Lying in the Sun

Maddie Harm in Apart 5A

Maddie Harmed in Apartment 5A 


“Having seen the circumstances and the lay-out of the apartment, it looks to me more likely, the priorities are higher, that some harm happened to her within the apartment. No more than that.”


Professor David Barclay – British Forensic Scientist 


Dispatches Documentary – The Search for Madeleine McCann


British Forensic Expert Professor David Barclay took part in this programme. 


Back to zero is what DCI Andy Redwood tells us he has done with the investigation which he is currently working on in reference to Madeleine McCann.

Professor Barclay did likewise for his investigation took it back to zero.

It must be noted that Professor Barclay and the team of experts from various fields who worked together for Dispatches Documentary, did so only months after Madeleine vanished, therefore, much of what we now know regarding this case, was not available to them back then, and certainly all the unsavoury antics  of the McCanns, and their spokesperson Clarence Mitchell, had not reared their ugly heads quite as often as was to become the case in the ensuing 6.5 years!

The vast amounts of money spent on protecting Kate and Gerry McCann also had not been fully realised at that time. 

So much has changed in respect of information now in public domain.

What would not change from the time Professor Barclay investigated to now, is the findings of his investigation – that is the forensic side of things.

Professor David Barclay this renowned British Forensic Scientist appeared to have little doubt back then that Madeleine came to harm in that holiday apartment – that of course will NOT have changed!

I Wonder what he would make of the case now, in a general sense (not forensics) and I wonder what he is making of DCI Andy Redwood and the Metropolitan Police Investigation.

Professor Barclay having played a part  in the Dispatches documentary, and the simple fact that the Madeleine case is high profile, and he a forensic expert, I am sure must have been agog to view DCI Andy Redwood’s Crimewatch stunt – Afterwards – stunned no doubt!

It is worth looking back, taking a second look at Dispatches, particularly so where they speak of the shutters, and give a demonstration as to the fingerprints found on them, the position of prints.  Barclay being convinced the shutter was opened from inside!

Now one of the other experts in this programme pointed out that well indeed, if someone (let’s say Kate McCann) had resided in the apartment it could be that (she) had opened the shutter at some point during her stay, so feasible for her prints to have been found there.

But if we consider the police witness statements by both Kate and Gerry McCann – neither of them at any time during their stay in apartment 5A – opened the shutters!

This is information which the experts on the Dispatches documentary would not have had available to them at the time the programme was made. 

It is this type of information which very much would have them looking at matters quite differently.  It was fair comment back then, and not in the knowledge of all that the McCanns had told the police, to speak as the expert did to say well if ‘someone’ stayed in the apartment, quite possible their prints could be on this item or that item.  But in the knowledge that ‘a someone’ stated they had never touched an item, a shutter for instance, during their stay, bu their prints were found - RED FLAG - and that is why I say, when viewing this documentary, to bear in mind that the experts were not fully aware of the McCanns, the deviousness, and the more devious Clarence Mitchell!  

The following quotes are Professor Barclay (taken from Dispatches, link above) speaking of the various points the team he worked with touched on regarding the Madeleine case - from the shutters, the finger prints, the type of person who may abduct a child of Madeleine's age, how the patio door could not be seen from tapas bar/restaurant.  He is puzzled that any intruder would choose to try and break in through the shuttered window when, if he had been watching the apartment, he would know the patio door was unlocked.   The experts point out that the shuttered window side of the apartment is well lit and overlooked by other apartments, and that it is very dark on the patio side, an open patio door and an alleyway there also to make escape.   He quite clearly thinks the shutter window tale by Kate McCann is a load of nonsense!  He speaks of the two ends of the spectrum being vanishingly small.

One end, being that Madeleine wandered off, the other being that an organised gang of paedophiles abducted the child.  

Discounting each of these, left the team with two areas to ponder from the 4 scenarios they had set out -

  • someone local, more an opportunist having abducted her, someone who had noted how the McCann kids were neglected, left alone at night.
  • that Madeleine came to harm whilst alone in Apartment 5A of the Ocean Club, Praia da Luz, Portugal.

**Professor Barclay as we can see, based on his expert knowledge - believes and leans towards Madeleine having come to harm in Apartment 5A.

Now that's one for the sofa - for Ms Kelly to put to Kate McCann - together with the following, I am sure she would be able to come up with some interesting and probing questions for Madeleine's mummy!


David Barclay:


"If anyone can get in there through the sliding windows, why bother to go through the shutters in the first place?"


"That little gate, which doesn't seem to have any lock on it, goes straight onto the road."


"There's lots of light round that side (shutter side) and, erm, if you look in there (patio side) there's shadows all the way up and it's easy to sneak out of this gate as well."

"Yes. Once you are in here, or you've jumped over that wall, I don't think anyone would see you. They certainly couldn't see you from the Tapas Bar." 


24.50 (on recording)


" We just don't know what has happened because we haven't got the hard physical evidence. I think we can realise that the two ends of the spectrum are now vanishingly small."

(1)       That she wandered off by herself and is alive and well somewhere

(2)       That some organised gang took her.


"It's a strange place for them to take a child from. But we don't know whether she met some harm within the immediate family circle either accidentally or deliberate 


Whether somebody in the area did break in through either the child's bedroom window or the sliding doors and took her.

It would be a really bizarre and strange crime if that took place but bizarre and strange crimes do happen.


"How would you know there was a small child in there who was your target? It must be that you've done some sort of pre-planning."


Voice over

 The priority for forensic scientist Dave Barclay would be to test the physical evidence to prove the accounts given by the family.




" Going back to your point about the forensics, when we look at the stuff to do with the family, because they've all got legitimate answers, there we'd be looking for things that don't fit - anomalies between what they're saying happened and what we have found out from our observations.


(This is a perfect example of the team of experts not knowing at that time of exactly what the McCanns had stated to police, for Professor Barclay and the team to review, they would now have anomalies, things that don't fit, too numerous to shake a stick at)


And they could range from just difficulties because you're overcome by emotion, to what we call 'staging'. 

The classic is a domestic murder, husband and wife, and then the husband tries to make it look like a burglary. Where he tries to clear up blood in the kitchen and doesn't do it successfully enough: that's staging.

Professor David Barclay on Shutters of 5A


36.36 on recording


"You might try and help the shutter down mightn't you? If the window is open and you are reaching it from inside you'd get that."


"We've some great stuff here because this is aluminium - light-weight aluminium with a fine coating of a synthetic polyurethane paint or something like that. It would mark really easily, and it does."


"And they're pretty well - you've pretty well got the whole of the thumb against it. If you go back the other way, and do the same thing again, right, now you've only got the outside of your thumb on it. I believe it's from the inside."   

"We must be very careful that we're not saying this is actually staging, but it is difficult to see how anybody could have interfered with those shutters from the outside without leaving some trace."


"In fact, having looked at them, I think it's almost impossible."


"And indeed, if we did find blood. It's not unusual for children to trip and get a bloody nose and so on. If you found, in particular I think in this case, or any case like this, blood on the floor where efforts had been made to clean it up and the parents did not say they'd done that (as long as it was a child's blood) then that would be very significant indeed."


" Remember, forensic science is not just A single test result, it's setting it in context. So if you get a result that seems to indicate one thing, you'd want to confirm it by other tests from other areas."

David Barclay on hired car:

"I still find it very difficult to conceive how those results got in the boot of the hire car IF they're as reported - and I'd like to keep my options open. You still have to work out where the body has been and how it got transported in that hire car that wasn't hired for 25 days.  Just almost incomprehensible. So we should just wait and see what the results show. It's not completely beyond the bounds of possibility that they will completely exonerate the McCanns."

(NOTE - They never did - completely exonerate them! )

44.15 (recording)


"Having seen the circumstances and the lay-out of the apartment, it looks to me more likely, the priorities are higher, that some harm happened to her within the apartment. No more than that."

Professor of Forensics David Barclay
1st May 2014

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