Recent churnalism about Scotland Yard interest in Ocean Club related suspects led us to revisit the Devil’s Finger post and Robert Murat’s statement that Madeleine’s disappearance had to be an inside job. His words: “If you want my opinion, it had to involve someone on the inside who works at the Ocean Club.”
The alleged note in the receptionist’s book, stating that the group were leaving children unattended whilst they dined, has never been found in the PJ files. So where did Kate find it, as she claimed?
Luisa Ana de Noronha de Azevedo Coutinho was the receptionist who allegedly wrote this note, so we looked at her statement again, to see if there were any indications of where else it might be found.
Whilst doing so, we discovered she was the daughter of another witness, Joan Brenda Smith de Azevedo Coutinho, who was secretary to the director of the Ocean Club (OC). Joan’s husband was Pedro Miguel de Almeida e Noronha de Azevedo Coutinho.
Just checking this surname revealed something surprising. Luisa is a relative of the Garveigh family, joint owners of the OC. John Garveigh B 1928 was one of 3 joint owners of the OC, with George Robin Crosland (another witness) and David Symington.
Monica Azevedo Coutinho Marques, yet another witness who was also a receptionist, is Joan’s granddaughter.
In 2009, the press in the UK and Portugal reported on an incident in the USA, relating to Michael Garveigh, “son of John Garveigh (one of the owners of Ocean Club, in Algarve, where in May 2007 Maddie McCann disappeared) and of Maria Eugénia de Azevedo Coutinho”, making his link to the Ocean Club quite clear.
Until today, no one seems to have made the connection with Luisa. If anyone has, we have never seen a reference to it.
The role of receptionist in the family business is certainly hands-on. Even the family of Portuguese nobility may have to work for a living. We find it very strange as the Ocean Club didn't seem to have any sort of problem in hiring people as the many nannies and other supporting staff.
Surely being able to run a resort with 2 kids clubs (1 with a night crèche), 3 swiming pools & respective bars (4 counting the in-door one), at least 2 restaurants with independent kitchens, Millenium and Tapas (did Adult pool also have a restaurant with an independent kitchen?) and all the staff we know supported watersports, it would be expected that it would be able to also hire receptionists and secretaries outside the family.
Quite a coincidence to find the very person who was said to have arranged for the Tapas 9 to dine at the Tapas Bar every night, and therefore indirectly held to be responsible for alerting the alleged abductor, was one of the Garveigh family.
Silvia Batista, maintenance services director, was called to the Ocean Club that night by George Crosland. Although she had worked for the company since 1986 and knew the Murat family, she says she didn’t know they had any children.
She couldn’t recall what time she saw the person she now knew to be Robert Murat, but she does remember about 60 people were searching.
She suggests that Paul and June from the Duke of Holland bar or Mr Byron of JNB property management should be able to confirm if Robert Murat was there when Madeleine disappeared.
Later, she recalls more details, including Kate’s request for a priest at 3am, which amazed Silvia, as priests are normally requested when a person has died.
We believe that a priest did attend in the early hours; not the following evening, as described in Kate’s book. She doesn’t name him, but the priest who attended was David Heal, the locum priest, accompanied by his wife Pam.
Were David and Pam the “soothing couple” who came not to soothe Madeleine, but Kate?
Silvia should know.
Next week: Chasing Cars & Doctors