Friday, 16 October 2015

Praia da Luz

Typical Praia da Luz architecture, historic (not) and quaint (not)

1. Introduction

As we said in our post “Sardine-munching” we visited Praia da Luz at the beginning of this month.

We set out to visit the village, do some walking around, have lunch and eventually revisit anything else there before heading for Sagres.

In Sagres we intended to visit the town square where are the esplanades where the attempted abduction of the  “Sagresman sighting” took place.

After that we would just become real tourists and enjoy the scenery and visit the fortress, enjoying the rest of the day together.

2. Praia da Luz

Two of the Textusa sisters had already been in or near Praia da Luz.

One had been there in the 70s and the other 10 years later, in the 80s. Neither remembered much of it, just the beach.

But thanks to Google Maps and its Street View, the town held very few secrets to any of the 3. After all these years “visiting” it all seemed very, very familiar.

There were a few things of Praia da Luz that because they were not possible to see on Street View we wanted to see them for ourselves:

A - The passageway between Rua 25 de Abril and Rua da Calheta, which is known as the stairs up which the Smiths came to before they crossed with Smithman;

B - The commercial area South of the church, where the restaurant Chaplin’s is located;

C - The most southern tip of the town where rock meets the sea, separating the Western beach and the big one everyone knows to the East, and where on the South face, facing the sea, of the esplanade is the sewer some have ventured as a possible destination for Smithman that night;

D - The Rua dos Pescadores which is a pedestrian paved beachfront walkway;

E - The cul-de-sac of Rua da Boa Pesca which the McCann family supposedly used on their way to the beach.

The rest of the town that we were interested in was, as said, very familiar.

Even the driveway in front of Murat’s Vivenda Liliana (now on sale) looked familiar.

And we even saw a “Laundryman’s van” there!

To those unfamiliar with this, a “Laundryman’s van” is any white unmarked van that just happens to be parked in one of the existing parking spaces in that particular driveway.

White, unmarked and parked in one of the EXISTING parking spaces, the characteristics to make it suspicious. Highly suspicious. That, according to a guest, Stephen Carpenter, is unquestionable and obvious.

In fact, we, on seeing that white unmarked van parked there, thought immediately of calling the authorities to warn them of a soon forthcoming abduction of a little blonde British girl from apartment 5A, down the street.

Having now passed days without that happening, we're certain it didn’t take place because the apartment 5A's infamous “jemmied shuttered” window has now metal bars!

Abductors of little blonde British girls who flock to Luz to abduct please be warned that your place of pilgrimage, your holy place, is now blocked by metal bars.

But we know you won’t let a minor obstacle as bars blocking a window limit you. Your colleague who abducted Maddie didn’t obey any laws of physics, so we’re certain all of you (and by golly you’re many) will be able to pass through those bars like a hot knife through butter just like the jemmied/unjemmied window was negotiated by that Peter Pan-like colleague of yours.

Unfortunately, what we weren’t able to see, and we did look for it, was Carpenter’s “Laundryman’s garage”. Pity because we were really looking forward to buying some second-hand toys there.

Maybe next time, if someone in Luz is kind enough to tell us where it is, we will go there as we don’t want to pass on such a bargain again.

3. Our path

We entered the town from the East, driving past the Water treatment station with the background of the hill with its topographical landmark that many myth makers have made many believe it was a Mason one.

We entered the village and turned right and then left on Rua do Ramalhete, passing by the Mirage Bar (A).

Continuing on that street, passing on our left the T-crossing where TS supposedly came from her home and have the first encounter with Pimpleman (B) and the rubbish bins where Pimpleman supposedly was standing when JW alleges to have seen him (C).

We then turned left on Rua Agostinho da Silva where we passed next to Murat’s villa where we saw the white van (D) parked on the driveway in front of it and turned left on Rua Dr Francisco Gentil Martins.

On this street we passed by the passageway where TS alleges to have seen Pimpleman (E) for the first time, the sidewalk where Derek Flack, TS and JW all allege having seen him (F) and the Baptista supermarket which TS says she went inside with her dogs (G) before allegedly seeing for the second time the shady character on the sidewalk we just passed.

We turned left and went up Rua Direita and passed the entrance of Rua da Boa Pesca (H) where the cul-de-sac Gerry McCann says the family used to get to the beach meets this street, the Ocean Club’s main reception (I) and the crossing with the Rua da Boa Praia (J) which was supposedly used by the McCanns to come from the family’s beach trip and where TS went to the Alisuper supermarket.

We then turned left, returning to Rua do Ramalhete and this time instead of going left on Rua Dr Agostinho da Silva we continued straight ahead passing on our right the house, aptly called “Casa da Aventura” (Adventure House), where we believe the journalist Cecilia Pires was introduced to Jenny Murat (K), and on the left the building where Berry and Balu found a man to be suspicious just because he supposedly owned recently some property there (L).

At the end of the street, turned left on Rua Primeiro de Maio and left again on Rua Dr. Agostinho da Silva so we could pass in front of the infamous 5A window (M).

Back around Rua do Ramalhete, then Rua Primeiro de Maio and turned right to enter Rua da Escola Primária where we parked the car and continued our visit walking.

We walked down Rua da Escola Primária, where we stood on each of the 3 spots the Smiths say they saw Smithman (and we believe fully in the Smiths), the last one, where AS crossed with him being on the other side of Rua 25 de Abril at the beginning of the passageway, commonly known as “the stairs” that links this street to the esplanades on Rua da Calheta, where Dolphins restaurant and Kelly’s bar are.

We went in that passageway and out on the esplanade area, turned left on Rua da Calheta and walked up to its end where we turned down the road towards the church, passed it and Chaplin’s then turned right at the esplanade after the restaurant “Fortaleza da Luz”.

There we used the small stairs at the West side to go to the rocks near the sea. We circled the walls of the esplanade towards East, passing the sewer, and went on to the Rua dos Pescadores up to the exit that Rua do Poço has to the beach, and through which the McCann family should have passed on their family trip there.

We turned left on that passage of Rua do Poço and entered Rua da Boa Pesca, what we have called up to now a cul-de-sac.

This is indeed a cul-de-sac for vehicles but, as our reader Edgar Cavaco has pointed out in comments he put in our “Dr Gerry McCann is a liar (update)” post, there's a narrow passage with stairs for pedestrians:

We went up Rua da Boa Pesca to Rua Direita where we turned left and then right past the SPAR supermarket and from there on Rua Ema Vieira Alvernaz back to our parked car on Rua da Escola Primária.

4. The Nanny building

It wasn’t planned to be seen but it was very useful to see the building we now call the Nanny building, or as Catriona Baker says in her April 14 2008 statement: “I was lodged in the blue and white building, less than 10 minutes walking from the Mark Warner Village and the working place”

Reading the various statements of the various Mark Warner staff, we get to know they were lodged in various apartments.

The only “blue and white” building within the referred walking distance and with multiple apartments is one called “Edifício Pedras Brancas”, located at the T-crossing between Rua da Escola Primária and Rua Ema Vieira Alvernaz, North of where the 3 Smith sightings took place.

“Edifício Pedras Brancas” or the Nanny building has 58 apartments.

We confirmed how evident were the 2 “exits” Smithman could have used in that building to avoid contact with the Smith family well before making any contact but strangely decided not to.

We showed these 2 exists in our “Intentional - Not debatable fact” post, calling them “Alley” (orange) and “Unnamed street” (purple):

It’s important to understand where this building is when we visit Susan Owen’s statement later in the current post.

5. Praia da Luz: smaller distances

We all have the wrong impression that Praia da Luz is bigger than it really is.

This has not been an intentional misleading on the part of the Black Hats but rather misleading ourselves unconsciously.

We have all have been misled into constructing the idea of much bigger distances between things because of these 3 distances:

#1 – The distance we perceive to have been the trip on Saturday night from the apartments to the Millenium restaurant, the only trip made there by the family that week (route A - B (green));

#2 – The distance we imagine to have been the only family trip to the beach that week (route A - C (red));

#3 – The distance we perceive to have been the Smith sighting from apartment 5A (route A - D (yellow)).

Three “significant” distances in 3 different directions from apartment 5A, E/NE (green), S/SW (red). and W/SW (yellow).

The first two only happened once (one, the beach trip we think it’s made up, never happened) and we attribute that singularity to how unpractical the distances involved would have been.

In the first case, the trip to the Millenium, the distance being “enormous” was explicitly recognised by the group, and that was even the fact that led to them being awarded an ad eternum reservations at Tapas for the rest of their stay to the detriment of all other guests who continued to have to get up and get in line, such was the sacrifice such a walk would represent.

In the second, the alleged trip to the beach, there was no written complaints about the distance but we constructed mentally the idea that trips from the apartment to the beach would be so cumbersome justifying why there had been only that single trip during that entire week.

Summing up, they only went once to the Millenium because it was too far and they only went to the beach once because we thought it would be too far for that family of 5 to do it as a routine.

About the third, the Smith sighting we have a 45 minute gap we have to justify in our heads – from 21:15 when Jez interrupts Gerry, to 22:00 when Gerry is seen by the Smiths. And we justify it unconsciously by thinking the 2 locations are really far apart.

These 3 facts make us “draw” an image in our mind that Praia da Luz is spread wide over a very significant area.

6. Praia da Luz: a compact village

Only Praia de Luz is not big at all.

That was the first conclusion we came to immediately there is that Praia da Luz is quite small, quite compact.

Much smaller than we thought it would be even after having “walked” it on Street View.

To give an idea, from apartment 5A to the Smith sighting area is a 3 to 4 minute walk. 5 minutes at the most.

Yes, one MUST really ask what Smithman did do for 40 minutes in Luz.

Because from 5A to the end of Rua da Escola Primária is a 5 minute walk tops.

Even if he went around Rua do Ramalhete, it would take at the most 10 minutes to get there. That leaves 35 minutes left to explain what did a man with a body of a dead girl in his arms do.

Those saying that it was Gerry walking around with a dead Maddie have to explain what he did in those 35/40 minutes. Having been in Luz, we haven’t the faintest idea. We truly don’t.

We in the blog have said that we think Smithman was Gerry McCann and that he first went with Maddie’s body from apartment 5A (Tanner’s sighting) to Murat’s property, left the body there, came back to the apartment and only then left with the decoy child (Tanner’s daughter) the one he had in his arms when he was seen by the Irish family.

That accounts for the 45 minutes as we don’t know what time he took to leave Maddie’s body nor at what time he left the apartment for the second time to go on his decoy run. But we would guess he left very close to 22:00.

We did all of the driving and walking, and we did stop many times to talk and debate ideas and come up with conclusions, all well under 45 minutes.

Those 45 minutes were more than enough to understand the whole of the town because it really has little to see.

The fact that it is indeed small together with the fact that it is not quaint, historical or typical will be important when we talk about what kind of tourism one expects to find there. We will come back to that later in the post.

As an example, the nanny Susan Owen, says this to describe how she went from the Nanny building apartment (B) – which was in Rua da Escola Primária – to the Mirage bar (M) – which is next to the Millenium: “the deponent refers that she walked the indicated path, having done it by the beach and later taken the route on the road that ends in the referred bar, thus not having crossed the interior of the mentioned resort nor near Madeleine McCann’s residence.”

 One of the shortest route to go from the Nanny building (B) (just up the street from where the Smith sighting happened) to the Mirage bar (M) would have been to go up Rua da Escola Primária, Rua Dr Agostinho da Silva (apartment 5A (A)) and Rua do Ramalhete (yellow route).

Note this distance would be exactly the adding up of the distances between the Smith sighting to apartment 5A (A) and from apartment 5A to the Millenium/Mirage (M).

Knowing what she had to walk, Susan Owens decides to walk the long way around, by the beachfront (blue arrow).

If the distance between 5A and Millenium was as significant as it was said to be by the T9, would the long way around ever crossed Susan's mind?

This shows clearly that distances in Luz aren’t anywhere near what they were made to be.

Having taken a first-hand look at the real distances and realising the true size of Praia da Luz one immediately realises how aware the media was that it was a hoax and how they actively set out to fool all us from the first minute.

We say this because of what they showed of Praia da Luz.

Luz’s small size presented a problem which they had to circumvent. They quickly found out that they had to sell a gecko for a crocodile. And they knew full well they were selling one for the other and did a pretty good job.

They had to make an effort not to show how all close things were. They had to be very careful where they pointed the cameras. Any minimal move could point the cameras into something that shouldn’t appear on screen. Each shot had to be thought out, all had to be done with care.

They had to convey the idea that Praia da Luz was a destination that upper and middle-upper class tourists would seek. That it was understandable and even natural for that group of British doctors to have chosen Praia da Luz for a week of holidays in the low season.

That Praia da Luz was quaint, picturesque and typical little fishing village that would attract the upper and middle-upper class kind of tourist.

Only Praia da Luz is not anything of the sort. The village has nothing to show as such. Only points of interest are its beach with the walkway and its church.

That’s why of Praia da Luz  the media have basically only shown us 2 things: apartment 5A and the church. The rest of Luz it’s as if it doesn’t exist.

The reason being is that besides the church and the beach it has nothing else to show.

The direct consequence of this conclusion was that it helped us realise what was the true reason for the McCann press conferences when they were staying there.

These press conferences weren’t to allow the McCanns & Co any freedom of movement. They never had it curtailed

With the level of cooperation they couple had from the media it simply never crossed any journalist’s (?) mind to point their camera at the McCanns in their “private” time.

The press would never publish anything embarrassing to the McCanns. Much less condemning.

For example, the Scenic would never have been filmed or photographed with the boot open even if the stink coming out of it reached Lagos.

The McCanns were free to do whatever they wanted to do because the collaborating press were not there to cover the story but to sell the hoax.

To collaborate with whoever was pulling the strings.

This is why the collaborating journalists (?) consistently pointed to the floor each time they filmed the Tapas esplanade and so they wouldn’t show the space where the Big Round Table (BRT) was supposed to be and wasn’t anywhere to be seen. The esplanade, like Praia de Luz is just too small and any raising of the lens would show the BRT was not there, it never existed.

So, there can only be one reason for these press conferences: to give the journalists (?) the excuse to have the cameras pointed only on the McCanns.

Exclusively on them. When the couple was being filmed there was no need to film anything else.

They put the couple under the spotlight so that the rest of the stage remained unseen and the spectator wouldn’t realise what little it had to offer and how small it all really was.

By pointing to them only we got to know Praia da Luz as much as we do Rothley. Only in Rothley no one has claimed an abductor has taken a little girl out of her bedroom and disappeared on its streets.

By concentrating the image on the couple, the world wouldn’t see how Praia da Luz really has nothing to offer nor how desolate it really was. If it did, questions as to what was that group of British doctors doing there could be raised. And we’re not even speaking about the other 300+ guests listed on the booking sheets.

An effort had to be made to avoid lenses capturing truth by mistake.

For example, it’s extremely difficult to film the Smith sighting in a way to make it appear as a surprise encounter.

That’s why it has never been reconstructed properly. Like we showed in our “Public misleading of public by McCanns” post, from where the images above are from.

And why it wasn’t even attempted to be reconstructed on UK Crimewatch of October 2013 even though SY considered Smithman the centre of their focus. All we had was a reporter already at the end of Rua da Escola Primária pointing his fingers down Rua 25 de Abril towards the direction of the church (and which had nothing to do with where in fact Smithman headed which was towards the passageway to Rua da Calheta).

Because it’s impossible to film a reconstruction of the Smith sighting without showing how impossible the surprise is.

When one is walking down Rua da Escola Primária and one is thinking about the Smith sighting one can only think: are you kidding me?

To state that a man panics for over a minute and unnaturally heads towards the threat having many, many possibilities to flee has the same logic of saying someone keeps a hand on a burning stove for the same amount of time without pulling it away.

We will do a separate post about the Smith sighting v our visit to Praia da Luz.

It really was hard not to show how ridiculous the entire script was.

The only solution was to keep the cameras pointed to the couple at pre-set intervals and if one had to film anything else, just keep the focus on the apartment or the church. It was the world’s case with the most visibility and yet very little or nothing of Praia da Luz was ever shown by the media.

Before being there we thought Luz was much bigger than it really was because the media simply hid the real village.

About distance A - D, from apartment 5A to the Smith sighting it’s just a 3 to 5 minute walk.

About distance A - C, we all have been in “beachfront resorts” where the distance to walk to the sand was greater than the one in question between 5A and the beach.

About distance A - B, to the Millenium, although not practical is not a tragedy and baby buggies being available, it would have been a leisurely walk for people who enjoy jogging.

7. Praia da Luz: very specific kind if tourism

Being there, seeing it all with our own eyes made us reach the conclusion that the people we know were, or we were told that were, in Praia da Luz that week would never choose Praia da Luz to spend a week there.

We all go on holidays according to the economical possibilities each one has. That’s the harsh reality although not so harsh for some.

One goes where one can afford to go and not where one really wants to go. If one could, there wouldn’t be anything of interest in the world one wouldn’t visit.

So if one goes to where one really wants to go it means one can afford to do that.

The key in the choice is the capability of being able to have one.

The vast majority of people have no choice but to go only where they can afford. At the bottom of that scale are those who unfortunately cannot even afford to go anywhere.

But the upper class can afford to go anywhere they want. Regardless of price. They choose where they want to spend their vacations and go there.

The middle-upper class can afford many places that the rest of us can’t.

Please don’t confuse being able to afford luxury to enjoying luxury.

These people may want to enjoy what we call basic holidays, which may offer little or no luxury. But they go only to these destinations because they choose to do so.

They can choose to spend a week or two at the Ritz, Savoy or Carlton in Switzerland or Dubai, or they can choose to spend it in some remote Greek island where the only transportation available is by donkey.

It’s their choice and they are able to make it. Or better said, afford to make it.

However, in all their choices, luxury or non-luxury, have one thing in common: the offer is genuine.

Those seeking luxury will seek where luxury is offered. Those wanting the basics will head for where history, rural environment, scenery or isolation is to be enjoyed.

One only declines luxury, having the possibility to afford it, for an objective reason.

And that reason is evident, is easy to see and understand.

That reason doesn’t exist in Luz.

Praia da Luz is not a tourism village.

It’s true it swells up with a significant number of tourists every year during summer who are there to enjoy the beach but what keeps it alive in the other 8 months of the year is that it is nothing but an ex-pat suburb. A Little Britain.

It’s a resident town not a tourism one. Yes, in summer probably one will find that for every resident there are 5 or 6 tourists or even a bigger ratio than that but that doesn’t make it exactly a tourism destination.

As can be seen, Praia da Luz is neither quaint, typical nor historic.

It’s fishing part is very unattractive. It’s poor, it’s ugly and it’s off the village centre, out of the tourists eyes.

It’s not to see fishing boats heading for the sea that people go there.

There isn’t, as far as we know a “lota”. A lota is where fishermen sell the fish off the boats.

What little fishing material we saw we would say this activity has long since died in the village. Its fishermen probably now only work in Lagos or in Portimão and not in Luz.

Praia da Luz is just a Little Britain neighbourhood with a beach, plus Portuguese residents who can’t afford a house in Lagos.

It really stands out how uncharacteristic it is.

Just apartment buildings with an architecture from the late 80s to up the early 2000, uncharacteristic and without any interest and we’re being kind.

We only have to look at the building where apartment 5A is. It’s not ugly but it's not quaint, nor typical, it’s just an apartment building.

One might argue that the Algarve is filled with such buildings and we agree but where they are there are areas where near them has esplanades and town squares where people can gather and enjoy the warm night breeze, walking or sitting down with friends to have a drink.

In Praia da Luz there’s only being in an apartment/villa and being at the beach. Nothing else. 

Holidays in Praia da Luz are for those who want beach and beach only and can’t afford to go “expensive” ones at that.

A holiday in Praia da Luz is to get up and go to the beach, come back at lunch for a quick bite and go back to the beach.

At sunset, leave the beach and go to the apartment shower, have dinner, watch a little TV and go to bed.

Next day, get up and go to the beach.

And repeat this routine with a lot of other people who are also there. People who could not afford better. For obvious reasons, families.

Those who can afford luxury and decline having it for some reason in no way go holidaying in Praia da Luz.

People with money who want beach holidays find it somewhere else. They can afford it.

People with money do not pay to go to crowded beaches.

People with money only seek the crowd of peers, people equally with money, but then it’s not about going to the beach but about being seen going to the beaches that matter.

Praia da Luz, however beautiful its beach may be, is not one that matters.

People with money who opt for beach holidays go to resorts where the beach is part of them.

People with money prefer the luxury around a luxurious pool that luxury hotels offer with their luxurious restaurants and bars.

As we said, people with little or no economic constraints go to places with little or no comfort. In such instance they are driven by wanting to find the basics.

Nature loving locations or isolated unsophisticated ones. But there the absence of luxury is the reason to go to these places in the first place.

But Praia da Luz is neither rich nor basic. It stands in that uncharacteristic and unsavoury middle ground where the populace flocks to.

As we said, Praia da Luz is for people with enough income to enjoy holidays but unable, for economic reasons, to go to where they really wish they could go.

To say a person with money goes specifically to Praia da Luz for holidays is to say someone who has enough money to stay in Manhattan would choose to spend their money to stay in Brooklyn or Queens.

As we said, the village is not quaint nor picturesque. Its walls cry for whitewashing. The village shows a lack of maintenance we didn’t expect to see.

The town does nothing to make itself attractive.

What we saw was quite depressing. We expected the centre of the village, which would be the church area, to be well maintained and at least there tourists feel welcomed and cared for. It’s quite barren and unwelcoming living off the beauty of the building.

Because the church is beautiful indeed but the rest around it is like the rest of Luz, unkempt and unattractive.

Walls we expected whitewashed weren’t and what we called the “Chaplin’s commercial area” just South of the church is not the most appealing of places:

And we have to mention the unpleasant olfactory experience we had while walking along the Rua dos Pescadores (pedestrian beachfront) in a harsh contrast with the magnificent view that was before our eyes. We mention it because it was not a temporary problem.

Being there, looking around, we realised very quickly for people economically well off to be there they had to have a reason other than whatever Praia da Luz offered.

And if it would be very unlikely to find people with enough money during beach season it would be impossible to find any there in the off-beach one.

However in April/May of 2007 there were apparently many, many of them there.

8. Praia da Luz: family holidays

The third conclusion we reached was that a holiday in Praia da Luz has to be a family holiday.

We have said before that we are of the opinion that people brought their kids on that week of May 2007 because they came to do swinging.

Friends, family and business and every day acquaintances back home would be given the impression that the family would have gone on holiday together.

In Praia da Luz, with kids being taken care of by childcare, the adults could then do whatever they pleased, and in the case it was indeed pleasure.

At home those who mattered would be kept in ignorance, oblivious of what really was going on, of what the true purpose the holiday was. For them, they had seen a family depart for a family holiday and no one questioned the reason.

But being in Luz made us realise that there was also another reason to for the kids to have to be brought along and that is because Luz offers only its beach.

Only family tourism makes sense in Praia da Luz.

Praia da Luz is as unromantic as it gets.

It’s not the choice for a honeymoon. It’s not the choice for a romantic getaway. Yes, one may see couples there but then one has to go back to the economic question of one being where one can against where one would rather be.

It’s not exactly a location that invites meditation. Not the destination those seeking isolation seek.

Luz is beach and pool. Without beach only pool. Without beach and pool, it’s, in terms of tourism, nothing.

Crowded beaches and crowded pools are destinations where people go as family.

To know the couple next door are going alone without kids to Venice, Maldives, Greece or Las Vegas, just to name a diversity of locations, one easily understands that they want to enjoy some time together in a place where that makes sense.

For them to say they are going on a romantic getaway to Praia da Luz is like visiting Buckingham palace for the food. It just doesn't make sense.  

Swingers took their kids with them to Praia da Luz because not only they wanted to convey how it was a family holiday but also because it only makes sense going as family if one decides to go to there for holidays.

However it must be said that it seems many disagree with us.

According to the booking sheets, there were the following “loners” staying in Praia da Luz:


- Pages 619 – 622, 4 registries: AUSTIN, KELLY, MORGAN and PALMER.

- Pages 623 – 627, 3 registries: AUSTIN, KELLY and PALMER.

- Pages 628 – 630, 5 registries: ALAN PIKE, AUSTIN, KELLY, MAHYE and PALMER.

- Pages 631 – 634, 8 registries: ALAN PIKE, ALEX, AUSTIN, KELLY, KURI, MAHYE, PAWER and TREVETT.


Also, according to the same sheets we had the following people registering as “2”:







We know that some of the above may just be 2 friends travelling together but most certainly the majority would be couples.

It seems there was some romance really going on in Praia da Luz that fateful week, even though the night life of Luz doesn’t appear to be that appealing:

And above are less than half of the people staying in Luz that week. That small village would be heaving with people.

But, as we said, without beach and pool Praia da Luz in terms of tourism, is nothing and we think we all agree that during that week there was neither because of the weather.

9. Praia da Luz: sea not toddler friendly

Final conclusion in terms of a town was understanding how ridiculous it is to say they took 3 and 4 yr olds out on a catamaran on the beach of Praia da Luz.

For a jogging enthusiast, running on the beach is ridiculous because the length by the water doesn’t even serve as a warm-up, in terms of watersports for toddlers the beach is far too wide.

No monitor risks doing any watersport for 3 or 4 yr olds further than waist deep on a beach. The risk involved means that even then only on small beaches where waves almost don’t exist and there aren’t surprising currents.

To put kids that age on a floating platform, one has to take be able to react in a situation when all the little passengers fall off at the same time, such as in capsizing.

If that happens, all toddlers MUST be reached immediately and brought safely to land. All without exception.

One does not tell a little boy of 3 please hold on to this while I take your friend to safety and then I’ll come back for you. One does not abandon a toddler in the water. One has to bring them all together safely to land.

The idea is to have a ratio of monitor to child that will allow in such a situation that every child clings to an adult and all are brought safely and calmly to the sand, in a manner that the children think it’s just a game.

That can only be achieved if all monitors have a solid foothold and every toddler is reachable immediately. To do any such activity where the water is above waist deep is folly. It’s irresponsible and probably illegal.

On a beach with the waves that Praia da Luz beach has, we are not seeing it possible any sort of “on-water” activity for toddlers that age. Not even knee-deep. The waves are too wide, big and strong.

There are loads of activities one can do on the beach with them without putting in any way their safety at risk.

Any water activity with toddlers that age is done safely in the sand during in low tide and away from the waves.

10. Conclusion

As we said at the start of the post, we intended to have lunch in Praia da Luz. We really thought we would find a town focused on tourism.

Instead we found a town. One that didn’t offer us anything significant to hold us there after our stroll.

It’s a fact we thought we would spend more time walking around than we did. That the distances would be further. That there would be places we would like to revisit before leaving.

Instead we basically found ourselves standing by our car, looking at each other and agreeing that although none of us fell into the category of “economically unconstrained” we would never choose Praia da Luz for a holiday.

Nothing against the town itself but, and that is what we really want to point out, nothing in its favour.

Nothing appealing, nothing calling us to come back there and that made us have something against us ever being tourists there.

And it’s not about the “McCann circus” having degraded the town. The buildings and layout are the same as they were in 2007 and the area around the church can be seen has been renovated since.

The fact of the matter is that it’s a small town that relies solely on the beach and seems not to give much care in pleasing those who do come to it in the summer.

The idea we got is that local residents are either Portuguese who can’t afford a house in Lagos or ex-pats.

To live, as the climate is Algarvian and Lagos is near, it’s a good choice to make if one is looking to feel in Britain outside Britain.

But the thing about tourism is that is a very expensive and a very, very short-term habitation contract and as we’ve said above, it’s all about opting and being able to opt.

And we can think of better places to spend our holidays besides in a dreary Little Britain suburb.

Don’t know which of the sisters suggested “how about lunching in Sagres instead?”

And even though it was rhetorical, the other 2 sisters immediately answered, “yes, please, that is a good idea, let’s go!”

That about sums it up, doesn’t it?

We ended up having lunch in Lagos but that’s a story for another day.


  1. Interesting. I certainly got the impression it was a bigger place, with longer distances involved in walking from one part to another. Also, that it was picturesque and touristy -maybe because of the images of the church... Obviously it was not either, as you describe so well. One certainly needs to question why all those guests descended on the place out of season.... and guests that were clearly not too economically restrained... Well, there must have been a good reason!

  2. Well, as Gerry McCann said: "F*** off, I'm not here to enjoy myself!" Very interesting post Text and friends. It's a much smaller world than I imagined.

  3. I also spent an afternoon in PDL and it was as you have described very cramped and uninviting. I was able to explore almost most it had to offer in a very short visit. I remember it had Roman ruins which I don't think they promoted as a tourist site, but apart from this it was a place void of any entertainment or adventure. Beats me why they chose this place as a place to take children or themselves in April when the weather is uncertain. And for a week? got to me kidding, a week in Benidorm would have made more sense.

  4. Fascinating post Bronte. Many, many years ago, I had the pleasure of visiting Portugal with my partner in early season, late April to be exact, I seem to recall it must have been 2005/6.
    We went to Praia Da Rocha,
    Not knowing about any of the resorts on the Algarve and this being our first visit. It was a cheap holiday, out of season and it met our needs at the time.
    It was one where you were told which resort and you were then assigned your accommodation on arrival. We ended up in a Villa Apartment Complex. It was fantastic, it really was.
    The Villa we had was beautiful.
    However there were only a couple more holidaymakers on-site and the on-site facilities were empty of people , the hotel bar was closed and despite the sun shining and the blue sky it was far too chilly to go in the pool.
    Sound familiar?
    For the very reasons you state in your blog, we found ourselves paying a daily taxi fare to Alvor, which was much more suitable for our needs having plenty of eating establishments and little bars to spend time, have lunch and sip an ice cold beer or two or three.
    I remember the magnificence of the beach in Praia Da Rocha, however, the beach bars and beach restaurants were not yet up and running and apart from a nice walk along the beach, there was not much else to attract us to walk down innumerable steps to gain beach access. The town itself is much larger than Luz, from your description.
    I remember the Square being busy , a few eating stalls, hit digs, burgers etc and the smell of sardines. I'm sure I'm not the only one who will be shocked at your description of Luz being so small and compact.
    Everything screams "Hoax, Hoax, Hoax!"
    Now we have something else to ponder, the wholesale, widespread media collusion and "Collaborating Journalists"
    All in on the Act.
    All part of this sick sham! Why else would such people gravitate to a resort with little to attract it apart from a beach?
    Why did so many descend? "In Praia Da Luz, there's only being in an apartment/villa and being at the beach. Nothing else"
    It felt a little like that for us in Praia Da Rocha too. Which is why we made the daily trip to Alvor. One thing I feel is that Insane and others will come and criticise and say "Well, that's just YOUR perception, it's not fact but an opinion!" but you've overridden that because this was the opinion of three! Three Textusa sisters.
    Out to view at first hand, plan in place and as you say stopping to debate and assimilate all the while.
    Whilst some still don't or won't allow themselves to embrace the 'Swinging' theory, here we have yet further proof that 'something' must have been happening at that fateful time in 2007.
    Something so attractive that it entailed hundreds of people descending on a resort that has little to offer except a beach and at the time of year, even that was an unattractive proposition.
    So, Swinging under the guise of a family holiday is perfectly feasible to me and again one that answers why so many colluded in the cover up. People who had too much to lose in their reputations and careers.
    Wasn't it Jane Tanner who made the comment that they were even being accused of swinging and how ridiculous was that?
    The only thing I feel let down in Bronte is that you never came across the little stall selling sunglasses ! How disappointing!
    Another thing. Every morning all was covered in a thick Atlantic sea mist. Once that dissipated the sun shone.
    That mist was cold and I was never able to sit on the balcony first thing and read my book
    I wonder if they ever encountered that?


    1. Tina,

      Buying sunglasses on a rainy day in a outdoor stall when having in front of the crèche a store that sells quality glasses is just too absurd to require any sort of verification even if said stalls exist.

  5. Tina's comment has made me think. All those who wont allow themselves (or at least publicly) tobelieve in the swinging - and who push forward other reasons - e.g. pharmaceutical conference / doctor's meeting / business development etc etc. Well, why havent all the attendees come forward to say 'We were at a conference... a medical conference' OR 'We were looking at property development / opportunities' OR ' it was a marketing opportunity for...' ? If it was straightforward as that there would be nothing to hide in saying exactly why they were there. So the visit CANNOT have been for any purpose that could have been discussed openly. No, it HAD to have been something that they would not be comfortable to disclose...

  6. Yes, these child went on a family holiday, out of season for the UK. But nevertheless, it seemed not such a bright, warm and cheerful with the McCann family basically only taking one day out of the creche-kids club schedule - and then they were returned early, weather not so good.
    But of course, we must not forget the littlies - the tennis, the yatching. Apart from not leaving my kids homealone, neither would I be happy in ANY CIRCUMSTANCES, doing ''water sports'' in the ocean, even if it was a one to one staff ratio for children of their age. But .... that's not particularly sophisticated of me, not allowing my littlies a risk or two in life.

  7. Textusa it seems JillyCL who doesn’t agree with you on twitter:

    who ‏@Killdara
    'Praia da Luz' - why would the #McCann s (and a few hundred others) go there, out of season when there's nothing to do? Textusa. Blogspot.
    3:07 AM - 16 Oct 2015

    JillyCL ‏@JillyCL
    JillyCL Retweeted who
    Nothing to do? Do u mean apart from tennis, swimming, sailing, golf, quiz nights, wall-to-wall restaurants.. #McCann
    11:47 AM - 16 Oct 2015

    1. Wall to wall restaurants? Where?
      There are bars which serve food, but certainly not lots of high quality restaurants.
      Golf, says Jilly, but T9 didn't mention golf. Wealthy guests who play golf would be in a nice hotel.
      What did Gordon family do, as they were there even earlier in the season?
      I know tennis was described by T9, Carpenter and Jensens, but how many courts are there? Not many as I recall.
      Not enough to cater for all those people listed in the post.
      Buffet breakfast at the Mill. Rich people don't do buffet. They want table service.
      Quiz nights for all of those people?
      Only 15 people could be accommodated, according to K.
      What if all the visitors turned up, bored after eating their meals, as nothing else to do?
      Nobody in T9 mentions swimming in the sea. M insisted on going in cold pool, according to K.
      Watersports would require wetsuits at that time of year.
      Seems the sea was rough even for adults as the T9 men had a sailing incident.

    2. JillyCL forgot to mention the water park Slide & Splash

      We would like to know where in Luz are wall to wall restaurants. Outside the areas we walked, we think the rest of Luz is visible on Street View, so all that is needed it o say on which streets one can find these restaurants.

      Golfers wouldn't stay in Praia da Luz when they have Lagos nearby.

      Quiz nights, we have heard of 2 places: Tapas (we are certain there were no Quiz Nights there) and Chaplin's. In neither place we see fitting large crowds and these Nights are scheduled for only some of the nights of the week.

      Tennis. Millenium has 3, Tapas 2. There are 2 other in Rua da Escola Primária which we don't know if they're linked to a condominium or a resort (important is to realise Ocean Club was/is NOT the only tourism resort in Luz, so there were more tourist in Praia da Luz than those listed in the booking sheets).

      Note seeing 5 tennis courts satisfying the demand of so many tourists, especially if they were dedicated to the sport as much as Gerry McCann was. There is proof in the PJ Files that it wasn't.

      Swimming not the best time of the year to do that.

      Sailing, we were there in early October, the equivalent we would say to early June. Not a single boat on the water. Did not occur to check if there were any on the sand. Even if there were, not a sport that entertains a crowd.

  8. Maybe JillyC was being sarcastic.
    I haven't read her comments on Twitter, so going in blind here.
    Whose words do we have that these activities took place?
    How credible are those words?

  9. I totally agree. It makes no sense. If you want to go on holiday with small children end of April you would go somewhere like Tenerife. Weather good, beaches great for swimming and lots to do...

    1. Or ...if you wanted a short flight you would go to the Spanish mainland in the south, flying time is only half an hour longer than Portugal.

  10. I too got the impression it was much larger than it is. I often wondered why, with the rolling news after the immediate event, we were not treated to panning camera shots of the panoramic vista? This is usual when events outside the UK are reported. Even after many years of conflict, when reporting from Jerusalem, which we are surely all familiar with now, the roving news hound is seen, usually on a hill with sweeping views of the city. This is usually accompanied by shots from the cameraman following a walking reporter around the streets and inhabitants. Not one such scene in the hours and hours of PDL footage. Even reporters talking to camera were done close up in narrow angle. Well done the Bronte sisters !

  11. Well done, Textusa. Did you happen to see any/many homeless people or stray dogs? Is the Secret Cardinal still wandering about with his lantern-topped pole? Did you venture up the Rocha Negra?

  12. How can people fill in quiz forms when they're eating steak? One can't eat steak with just a fork.

    In order to participate in a quiz in the dark tapas bar, one would need a knife, fork and a pen or pencil, space for a quiz sheets, plates, wine glasses and possibly water glasses, minimum.

    Fantastic if you have three arms and a Tardis-style dining table.

  13. Great post Textusa and a very important one. I hope people understand the significance of all this, that hundreds of people chose to go on holiday in PdL out of season at the end of April/beginning of May 2007. Doctors, business people, high flyers etc etc all went to a place that has a beach as its only attraction, at a time when that beach couldn't be used because it was too cold. Hundreds of people who could afford sun and sand for a decent family holiday chose cold PdL out of season which offered nothing, literally nothing, for a family holiday. Hundreds of them.


  14. Nuala, I love the way you expressed that.

  15. Praia da Luz has a catchy name (Beach of Light), a beautiful church and a beautiful beach. It was easy to sell it as a glamorous destination.

  16. I accept that in high season with good weather, some families who don't care about being involved in local culture, would enjoy a holiday of this sort. I would expect anyone staying for a week to visit another place for some variety.
    For me PDL gives very little flavour of being in Portugal. It's dreary and lacking in character. I have stayed in Carvoeiro - shops with local pottery, a market, outside cafe area bear beach overlooking the sea, lots of tourists gathering there in the evening.

  17. Brilliant post Textusa you have wrapped up in this blog what I have thought from get go. I love a beach holiday, the sun the beach the water, beautiful wee streets, market stalls, restaurants. We go away as often as we can so we tend to try and get it as cheap as possible so we can get 2 or 3 holidays for the price of one.Even if Pdl was somewhere that I would stay in the summer come the end April it would have no appeal whatsoever for anyone interested in that type of holiday. Of course they were there for swinging and of course the ex pats were in on it. Well done with sticking to your guns I can't possibly see how after reading this anybody with any knowledge of these types of holidays could argue with you.

  18. If the UK journalists did in fact pick and choose their photo shoots and angles then what about the foreign media?
    Surely they wouldn't feel constrained in any way, wouldn't feel the need not to show how small the place is? And we would have heard about it in the UK but we didn't.

    1. Anonymous 17 Oct 2015, 20:17:00,

      The diplomatic pressure that was exerted by the British Foreign Office on Portugal and its media we are certain was done by the British diplomacy worldwide.

      It became evident that the establishments worldwide collaborated with the British government on this matter. In the diplomatic world there are too many important things at stake and “offending” the British over the truth of a small crime was not worth the risk.

      Once they accepted collaborating, which they did, they were caught up in the lie. From that moment on the editorial line was clear: follow the Brits on this matter.

      Up until the dogs let’s sanctify the McCanns, with the dogs let’s demonise them, with them flying home let’s sanctify them again.

      For some reason CNN was economical with the truth about the case by showing an esplanade that had nothing to do with Tapas and implying it was Tapas. As well as dropping the lens to the floor in the real Tapas esplanade.

      We showed that very clearly in our “The Proof Ocean Club reads Textusa” post:

      There we have the screengrabs of a CNN video that is no longer available – wonder why?

      Also do please take into account that there is only so much space for worms in a can and the British Press dominated the territory in Luz.

      Many countries send in their reporters but soon the source of news on this particular issue was the UK press.

  19. But with this level of collaboration, can we honestly expect any truth to emerge? What may have changed such that the British Foreign Office stance will change? Are you able to give your opinion as to what has changed that can now override that directive in 2007? Is it governmental change? Is it enough that this simply wont go away until some truth is allowed toy emerge? What on earth is going to make David Cameron man enough to allow the truth to be exposed (even partially)?

    1. Anonymous 18 Oct 2015, 12:08:00,

      That's the odds we have been fighting against in the last 8 and half years. And we still intend on continuing.

    2. Well I'm so very thankful that you are doing so.Even as just a member of the public observing this, it has the power to make me feel very very depressed that justice does not seem to be occurring. Without that, we dont have much at all.
      Do you have any thoughts about the investigation known as Operation Grange - how quiet it has become. By that, what I really mean is, do you have an opinion as to whether they are actively working on trying to bring justice, or they are simply keeping their heads down following orders on ho to play this... ? Lately I have been wishfully thinking they were spending time on the detail, forensic and otherwise, in bringing the perpetrators to justice. But it may just be wishful thinking.

    3. Anonymous 18 Oct 2015, 16:49:00,

      About Operation Grange we agree fully with Mr Amaral: it's all about political courage and will.

      Political, so way above Scotland Yard or PJ.

      Operation Grange is not a police investigation. It's something called that, won't call it a farce because it isn't one, that is waiting to be told on what its findings will be.

      The Maddie case holds no secrets at Decider level. Everyone knows what happened and have in their hands all the proof they need.

      Question is what proof they want to use and what proof they want to discard. That is the line that has to be drawn and is extremely difficult to do so as on this side of it people will be safe and on the other people will be shamed.

      The other option is to not draw any line and archive it. That will bring shame to David Cameron.

      So our opinion of Operation Grange had the task to rank people by "fall". On the top of the list are the McCanns and at the bottom are the unmentionable ones.

      Imagine that the list has 500 names. The next task Operation Grange then had was to match proof to people.

      To make only the first 20 fall, what of the existing proof is needed to use and if it is feasible to only use that.

      This was done for all possible scenarios. We believe that it was attempted both the patsy one as also one that involved only the T9. They proved not to be feasible.

      At this moment we think the decision is to choose one within the feasible scenarios (those that respond to the questions we put in our "Maddie's Pandoras' Box" post)

      But that is not a decision to be made by SY. They are waiting to be told which scenario is to implement and then "find" the proof that fits. This finding already been done a long time ago.

      So to answer your question, is that Operation Grange is a group of people playing solitaire, sodoku or doing crosswords waiting to be told what to do.

      It isn't and it never was a police investigation. It's just something a police has found itself in the obligation of doing.

    4. I was afraid you would say that, as I wanted to remain hopeful, but I have to say that reluctantly I agree. You have clarified it and explained the situation very well. But, at some point, the waiting is over and they will be told which scenario to implement. At some point David Cameron will have to choose (if he hasn't already) and i am hoping he 'decides' sooner rather than later, although I guess he may postpone his decision to see what happens with Amaral appeal. Although cant he influence the Amaral appeal decision if there is still any 'establishment collaboration' across countries?
      Influence it to become what he wants it to become....?

      Why can he not realise, as you once explained so well, that anything but the whole truth opens another Pandora's box of worms? If I was Samantha and said to him..' Look Dave, come on - you have got to let the truth be exposed. There is no other option ... just do it!' What would he respond? 'look Sam , it';s not as simple as that.. d'you honestly have any idea of the consequences of me allowing the truth to emerge? It would be a total nightmare... they'd bring me down and a lot of others before you know it. No, there's got to be a way of sorting this - there has to be ... just let me think of it....there's no rush! '

      Its just so depressing....


    in today's online Daily Mail. I read it and just cant see the connection between a 16 year old flying alone and the McCann case. It is simply about a 16 yr old girl who was not aloud to fly alone to Portugal -

    'According to Jet2 staff, they could not allow her to fly because Portugal had tightened its rules after criticism of its handling of the Madeleine McCann case.'

    It is either there simply 'cos Madeleine 'sells papers' or is it a strategic article to imply to the general public that the Portugal authorities handled the Mc Cann case badly!

    1. Anonymous18 Oct 2015, 12:15:00

      "Staff at Jet2 said Portuguese authorities now have tighter controls around "minors"".

      Not true. The controls are exactly the same as they have been for years. It's called the LAW. The Portuguese LAW. It was in place sometime before Maddie McCann disappeared. Lest people forget, Portugal was not born that day. It existed before. Only 800 years before.

      "They said that Eilidh (...) needed a letter of consent from her parents and details of who would be collecting her in Portugal".

      Yes, that's absolutely correct, that's what LAW says. The Portuguese LAW.

      The law states that a minor (in Portugal anyone under 18) travelling alone must be accompanied by a written authorisation from parents and where it has to be equally stated to whom will the child be handed over by the airline on arrival.

      The airline is responsible to assign a flight attendant to the child. A flight attendant may be responsible for more than one minor but each minor has to be accompanied from the moment they are left at the airport by their guardians to the moment they are handed over to those stated in the authorisation.

      Minors flying with just one parent have to be accompanied by an authorisation by the absent parent or a document proving such parent has passed away.

      If this is about Maddie then literally hundreds of thousands have flown under "Maddie constraint" before and after she disappeared.

    2. Well said Textusa.

      "Portugal is one of the oldest countries in Europe (much older than England in fact) - Having the same defined borders since 1139, almost 900 years ago. The name Portugal first appears in 868. Lisbon is older than Rome - Around four centuries older to be precise."

      England on the other hand - a name taken from one of the Germanic tribes who settled there during the 5th and 6th centuries - only became a unified state in the 10th century.

      The reader is free to draw its own inferences.

  21. Someone else doesn't agree with you:

    N.M ‏@AdirenM 4h4 hours ago Portugal

    Textusa painted a very shadowy PDL on her last blog. But PDL is not the concentrated little village...Money inhabits outside.

    N.M ‏@AdirenM 4h4 hours ago Portugal

    Ocean Club/Mark Warner worked for shady people from UK that had "shady" businesses with ex-pats MONEY around. #McCann was there on business

    N.M ‏@AdirenM 4h4 hours ago Portugal

    Look for UK money on PDL area, check who welcomed #McCann when the Media started harassing them.It's all documented.And this as far as I go.

    1. Anonymous 18 Oct 2015, 17:43:00,

      Not seeing the disagreement.

      If money outside, then all those guests were there because of interest outside Praia da Luz as the village holds little or no interest to the economically We couldn't agree more.

      It doesn't in any way alter the perception we had of Luz when we were there. We did not paint any shadowy picture of Luz,

      We painted a very shadowy picture of the village to the eyes of the rich. Because for the rich, that compact village won't in our opinion even merit a glance much less a consideration from them. It's not Capri to use as an example.

      Is it fine for the rest of us humans? Yes, it is if one just likes the beach or pool and many seem to be okay with that every single year.

  22. Great blog Textusa, thank you.

    One question regarding the wider circle of guests. Of their children, were they all of creche going age ? Were older children or teenagers on that holiday and might they twig to something going on, or would they get in the way ?

    An absence of a certain age group might suggest it was inappropriate for them to be there.

    1. Unknown,

      What we find strange is to have been there children with age to go to school, when they were supposed to be there.

      On record we have 2 who were 6 yrs old, 1 a 7 yr old, 1 a 8 yr old and another who was 12 yrs old.

      Also there was a minor who was 17 yrs old.

      We're guessing both the 12 and the 17 yr old felt quite lonely that but that's our opinion and it's worth what it's worth.

    Roderick Macdonald obviously no longer a Maddie suspect....

    1. Oh but he never was a suspect .. Apologies original link is broken but it is still in this forum.


    Dear friends,

    Since it was started on April 29, 2015, by Leanne Baulch, the gofundme page dedicated to Gonçalo Amaral's defence has collected donations in excess of 50 thousand pounds. These funds have been transferred to the bank account that is held by Dr Paulo Sargento and other friends of Mr Amaral. Less than half of this amount has been spent on legal expenses for the defence of Gonçalo Amaral.

    The Paypal account that is associated to the bank account has received over 6 thousand euro during the same period. Donations totaling a smaller amount have also been made directly to the bank account.

    We believe that it is time to close the gofundme page, as the bank account currently stands at an amount that seems largely sufficient to face eventual future expenses.

    As we await the verdict of the Appellate Court of Lisbon on the appeal that has been filed by Mr Amaral's lawyer, the remaining funds will be kept in the bank account. They will be used if necessary in the future. Any unused funds will, as we stated in 2009, be donated to a Portuguese children's charity.

    May we use this moment to wholeheartedly thank those who have expressed their support of Gonçalo Amaral's right to an appropriate defence? Whether you have contributed financially or by sending a support message - you have made an impact. You have made a difference.

    Thank you so very, very much.

    The gofundme page will be closed on the 28th of October, 2015.

    1. We think this decision is wise.

      We would like to join our voice to the PJGA above and thank all who contributed to help Mr Amaral. You have indeed made a difference.

      To all those responsible (directly and indirectly) for the fate this man has had to endure for the past 8 and half years, we ask some for some profound reflection within the human being in you.

      We truly hope that he will soon get a result that takes away this burden.

  25. Sufficiency such a rare yet beautiful word.


    Amaral supporters call time as appeal fund approaches €70,000

    For reasons that are remaining very quiet, the friends and supporters of former “Maddie cop” Gonçalo Amaral have called time on the gofundme online appeal set up to fund his legal expenses as he challenges the court decision ordering him to pay the parents of Madeleine McCann over €500,000 in damages.

    The Legal Defence for Gonçalo Amaral page will be closing on Wednesday, October 28.

    At time of writing, it had already raised over €69,860 and donations were still coming in.

    The latest, as of lunchtime today (Thursday), was for €100.

    Over the last five months, 2,757 people have responded to the gofundme campaign, set up by a young single mother from Birmingham who was only 14 when Madeleine went missing.

    Leanne Baulch, 22, explained to us back in May that she had never imagined the response her initiative received, but she felt compelled to do it as she was “desperate to help” a man she felt was being “persecuted”.

    But as the money flowed in, so too did the unpleasantness, including slurs in the British press that the fund was powered by “sick online trolls”.

    With Ms Baulch considering her position as a single parent of a toddler, she removed herself from the process altogether a few months ago.

    The fund then transferred into the hands of the friends of the former PJ detective whose book, “A Verdade da Mentira”, landed him in the hot seat of litigation - with all his assets, including bank accounts “frozen” - in 2008.

    Unpleasantness appears nonetheless to have continued, with internet manipulation of the appeal’s online code so that a few weeks ago, it virtually disappeared from sight (see

    Now those in charge of the fund have decided it should close.

    Using the headline “Sufficient” - which translated into Portuguese also stands for “Enough” - they have said: “We believe that it is time to close the gofundme page, as the bank account currently stands at an amount that seems largely sufficient to face eventual future expenses”.

    A source has confirmed to the Resident that other forms of fundraising remain open, while Amaral’s fundraisers are aware that whatever the result of the latest appeal being considered by Lisbon’s Appellate Court, litigation will continue.

    “If Amaral is successful, for example, we remain fairly certain that the McCann’s would appeal that decision. And so it continues. The next step would be the Supreme Court and then after that the Constitutional Court”.

    And should Amaral lose the fight which he feels centres on his right to freedom of expression then a new online appeal will be needed to fund a case against Portuguese justice in the European Court of Human Rights.

    Thus, for now, it is a case of “serenely awaiting” the next judicial decision, while Amaral’s supporters are no less determined to keep funding avenues open.

    Sending out the latest message to subscribers, the group of friends writing collectively said: “May we use this moment to wholeheartedly thank those who have expressed their support for Gonçalo Amaral’s right to an appropriate defence. Whether you have contributed financially or by sending a support message, you have made an impact. You have made a difference”.

    As we wrote this article, yet another donation was received as the six-day countdown to closure begins.

    Meantime, fund organisers continue to confirm that they will donate any money left unused on legal expenses to a Portuguese children’s charity.

    1. Anonymous22 Oct 2015, 17:19:00,

      Thank you for posting the article but we must disagree very strongly with the phrase "For reasons that are remaining very quiet"

      The reasons are completely transparent. The money given altruistically is estimated enough. If more needed, more will be asked for.

      We really do not understand this mysterious and conspirational tone which only helps to spawn myths, misunderstandings and misinformation.


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