequently said words to the effect "I hope they are covering her up in her blanket" and which, after appearing in the pJ photo, has never been seen again . . .?

Himself said...

Thanks m'darlin' I shall make Martin aware of what you're saying.

Anonymous said...

Our Kate would never leave her child out there in the desolate wilderness, it doesn't fit with the personality type. I believe Kate has been trying to tell the truth since the outset & it's not her fault her picker is off, (Gerald, how does she cope with him?).

Anonymous said...

For years I toiled with the conundrum of trying to fit a scenario to include JT's sighting and Smith family.
BANG: you don't have to according to the MET Tannerman doesn't exist - he is creche-dad.
So, for this current la la land of 5J, how do we fit the Smith family sighting into the scenario?
As for the McCanns video & other screen appearances which are pre-cribed, they are never never sat separated, or where they have no visual contact, i.e. either side of the host. The groin\thigh, arm & hand squeezing is, for my part extremely strange, particularly for their age & circumstances.

ROMAntica said...

Brilliant blog post.... have believed for some time that 5J is integral to the whole case....

Kate is so wooden in that vid, the tree in my garden has more spark! eyes darting everywhere, that's not 'distraught' that's guilt.....
R.I.P Maddie <3 xxx

AnneGuedes said...

It's a pity Dr Roberts didn't study a bit before jumping to conclusions. A tracker dog isn't like a search and rescue, it needs a reference odour, in this case the blanket for Numi, then the towel for Rex and Zarus. Numi had some training in tracking. Rex and Zarus were exclusively tracker dogs. The others of the Queluz GNR school team were search and rescue dogs, they search a human scent and it's easier for them when the person is stuck because human scent around is more intense with time passing (the contrary for the trail's scent, every hour passing weaker).
Trackers like search and rescue dogs can't stand cadaver scent. They sometimes seem to loose the trail just because the person died, the cadaver scent making them run away.
The fridge had a lot of scents and they took time to discriminate whether the scent of the towel was among them.
As simple as that.

Anonymous said...

This has been my estimate for what probably happened re. using 5j also.

Anonymous said...

Trackers like search and rescue dogs can't stand cadaver scent. They sometimes seem to loose the trail just because the person died, the cadaver scent making them run away.

Anne, I would strongly dispute that. A scent might be lost for any number of reasons, have you seen data to this effect?

I have known dogs with a powerful aversion to a particular smell, burning being a prime example. The behaviour I have seen in that instance is one of agitation, whilst at the same time maintaining a distance (often circling). Although clearly distressed by the scent, they remain thoroughly attentive to it`s locus.

A human cadaver might bring about an anomalous response; but in so far as other dead animals are concerned, I have never known a dog to flee from such a scent. Quite the reverse. A trained behaviour might be to ignore a cadaver scent, but not to run away from it.

What would be the logic in training either search and rescue, or tracker dogs, to flee/stray from cadaver scent? There must always be a strong possibility that the person being sought has died. An SR Team would rather identify a dead person within a search environment than to stray uselessly around.

If you have evidence of this being a trained behaviour then I'd be happy to see it. It isn`t the case in the UK, I can assure you of that. I speak from experience within my own family.

This isn`t to dispute your point about the delays around 5J having some other cause i.e. the rotting food. But as Dr Roberts has pointed out there was no rotten food in 5A and yet his research suggests that there was the same agitated behaviour to be seen from both Rex and Zarus inside 5A as there was outside 5J. Not unreasonably, this invites the hypothesis of a common source; and clearly that source was not the rotten meat.

In any case, this is far from being "as simple as that."


@ 6 seconds into the video, Gerry makes a sharp gesture with his head and grasps Kate's arm. Synchronous with this she changes not only the tense of the appeal, but also, potentially, it`s meaning.

Initially she appeals to the person WITH Madeleine.

Surely that would suffice.

However, she quickly adds:

"Or have BEEN with Madeleine."

Having once been with someone suggests the possibility of a subsequent return to where that person was once already left: 5J or elsewhere.


Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
AnneGuedes said...

Agnos, many thanks for your post and your critical point. I must admit that I have no experience with dogs, just reading about them, reading a lot.
I've read that the idea of training cadaver dogs came from observing that certain search and rescue would show aversion to cadavers whereas others wouldn't. Of course what was at stake was having search and rescue dogs that wouldn't be attracted to corpses when priority was to find living persons after a disaster.
In his reporr, soldier Fernandes, the handler of Rex and Zarus, has no doubt that his dogs show no sign of having identified in the fridge flat the scent they picked up on the towel.
Many people are convinced or want to be that the "doggies" were attracted to pig meat or any rotten stuff, this is why I was irritated when I read Dr Roberts' chronicle.
I wish the Portuguese had believed more in their trackers'findings. I don't think they would have followed the corridor, around the building, if Madeleine had been carried away, alive, through the car park. What do you think ?
What I find remarkable is that, on the 7th, Rex and Zarus followed the same track around the building the same also followed by Numi on the 4th.
Numi started from inside of the 5A, that's why they found dog hairs inside. As you know, this is crucial to start from the very point where the missing person has been seen for the last time. Rex and Zarus were launched from outside of the flat and first headed to 5A's door, likely searching the freshest trail.

Himself said...

Part one of two.

Over-eager criticism can be as telling as jumping to a conclusion. I like to think I walk toward mine, preferring to leave the non-sequiturs to others.

According to Ms Anne Guedes, “The fridge had a lot of scents”.

Really? How does she know that? Is she privy to what it contained, or was she there when they looked inside? I wasn’t.

Anne G. has the advantage over me also in having been on first-name terms with the dogs referred to in the discussion – including ‘Numi’, a hound not identified by Goncalo Amaral in his book, nor anywhere in the 30 November report written by Major Sequeira of the GNR, who lists ALL the dogs involved:

Sargeant Silva - Dog: Timmy
Officer Cortez - Dog: Sacha
Officer Sousa - Dog: Kolly/Cookie
Officer Rosa - Dog: Oscar
Officer Martins - Dog: Fusco
Officer Fernandes - Dog: Rex/ Zarus

Strange that.

I thank her for making the (self-evident) observation that tracker dogs and search & rescue animals differ in their uses, and therefore their training. The subject can be found discussed in greater depth (and clarity) here:

As to what the tracker dogs in this instance were invited to smell before they set off on their respective missions (of 7 and 10 May don’t forget), I can do no better than quote Major Sequeira of the GNR:

"At about 19.. the undersigned officer, accompanied by the Commander, Officer Silva, took part in a meetings with the PJ Directorate, being asked by the PJ about the viability of giving the girl's clothes to the dogs for the dogs to sniff again, and if by means of the odour inhaled, they would be able to mark an identical odour in one of the resort apartments even though its door was closed."


"At about 23.00 accompanied by a PJ inspector, the searches were begun. After Rex was given the girl's clothing to sniff, he began to search on the ground floor of block 5 and when he passed the door of apartment 5 A (the place the girl had disappeared from) according to his handler, officer Fernandes, the dog altered its behaviour, sniffing with greater intensity than he had done before."

It doesn’t appear from this as if discriminating a towel was part of the bargain.

Also, as Anne eruditely advises:

“Trackers like search and rescue dogs can't stand cadaver scent. They sometimes seem to lose the trail just because the person died, the cadaver scent making them run away”

(Just like children, they’ll do anything to ‘cop off’ school it seems).

cont. .

Himself said...

Part two of two.

Indeed, not one of the dogs subsequently showed signs of disinterest or anxiety outside apartment 5A or 5J. On the contrary, to quote again from Annexe B to Major Sequeiras’ (GNR) report:

“In this concrete situation, the objective would be for the dogs to carry out a discontinuous search, in other words, to sniff the girl's clothes and immediately search near to the apartments, checking to see if there was any change in the behaviour of the dogs.

At about 23.00 accompanied by a PJ inspector, the searches were begun. After Rex was given the girl's clothing to sniff, he began to search on the ground floor of block 5 and when he passed the door of apartment 5 A (the place the girl had disappeared from) according to his handler, officer Fernandes, the dog altered its behaviour, sniffing with greater intensity than he had done before. Apartment 5J of the same block was also checked as the dog had been more agitated than before as if there were a very strong strange odour there. It was stated that this apartment had been unoccupied for some time. Afterwards, the same kind of search was carried out using the dog Zarus which in general terms showed the same behaviour in the same places as Rex had done.”


“On 10th May at about 20.10, upon the request of the PJ, searches were carried out in all of the apartments belonging to blocks 4 and 5 of the OC, two tracker dogs and two search and rescue dogs being used for this operation, adopting the same methods as those used on 7th May, just that this time the apartments were all open and searched one by one, being accompanied by a representative from the resort, who had the keys to all the apartments (apart from those not under her administration) and also with the objective of helping with the searches. The collaboration of all the guests occupying the apartments at that time was requested for this purpose and those apartments that were found to be empty were opened by the administrator.

"All the apartments were searched by the dogs and when they arrived at apartment 5 J they began to sniff with intensity at the entrance door. During this behaviour it was noted by the PJ officers that there must be some unusual odour, but which with all certainty did not have anything to do with the odour being searched for, but there must have been something strange inside.”

Since none of the dogs appear to have shown an inclination to flee the scene, are we therefore expected to infer that cadaver odour was Not present in either apartment, when we already know otherwise? ,

“Airscenting and tracking/trailing dogs are often cross-trained as cadaver dogs” (from the Wikipedia link above).

A bit tricky that I should have thought, given Anne's qualifier once again:

“Trackers like search and rescue dogs can't stand cadaver scent. They sometimes seem to lose the trail just because the person died, the cadaver scent making them run away”

So now – and without jumping to any conclusions whatsoever – I am left wondering why Anne was quite so quick on the trigger here, and, indeed, why Goncalo Amaral’s own discussion of the dog-aided searches stopped somewhat short of the more fascinating outings to the Ocean Club that took place on 7 and 10 May.

Martin R

Himself said...

Tigger 24 May 2015 at 17:11

Both myself and Martin R would disagree with you. See Martin R rebuttal.

tigger said...

Well, that's the first time I've seen this of the 7th 10th which mentions clothes. but iirc the PJ asked for Maddie's clothes very early on and they were refused via the Ambassador no less.
Moreover. On the 5th children's clothes were washed 'of different sizes' implying that M's clothes were with this lot.

Also, if they had clothes of Maddie then they had DNA and the most suitable ones would have been the white shorts and pink top from the last photo, or her whitehat.
But nada, nothing, never seen again. No white sandals from the tennis photo either. I shouldn't go on.
I'll go through the dog reports again. Wrroof!

Himself said...

the PJ asked for Maddie's clothes very early on and they were refused via the Ambassador no less.

They were refused solely because the PJ wanted them for forensic analysis.

John Buck - The clothes? Are you mad? if I understand you properly, you want to go into the apartment to take clothes to have them analysed?

The Visit by John Buck British Ambassador to Portugal

Although the blog is defunct, I took too much on at the time, it never does any harm to go over old stuff.

Anonymous said...

Hi Anne,
I wasn`t aware that aversion might have been part of the history of cadaver training. In my experience when a dog is averse to a particular scent (and some definitely are!), their behaviour is distinct, but not necessarily to run away. I have family members who have been involved with Mountain Search and Rescue teams (in Cumbria). Of course these dogs are primed to find a living subject (primed to that scent), but sometimes these same dogs have unfortunately led to the discovery of a body. To be averse to such a discovery would have made these particular searches impossible. As you say, it is a question of priorities, but I think that an absolute aversion would make search and rescue impossible. And of course, the residue of scent in a person`s clothing/belongings might be retained long enough for a dog to track.

I guess what I am trying to say is that search and rescue is not clear cut - I.e not necessarily one dog for the living, and another for the dead!

Perhaps I read this post differently to yourself. But yes, I see your objection.

I think that Dr Roberts is suggesting a continuity of behaviour (from the dogs) in both 5A and 5J. He doesn`t suggest that a living Madeleine was tracked into 5J (and as you say, the handler denied this). Nor does he say that the dogs would be tricked into responding to the rotten meat (and obviously there was no such meat in 5A).

However, if the dogs were strangely agitated in both rooms, then maybe there was some other type of odour that was "spooking" them. This odour might not have been their strict field of "competence"; but nevertheless, were they registering some kind of unsettling anomaly: ie the former presence of a corpse.

I can only speak from experience. I don't hunt or shoot myself, but my formative years were spent in the midst of specialised dogs of one sort or another. I can't imagine that a dog could enter a room in which a corpse had been hidden and fail to respond.

Of course with dogs such as Eddie and Keela their response is authoritative and perfectly honed; but even a tracker dog, with its very different "competence", would be likely to show its handler some kind of anomalous behaviour. And from this, there follows the suggestion that Madeleine`s body might, at some point, have been hidden in 5J (as well as 5A)

It strikes me as possible. (And as always, the McCann`s use of language strikes me as bizarre and very suggestive!)

But really, I have no absolute theory.

I think you're absolutely right about the PJ`s lack of trust in these dogs` early indications. Perhaps there was a lack of confidence in such competences at the time? And of course there was no small amount of pressure and subterfuge brought to bear!

Sorry, a very long comment again!


Himself said...

Agnos, welcome dear boy, as is always, your input.

Himself said...


On the 5th children's clothes were washed 'of different sizes' implying that M's clothes were with this lot. (As you do)

I'm aware of the situation, but was it as early as the 5th? (May?)

Are we talking about the same event, the one where the PJ entered and took the wet clothes right out of the washing machine?

Himself said...

AnneGuedes said...

It's a pity Dr Roberts didn't study a bit before jumping to conclusions. . .

More's the pity you didn't. Any more posting of stuff you have pulled out of your arse, will not be tolerated.

AnneGuedes said...

No comment then. I'm sorry, Agnos, I was sending a corrected translation of Officer Fernandes'report. I'm on Twitter, my real name.

Himself said...

Tigger, all on one jpg.

Martin Roberts said...


For the sake of good order and clarity, I should like to point out that the dog ‘Numi’, referred to by Anne Guedes, took no part in those ‘sensitive’ checks of 5A and 5J conducted between 7 - 10 May. Besides this animal’s not being identified in the 30 November report of Maj. Sequeira, his handler (Carlos Manuel Carvalho Lacão) makes no reference in his own (16 May) witness statement to having participated on either search date. To all intents and purposes therefore Numi’s training/expertise is irrelevant to the discussion at hand.

My mention of ‘search date’ is prompted by Sequeira’s description of the first of these exercises as having been conducted on the 7th, whereas Officer Fernandes, speaking on his own behalf (he did not submit a written report as such) recalls his work in this specific context with Rex and Zarus as being 24 hours earlier, on the 8th (his own witness statement was taken on the 9th)!

In addition, Fernandes does indeed refer to a towel’s being the source of the target scent first offered to his dogs. This opens up the possibility, I’ll put it no stronger, that Sequeira’s much later summary may have been subject to a lapse of recall and/or a little invention even.

Be that as it may, the conclusions arrived at above, with regard to the dogs’ comparable behaviours outside both 5A and 5J, are in no way compromised by apparent discrepancies in the attribution of a ‘live’ target scent, which, as the handlers themselves acknowledged, was not picked up by the dogs at the door to 5J. To quote officer Fernandes, albeit in translation: “In none of these actions did the dog give him a signal that he had caught the scent of the missing child”.

Martin R.

Anonymous said...

Thanks very much for clarifying that. The quote from Fernandes hits the mark exactly: “In none of these actions did the dog give him a signal that he had caught the scent of the missing child”.

My comments to Anne were pieced together before I had read your own (posted by Himself). One quoted paragraph leapt out at me:

"All the apartments were searched by the dogs and when they arrived at apartment 5 J they began to sniff with intensity at the entrance door. During this behaviour it was noted by the PJ officers that there must be some unusual odour, but which with all certainty did not have anything to do with the odour being searched for, but there must have been something strange inside.”

I couldn't have hoped to find a better statement.

Holiday apartments must hold any amount of material that might distract an untrained dog: food, litter bins, nappies, dropped sweets etc. But it wasn't these potential stimuli that excited a response from these trained animals (properly so). It was whatever had been in 5J. I am confident that any handler would recognise an anomalous response. Clearly these handlers did, and furthermore they realised the importance of recording it.

If I might put two fragments together: "not the missing child...but there must have been something strange inside."

"Strange" would not be food, rotting or otherwise. A handler would know this. It appears to have been something common only to 5A and 5J!

Many Thanks,


Martin Roberts said...


All good.

I thought it worthwhile setting the record straight just a touch, since getting one’s proverbials in a twist over what are, in effect, linguistic misunderstandings, does little to encourage fruitful discussion.

Anne G. is, I think, French, and unfortunately misconstrued certain of my observations. (That is not intended as a criticism of the French by the way. I just happen to know that however hard one attends to the (academic) study of a foreign language, native fluency can prove frustratingly elusive).

To return to the principal topic but briefly:

Any suggestion that dogs, of whatever complexion, signalled the possibility of strange goings-on in apartment 5J would, in my view, represent a significant problem for Operation Grange - especially if they are intent on pursuing the ‘random burglar /spontaneous homicide’ angle.

Published in the ‘Dandy’ or ‘Beano’, said hypothesis might just suffice, in extremis, as an explanation for the behaviour (in 5A) of Martin Grime’s animals. But there has been no mention thus far of any burglaries on the floor above, and certainly not open patio doors to 5J. Even the police had to wait for a key to gain entry.

Whatever noxious contraband it is we are talking about, it wasn’t so much taken from 5J as put there – and by someone who had unrestricted access to the apartment.

Potentially therefore, it’s not just a pair of Springer Spaniels that DCI Nicola Wall may have to deal with (and dismiss), but half-a-dozen other assorted canines besides!

Onward we go.


Martin R.

Anonymous said...

native fluency can prove frustratingly elusive

You made my day Mr. Roberts.


Himself said...

There's nowt wrong wi' your English lass.

So much so, you're well on your way to being an honorary Oop Norther.


Anonymous said...

Himself, Maren too!

Having done some catching up, I believe it was Maren who discovered the below:

What a find!

To paraphrase Gerry McCann: They were busy trying to cover the likely places where Madeleine might have been moved to.

His own daughter is clearly a person so inconsequential, and so inert, that she must be put places, or perhaps moved there. But never *taken*? Not in my world, not if I were speaking about my own child.

(And he pauses afer the word cover).

In full sight.


Anonymous said...


The McCanns at the press conference, Hilton Hotel Amsterdam, June 7, 2007.

3:41 Sir, I have a question. Is the main focus now on Morocco to find her. Is that your hope?

Watch Kate’s lips. Gerry is speechless, and Kate gives an explanation. You could not make it up.

Also, thank you for your interesting comments. I am a reader, too.


In a nutshell H

Himself said...

Agnos, good morning.

Incapable of moving or acting

Having no inherent ability to move or to resist motion

Having no inherent power of action, motion, or resistance

Def Inert adj

Not a bad choice of word under the circumstances.

And as you point out, McCann's equally telling choice: I think I shall move my assets and put them in another portfolio.

And as with all marketable assets, one tends to trademark them.

Though I must admit, for the parents of an abducted child to do so, must be somewhat unique in the history of humanity.

Himself said...

Maren, in a nutshell.

Martin R. said...


Thank you for unearthing/posting the link to the McCanns at the Amsterdam Hilton.

It is of significance beyond the immediate topic.

Martin R.

Anonymous said...

Himself said...

Maren, from Martin R to myself. It may be of interest to you.

Anyway, as regards matters McCann, this today from 'Tigger' commenting on a subtle observation by Hi-de-Ho of Kate's demonstrable malice during interview (the Amsterdam Hilton, July 07):

"...those ridiculously large pyjamas for Amelie too. Plus that allegedly Maddie's were long-sleeved makes exhibiting these pointless - apart from the fact that she'd be very unlikely to still be wearing them.

"Now Kate told a journalist after they were moved to a new apartment that she laid out Maddie's pyjamas on a bed every night. A clean pair obviously. Then there were the pyjamas she was wearing when abducted. But also another pair, a dirty, unwashed pair, which was thrown into the back of the Scenic together with her sandals when they moved to the villa early July. This last was to explain the DNA in the car.

"So three pairs of pyjamas for a week and yet Kate took the trouble to wash the pair Maddie was wearing on the Wednesday night on Thursday morning because there was an inexplicable stain on them. But she had at least two pairs in reserve..."

Yes, but...

From 'Out Damn’d Spot' (McCannfiles 23.8.12)

“Why, with Madeleine's having three pairs of pyjamas (apparently), and with less than 48 hours of the holiday remaining, should Kate have been so determined to wash the middle pair - the pair that got abducted - but not the first that was later 'thrown' into the back of the scenic, and with a clean pair as yet unused? (see article: 'Dormant Issues,' McCannfiles 29.4.11 ).”

From 'Dormant Issues':

“So far that's three pairs of pyjamas for Madeleine and one each, at least, for the twins (who have equal needs), making five pairs in all. Might that be seven? It might if one takes into account the fact that Amelie was denied the use of her Disney pyjamas all the while they were touring Europe. She must have had at least one spare set herself. If so then so too did Sean. Unless of course they were each dressed, once again, in 'Maddie's jammies.'”

Around and around we go, eh?

Have a nice weekend dear girl.

Anonymous said...

Yes, the 'pyjamas' have(!) always bothered me.

10 May 2007

We passed on the accurate details of Madeleine's pyjamas, at the family's request, correcting the police's initial description.

Have a nice Monday H.


Anonymous said...

Problem is while they have Priministerial protection, they will never be tried. I suspect GM has dirt on someone influential and just like the missing boys and VIP pedo rings, things are being hushed up and swept under the carpet. I wish they could be brought to justice. Only a complete simpleton would believe the lies they peddle in conjunction wuth the the media. They are untoucheable. There is always a way though. Just a case of finding it. Hmm. I'm typing as I think!