Chapter 26 : What do I think happened to Madeleine ?

Over the past decade I have looked at this case and dissected bits of it, trying to decide what parts of the story are credible and to distinguish them from what is frankly not, and to try to see which parts were pure fabrication.

So I am now prepared to rise to the challenge, and to present my “purported’ theory.

I thank all those who have led me to this point, but stress that this, and all the mistakes and inaccuracies which may be found are entirely mine.

I would hope that any inaccuracy or misinterpretation could be pointed out or explained, so I may revise my idea, as everyone should on being confronted with new evidence.

What do I think happened to Madeleine ?

On Saturday night she did not sleep - a combination of excitement and her documented habit of wandering into the parents’ room during the night

Discussion - Kate tells us this in her book, (p. 59) and there is evidence from the “Star Chart” in the Rothley house, and family members. Excitement and over-tiredness on the first day of a holiday is normal

On Sunday evening she and the twins were therefore all given a sedative with their documented ‘cup of tea and a biscuit’. The twins sleep. This continued during the week.

Discussion - Kate tells us in the book that she suspected sedation from the start. Both she and Fiona Payne are qualified anaesthetists; Kate specialised in paediatrics. Strangely neither report that they took any of the medically appropriate steps towards the twins on the night of 3/5/7, leading to a inference that both know exactly what had been given and therefore had no concerns.


Madeleine did not sleep well and during the evening got out of bed, went into the parent’s room, found they were not there, and climbed onto the sofa to look out of the window to see where they were.

Discussion - One of the early theories involved Madeleine ‘wandering off’. Even if those particular shutters had been closed she would not be aware of them, only of the curtains, and would have tried to look out. We were told definitively that Madeleine could not have opened the sliding doors, even though they were allegedly unlocked.

She fell down the back of the sofa, and because the gap was narrow and she was sleepy, was unable to break her fall with her hands. She may have struck her head or face first on the sill as she slipped forward. She landed head first on the terrazzo floor, and some time during the night died of a sub-arachnoid haemorrhage, with light bleeding from the ear and possibly the nose and mouth.

Discussion - The ‘Eeyore’ pyjamas were washed because of the “large brown stain” (p.63) and then dried and photographed on the blue sofa, but then they became confused about what they had said, and why they would have taken a photo of the pyjamas in the first place, and subsequently held them up at a news conference in Berlin on 6th June 2007, describing them as “the ones she was abducted in”. This was confirmed by uncle John McCann when he reported that Amelie had been dressed in the garments and had immediately identified them saying “Maddie’s jammies. Where is Maddie ?”

Bleeding would have been confined to some small leakage from an ear - possibly including cerebrospinal fluid, typical of brain damage - and from the mouth and nose, which stops once the heart stops.

The parents came back late, crept very quietly into their room and went to bed without checking the children

Discussion - There is evidence from other sources that on some nights the parents stayed out into the early hours, and in the book this is admitted (p.60)

In the morning they see the empty bed, and during the frantic search find Madeline’s body behind the sofa, by now stiff and cold and leaking bodily fluids.

In her grief Kate holds and cuddles the body tightly to herself, covering her own clothes and cuddle-cat in cadaverine, which is detected a long time later. She then stays with the twins in the bedroom, getting them dressed and ready, and cuddling them both, holding them all tight to her. Cadaverine is transferred to the red T shirt worn by Sean at this stage, which was alerted to later, and to whatever Amelie was wearing.

Meanwhile Gerry puts Madeleine’s little body into the blue Tennis bag, and places it under the bushes in the garden, so that it will not be seen by the cleaner - if she comes, nor by the twins.

Discussion - The little gate at the bottom of the steps keeps everyone out. In Spain and Portugal there are very few dogs roaming around. The chances of a random intruder entering, searching, finding a bag of ‘stuff’ under a bush and deciding to steal it - without looking inside are - in the author’s estimation, slightly less than the chances of an abduction = 0.

During Monday the bag is left in the flower bed, and the cleaner does not see it. The sofa is pushed fully back against the curtains and the cleaner does not bother pulling it out to clean behind it. Kate goes to the supermarket to make purchases (p. 56) - perhaps including cleaning fluids.

Discussion - The bag may have been brought indoors for Monday night, and placed on the shelf. Bodies do not begin to smell strongly for some time. But if left in the garden it would have assisted the cooling, as the air temperature fell to 10º C (50º F) during the night of 30/4/7/- 1/5/7

There was a suggestion that the cleaner might have been sent away on the Monday. In any event a quick clean two days into a one week holiday does not involve anything much more than beds, bathroom and kitchen area. Moving furniture and cleaning underneath and behind it is confined to the day of departure or a deep “spring’ clean. Even if the cleaner did move the sofa, she would simply mop with bleach.

Personal problems, stains, spills, leakages, soiled sheets and towels are nothing to comment about if you are a cleaner in a holiday resort. The amount of leakage is unlikely to have been much, would probably have been mopped up by the parents, and with three very young children, two in night-time nappies, in an apartment a certain amount of ‘soiling’ would be well within a middle aged Portuguese cleaner’s comprehension and be totally unremarkable.

Robert Murat is summoned, and arrives early on Tuesday. He offers the assistance of a nearby hotel, which has outhouses and chest freezers. Gerry, in full tennis kit, and carrying the tennis bag is able to take Madeleine there and conceal her. Possibly by taxi, or perhaps in Murat’s rented car, and giving some meaning to Gerry’s quote: “I’m not going to answer that . . .” when asked whether he knew Murat previously.

Discussion - Murat had rented a car, as his own was allegedly in for repair (according to his statement). Some may argue that the body might have started to smell by that stage, but Tuesday is only 36 hrs post mortem. Some studies of dead piglets have reported that putrefaction only starts being noticeable to humans at 2-3 days, (but discoverable by dogs within 90 minutes of death ). https://australianmuseum.net.au/image/

Bin liners and air fresheners are on sale in the supermarket.
Gerry’s answer may be viewed at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6qNhoWz0rQw&feature=related

Gerry returns and spends much of the next few days playing tennis at every opportunity to establish his credentials. The now empty tennis bag is placed on the shelf, and the process of scent transference starts

Discussion - despite the denials, the blue tennis bag is clearly visible on the photos taken during the night of 3-4/5/7. It then disappears from the record and like the pink Princess blanket has never been traced. The spot on which the blue tennis bag is shown is the exact point at which the cadaver dog alerts - and it alerts to no other place in that room. The depth of detail in the book about each of the tennis sessions is extremely suspicious. On one day he was reported to have had an injury to the Achilles tendon, which prevented his playing tennis during the afternoon, but was able to resume later that same day. This has not been confirmed.

The conspiracy is hatched with the entire group. After the dreadful event of the Sunday night they all pull together and ensure nothing else could ever happen like that to the other children . . . and begin to work out the strategy. This includes all the children being looked after by one adult every evening.

Discussion - There is much circumstantial evidence to support this theory. It is concealed in statements about recurrent illness accounting for the absence at dinner every night of at least one of the group.

The planning stage concentrates on large issues, but neglects details like cuddle cat, the pink blanket, and the pyjamas. It also neglects the weather, ambient temperature, evidence to be deduced from the lack of photographs and video recording, and the sheer implausibility of the half hourly checks being made by everyone every evening. It becomes overcomplicated with far too much detail and precision being offered.

Discussion - At some stage during that week the Pool Photo - which may be the last or penultimate photo of Madeleine, is selected as ‘proof’ of her continued existence on 3/5/7, and an elaborate strategy is developed, firstly to ensure the Polícia Judiciária never obtain a copy, (included in GM’s second statement in which he affirms and signs that he has no further photos in his possession, only to produce the Pool Photo via Mitchell exactly three weeks later ) and secondly to falsify the time and date. It is clear that the Pool Photo CANNOT POSSIBLY have been taken at lunchtime on 3/5/7, and is most likely or almost certainly - considerably beyond the test of the ‘balance of probabilities’ - to have been taken at lunchtime on Sunday 29th April.

The date for the discovery is deliberately chosen to allow the Police one whole day to take statements before they had to allow people to leave on Saturday, but not to allow them two whole days to conduct follow up interviews or detain witnesses when inconsistencies began to show.

Discussion - The Tapas 7 mostly return to the UK on Saturday 5/5/7 as planned and are replaced with close McCann family members who close ranks


I think this fits with what we know. Whether it is accurate or near the truth is an entirely different issue.
What I do not know is WHY ?


Discussion on The Complete Mystery of Madeleine McCann™ forum: https://jillhavern.forumotion.net/t14681-petermac-s-theory-of-what-really-happened-to-madeleine-mccann#376514