Monday, 1 August 2016


Millions of words have been written about photoshopped imaged of Madeleine McCann, but here we leave photoshopping aside. This post will be about simple questions arising from the photographs released.  The description given to the police is of interest here for purposes of comparing appearances against information given to the Police.  1)

The ‘First’ photo:


How could a photo of a child around 2 to 2.5 years old help find the girl represented in the tennis photo or the iconic  ‘Red dress’ photo? They appear to be two totally different children, neither of them recent when there should have been dozens of photos just from the holiday. 
This photo was allegedly on the Canon A620 camera the evening of the 3rd of May 2007. However, this camera was not released  until October 2005, the first review of the new camera appeared in November 2005 and most reviews were in early 2006. By October 2005 Madeleine was very nearly 2.5 years old. Therefore – if the first photo was ever taken with the Canon A620, it should have been pretty well the first one on it, many other snaps, including the ‘tennis’ photo would have come first when going through the memory card.

Parents tend to carry favourite photos of their children in their wallets (and indeed Gerry McCann was most upset at losing some special photographs of Madeleine when his wallet was ‘stolen’).  Saving favourite photos on phones is even more common now, but leaving one on the memory card of one’s camera is not helpful if you want to have a look at the image from time to time.

Notes: Madeleine aged at most two years and six months. Hair colour: light brown.

The ‘tennis photo’ :

Pat Perkins, a friend of Kate McCann’s mother,  was responsible for instigating the first chain e-mail that asked for help to find Madeleine. The e-mail, which clearly stated that Madeleine had been abducted, was first sent out on Monday 07 May 2007.

For some reason the photograph was released after it was ‘flipped’.  That is:  the description given to the police mentions ‘a small brown mark on Left Leg Calf’.  When Madeleine faces towards the left,  the mark is on the left leg.

However, this ‘important’ photo  was taken on the 1st of May according to Kate McCann, Rachael Mampilly states it was taken on the 3rd of May and not by Kate but by Jane Tanner. This is from the book ‘madeleine’by Kate McCann:

 ‘She looked so gorgeous in her little T-shirt and shorts, pink hat, ankle socks and new holiday sandals that I ran back to our apartment for my camera. ‘  [..] I went to meet Gerry, whose lesson had started at ten-fifteen ‘ [.]  ‘During Gerry’s tennis lesson, Madeleine and Ella came to the adjoining court with their Mini Club for a mini-tennis session [..] One of my photographs is known around the world now: a smiling Madeleine clutching armfuls of tennis balls. ‘


The Lobster schedule of events for that morning was: Happy handprint stars (none of the artwork produced in the crèche was ever exhibited by the McCanns), Pool, Salt dough rockets.  Mini tennis was between 10 – 11 on Monday the 30th of April.

The tennis court booking sheet for Tuesday the 1st gives us some information but Gerry McCann does not appear on the list until 3.30 to 4.30 for Court 2.  So as for Gerry’s tennis lesson starting at ten, or indeed once again that very precise time: 10.15, there is no corroboration.

The girl in the tennis photo is most definitely not a mere 90 cm in height. Allowing for the angle and taking into account that the diameter of a tennis ball is about 6.35 cm, her height can be calculated as the tennis balls are in the same plane as her body. She would then be a normal height for a 4 year old, 110 cm to 114 cm.

As for the detailed description of her clothes, these are hardly of the quality and ‘newness’ of the ‘last photo’ outfit and the sandals certainly don’t look new, apart from being entirely the wrong shoes for tennis. One would expect  her to have worn trainers such as can be seen in the photograph below.

Another guest, Bridget O’Donnell wrote: It was Thursday, May 3.Earlier that day there had been tennis lessons for the children, with some of the parents watching proudly as their girls ran across the court chasing tennis balls. They took photos. Madeleine must have been there, but I couldn't distinguish her from the others. They all looked the same - all blonde, all pink and pretty. 2)

Notes: Madeleine’s uneven teeth are clear to see, the photo has been flipped, was used in chain mail letter and date and time of taking the photo is unclear. Hair is longer than in either the first photo and the red dress photo, colour light brown.

The playground photo:

If any photograph should have been favourite, I would have expected it  to be the happy and relaxed little girl  in the playground. This is one of the photos from the CD compiled by Gerry McCann and David Payne and handed to the PJ on the 9th of May 2007.
Here she is wearing an outfit similar to that seen in the video taken in the airport bus. She is also wearing very nice little trainers, which were described by the cleaner who thinks she saw the twins and Madeleine on Sunday morning. All were wearing trainers with little lights on the side. In the many photographs of the twins in the early days, no such trainers can be seen, indeed, have never been seen. Sean does wear trainers in some photos, but not the ones described by the clear. Neither is Madeleine wearing them on the tennis court. 

Notes: This girl is approximately  100 cm in length and could be anything from 3 to 4 years old, although on the short side for  4 years. Her height was estimated by the known height of the plastic playhouse door in other photos taken at the time. 
Her teeth do not appear to have any gaps and  her hair deserves some attention as she is clearly growing out last summer’s lightened hair,  but the last five/six month’s growth is darker, which makes it about right for the time of year. No doubt this would lighten in the sun during the coming summer.

But the description as given to the PJ at the time of disappearance states: ‘Blond hair with chestnut tips touching the shoulders.’

The  football shirt photos:

These are very strange.  One of these girls is definitely Madeleine,  the other girl has quite a different smile, a broader face and her hair is very blond. It is almost inevitable that one is reminded of the iconic and tragic last photo of the two Soham girls of 2002. Just five years before Madeleine disappeared. Was it the intention to have one photograph of two girls in Everton shirts together?  Could it possibly be the case that it was thought too obvious?  It could explain why both photos were released, it makes no sense however to release both and may well have been an accident.

The blonde girl seems very confident and relaxed,  Madeleine doesn’t look at all confident. An unnatural smile not showing her teeth. ( Compare to pool photo, tennis photo). The adult gesture of touching her hair, mainly seen in women aware of their appearance, but not a natural gesture for a child. Both faces could be pasted on bodies of teenagers and it would not make them look strange. Neither of the two look like four year olds in my opinion, but this is due to the impression of make-up on one child - the blonde girl looks like she's wearing eye make-up and lipstick and the one (in my opinion definitely photo-shopped, blurring on left cheek, head positioned slightly too far to the left)  image of Maddie has the adult gesture and somewhat sad smile.

Notes:  It may not be relevant, but Clarence Mitchell had reported on the Soham murders and told the press at one stage that he’d thought at the start that  the Madeleine case would be much the same as the Soham tragedy.  It would be relevant if the Everton photos emerged after Mitchell became their spokesman. 

Photo’s taken in a playground: 3)

These were released by the family and are somewhat of a puzzle. I seems to me:

  1. That Madeleine is about three years old there.
  2. That she is or has been ill.

Notes: There is something wrong with her hair, both photographs can only be explained  if she was wearing a wig at the time. These are my observations only, but I wanted to add my opinion here. In the close up, tufts of hair and a bald area can clearly be seen. In the black and white photo a badly fitting wig would explain the strange shape of the head.

The following clips illustrate the difference of the teeth: 

 This photograph is one of several listed as being of Madeleine. This girl's teeth have no gaps and are very different from those seen in e.g. the last photo.

Following on from the Everton/Soham photo 'link', it is of interest to note that the first website was called: ‘’.  Very reminiscent of the well-known song from ‘Les Miserables’ of which the lyrics ran:

He is young
He's afraid
Let him rest
Heaven blessed.
Bring him home
Bring him home.

Leaving no stone unturned: from 3)

11th May 2007: Extract from Diario de Noticias:
Gerry McCann reads a short prepared statement to the waiting press [..] He specifically emphasises that they will 'leave no stone unturned' in the seaarch for Madeleine. [..] It would appear from this statement that the name of the company had already been decided and that this was a form of public preparation for the launch of Madeleine's Fund. 

The lawyers who arrived on the 11th of May issued the following media release: 
13th May 2007 : Last week, Gerry and Kate McCann instructed The International Family Law Group, London specialist lawyers in child abduction and international family law, together with Michael Nicholls QC of 1 Hare Court, to help them in the search for Madeleine. They have been visiting the family in Portugal.
Gerry and Kate are very grateful for all the support and generous offers of help that they are receiving. Details of how contributions can be made to help get Madeleine back to the safety of her own family will be made available in the next couple of days. unquote
For further information on IFLG: see 5)

Soon after this announcement, the Fund was launched, four websites (two for Cuddlecat) 
The Madeleine Fund - Leaving no stone unturned - www.

New website enables donations to be made online

The newly named website is officially announced, when visitors to the site are met by the following message:

'From this morning, Thursday 17 May 2007:
Members of the public will be able to make donations to 'Madeleine's Fund : Leaving No Stone Unturned Limited' over the counter in any branch of NatWest and The Royal Bank of Scotland'.

McCann family friend, Michael Wright, reads a prepared statement outside the couple's apartment on the 18th of May 2007:

So we have: 
First photo of a toddler which will not help identification at all. 
Tennis photo  taken on the 1st or the 3rd,- published wrong way round. 
In the playhouse photo taken on the 29th April, the girl is wearing the trainers which Maddie should have been wearing on the 1st or the 3rd to play tennis. 

The description of her hair as blond having chestnut tips down to the shoulder is  more of less the case with the red dress photo, but not the tennis photo or the pool photo (which I have studiously avoided in this post..) .However, hair tends to colour naturally the other way round, Bleached in summer, darker in winter, this rarely results in chestnut tips. 
The point is that this description was given on the night to the GNR officer and none of the photos, the tennis, pool or playground photo show anything like this hair colouring. 
What is also strange that only the small mark on her leg is mentioned as an individual marking.
The colour of the eyes and the brown spot (there is indeed a tiny brown spot in the iris, as can been seen in photographs published here in 'The logic gates') but no mention of a veritable thunderbolt in her eye which was THE identifiable feature of her face.
What's more, her different colour eyes are all but undetectable. 

It would have been helpful to find exactly what the description in the passport is, but this is not at all clear from the files. As the GNR had Maddie's passport however, any description given by the parents would have to be close to that given in the passport. Therefore we have the small spot in the eye, the different coloured eyes and the mark on the leg. But to give her height on the night s as 90 cm, is off the chart for a four-year old and  she is clearly much taller in the tennis photo. Obviously the 90cm cannot have come from the passport as that was issued a mere three months after Maddie was born. 

As Bridget O'Donnell wrote: Madeleine must have been there, but I couldn't distinguish her from the others,  they looked all the same....'.

1)Processos Vol 1 Pages 27 to 28. GNR Brigade n 3 Portimao

NUIPC 201/07 galgs report of disappearance

Responsible officer: Jos.Mar.Batista Roque

Disappeared person: Name: Madeleine Beth McCann

Feminine sex, white. Date of birth: 12-0502003

Height about 0.90 mt.

Colour of eyes, blue left eye, greenish right eye with brown spot.

Blond hair with chestnut tips touching the shoulders

Individual markings: small chestnut birthmark on left leg.

2) (also mentioned in the article:  In the evenings, babysitting at the resort was a dilemma. "Sit-in" babysitters were available but were expensive and in demand, and Mark Warner blurb advised us to book well in advance. The other option was the babysitting service at the kiddie club, which was a 10-minute walk from the apartment.’




  1. Hello Tigger - there's a third picture of Madeleine in that nasty nylon Everton top : Strange get-up for a pink-loving three year old daughter? Definitely shades of Soham. Best wishes to you, missbeetle

  2. I believe a large image was projected in the Everton stadium at one stage. What with the football connection, Beckham, Rinaldo, Everton - the Soham girls and the evocative 'bring him home' linked the to, (the IFLG which was formed some six weeks previous to 3/5/07 with such an impressive list of clients..) and Cuddlecat getting his own two websites, the Fighting Fund launched and the coloboma image already fixed in the minds of the public, not a trick was missed in my opinion. Impressive marketing.

  3. Maddie's teeth in the pool photo are those of a three year old. I read Scharrenberg's book and it's asking questions about the depth of field. It's got to be the highest resolution picture from that holiday. So why?

  4. Hi, re the tennis ball photo, enlarge it and look at the hair around the forehead and the hairline, does it look shorter to you and a very odd hairline too, almost as if it waas a picture of someone who had lost their hair and that odd long twist of hair at the front had been photoshopped in. also it would appear to me that the face/head is maybe to small for the body and the face is of maybe a younger child?

  5. To me the child in the tennis ball photo looks physically abnormal ... as if her head is too small for her body, as Anonymous 7 Sept 12:20 has also mentioned. In my opinion the position of her head in relation to her neck and shoulder is also wrong - the head is almost vertically upright and is supported by her chin resting on the tennis balls, yet her upper back is hunched over and bulges out. This angle is quite difficult to replicate! Not only that but the whole upper body of the child in the photo is surely larger and 'beefier' than Madeleine appears elsewhere?

  6. I agree. In fact most of the photoshopped photos have the head either too large or too small for the body. In the Everton photo, blurs on the face and arm and head placed too far to her left side. In the Donegal photo on the rocks, the head is far too big and part of her right side of the neck is missing.
    In the tennis photo she'd have a hunch back - the head is not properly attached to the all important seventh vertebra.