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Rebuttal of "Fact" 26

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26. The Portuguese police did not believe that the McCanns’ friend Jane Tanner was telling the truth about the abductor she claimed to have seen. Following a series of mobile ’phone conversations between Gerry McCann and former Prime Minister Gordon Brown, Brown pressurised the Portuguese authorities to allow Gerry McCann himself to release a description based on Tanner’s dubious claims.


Verdict - False. There's no evidence in the files indicating whether the Portuguese Police believed Jane Tanner or not. There's no evidence Gordon Brown (who wasn't Prime Minister at the time) pressured the Portuguese authorities to allow Gerry McCann to release Tanner's description of the man. It wasn't Gerry McCann who released the description of the man, seen by Jane Tanner, but Chief Inspector O. Sousa.  

Source - Police files, Gerry McCann's blog and media articles. 



Summary of Verifiable Facts


  1. Jane Tanner said she saw a man walking with a child in his arms. The description of the pyjamas, same as the ones Madeleine was wearing when she disappeared, made her realise it could have been Madeleine.
  2. Details of the conversation between Gordon Brown and Gerry McCann were never released.
  3. It was left up to the leader of the investigation, to decide whether or not to release a description of the individual seen by Jane Tanner.
  4. It wasn't Gerry McCann, but Chief Inspector Olegario Sousa of the Policia Judiciaria, who released the description.



Extracts from the files, with relevant sections highlighted in red


Analysis by the Brigade of Information - September 2007

If the child being carried by the man referred to by Jane was Madeleine, then the eventual abductor (*) would have to have been inside the apartment when Gerry went there at 21.05/21.10, and especially because Matthew, at 21.00 carried out an external check and guaranteed that the shutter of Madeleine's bedroom window was shut.
If it was not Madeleine and Jane, with hindsight, although unintentionally, created this conviction, the disappearance could have occurred after that time, between Gerry exit and Matthew's entrance at 21.30, or between the latter entrance and Kate's arrival at 22.00.  


Nowhere in the PJ Final Report does it state that they don't believe Tanner was telling the truth, though they do state;-

It results, from our understanding, as unusual that neither GERALD McCANN nor JEREMY WILKINS did not see her, nor the alleged abductor, despite the small dimensions of the space;
So how about the UK Police then, who were working closely with the PJ and asked her questions on behalf of the PJ?

Jane TANNER Rogatory Interview Date of Interview: 08.04.08

00.23.07 4078 "You can only say what you saw".
Reply "But I did see it, I think that is the. I'm sorry".
4078 "It's alright".
Reply "But, it's just the frustration of not being believed on this, it's".
4078 "Yeah (inaudible)".
Reply "No, but the best thing that could happen to me, apart from Madeleine being found, is somebody coming up and saying 'That was me', 'That was me walking across there', because, I don't want that to be Madeleine, but, there's no, but I'm convinced that was and people have got to, so I don't know what I can do to make them believe that. I'm sorry".
4078 "Don't worry. Take a moment".
Reply "But, I think it's, I do, I'm not the sort of person that would make this up, I don't want any limelight, you've only got to look, ask people that know me, I'm not".
4078 "You wish you hadn't seen it?"
Reply "I just, yeah, I do, I wish I hadn't. As I say, I wish I'd made Russell go at that point. I really wish I hadn't seen this. But, they have to, and, as I say, apart from Madeleine being found, the best thing that could happen to me is somebody coming and saying 'No, you're wrong Jane that wasn't them, that was me carrying my child', that is what, I dream of happening, after Madeleine being found.".
4078 "It's alright. I can fully understand why you have so much frustration. And, in as much as the part where Gerry thinks he was standing somewhere slightly different to where you saw him, well that, people do see things from different perspectives".
Reply "Umm".
4078 "You know, we can take a statement from people, if an incident happened outside and there was a group of people watching it, everybody would have a different take on what they had seen".
Reply "Umm".
4078 "And that, you know, it doesn't matter. You can only say what you can remember and as far as you can remember it. And if it is different from how it was then things can be explained".
Reply "Well, I mean, just whatever, they were, they were standing there. And, just from, how I wouldn't know they were standing there. And if I was trying to make this up, don't you think I would have made d**n sure they saw me. Why on earth would I say I saw them and then they turn round and say they didn't see me. It's just, it's just, I think that's just, yeah, it's just. I'm not making this up".
00.25.46 4078 "Because of the Case that this is and it has been in the Press a lot and you have received a lot of comment and a lot of unwelcome comment as well I should imagine, that is bound to reflect on how you feel about".
Reply "Yeah, I know, yeah".
4078 "Things. But our purpose today".
Reply "I know, I need to forget that".
4078 "Is to go over again what you saw and not because we don't believe you just because we need to go back through everything".


PJ informational documents

Another missive from the National Directorate in Lisbon, this one dated 25 May 2007 and which starts by saying - 21 days into the investigation ' witness testimony has revealed the description of an individual having been seen carrying a child next to apartment 5A of the Luz Ocean Club.

It continues by venturing to suggest a press release ' in fact an appeal to the person fitting the following description "Caucasian person, 35 to 40 years of age, of medium build, 1,70/75m tall, with short hair on the head but covering the neck area, wearing a dark-coloured wind-breaker/sports jacket/coat, cloth trousers of clear colour (beige or golden) and black shoes."
... who was walking in the Praia da Luz area on 3 May 2007, at about 21h30, and possibly carrying a child, or some object that could be confused with a child, to please contact the Police to clarify the truth of the situation. The appeal was extended to anyone else having seen the person described, in the area at the time given above, to contact the Police on the numbers provided in the appeal.
Again, appropriate action was left to the consideration and determination of the leader of the investigation.


(note: In most countries the description of that man would have been released weeks ago, soon after Madeleine disappeared. Nobody came forward, up till now the man hasn't been identified.) 


Extract from Gerry McCann's blog, with relevant section highlighted in red


Day 23 -26/05/2007 - Saturday

The interviewers were very kind but did not shirk from asking us some extremely difficult questions. We answered them all and although painful will allow us to move on in our search for Madeleine. Importantly, shortly after our interviews finished the Portuguese Police held a press conference and gave details of man they would like to interview who was seen carrying a child on the night of Madeleine’s disappearance. We have not had a transcript of what was said but this is an encouraging development and hopefully will result in further calls to the police with information from people who were in Praia da Luz around the time of Madeleine’s abduction. We remain very optimistic that the criminal investigation will lead to Madeleine’s safe return but we need everyone to be alert and vigilant to any suspicious activity.



Extracts from newspaper articles, with relevant sections highlighted in red


Brown offers support for McCanns


A spokesman for the McCanns said: "I can confirm that telephone conversations have taken place between Gerry McCann and Chancellor Gordon Brown.

"During them, Mr Brown offered both Gerry and Kate his full support in their efforts to find Madeleine, although details of the conversations will remain private.

"The conversations took place against the background of the chancellor's earlier offer to help when he met and spoke to other members of the McCann family in the UK."


Madeleine: Police Have New Suspect

8:25pm UK, Friday May 25, 2007
Portuguese police have released the description of a suspect thought to have been seen carrying a child on the night Madeleine McCann disappeared.
 The man, aged 35 - 40,was seen at 21.30 on May 3 near the McCann's holiday home in Praia da Luz, southern Portugal.
The man is said to be white, of medium build, about 5ft 10ins tall and wearing a dark jacket, light biege-coloured trousers and dark shoes.
Sky News correspondent Ian Woods, in Praia da Luz, said: "This description was given to police a short time after Madeleine went missing."
Chief Inspector Olegario Sousa, of the Policia Judiciaria, said the suspect was possibly carrying a child or an object that might have appeared to have been a child.
He appealed for the man, or anyone who knows about him, to come forward.
He said other witness statements were still being analysed.
Detectives are also waiting for the results of forensic examinations.
A spokesman for the McCann family welcomed the release of the description.
He said Madeleine's parents Kate and Gerry were pleased that there "appeared to be a new development".
He added: "They will be taking time to consider what the police have said before making any comment."



Compare MMRG statement with the actual FACTS


MMRG quote: The Portuguese police did not believe that the McCanns’ friend Jane Tanner was telling the truth about the abductor she claimed to have seen.

Actually: According to the files the police believe she had seen somebody carrying a child in his arms. Nobody knows for certain if the man who was seen by Jane Tanner was the abductor as he was never identified.


MMRG quote: Following a series of mobile ’phone conversations between Gerry McCann and former Prime Minister Gordon Brown, Brown pressurised the Portuguese authorities to allow Gerry McCann himself to release a description based on Tanner’s dubious claims.

Actually: There's no information released about the details of the conversation between Gerry McCann and Gordon Brown. Releasing the description of the man as seen by Jane Tanner was suggested by the National Directorate in Lisbon to the leader of the investigation, but it was left up to him to make the final decision regarding releasing it to the public. Chief Inspector Olegario Sousa, of the Policia Judiciaria, released it at a press conference. 





By using words like "dubious claims" the MMRG is trying to discredit Jane Tanner and are implying that the Portuguese police didn't believe her. Yet we read in the files, that it was the police who released the description of the man (even if nobody knows for certain it was the abductor carrying Madeleine) Jane Tanner saw.



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