We are often accused of spreading misinformation by our detractors, sometimes by those who have taken part, wittingly or unwittingly, in doing exactly that.
For the sake of accuracy and in order to contradict a seemingly embedded myth, we would like to demonstrate that John Geraghty, business tycoon who acquired the church keys for the McCanns on May 7th or 8th 2007, is neither from Leicester nor is the man who appears between 00:47 and 01:00 of the above video “John Geraghty May 7, 2007 in Praia da Luz” alleged to be him:
Father José Manuel Conceição Pacheco is clear that Mr Geraghty was the middle-man between the church keys and the McCanns:
“About the keys to the church, they were handed to them [the McCanns] on the 7 or 8 of May, which happened by suggestion of a person resident in the Parish, JONH GERAGHTY [sic], so that they could use the church, with serenity, without the media pressure. The key was handed by someone from the church JONH GERATHY [sic], who made them reach the McCanns, with the authorisation and consent [Portuguese: anuência] from the deponent”.
Mr Geraghty has been identified in both the press and on blogs as a Leicester business man, involved in the construction industry. Until we were given the heads up by an anonymous source, quoting a name that enabled us to research further, we also took this myth for granted.
As Mr Geraghty has not made a statement to the PJ nor given interviews to the media, we will follow our usual protocol of not publishing any personal information not already known publicly, or speculating on his role as a friend to the McCanns.
What we can say is that it appears from our research Mr Geraghty has never lived or had any business connections in the Leicester area. He married his wife R and has lived in the south of England since the 1970s, until around 2002.
There are two facts stated by the press which were correct: Mr and Mrs Geraghty now live near the Boavista golf course and Mr Geraghty was 68 in 2007.
As the Boavista development was only completed in 2002, their move to Portugal may coincide with their absence from the electoral roll in the UK after this time.
Whether the press description of Mr Geraghty as a “tycoon” – a rich and powerful man – is an accurate statement, those who know him can say better than we can.
|(photos from here)|
Speaking of myths, the airport bag story seems to fit into this category. Dominic Herbert wrote the story about a bag found near Faro airport on 3/11/07, “Maddie DNA clue in airport bag” described in the PJ files as a “media invention”. This article was already mentioned by us in our post “Fabricated: Bag found in Portugal”.
It was the same Dominic Herbert, writing for the now defunct News of the World on 30/9/07 (as usual, with an unnamed source, but known to him) about John Geraghty storing the car for the McCanns in his garage, where independent forensic tests were, allegedly, carried out.
“Undercover Brits’ secret tests on car” is a dramatic account of white-suited men working for 9 hours overnight to dismantle the car, unknown to the PJ: “The scientists, wearing protective white suits and using the latest techniques and equipment, dismantled the car in the double garage of a Pounds 1 million villa owned by a friend of the McCanns-wealthy British tycoon John Geraghty, 68”.
And a claim that a tracker device had been fitted to the car and removed by the PJ: “It is understood Portuguese cops then seized the car to remove a tracker device, the size of a credit card, attached to the carburettor. But it is believed the detectives are still NOT yet aware that the independent tests have been carried out”.
Was it true? Or was it another “media invention”? According to Kate’s book, it’s true, as she describes an unnamed friend storing their car and on the advice of their lawyers, Kingsley Napley, having independent forensic tests carried out on the car.
Nothing about the forensic scientists who undertook the tests or the person who paid for them.
Kate does describe a scientist from Control Risks Group undertaking tests on the twins’ hair, so can it be presumed that it was CRG who carried out the tests on the car?
As Brian Kennedy became involved on September 12th, according to Kate, it’s possible either he or Mr Geraghty paid for the tests
Whatever happened, this is the last that is heard of the tests, whatever the results might have been.
Kate says Michael Wright returned the car to Praia da Luz after they flew home on September 9th, so presumably, he delivered the car to Mr Geraghty. However, a report in News of the World stated that Geraghty was at the airport when the McCanns left and that Kate had asked him to store the car.
Maybe Wright drove the car back to PdL with Geraghty as a passenger.
Sandy Cameron (former husband of Gerry’s sister Tricia) also left PdL on the same day, according to Kate.
|(pics from here)|
So he must have returned to PdL at a later date, because the car was returned to Lagos by Sandy Cameron on September 23rd.
Sandy Cameron, in his rogatory statement, describes using the car and cleaning it because of the unpleasant smells in the boot, although there is no documentation in the files about his nomination as a driver:
“While we were in the villa, a gardener would arrive every week or every 15 days, as would have been determined by the estate agency. The gardener would leave the rubbish bags near the back door and on at least one occasion, I used the vehicle to throw out this garbage. The garbage collection Portugal is not done the same way as in the U.K., and because of this it was necessary to take all the garbage to an area which I would call “recycling area” at the back of the Ocean Club. I used the Renault Scenic with this objective in various occasions.
On one occasion, I think in July of 2007, I took Patricia to the supermarket. We placed the shopping in the boot of the Renault Scenic; we bought various items including fresh fish, shrimp and steak. When we unloaded the shopping, I noticed that blood had run out from the package to the bottom of the plastic bag.
After this shopping trip and still in the month of July 2007, I began to notice a strange odour in the car. I did not give it much importance and assumed it probably was caused by the garbage bags or by the blood leaked in the boot on the shopping day. As a result, I removed the mat from the boot to clean it up. I shook the mat to remove any particles, cleaned it with a wet cloth and let it catch air.
In my opinion it’s impossible that Kate and Gerry would have hidden Madeleine somewhere and used the car to transport her to another location. There was always lots of people and mediea observing each of their movements, for this to be possible.”
The return form was also signed by John Geraghty (is that a pp?, meaning somebody signed on his behalf)
As an aside, why did Sandy Cameron need to return to PdL to return the car, after the McCann family had departed, leaving Michael Wright behind to do the cleaning and packing? He was a teacher and the autumn term would have started.
Was John Geraghty simply a Good Samaritan from the Catholic congregation of Nossa Senhora da Luz who became a friend of the McCanns?
He certainly kept a very low profile. However, one photographer did capture a moment from September 9th 2007, on the day the McCanns and some of their family returned to the UK. Gerry is seen with two unnamed men.
|(picture from here)|
We believe one is Sandy Cameron and the other is John Geraghty.
Compare this to a photograph taken in the south of England in 1991 and the golf captain photo of him taken in PdL. Mr Geraghty bears no resemblance to the man in the video clip, who is balding, white-haired and not wearing glasses.
The real Mr Geraghty did work with an organisation in the UK which had links with churches. It seems a very reputable organisation which continues to undertake good work with overseas communities.
He may have come to the aid of the McCanns as part of the Catholic community, even though they did not set foot in the church before the disappearance of Madeleine.
Who knows if he remains friends or whether he ever regrets becoming involved.
He should know whether it’s true that Euclides Monteiro’s tractor accident happened on the golf course near Lagos, back in 2009, as claimed by journalist Brendan de Beer as referred by us in our post “Person of interest”.
Or is Euclides Monteiro’s tractor accident on a golf course just another myth?
For all these years someone has been taken as Mr Geraghty when he clearly he's not and for all these years everyone from Praia da Luz who reads up on the case and knows the real Mr Geraghty has been happy to see this mistaken identity and say nothing, except for our anonymous reader.
It’s almost a case of one having to ask “who's afraid of John Geraghty”?