UK Justice Forum

Disappeared and Abducted Children and Young Adults => Madeleine McCann (3) disappeared from her parent's holiday apartment at Ocean Club, Praia da Luz, Portugal on 3 May 2007. No trace of her has ever been found. => Suspects => Topic started by: Wonderfulspam on February 02, 2014, 04:02:09 PM

Title: Robert Murat (Former Arguido)
Post by: Wonderfulspam on February 02, 2014, 04:02:09 PM
Named as the first 'arguido' in the case, Robert Murat has always strenuously denied any involvement in the events of May 3rd and the disappearance of Madeleine McCann.

The first person to be given arguido status, 12 days after Madeleines disappearance, was a local British-Portuguese property consultant, Robert Murat.

Murat lived in his mother's villa (Casa Liliana) 150 yards from apartment 5A in the direction the man in the Tanner sighting was walking.

He was made an arguido after coming to the attention of British Daily Mirror journalist Lori Campbell, when he offered to translate statements for the police; indeed, he was briefly signed up as an official interpreter.

Murat said his interest in the case stemmed from his having lost custody of his own three-year-old daughter.
Three members of the Tapas Seven said they had seen Murat near the resort on the evening Madeleine disappeared, which would have been unsurprising given the proximity of his house to 5A, although he and his mother said he had been at home all evening.

The house was searched, the pool drained, his cars, computers, phones and video tapes examined, his garden searched using ground radar and sniffer dogs, and two of his associates were questioned.

There was nothing to link him to the disappearance and he was cleared on 21 July 2008 when the case closed.

Murat found himself at the centre of wild media allegations that continued for months.

He told the Cambridge Union in March 2009 that he had felt like a "fox pursued by hounds," and that the case had almost destroyed his life.

He and his two associates sued 11 newspapers for libel in relation to 100 articles published by Associated Newspapers, Northern & Shell (Express group), Mirror Group Newspapers and News Group Newspapers (News International).

According to The Observer, it was the largest number of separate libel actions brought in the UK by the same person in relation to one issue.

Murat was awarded £600,000 in July 2008 and the others $100,000; all three received public apologies.

The British Sky Broadcasting Group, which owns Sky News, paid Murat undisclosed damages in a separate libel action in November 2008, and agreed that Sky News should host an apology to him on its website for 12 months.

Libel Settlements

17 July 2008: Robert Murat accepts a £600,000 settlement from 11 British newspapers
14 November 2008: Robert Murat accepts a 'substantial' undisclosed sum from Sky News
Title: Re: Robert Murat
Post by: Wonderfulspam on February 02, 2014, 04:56:48 PM
Robert Murat was born on November 20, 1973, at Queen Charlotte's Hospital, Hammersmith, West London - the elder son of John Henry Queriol Murat, a Portuguese national who worked as a company director, and Jennifer (nee Eveleigh) from Sidmouth in Devon.

At the time of his birth, Murat's parents were living in Richmond-upon-Thames, but later moved to Portugal, where he was educated.

As a young man, he returned to Britain, where he took a variety of jobs and enjoyed playing darts and clay pigeon shooting.

Mr Murat, who lost an eye in a motorbike accident as a teenager when he crashed into the wall of a railway station, worked for the turkey tycoon, Bernard Matthews, at the company factory in Lenwade, Norfolk, between 1994 and 2000.

At 19, he began a relationship with a married woman eight years his senior, Dawn Chapman. She already had a son, aged six, but divorced and married Murat at Gretna Green, in March 2001. Their daughter, Sofia, was born 18 months later.

He and Dawn bought a modest, semi-detached, three-bedroom house, now worth £190,000, in The Street, Hockering - a quiet Norfolk village near Deerham (population 230).

Mr Murat went on to become a successful car salesman with Inchcape for four years before moving on to work at Desira car dealership in Norwich, selling Nissans, Alfa Romeos, Fiats and Citroens.

But he also earned £150 a time as a translator for Norfolk police, using his language skills to help their inquiries among the large Portuguese community in the county.

Mr Murat had a reputation, not only in the car trade but in Hockering, as something of a Good Samaritan.

Murat and his wife had been trying for a baby for many years until Dawn fell pregnant in 2002 and had a girl who they named Sofia. Murat was later to describe his daughter as the 'spitting image' of Madeleine.

They embarked on a new life together in Portugal in 2005 but Dawn became unhappy and homesick. She had spent all her life in Norfolk and all her family lived there. She only stayed for three or four months before she decided to come home with their daughter.

Murat decided to continue his work in Portugal, even though he missed his daughter desperately. At first, he tried to maintain his relationship with Dawn and kept flying back to the UK to spend time with her and their daughter. But in the end, the relationship fizzled out.

In April 2005, he joined the Remax property company and worked there on two separate contracts during 2005 as a sales executive. He was well liked and fondly remembered but left suddenly stating that he had to go for personal reasons.

It was whilst working at Remax that Murat became instantly attracted to another member of the sales staff, Michaela Walczuch, a blonde German divorcee Jehovah's Witness. She also used the name Matias, which was believed to be from a former marriage.

About a month after handing his notice in to Remax, Murat took a three-month contract as a Salesman with, a real estate business that has an office a few doors along from Remax in Lagos.

He worked there from September 2005 until returning to Remax in November that year, a month after Ms Walczuch had left. He stayed until September 2006 before leaving again to set up business on his own as a property developer.

Around Christmas 2006, he is understood to have moved into the apartment that Ms Walczuch shared with her ex-partner Luis Antonio, apparently with his full agreement. It is believed Murat stayed there for a few months and that subsequently Ms Walczuch was a frequent visitor to Casa Liliana.

Just prior to May 3rd, Murat spent 10 days at his sister's home in Exeter, whilst he did some work on a property his mother owns in nearby Sidmouth. His sister's home is less than a mile from the house where Jane Tanner and Russell O'Brien live.

It has been speculated that there may be some connection as Tanner and O'Brien are neighbours of James and Charlotte Gorrod, who were also at the resort at the same time as the 'Tapas Nine'. Murat returned to Praia da Luz two days before Madeleine's disappearance.

On the evening of May 3rd, Murat claims to have spent all evening at home with his mother, spending a large percentage of the time chatting in the kitchen. His mother has supported his alibi and has accused those members of the Tapas group, who say they saw him outside the McCanns' apartment, of 'lying'. Jenny Murat says she returned home at 8.00pm, after walking the dogs, and that they spent the rest of the evening together.

After initially helping police with translation duties, the Portuguese investigators turned their attention to Murat after Lori Campbell, a Sunday Mirror journalist, rang Leicestershire police to convey her concerns about his behaviour. Those concerns appear to have been based on her gut instinct that he was acting suspiciously, that he would not give any details about himself and that he reminded her of Ian Huntley. After questioning, Murat found himself named the first official suspect 'arguido' on the case, on 15 May 2007.

Casa Liliana, the villa in which Murat lives with his mother, was initially searched on 14 May 2007. The house and grounds were searched again over the weekend of 04/05 August 2007, with British police involvement and British sniffer dogs. It would appear nothing of interest was found as Murat's status did not change and he has not been recalled for any further questioning.

It was initially speculated that police were investigating whether Murat, Antonio and Walczuch - two dark-haired men and a blonde - might be the same trio captured on CCTV footage at a filling station shortly after Madeleine disappeared.

The "lead" was later dismissed by a senior officer when he reported that detectives had "no suspects". But it was speculated, at the time, that police may have downplayed the evidence in order to avoid panicking their suspects while they kept them under surveillance.

The trio came back into the news on 20 November 2007, when newspapers named them as the possible trio seen by a witness, two days after Madeleine's disappearance, with a blonde girl matching Madeleine's description.
Title: Re: Robert Murat
Post by: Wonderfulspam on February 02, 2014, 08:51:00 PM
Robert Murat Media Reports

15th May 2007

Sunday Mirror

Madeleine: British man is suspect

Swoop on villa 150 yards from her room
Vanessa Allen & Martin Fricker in Praia da Luz 15/05/2007
A British father is being treated as a formal suspect by police in Portugal investigating the disappearance of four-year-old Madeleine McCann.
Robert Murat, who is in his 30s with a four-year-old daughter, lives with his widowed mother Jenny, 71 in Praia da Luz.

Their villa is situated 150 yards from the apartment from which Madeleine vanished 12 days ago.

Murat was escorted from the villa late last night by police, and was later questioned by detectives while forensic experts searched the house.

While considered a suspect, under Portuguese law Murat can remain at liberty.

He was one of three people questioned by detectives in the town of Portimao. All three were released overnight.

Murat, fluent in Portuguese, has been helping local police and Madeleine's distraught parents Gerry and Kate cope with the language barrier by translating for them.

He and mum Jenny also manned a stall in the resort appealing to locals for information about Madeleine.

Witnesses to the police raid on Murat's villa said there were scenes of frenzied activity as officers swooped with sniffer dogs.

One onlooker said the dogs could be heard yelping - and added: "It all went mental."

Police arrived at the villa, called Casa Liliana, at dawn along with forensic teams in white protective suits.

Murat, who has a four-year-old daughter in Britain who he claims looks "just like Madeleine", was escorted to nearby Portimao police station for questioning.

Last night detectives said Murat was one of three people being interviewed and stressed that there had been no arrests.

At around 11.30pm he was driven away from the police station in a blue car. It is not known where he was being taken.

Back at the villa, officers searched a small shed beneath the pool where chemicals appeared to be stored. They also drained the pool and searched the villa, its roof, the grounds and a garage. Just before 10pm detectives left in a convoy of cars, clutching at least one large plastic bag.

Murat has been involved in the police investigation from its earliest days.

He is fluent in Portuguese and offered to work as a translator to help local police in their dealings with Madeleine's parents Kate and Gerry.

Murat also claims to have helped the family, from Rothley, Leics, overcome the language barrier - and said he translated witness statements. He has been regularly seen crossing police crime tape and heading towards the McCanns' apartment.

He and his mother have also been manning a stall on the seafront from a green van which is emblazoned with posters of Madeleine - using it to appeal to locals for information about her. On Sunday Murat told the Mirror: "My mother hopes she can give people the opportunity to speak to her instead of police.

"She believes there are many reasons why people would not want to speak to police - if they are working illegally or living here without resident permits."

One of Murat's old school friends said last night that he had joked about being a suspect in the case. Gaynor de Jesus said: "The joke was going round that he was the guy, as jokes do."

Murat's mother is English and his father Portuguese. He was brought up in Portugal until he was 16, then went to live in Britain. He moved back to Praia da Luz when his marriage broke up. Murat, who has a glass eye, told journalists he was involved in a custody battle for daughter Sofia.

Murat's estranged wife Dawn and Sofia were last night taken away from their home in Hockering, Norfolk, in an unmarked police car. The couple split up three years ago.

Villager Geoffrey Livock, 71, said he knew Murat well. He added: "Robert is a good-hearted chap. He often comes back here to visit his little girl. I am shocked to hear this news. He is never in any kind of trouble and is always a nice guy to pass the time of day with.

"He is just a normal fellow." Mr Livock said Murat had worked part-time as an interpreter for Norfolk police before moving to Portugal. He said: "If any of the local Portuguese community got into trouble he would do the interpreting for the police.

"When this little girl went missing in Portugal, I went round to see Dawn. She told me how Robert had just phoned her and told her that he was doing interpreting for the police over there and helping with the hunt.

"She was very concerned about how this little girl could have gone missing." Murat's cousin Sally Eveleigh said there was no way he could be involved with Madeleine's disappearance. She said: "I've known him all his life - he loves children.

"It's true there is a resemblance between his daughter and Madeleine but are we going to accuse the fathers of all children who look like her?"

Murat, a former car salesman, works as an estate agent in Portugal, friends said. Daniel Andre, 26, added: "He always wants to help the police. He is nice and very calm." Another friend said Murat had a German girlfriend in the resort who has a young daughter.

Sunday Mirror journalist Lori Campbell told last night how she spoke to police about Murat after holding a number of conversations with him over the hunt for Madeleine.

She said: "He told me he had a daughter in the UK and talked about how upset he was and how, as soon as he heard about the disappearance, he wanted to help. He seemed to give an air that he was authoritative, working in an official capacity.

"But the police have many people working with them so why would they ask him to talk to the family? He was very vague about his background. When I asked him he wouldn't give his surname or tell me where he lived. He wouldn't give me a phone number and he was vague about what he did for a living.

"Initially I called Leicestershire police and a detective took a statement. When I spoke to the police in Portugal I didn't mention his name but they knew who I was talking about and said they would look into it."

Police last night sealed off the villa behind a cordon and put up a green tarpaulin around the building. As the searches continued, Madeleine's dad Gerry could be seen pacing up and down his apartment's balcony with a phone pressed to his ear.

Ex-nurse Mrs Murat, 71, said last night: "They came in here but they have not found anything. They drained the swimming pool.

"I'm okay, I don't know what is going on. I insist that the police issue a formal statement once this is over to clear his name."

Madeleine vanished from her parents' holiday apartment during the night of May 3 as they were at a nearby tapas bar with friends.


Vanessa Allan In Praia Da Luz

I MET Robert Murat on day three of the hunt. He told me he had access to the police investigation.

He said he was acting as a police translator and spent long days outside the McCanns' apartment talking to detectives and the media.

Murat told me he had a daughter and said he was in a custody battle with his ex-wife.

The 5ft 8in stockily built father rarely spoke about Madeleine herself and instead seemed more concerned about the progress of the police investigation.

He defended Portuguese police against claims they were acting too slowly and told me detectives knew more than they let on.

Murat claimed he had signed a secrecy declaration because of his work as a translator. I met him again this Sunday when he and his elderly mother were manning an information stall near the church where Kate McCann had just attended mass.

He told me that his mother was desperate to help the investigation and believed people who would not talk to police might talk to her.
Title: Re: Robert Murat
Post by: Wonderfulspam on February 02, 2014, 08:55:16 PM
15th May 2007

The Independent

Ubiquitous man who went out of his way to help media 

By Ian Herbert
The man whose mother's home was searched by police in Praia da Luz last night had joked with a translator at the scene about how his presence was making him a suspect in the investigation.
Robert Murat, who seemed happy and at ease near the scene of Madeleine McCann's disappearance, shared the joke with Gaynor de Jesus, a local woman who has been translating for Sky TV, soon after the child's disappearance.
Mr Murat was a ubiquitous figure in the first few days after the crime. Journalists found him helpful in the extreme. On the Sunday after the disappearance, he expressed concerns that the supermarket's early closure would leave the media without supplies and arranged for bottles of water to be put in the car park of the apartment where Madeleine disappeared.
Mr Murat told journalists that he had been living in the UK but had travelled to Portugal to work in the family's property business. He lived in Hockering, Norfolk, before moving to Portugal and is believed to have a daughter who is due to start school this year. Geoffrey Livock, of Hockering, said Mr Murat lived in the village with his ex-wife, Dawn, until a few years ago. He said Mr Murat returned to the house periodically. "I last saw him working in the garden a few weeks ago," Mr Livock said.
Mr Murat also distributed a business card with his face on it and the company name Portuguese Homes. But despite his initial presence at the scene, he was unwilling to be photographed. He has been absent from the scene since last Tuesday.
His mother, Jenny Murat, 71, has also been a high-profile figure in Praia since Madeleine disappeared. She set up an information post in Praia da Luz, and, as a result, made some of the Portuguese papers. "There may be someone out there who doesn't want to go to the police but will talk to us anonymously," she told one journalist. "We have to try."
Mrs Murat has been resident in the Algarve for 40 years and conducted searches of her own in the past week. "I know this area like the back of my hand," she said, "and I just wanted to help."
Mrs Murat insisted last night that her son was merely helping police with inquiries.
Title: Re: Robert Murat
Post by: Wonderfulspam on February 02, 2014, 08:58:44 PM
16th May 2007

The Independent

'He was the sort who wanted to be involved in everything'

By Ian Herbert
When Robert Murat's wife was driven away from the Norfolk village of Hockering in an unmarked police car with a blanket over her head late on Monday night, it was evident that the area's rural calm was about to be shattered.

But villagers were still bewildered and astonished when they awoke yesterday to the news that the former used car salesman they knew was the first "suspect" in the Madeleine McCann inquiry.
To those who know him, there is something remarkably familiar about the story of how the first suspect in the Portuguese police investigation was unusually keen to help at the scene of Madeleine's disappearance.

Gareth Bailey also found Mr Murat "overly helpful" when they worked together for four years at the Inchcape Autoparc used car dealership in Norwich.
"He was [one of those] people who likes to get involved with everything," said Mr Bailey. "Sometimes at work I had to tell him to go away in a friendly way." Mr Murat would spend up to four hours with a single customer and "catered for every single issue,"

Mr Bailey said. Mr Murat had also volunteered to work as a translator between Norfolk police officers and the large community of Portuguese workers who arrived to work in the food processing industry.

He earned £150 a time. "He would get called to Dereham police station in the middle of the night to act as an interpreter," said Mr Bailey.

Carla Cunha, 35, a Portuguese factory worker, said Mr Murat had helped him find work at the local Bernard Matthews plant in Great Witchingham. Mr Murat's formative years were spent in Portugal with his English mother and Portuguese father, where he is remembered for his BMX biking.
As a teenager, he suffered serious injuries in a motorcycle crash when he smashed into a railway station wall. This left him blinded in his left eye and in need of a metal plate for his fractured skull. The crash also seriously damaged Murat's thyroid gland, leading to him having to take the thyroid hormone thyroxine for the rest of his life. It meant he could not drink alcohol, according to associates.
He married in Norfolk about 11 years ago and was stepfather to his wife's 18-year-old son from a previous marriage. The couple had tried for a number of years for a daughter of their own.

Some in Norfolk say he split from his wife after returning to Portugal with her and their daughter, Sofia, to start a new life. He found work as a self- employed property consultant helping to market and sell homes on the Algarve, but his wife is believed to have been homesick and, after four months in the Algarve, decided to return to Norfolk. They tried to make a shot of a long distance marriage and he was constantly shuttling between the two countries but it fizzled out, according to one friend.
Mr Murat was distressed by not seeing his daughter who, according to Geoffrey Livock, 71, a Norfolk family friend, could be the "twin sister" of Madeleine. "At first glance if you saw them walking down the street you would think they were twins," said Mr Livock. "Their hair is about the same and their faces are similar. I didn't think anything about it when Madeleine went missing. It was only when all this came out that I realised they were so similar."
Title: Re: Robert Murat
Post by: Wonderfulspam on February 02, 2014, 09:01:32 PM
18th May 2007

Daily Mirror

Murat needed hire car in a hurry

Vanessa Allen And Martin Fricker In Praia Da Luz,

POLICE hunting missing Madeleine McCann are probing claims that suspect Robert Murat hurriedly hired a car two days before he was arrested - despite already having two vehicles.

Hire firm worker Maria Rocio says Murat rang her on Saturday and asked to rent a Hyundai Getz for three days, insisting he needed it immediately and could not wait.

Maria added: "Robert said to me, 'I need to rent a car for myself because the English people who are looking for the little girl need to borrow my car. They need to put information posters on it.'"

Maria said she told him she was about to shut for lunch - and he threatened to take his business elsewhere unless she let him pick up the car before she went. She said: "There was something about his voice, he was saying, 'I need to have it quickly.' His voice was impatient, I could tell from his voice that he needed it in a hurry."

Portuguese police are reported to have had Murat under surveillance at the time - and were tailing both his gold Kia and a green van owned by his mum Jenny. Maria, who works for the Auto Rent III in Praia da Luz, was so confused over why Murat needed a third vehicle she contacted police.

The blue Hyundai was returned to the firm on Tuesday evening.

It was still in his drive along with the van when the villa he shares with Jenny was raided on Monday.

Police searched both vehicles and have examined Auto Rent's records. Little Madeleine's family yesterday admitted for the first time they fear she has been smuggled out of Portugal. Aunt Philomena told of their anguish as she threw her weight behind a campaign to publicise the four-year-old's plight across Europe.

She said in an email to well-wishers: "We don't believe that she is in Portugal any more and need to get her picture and the story across Europe as quickly as possible."

Philomena also urged people to pass on photographs and details of Madeleine to "everyone you know."

The campaign to publicise Madeleine's abduction, which is being spearheaded by her parents Kate and Gerry McCann, has achieved astonishing success.

The family's website received an astonishing 25million hits in its first day.

And Madeleine's story even made front page news in US magazine People. Police have also not ruled out the possibility that Madeleine could have been smuggled into North Africa after she was abducted from a holiday apartment in Praia da Luz two weeks ago. Posters have been printed in Arabic for use Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia and Egypt.

Sergey Malinka, the Russian computer expert arrested on Wednesday, yesterday refused to comment on claims that there were several phone calls between him and Murat shortly after Madeleine went missing.

He said: "I'm afraid I can't tell you. That's privileged information. I can't share it with anybody."

Malinka, 22, who helped 33-year-old Murat set up a website, said their relationship was confined to business.

Moscow-born Malinka was released at 3am yesterday after five hours of questioning by police. His laptop and two computer hard drives have been seized. He claimed police had interviewed him after finding his number in Murat's phone.

Malinka said he was stunned by the investigation - and added: "My life has fallen apart. I have been building my life here for seven years. In one hour suddenly I'm a paedophile."

He said police had questioned him about Madeleine, adding: "They were asking if I had any connection with Robert Murat. They asked if I had anything to do with Madeleine's disappearance. I volunteered to help."

Malinka, whose mum and dad followed him to Portugal after he emigrated from Russia, worked for a number of internet cafes in Praia da Luz before setting himself up as a website designer.

He was also linked to a business in Lagos offering boat trips in the Mediterranean and to North Africa.

Last night, police chief Olegario Sousa confirmed that Malinka is being treated as a witness rather than a suspect. But he added: "It might be that during the course of the investigation it could change."

There were reports in the Portuguese press yesterday that police photographed Murat and Malinka together in the days after Madeleine vanished. Tuck Price, a Murat family friend, said this was "absolutely not" sinister. He added: "It's possible, of course. They would probably have a coffee and talk about the website."

It was also revealed that 71-year-old Jenny has been questioned about her son's alibi. He claims he was having dinner with her on the night that Madeleine vanished.

Murat's friends say he is staying out of sight in Jenny's villa, 150 yards from where Madeleine was snatched.

Posters proclaiming Murat's innocence were yesterday put up around the Norfolk village where he used to live with estranged wife Dawn and their daughter Sofia, four.

The A4-sized posters were placed by Murat's Portuguese friend Carla Cunha on front doors, fences, a bus shelter, and the village hall in Hockering, Norfolk.

The posters show his face and say: "Rob is innocent. Please Rob be strong for Sofia. She love you very much."
Title: Re: Robert Murat
Post by: Wonderfulspam on February 02, 2014, 09:09:30 PM
2nd June 2007

Daily Mail

Madeleine: Is Robert Murat a suspect or a scapegoat?

In the eyes of many, Robert Murat has already been tried and found guilty of abducting Madeleine. But David Jones has had the first full interview with him - and comes to a very unsettling conclusion
Last Wednesday, while Gerry and Kate McCann were in Rome imploring the Pope to pray for the safe return of their four-year-old daughter, Madeleine, I spent a disquieting afternoon on the Algarve, drinking coffee with Robert Murat.
Depending on your point of view (and in a tragedy whose every grim twist is played out in the public gaze, everyone has an opinion), Murat is either the most vile creature on earth or the most unjustly vilified.
Eighteen days ago, this enigmatic, Portuguese-raised Englishman was arrested on suspicion of abducting Madeleine from a holiday apartment just 120 yards from the villa he shares with his widowed mother, Jenny.
Murat was released without charge after 19 hours of questioning. Yet today - a month after Madeleine's hauntingly pretty face first became etched in our collective nightmares - he remains the only formally identified police suspect.
Ordinarily, of course, an accused man retains his innocence until proven guilty. But this is no ordinary case. The McCanns' increasingly desperate publicity campaign (yesterday they were in Madrid) has made it the most high-profile child abduction in history.
So, inevitably, every aspect of Robert Murat's life is being subjected to microscopic scrutiny. And in the absence of confirmed facts, wild rumours are circulating about his life and background.
If we believe some of what has been written about him, Murat is a pervert who fits the profile of a child abductor all too well. He may be the father of a four-year-old girl, but, according to unnamed sources, he is a social misfit who visits paedophile websites.
It has also been suggested that he coldly volunteered to assist in the hunt for Madeleine to glean inside information, and remain one step ahead of the police investigation, just as Ian Huntley did after the Soham murders.
Weighed with various accrued morsels of suspicion against him - an unexplained 11.40pm phone call on the night of the abduction; a car hired hastily two days later - some close observers have concluded that Murat is, indeed, the monster who took Madeleine, and that it is only a matter of time before he is formally charged with her abduction.
Over the forthcoming days, they may yet be proved right, though given the performance of the Portuguese police, this seems unlikely. For the story Murat had to tell me raises profound and disturbing questions about the nature of the Madeleine investigation.
"They held me for all that time, but they didn't even take a DNA sample from me," he told me, incredulously. "Can you believe that? I would happily have provided a swab."
Assuming Murat is telling the truth, this is a jaw-dropping omission, and throws the entire forensic operation into question.
Privately, it will doubtless appall the McCanns. However, a source close to the couple assures me they do not believe Murat took their daughter, regarding him as a "sad loner" whose involvement has distracted attention which could have been usefully deployed elsewhere.
At the risk of being proved foolish, having spent 90 minutes with Murat - who chatted to me in the bar of his cousin's guesthouse near Praia da Luz - I believe the McCanns' instincts are probably right. Either that, or Murat is a consummate actor.
He was first thrust to the forefront of the investigation after a journalist found his behaviour sufficiently odd to merit reporting to the Portuguese police.
In a career spanning 30 years, I, too, have met some pretty despicable characters, but there was no aura of evil about the man I encountered last Wednesday.
Despite being under such stress that he has lost more than a stone, and has turned from a non-smoker into a 40-a-day man, Murat was reasonably articulate and polite. He even apologised for swearing.
Within the confines of Portuguese law, which forbids a suspected criminal to defend himself on peril of imprisonment, his denial of any involvement in Madeleine's abduction carried the ring of truth.
That said, he shows little insight into the way that some of his protestations leave him wide open to accusations of, at best, insensitivity and, at worst, utter callousness. For example, at one stage in our conversation he compared his own suffering to that of Gerry and Kate McCann.
"I'm going through exactly the same experience as the McCanns, so I can empathise with them,' he told me, seemingly unable to understand that no one - not even a man perhaps wrongly accused of child abduction - could begin to understand their torment.
"Whenever there's a sighting of a little girl, my hopes rise. And when it's not Madeleine, they sink, just like the McCanns'. Why? Because if they find Madeleine my name will be cleared."
Later, when protesting his innocence, Murat made another wholly inappropriate remark.
"It might sound harsh, but if anyone has broken the law, then the McCanns have," he said, frowning behind the thick-lensed glasses he has worn since a motorcycle accident cost him the sight of an eye.
"Portuguese law says that you can't leave young children unattended. They say they were eating in the complex (the Ocean Club, where the family were holidaying). But actually the apartment is outside, across an alley. So, I'm sorry, but they broke the law.
"I would never leave my daughter (Sofia, who lives with his estranged wife, in Norfolk). I won't let her out of my sight because she gets up at night and walks off.
"That said, I wouldn't criticise them because children are different, and only they know how their kids behave."
Listening to Murat talk in this manner, one wonders whether even the PR guru Max Clifford - who has offered his services to him, if and when he is cleared - can salvage his reputation.
But whatever we make of Murat, one thing is plain: he inhabits such a different world from the McCanns - caring parents, brilliant medical professionals, devout Roman Catholics.
Ultimately, however, only one thing matters: is Robert Murat telling the truth?
Even to start addressing that question, we need to return to the night, one month ago, when Madeleine disappeared from her bed in apartment 5A of the Ocean Club, in Praia da Luz, some time between 9.10pm and 10pm, as her parents ate supper in a tapas restaurant roughly 40 yards away.
The most plausible theory holds that she was snatched by someone who had studied Gerry and Kate's movements, possibly for days, and knew their evening routine.
Madeleine and their two-year-old twins, Sean and Amelia, were left alone in the apartment, but were checked approximately every 30 minutes. And this provides the first inconsistency in the case against Murat. He says he returned to Portugal, after a lengthy spell in Britain, at 9.40am, on Tuesday, May 1, two days before Madeleine's disappearance.
"So I am supposed to have planned the kidnapping of a little girl inside 50 hours," he told me, shaking his head.
"In that time, I supposedly identified the apartment where she was sleeping and spied on her, and worked out the times her parents went to dinner each night, then took her away. It's ludicrous.
"If you want my opinion, it had to involve someone on the inside, who works at the Ocean Club.
"How else would the abductor know when it was safe to take Madeleine? Have the police started looking at the people who work there? If not, they should."
The answer to Murat's question is 'Yes'. The police have checked out the Ocean Club staff - after a fashion. In the early days, all who worked there were interviewed. Yet, typically in an investigation botched and lax almost beyond belief, the questions were hardly probing.
By contrast, Murat was grilled for 19 hours, during which time he claims to have been offered only water. Fearing being jailed for speaking out, he declines to describe his experience, but says "it wasn't very pleasant".
"I was moved from room to room and interviewed by different people. You wouldn't believe the sort of things they asked me."
Meanwhile, detectives combed his mother's villa inch by inch and took away her green Volkswagen camper van.
They also confiscated five computers: three belonging to Murat, and two owned by a former business partner.
The hard drives are still being examined, but when I ask him about the allegation, reported by the Portuguese Press, that pornography of the most depraved kind has been found on one of the computers, he snapped: "It's scandalous. It's just made up. Pure fantasy."
So what is the firm evidence against him? Does his background perhaps offer some insight into the cold-hearted man some suspect him to be?
Born Robert James Queriol Eveleigh Murat, on November 20, 1973, he hails from an old family of port wine exporters. His late father John's ancestors settled in Portugal in the early 1700s, a history he plays up proudly.
His appearance is uncomfortably close to the description of Madeleine's likely abductor, which was provided by one of the McCanns' holiday companions who witnessed a man carrying a child away from the resort - a key piece of evidence belatedly released by the police this week.
Aged 33, Murat is about 5ft 8in, clean-shaven, stockily built and has short brown hair. He has a classless accent and behaves in the slightly superior, old-fashioned manner of an Englishman raised and educated abroad.
His early years were spent on the western tip of the Algarve, before it became an overdeveloped magnet for British expats-After leaving school, he sought work in the UK, drifting between menial jobs, including spells in a Norfolk garage and the Bernard Matthews turkey plant.
At 19, he began a relationship with a married woman eight years his senior, Dawn Chapman. She already had a son, aged six, but divorced and married Murat at Gretna Green, in March 2001. Their daughter, Sofia, was born 18 months later.
Murat's ambitions always extended beyond turkey-processing, but he never progressed in Britain. Finally, two years ago, he returned to Praia da Luz to forge a career in property sales.
With Dawn and Sofia, he moved into his mother's spacious £350,000 villa, Casa Liliana, barely visible behind a tall stand of pine trees amid unprepossessing breeze-block holiday apartments.
Murat's grand scheme foundered after barely three months. In September 2005, after a series of rows about his long working hours, his wife and daughter flew back to Britain.
He has since formed a relationship with a thirty-something German property saleswoman, Michaela Walczuch, who lives with her husband in nearby Lagos.
They have been described as lovers, but Murat denies this. "She's my partner, and we are very, very, very close - but she's not my girlfriend because she can't be. She's a Jehovah's Witness and she's still married. I'm not a Witness, but I attend study classes."
In recent months, Murat says, he has been striving to set up an on-line property sales business. His website was being designed by Sergey Malinka, 22, one of many Russians eking out a living on the Algarve.
However, Murat spent the spring in Sidmouth, Devon, renovating a house bequeathed to his mother, Jennifer, 71. He says it was she who collected him from Faro airport on May 1, a story she confirmed to me.
If we believe him, Murat spent the two days before the abduction in meetings about his website.
On Thursday, May 3, he returned home at about 8pm and ate supper with his mother. He thinks they had cheese and ham sandwiches. "I'm not much of a one for eating in the evening."
He claims to have passed the evening chatting with his mother and, again, she supports his alibi.
"It's an absolute nightmare," Mrs Murat told me. She is weatherbeaten and wears her long grey hair in a bun.
"I've lived in this area for 40 years. Now I can't walk into the supermarket. It's the biggest character assassination ever. Robert's older sister, Samantha, says he's the cleanest person she's ever known."
By Murat's account, he first learned about Madeleine's disappearance around 7.30am the following morning, when Samantha phoned from Devon after watching the news on TV.
Feeling the need to help, he quickly headed to the Ocean Club, mingling with the throng of police officers, family members and search volunteers.
As he is bilingual, he offered to interpret, and was later requested by the police to sign an oath of secrecy. "That's a matter of public record.'
At some stage, he recalls, he spoke to Gerry McCann, but he can't remember what passed between them. I ask him if he would like to meet the McCanns now? "I don't think that would serve any purpose for either of us," he replies, deadpan.
According to one witness, Murat went in and out of the McCanns' apartment. It has been suggested that he did this quite deliberately, so that he would have an explanation if and when his DNA was found inside.
However, he told me adamantly that he has never been inside apartment 5A, and knows its layout only because he searched a similar flat in the same block.
All this sounded plausible enough. His manner was less assured when I asked about the late-night mobile phone call to Sergey Malinka on the night of Madeleine's disappearance - a call he initially denied making, leaving some to suggest that the two men were in league. "I've checked my phone records and I admit they do show I made a call at 11.40pm," he says, lighting another cigarette.
"It lasted 30 seconds, so we must have talked, but I honestly can't remember what about. He was setting up my website, so it was probably that.
"It might seem very late to call someone, but that's how we live here. Afterwards, I phoned my sister. I rarely go to bed before midnight or 1am."
Ironically, Murat believes his mobile phone offers the best hope of proving his innocence.
He claims it is always switched on and in his possession.
British experts are said to have been coopted to pinpoint its precise whereabouts between 9.10pm and 10pm on May 3, using data about its position in relation to nearby phone masts, which can provide a mobile's location accurate to a radius of a few yards.
But this would be significant only if Murat could prove the phone was with him during that crucial window of time. Until these tests are complete, he is left in limbo.
"Basically, I'm just an ordinary, straightforward guy who's the victim of the biggest f***-up on this planet - if you'll excuse the language," he said.
Murat's gay American designer friend, Tuck Price, 43, who flitted in and out of the room during our interview, hardly helps his cause.
"When this is all over, I hope he makes a buck or two out of it," Price said shamelessly. "He bloody deserves it."
If Murat does, indeed, "make a buck", we may come to regard him in the same vein as Colin Stagg, who was wrongly accused of the Rachel Nickell murder on Wimbledon Common, for little reason other than that he was a local oddball who seemed to fit the frame. He is about to receive a huge police compensation pay-out.
Or will he turn out to be another Ian Huntley?
For Gerry and Kate McCann's sake, we can only hope that we find out unequivocally, one way or the other - and soon.
Title: Re: Robert Murat
Post by: Wonderfulspam on February 02, 2014, 09:12:38 PM
3rd June 2007

Daily Mirror

Suspects did talk after abduction

Exclusive The Search for Madeleine Day 31
By Lori campbell in Praia da Luz and Olga Krepysheva in Russia
THE two men at the centre of the investigation into Madeleine McCann's abduction both misled police, the Sunday Mirror can reveal.
Chief suspect Robert Murat and Russian IT expert Sergey Malinka DID talk by phone the night she disappeared.
Previously they had insisted they were not close friends, just occasional business associates. But yesterday Murat, 33, confirmed an 11.40pm phone call on the critical night of May 3.
"It lasted 30 seconds, so we must have talked, but I honestly can't remember what about. He was setting up my website, so it was probably that," he said.
Malinka, 22, has also changed his story, according to his family.
His grandmother Lilia said he and Murat were good friends and did talk on the phone that night.
Speaking from her home in Saratov in southern Russia, she said: "Sergey was always good with computers, it was his great hobby, and in Portugal he opened a tiny company doing something with computing. For some time he dealt with Murat, this British man who was selling property, the one who is the main suspect now.
"It was a year ago when Sergey stopped working with him, but they exchanged phone calls from time to time because they had a good relationship. This Englishman called Sergey on his mobile exactly after the little girl was kidnapped. I heard it was about 11.30pm that day."
Retired teacher Lilia, 71, said Malinka made the confession about the call to his dad Igor.
She said: "It was Igor who told me all this and later Sergey even forgot somebody called him at that hour and what it was about.
"But then the police came and took away his car and his computers. The car is back now but not his computer hard drive yet." Murat and Malinka both strenuously deny they had anything to do with Madeleine's disappearance.
But parents Gerry and Kate McCann, both 38, were "distraught" yesterday after Murat was reported to have accused them of breaking the law when they left their young daughter unattended.
He was quoted in a newspaper as saying: "It may sound harsh, but if anyone has broken the law, then the McCanns have.
"Portuguese law says that you cannot leave young children unattended. They say they were eating in the complex but the apartment was outside across an alley so, I'm sorry, but they broke the law. I would never leave my daughter, I would not let her out of my sight because she gets up and tends to walk off.
"That said, I would not criticise them because children are different and only they know how their kids behave."
However Murat's spokesman disputed the words attributed to him in the article calling them "absolutely untrue".
"The family has been through enough and Mr Murat is disgusted with the way this has been reported," he said.
Yesterday, after weeks of solid campaigning, the McCanns stepped out of the media spotlight to spend time with their two-year-old twins Sean and Amelie at the beach.
Title: Re: Robert Murat
Post by: Wonderfulspam on February 02, 2014, 09:15:00 PM
27th July 2007

Daily Mirror

McCann pals accuse Robert Murat

Martin Fricker in Praia da Luz 27/07/2007
MADELEINE McCann suspect Robert Murat was branded a liar and accused of "peeking" into her holiday apartment by furious family friends.
Fiona Payne, Russell O'Brien and Rachael Oldfield insisted they saw him outside Kate and Gerry McCann's flat on the night Madeleine, four, was snatched - despite his denials.
And according to newspaper reports, Dr Payne told police that Murat "seemed to be peeking into the appartment".
Details of the angry confrontation between the friends and Murat, 33, at a police station in Portimao, emerged yesterday.
One of them pointed an accusing finger at him and shouted: "I know you were there. I would recognise you anywhere."
In separate interviews, all three referred to Murat's "lazy" right eye caused by a detached retina.
Sources said the property developer was left badly shaken by the heated exchange and police were shocked by the hostility towards him. Murat's friend Tuck Price said: "Robert found it traumatic. He couldn't understand how these people could sit there and accuse him of lying."
The extraordinary face-to-face meeting on July 11 was organised by officers trying to discover who is telling the truth in the 85-day long case in which Murat is the only formal suspect.
He claims he was at home with his mother - an albi she backs up - and says he did not know about Madeleine's disappearance until the following day.
Portugese newspaper Sol said Dr O'Brien had seen Murat at 1am on the night Madeleine went missing and Murat had told him he had a daughter same age.
Murat was first held by police 11 days after she vanished as she slept in the same room as her younger brother and sister.
Forensic teams searched the home he shares with his mother just 100 yards from the McCanns' apartment. They seized his computer and quizzed friends and business associates.
Police re-interviewed him earlier this month after finding an email on his computer referring to a missing "English child".
They also quizzed Murat about late-night phone calls he made to a local computer expert on the night Madeleine was snatched.
Title: Re: Robert Murat
Post by: Wonderfulspam on February 02, 2014, 09:18:21 PM
16th November

Daily Mail

Tapas Nine 'told police that Murat was man who fled apartment with child in his arms'

Two friends of the McCanns told police they saw British expatriate Robert Murat carrying a child away from the couple's apartment the night Madeleine vanished, it was claimed yesterday.
Russell O'Brien and Jane Tanner allegedly identified Mr Murat, 33, during a face-to-face meeting between him, the McCanns and the rest of the so-called Tapas Nine in May, before he was named as an official suspect, Portuguese daily 24 horas claimed.
The McCanns' spokesman dismissed the report as "laughable".
The couple have said they do not remember ever meeting Mr Murat, who denies any involvement in Madeleine's disappearance.
Miss Tanner, 37, has told police she saw a man carrying a child away from the apartment, but never saw his face. Her partner Dr O'Brien, 36, has never claimed he saw a man carrying a child that night.
But an insider told the paper: "They were all placed in the same room and two people that left the restaurant pointed to Robert Murat.
"They said he was the person they saw next to the apartment where Madeleine was sleeping around the time the alarm was raised about her disappearance."
The tabloid added: "24 horas has learnt that the friends who accused Murat are Jane Tanner and Russell O'Brien.
"They clearly stated, during the face-to-face meeting, they thought it was him who was carrying a child in his arms.
"This is the same couple said to have indicated to Portuguese public prosecutors they intend altering their statements after it was made public that they could become official suspects."
Quoting a separate source, 24 horas added: "We know that Robert Murat was next to the apartment, he was pointed out by two witnesses and he is a friend of the McCanns."
Last night Francisco Pagarete, Murat's lawyer dismissed the claims as rubbish.
He said: "They are lies. "My client doesn't know the McCanns and the day Madeleine disappeared, he was at home with his mum.
"We are going to prove this is the case." Criticising Portuguese authorities over their decision not to clear Murat immediately and making him wait until next May to see the case files against him, he added:
"We're unhappy that we'll only be able to see the files next May and be in a position to defend ourselves."
Mystery has surrounded the identity of the two McCann holiday pals alleged to want to change statements they gave police soon after Madeleine disappeared.
Respected Spanish newspaper El Mundo, which made the initial claims, carried quotes from an unnamed lawyer for one of the Tapas Nine this week complaining his client was terrified about speaking out because of the political support for the McCanns.
Portuguese police believe the McCanns and their friends are hiding the truth and fear they may never solve the case if they do not break an alleged pact of silence.
The claim Jane Tanner and her partner fingered Murat early on in the investigation - and now want to change their statements - will fuel further speculation he is being made a scapegoat.
Jane Tanner helped police produce an E-fit of a man she claimed to have seen runhing away from their Ocean Club holiday complex with a child in a blanket.
Today's claim that she identified Murat as that man comes amid reports police are preparing to make her and three other members of the Tapas Nine official suspects because of inconsistencies in their original statements.
Murat has always protested his innocence and police have found no DNA evidence linking him to Madeleine's disappearance despite searching the home in the Algarve resort of Praia da Luz he shares with mum Jennifer and digging up their garden.
The McCanns have rubbished suggestions they are pressuring their friends into lying and claims any of the Tapas Nine want to change their statements.
They insist Madeleine was kidnapped by an intruder and possibly taken across the border into Spain by someone working to the orders of a paedophile gang.
Police allegedly failed to send blankets, pillows and mattresses from the McCanns' apartment in Praia da Luz for forensic testing.
A source at Portugal's National Institute of Legal Medicine said: "We were only sent a few forensic traces for DNA testing.
"It would have been good if they had sent us the blankets, pillows and even the mattress where the girl was sleeping.
"We might have found some important clues on them and not just hairs, which was what was sent to the institute.
"Speaking hypothetically, there could have been fibres belonging to an abductor, or even a fingerprint." Several items in the apartment are thought to have been cleaned by staff at the Ocean Club days after Maddie's disappearance.
The McCanns and their friends are also believed to have damaged vital evidence when they were walking round the crime scene before police arrived.
A police source said: "When we returned to the apartment more than 24 hours after the girl vanished, half of the evidence had already disappeared."

Title: Re: Robert Murat
Post by: Wonderfulspam on February 02, 2014, 09:20:40 PM
The Sun

I saw Murat at Maddie flat

in Praia da Luz

Published: 03 Dec 2007

A NANNY at the holiday complex where Madeleine McCann vanished claims she saw suspect Robert Murat there on the fateful night, it emerged yesterday.

Charlotte Pennington, 20, is one of three witnesses who could blow apart the oddball’s alibi that he was home with his mum.

They have told private detectives hired by Maddie's parents they saw a man just like Murat walking on the road outside the McCann apartment on the night she disappeared.

Charlotte — a childminder at the Ocean Club in Praia da Luz, Portugal — challenged expat Murat, 34, the next day. He denied being near the scene. Charlotte said he clammed up when she tried to grill him further.

Days later she and five fellow nannies saw Murat again in a supermarket. He was talking to a mystery man who bore an uncanny likeness to a sketch of a suspect cops were seeking.

Charlotte is said to have told private investigators from Spain's Metodo 3 agency the man was "between 27 and 35, with medium build, very dark eyes and a Portuguese or Spanish look".

The other two witnesses, both tourists, gave detailed, independent statements. A Portuguese newspaper said: "The mystery man was seen by the babysitters in Faro airport on May 13 when they returned to England. As soon as she arrived in the UK, Charlotte reported it to cops, who passed the information to the Policia judiciaria."

Murat has always maintained that when Maddie, four, disappeared on May 3, he was at home with his mother Jenny, 71.

Charlotte said she saw him near the McCanns' holiday flat at around midnight. Yesterday it was claimed police used Murat as a translator — giving him access to the crime scene — as he was a long-time informant.

Six key witnesses cast doubt over Robert Murats alibi

Robert Murat 'seen talking to man matching artist's impression of Madeleine suspect '
Title: Re: Robert Murat
Post by: Wonderfulspam on February 02, 2014, 09:22:49 PM
The Sun

Murat alibi blown apart

From Veronica Lorraine in Praia da Luz
Published: 28 Dec 2007
TWO new witnesses have emerged to blow apart suspect Robert Murat's alibi on the night Maddie went missing.
Sisters Annie Catherine Wiltshire and Jayne Jensen, both from Kent, claim to have seen the one-eyed oddball lurking outside apartment 5A on May 3.
This brings the total of people who believe they saw the 34-year-old on the tragic night to EIGHT - despite his claims he spent the evening at home with his mum Jenny.
Murat denies any involvement in Maddie's disappearance.
Portuguese newspaper Diario De Noticias reported today that the English sisters' suspicions were aroused when they saw Murat walk past them the day after the four-year-old disappeared.
They had remembered seeing him by the Ocean Club apartment the night before, when a search for the vanished tot was launched just after 10pm.
The paper claims that as he passed them on May 4, they asked him for a drink and Jayne reported his behaviour as 'strange'.
Murat, who was wearing a blue t-shirt and jeans, told them he needed to go home to change out of his clothes as he had been wearing them all day.
But Jayne, 54, claimed she distinctly remembers him wearing a totally different outfit - 'a different shirt and gray trousers, just moments before.'
The sisters, who travelled out to Portugal on April 21, and were staying nearby, had passed on the information they had to Leicestershire police when they returned to the UK from holiday.
But after several publicity appeals by Kate and Gerry, they decided to get in direct contact with the McCann's Spanish detective agency Metodo 3.
A source close to the investigation said: "We are extremely grateful for them for getting the information to us.
"They did make attempts early on to pass this information on through the official system, but in the end they got frustrated and contacted us directly.
"They had made efforts to get their story into the official chain. But they felt nothing was being done."
The source said the pair were not interviewed in Portugal by police because they had not stayed in the same Ocean Club complex as the McCanns.
They added: "They were staying independently near the Ocean Club so were not on any police list of residents there.
"They are amongst some of the new information that has come out in recent weeks, after our new push for just this sort of person, this sort of independent traveller, to come forward.
"More significantly from the investigation's point of view, they put Murat in the area on the night."
The new evidence comes just days after Kate and Gerry, both 39, launched an emotional Christmas television appeal - pleading for fresh information on their missing daughter.
And it comes on the back of seven other independent witness sightings of ex-pat Murat.
Earlier this month, The Sun revealed how Metodo 3 had interviewed Ocean Club nanny Charlotte Pennington, 20, who claimed she saw Murat near the Praia da Luz apartment at midnight on the night Maddie disappeared.
The nanny, from Leatherhead, Surrey, was so convinced it was him, she challenged him twice, but he 'clammed up.'
The next time she saw Murat, who was made an official suspect on May 14, he was helping Portuguese cops with translations.
She told detectives that when she and two colleagues were interviewed, the policeman spoke perfect English, but Murat stayed in the interview anyway.
And at the end of the questioning, she said Murat handed over his mobile phone number to another nanny Kirsty Mayran and told them: "When you see something strange, call me."
Two other independent holiday-makers have also told the detectives they saw Murat near the scene of the crime on the night.
Their accounts directly contradict his alibi that he was inside villa Casa Liliana, that he shares with his 71-year-old mother, who has corroborated his story, and that he did not learn of the disappearance until the next morning.
Three of the couple's friends who were dining with them that night, Fiona Payne, Rachael Oldfield and Russell O'Brien, also claim to have seen Murat in the hours after the four-year-old vanished.
And in the last few weeks, angry members of the Tapas Nine have condemned Portuguese cops for letting Murat "infiltrate" the hunt for Maddie.
He sat in on police interviews with vital witnesses including the Tapas 7, and recruitment consultant Rachael Oldfield, 36, is said to be outraged cops used Murat as interpreter for her interview.
The interview gave Murat access to details of the crime and an early warning of what was said.
Title: Re: Robert Murat
Post by: Wonderfulspam on February 02, 2014, 09:25:21 PM
1st January 2008

Daily Mail

Kate McCann: My suspicions over Murat's alibi on the night Madeleine vanished


Kate McCann is suspicious about Robert Murat's alibi for the night her daughter Madeleine vanished, it was revealed yesterday.

The mother of three has confided to friends she believes there are questions about the British expat that need to be answered.

Mrs McCann's doubts emerged after the Daily Mail reported that seven witnesses claim to have seen Mr Murat near the McCanns' holiday apartment on the night of May 3.

He has always insisted he was at home all night at the villa he shares with his elderly mother in Praia da Luz, near the Mark Warner holiday complex.

A friend of Kate and her husband Gerry said: "Kate has always felt there are questions concerning Murat and a body of evidence contrary to what he is saying.

"Gerry doesn't know whether he is involved but Kate has always been suspicious."

Mrs McCann, 39, has avoided publicly voicing suspicions about Mr Murat.

She and Gerry, also 39, even called for calm after he was made an official suspect on May 14 and appealed for him to be treated fairly.

Mr Murat, a property consultant, insists he did not learn about Madeleine's disappearance until the next morning and was not aware of the massive search going on less than 100 yards from his villa, Casa Liliana.

But a source close to Mrs McCann said: "We now have a number of people who have come forward quite independently of us and volunteered information directly in contradiction to what he has said."

Three friends of the McCanns, Rachael Oldfield, Fiona Payne and Russell O'Brien, told police in July that they saw Mr Murat near the Ocean Club holiday complex while they were searching for Madeleine.

They are said to have given statements to Portuguese police saying he introduced himself to them and said: "I am Robert. Can I help in the search?"

Charlotte Pennington, 20, a nanny at the Mark Warner complex, has said she saw Mr Murat on May 4, when he was working as a police translator, and recognised him as a man she had seen near the Ocean Club at midnight.

The Mail told yesterday how holidaymaker Jayne Jensen, 54, also recognised the 34-year-old as a man she saw smoking a cigarette on the street corner opposite the McCanns' apartment

An unnamed British barrister who was on holiday in Praia da Luz at the time is understood to have corroborated what Mrs Jensen said, but not made a formal statement.

Two other tourists also called the hotline operated by the McCanns' private detective agency, Metodo 3, to report similar sightings.

Mr Murat, who has a young daughter from a failed marriage, vehemently denies any involvement in Madeleine's disappearance. His mother Jennifer, 71, has accused Metodo 3 of bribing witnesses to change their evidence.

But a source close to the McCanns said: "He is her son and most mothers would protect their children. Either she knows something or she is mistaken."

Police searched Mr Murat's home and vehicles after he was made a suspect and are understood to have found no forensic evidence linking him to Madeleine.

He is still an official suspect along with the McCanns, who could face fresh police interviews this month.
Title: Re: Robert Murat
Post by: Wonderfulspam on February 02, 2014, 09:28:36 PM
8th January 2008

Daily Mail

Madeleine witnesses 'may have mistaken this friend of the McCanns for Murat' on night she disappeared  


Doubt was cast on the evidence of several key witnesses in the Madeleine McCann disappearance last night.
Those who said they saw suspect Robert Murat outside the family's holiday apartment on the night she vanished may have named the wrong man, it was revealed.
Detectives believe the witnesses who said they saw the British expat could have confused him with a friend of Kate and Gerry McCann, David Payne, who was out searching for the missing three-year-old.
If true, the claim could force police into a rethink of their eight-month investigation.
Mr Murat, 34, has insisted he spent the night of May 3 at home in the villa he shares with his mother Jennifer, 72, less than 100 yards from the McCanns' holiday apartment in Praia da Luz, Portugal. His mother said he never left the house.
But a series of witnesses have given statements claiming to have seen him around the Ocean Club apartment complex in the hours after Mrs McCann, 39, raised the alarm.
They include three friends of the McCanns - Russell O'Brien, Fiona Payne and Rachael Oldfield - who later confronted Mr Murat at a police station after he was made a suspect and said he offered to help them search that night.
Mark Warner nanny Charlotte Pennington said she saw him hanging around outside the Ocean Club's reception at about 10pm.
British holidaymaker Jayne Jensen, an unnamed British barrister and two unidentified British tourists all claim to have seen him around the complex that night.
But none of them knew the 34-year-old property consultant before that night.
Police are examining the theory that they could have confused him with Mr Payne.
The medical researcher, who is 41, was searching around the complex that night and - in a street lit by orange streetlights - could easily have been mistaken for Mr Murat.
Mr Murat's lawyer Francisco Pagarete told the Daily Mail: "Robert has always said the witnesses were mistaken. He was not there that night."
A source close to the inquiry said: "The similarity between the two has rendered many witness accounts virtually worthless."
But he added: "What is baffling is that Mr Payne's wife and two of his friends are among those who claim to have seen Mr Murat outside the McCanns' apartment that night. You'd think a wife would recognise her own husband."
The Paynes were unavailable for comment. They are due to be reinterviewed by British police on behalf of their Portuguese counterparts within weeks.
Title: Re: Robert Murat
Post by: Wonderfulspam on February 02, 2014, 09:36:01 PM
23rd March 2008

The People


By Joshua Layton
23 March 2008
Madeleine McCann suspect Robert Murat was last night sensationally CLEARED of snatching the four-year-old.

The ex-pat Brit has suffered ten months of torment after being named an arguido by Portuguese police.

But friends claim detectives failed to find a shred of evidence against the property developer.

And cops have now been forced to return clothes and computers they seized from the Algarve home he shares with mum Jenny, 72.

Last night relatives called on investigators to formally lift his arguido status.

And they they demanded a public apology for his "unfair" treatment at the hands of police.

The decision to rule out Murat, 34, means detectives now have no solid suspects, no leads and no clues - effectively signalling the end of the hunt for Maddie.

And it puts them under massive pressure to announce Maddie's 39-year-old parents Kate and Gerry are also officially out of the frame.

Murat has been left a broken man by his ordeal.

He has been bombarded with hate-mail from around the world - including threats to kidnap his five-year-old daughter Sofia.

And he has even had to endure leaked police reports claiming - wrongly - child-porn was found on his computers.

A source said: "This is basically the end of the investigation - there's no avenue left to turn down.

"But what Murat's been left with is a life sentence looking over his shoulder."

And his ex-wife Dawn, who is bringing up Sofia in Norfolk, told how nutters have vowed to target the little girl who bears a striking resemblance to Madeleine.

One chilling message to Murat warned: "You killed Maddie - now we'll get your daughter."

Dawn, 42, said: "There are a lot of weird people out there and if something happens to one innocent child they think 'An eye for an eye'.

"They want to hurt another innocent child - my daughter.

"I'm constantly on the lookout for anything suspicious or anyone paying her attention."

She added: "We are living in constant fear.

"It's every parent's nightmare to have their child in the predicament my daughter is in.

"But you have to be prepared for the worst in case it happens."

Dawn was speaking days after a car belonging to one of Murat's associates in Portugal was torched - and the word "speak" was spraypainted on the road next to it.

She is even thinking of changing Sofia's surname to protect her from the slurs against her dad.

Dawn said: "At the moment she is safe because we have the support of the village where we live.

"But aside from the physical danger, what her father's been wrongly accused of will go with her everywhere. It will be there at high school - and her first job interview."

Dawn revealed she had been desperate to be at Murat's side when he was first named an arguido 12 days after Maddie disappeared in Praia da Luz on May 3 last year.

At the time, a worried relative told her Murat was on the brink of suicide.

But Dawn's ex - whose home is just 100 yards from the holiday flat where Madeleine was last seen - refused to let her fly out to Portugal with Sofia.

Dawn said: "He insisted he didn't want Sofia exposed to threats and put at unnecessary risk, so it was agreed we would remain in the UK to ensure her safety.

"I told him I'm behind him 100 per cent.

"And he promised me he would not give in and would always be there for Sofia."

Dawn revealed Murat - who is legally banned from speaking about his anguish because he is still an arguido - had been left a chainsmoking, broken recluse by his ten-month ordeal.

She said: "I've known Rob for 13 years and he wouldn't hurt a fly.

"He was a popular, outgoing person before all this. But it has shattered him."

Dawn told how the "worst moment" came when a newspaper compared him to Soham murderer Ian Huntley. School caretaker Huntley, 33, openly joined the hunt for missing ten-year-olds Jessica Chapman and Holly Wells in 2002.

He even wept as he told TV crews how he had seen them alive just before they vanished.

But he was arrested days later after the best friends' bodies were found and is now jailed for life for the killings.

Murat was linked to the fiend because he also publicly helped police by acting as an interpreter after Maddie disappeared.

But Dawn said: "Does that make him a killer? Of course it doesn't. "Rob's trouble is that he always wants to help.

"As a family we have joked about how his over-zealousness would rebound on him. On this occasion it did - spectacularly."

Despite splitting with her hubby three years ago, Dawn has vowed to stand by Murat.

She also wants an apology like the ones given the McCanns last week by four British newspapers.

Dawn said: "It's totally unfair. If there was a shred of evidence I could understand - but there's nothing, absolutely nothing."

She added: "The McCanns deserved their apology and Rob does too.

"In fact, it's the least he deserves because life will never be the same for him again."

Under Portuguese law, Murat should have lost his arguido status after eight months if there was no evidence against him. But cops won an extension - which has never been officially announced.

Title: Re: Robert Murat
Post by: Wonderfulspam on February 02, 2014, 09:37:44 PM
1st May 2008

The Guardian

Mild-mannered father who became first one accused

Robert Murat's life irreversibly changed the day he was named a suspect in Madeleine McCann's disappearance
Press Association
Thursday May 1 2008
Robert Murat has struggled to work, seen details of his personal life aired in public and endured speculation that he could have been involved in a crime that has shocked the world - something he strenuously denies.

Portuguese detectives took the 34-year-old property consultant in for questioning just 11 days after Madeleine went missing.

As officers searched the villa just 150 yards from the McCanns' holiday apartment he shared with his mother, Jenny, journalists uncovered details about the man under interview.

Murat was born in Hammersmith, west London, in November 1973 to a Portuguese father and a British mother, and went to school in Portugal before moving back to Britain as a young man.

He held a number of different jobs, including working as a car salesman in Norwich and at a Bernard Matthews poultry farm in Norfolk.

At Christmas 1993, aged 19, Murat met Dawn, a woman eight years his senior whom he went on to marry in March 2001.

After settling in the village of Hockering, Norfolk, the couple had a daughter called Sofia in October 2002.
In 2005, they moved to live with Murat's mother in Praia da Luz, in southern Portugal.

But Dawn Murat - who also had a grown-up son from a previous relationship - grew homesick and returned home to England. That was a prelude to the breakdown of their marriage later that year.

Murat stayed in the Algarve, working in property and as a translator, but regularly returned to Norfolk to see his daughter.

Neighbours in Hockering spoke of a good-natured and generous man who was liked by everyone.

Geoffrey Livock, 71, said: "He would rather help than hinder anyone. He got on with everybody.

"He used to come to the pub and have a laugh and joke and have a game of darts or pool.

"His English was very good. If you were talking to him you would think he was more English than Portuguese. I didn't know anyone to dislike him."

In the days after Madeleine's disappearance on May 3 2007, Murat was frequently seen around the police cordon in front of the McCanns' flat in the Ocean Club complex.

He told reporters and locals he was helping the family and Portuguese police by translating witness statements.

Murat also said he had a daughter the same age as the missing girl who looked just like her - which proved to be true.

Jenny Murat was involved in the early days of the search for Madeleine, organising a stall on the seafront to appeal for information.

One British journalist became suspicious about Murat and went to Portuguese police, the British embassy and Leicestershire police with her concerns.

Whether prompted by the British reporter's tip-off or their own suspicions, Portuguese detectives swooped on Murat on May 14.

Search teams scoured his mother's comfortable villa, named Casa Liliana, while officers interrogated him at the police station in Portimao, about 15 miles from Praia da Luz.

At the same time, police interviewed two other people, Murat's German girlfriend Michaela Walczuch, and her estranged Portuguese husband, Luis Antonio.

On May 15, detectives announced that Murat had been made an "arguido", or formal suspect, in the case.
Friends said the weeks and months that followed were agonising for Murat.

He adamantly protested his innocence, insisting he was at home with his mother all evening when Madeleine disappeared.

But he was barred from speaking publicly in his own defence by Portugal's strict "secrecy of justice" laws.
In August, police spent two days carrying out a second search of Casa Liliana but apparently found nothing of interest.

Then, in a dramatic twist, the police investigation appeared to shift focus onto Madeleine's parents, Kate and Gerry McCann, who were themselves made arguidos on September 7.

Murat tried to get on with his life, visiting the UK to see his daughter in October and again in March. But he was frustrated by the lack of information coming from investigators and the cloud of suspicion that continued to hang over him and those around him.

Murat said it was a "a very positive sign" when on March 20 police returned a number of possessions - including three computers, clothes and a pair of shoes - seized when he was first interviewed.

In mid-April it emerged that Murat had instructed London-based solicitors Simons Muirhead and Burton, and was suing 11 British newspapers and one TV station for libel.

But he continues to wait for an official letter from the Portuguese judicial authorities formally clearing him of any involvement.

Title: Re: Robert Murat
Post by: Wonderfulspam on February 02, 2014, 09:41:36 PM

6th March 2009

The Guardian

Madeleine McCann claims nearly destroyed my life, says Robert Murat

By Michael White
Robert Murat, the man falsely suspected by the world's media and Portuguese police of involvement in the disappearance of Madeleine McCann, spoke last night of the "very real harm tabloid journalism has done to me and those close to me", adding: "It came close to destroying our lives."
In what he said would be his "first and only public statement" on his ordeal, 35-year-old Murat gave a measured account of his treatment, which won him an estimated £600,000 in libel settlements, mostly involving tabloid newspapers.
He told a student audience at Cambridge University that he had "felt like a fox being pursued by a pack of hounds ... [caught] between a Kafka novel and the Will Smith movie Enemy of the State".
It was all lies, covering acres of newsprint which could have been devoted to trying to find the daughter of British doctors Kate and Gerry McCann, he said. But those lies had generated hate mail and personal threats. Murat's mother, his partner, daughter and ex-wife had been besieged in their homes.
The Algarve-based property consultant explained that he had become involved in the McCann case after he offered to translate witness statements during the police search for Madeleine following her disappearance from a hotel in Praia da Luz in May 2007. She has never been found and her parents – also suspects at one stage – received libel damages too.
In Murat's case, a British journalist covering the disappearance had been "so anxious to break the story" that she created it. "She tried to convince the Portuguese police that I was acting suspiciously."
He had never been arrested but had been interviewed and made an "arguido", or official suspect. His arguido status unleashed a "torrent of outlandish, untrue and deeply hurtful allegations".
It was claimed he was a sexual predator, seen outside the McCanns' holiday flat, that incriminating DNA had been found, that his nearby home contained a secret chamber – all "fairy tales" concocted to generate sales and profit, as the police later concluded.
Blind in one eye because of a detached retina, he had read that he actually had a glass eye. Soon newspapers were quoting contemporaries from his school days "saying I popped out my eye and rolled it around the playground as a party trick … I do not have a glass eye".
Murat, who was accompanied by Louis Charalambous, his London lawyer in the case, was speaking at a Cambridge Union debate on the motion titled "this House believes the tabloids do more harm than good".
Speaking against the pair were Murray Morse, a former editor of the Cambridge Evening News, now editor-in-chief of the Daily and Sunday Sport, and the television entrepreneur, Peter Bazalgette, co-creator of Big Brother and a former president of the university's debating society.
Both speakers were generous in acknowledging the grave harm done to Murat. The Daily Sport had not joined the attacks on him, Mr Morse pointed out. But they insisted that in their campaigning roles the tabloids do more good than harm among their millions of readers, cheering them up, articulating their concerns as well as educating them. The motion reflected snobbery in British society, Mr Morse argued.
But Murat's speech, delivered from a carefully prepared text by a self-confessed novice, was the focus of the evening's event. "From my own personal cost, I now know what the maxim 'never let the truth stand in the way of a good story' really means," he told a crowded house.
Relatives had been offered "huge amounts of money" to confirm obscene theories about him. While he stressed that he understood the importance of free and open journalism in a democratic society, "the tabloids are not a force for good, in my experience they are a force for harm".
Charalambous, an experienced lawyer from law firm Simons, Muirhead & Burton, widened the attack on the tabloids by arguing that the drama surrounding Jade Goody's cancer was "a voyeuristic circus with ringmaster Max Clifford cracking his whip … we have lost all sense of perspective, all sense of decency".
Morse had argued that Goody's decision to publicise her cervical cancer had been the "morally right" thing to do. He said that in promoting public awareness of the disease as no NHS campaign could have done it had been a force for good. Accusing the broadsheet media of hypocrisy he joked: "At a time of crisis the Sport can be relied on to panic and give you plenty of naked ladies."
But Charalambous countered this defence in describing how Goody had been fiercely denounced before her recent rehabilitation by tabloids that had cynically wiped clean their collective memory. His claims were reinforced by Liberal Democrat MP Lembit Opik.
A Daily Sport columnist, Opik admitted having a relationship with the tabloids "because they have a relationship with my relationships". Much of it was funny, but not the libels – which had won him "loads of cases", most of them out of court, the MP said. When his ex-fiancée revealed she had suffered a miscarriage he learned about it from the newspaper headline: "I lost Lembit's baby."
"From that day I have never been in any doubt that the tabloids do more harm than good," the MP said, adding that in the search for profits the press had lost its moral compass.
The motion was later carried by about 230 votes to 30.
Express Newspapers titles the Daily Express, Sunday Express and Daily Star; Associated's Daily Mail, London Evening Standard and Metro; MGN's Daily Mirror, Sunday Mirror and Daily Record; and News International's Sun and News of the World apologised and agreed to pay Murat £600,000 in libel damages in July last year over making false allegations against him. In November, Sky News apologised in the high court and agreed to pay "substantial damages" over a libellous web story and video about the Madeleine McCann disappearance.
Michael White also took part in last night's debate, speaking in support of the motion.
Title: Re: Robert Murat
Post by: Wonderfulspam on February 02, 2014, 09:51:11 PM
5th March 2010


by Idálio Revez

Thanks to Astro for translation

Robert Murat continues to receive death threats and has lost the sense of life

His life has been "shattered". He wanted to help, he alleges, but ended up as an arguido. Now he tries to find a direction. But that night in 2007 continues to persecute him.

Robert Murat, three years after Maddie's disappearance, in Praia da Luz, still has his life "shattered" because he was "at the wrong place, at the wrong time".

The first suspect of being involved in the child's disappearance was this English man, aged 36, for whom being made arguido earned him a condemnation from public opinion that he never freed himself from. In an interview to Público, the first one that he gives to a member of the media since the English child's disappearance, leaves a question in the air that robs him of his sleep until this day: "Three of the McCanns' friends were at the PJ, saying that they had seen me there, that night [May 3, 2007]. What I ask is why did they lie?".

"I have a daughter, too", says Robert Murat, remembering Sofia, aged seven, who lives in England with her mother. "My family was a victim, too – the journalists invaded the area where they live, and the British police had to take my daughter to a safe place." His ex-wife, he says, "even received an offer of 220 thousand euros to give an interview saying that I was a paedophile". She did not give in. Robert Murat, in defence of his honour and his reputation, had 13 members of the British media sued. He received a significant compensation, but he does not reveal the amount.

Despite the pressures and the money offers for him to speak – he was offered over 300 thousand euros to allow himself being filmed and to speak about the Maddie case -, he shut up. Now, after the book 'The Truth of The Lie', by Gonçalo Amaral, the coordinator of this case investigation, saw its sale being forbidden under orders from the Lisbon Civil Court, and after the British newspapers returned to the issue by publishing images that the Portuguese police allegedly neglected, he decided to speak to Público.

Since he saw himself involved in this process, Robert Murat has been searching for a direction to give to his life. "I have been through horrible situations. Just recently, I have received a letter with a death threat, written in English, sent from France." When this case broke out, he was about to start a real estate business on the internet, "but everything was deactivated".

Meanwhile, he married an Anglo-Portuguese woman, went to the USA, on a honeymoon, late last year, but did not go unnoticed: "Here, I feel the discomfort of seeing people pointing at me, but over there I was recognised, as well."

Which is not strange. The appeals to find Madeleine McCann continue and the parents are still convinced that their daughter is alive. Therefore, they have criticised the investigation that was carried out by the Portuguese authorities, because they dropped the abduction theory. From Morocco to the United States, passing through Spain and Holland, hundreds of pieces of information passed on to the PJ, reporting children that allegedly resembled Maddie. News about several appearances of Maddie went around the world and a reward of 2.5 million euros was offered to anyone who could supply information.

From witness to arguido

Robert Murat accuses the media of having "fabricated" news, pursuing audiences. "They didn't care about the truth." "I have people I know at the BBC who told me: "Shut up, because they are going to turn this all around"". His lawyer, Francisco Pagarete, gave him the same advice. "That is the main reason why I haven't talked until now, but it was very hard."

His life and that of his relatives – a brother and a sister, who live in England - "has been rummaged and filled with lies". In the summer three years ago, Praia da Luz became a battlefield between the world's main television networks, fighting for ratings. "There was great pressure from the English media, forcing the Portuguese police to present a face," says Robert Murat, lamenting his luck: "I wanted to help, I ended up being pointed out as a suspect".

This Englishman, who went to school in Portugal, says: "I have always enjoyed helping people, it's who I am". In England, where he lived for 15 years and worked as a car salesman, he also cooperated with the British authorities. "I worked as a translator, for the police and at the court."

When the child disappeared in Praia da Luz, on the 3rd of May, 2007, he had returned to Portugal two days earlier, to launch the Romigen business. He took part in the searches and, together with his mother, was one of the persons who mobilised the local community to find the little girl.

11 days later, he entered the Polícia Judiciária building in Portimão as a witness, and left as an arguido. Concerning the questioning session that he was subject to, he recalls: "It reminded me of a KGB movie, I felt they were trying to set me up". Nevertheless, he recognises that the PJ "suffered a lot of pressure to find a guilty person". He, an English citizen who first played the role of a translator for the GNR, then for the PJ itself, "at their request", was the one who best fit the news that were being published: "I was the scapegoat," he emphasizes. The English media, he evokes, "were already saying that there would be developments before I was made an arguido". A British journalist said that Robert Murat had a "strange" behaviour and denounced him to the Judiciária.

He and his mother, a nurse, aged 73, were two of the persons who were at the front line of the solidarity campaign that developed around the McCann couple. At the GNR's side, or independently, many people took part in the successive searches, in the surroundings of Lagos, looking for Maddie. But that effort was not recognised, he accuses. "There is one thing which, in a way, displeases me – to those people who were involved in the searches, nobody said thank you". Who does he think should have said thank you? "That has nothing to do with me, but I think someone should have said thank you."
Title: Re: Robert Murat
Post by: Wonderfulspam on February 02, 2014, 10:03:39 PM
2nd December 2012

Sunday Express

Jenny Murat: Kate McCann printed such awful things about my Robert in her Madeleine book

A MOTHER whose son was wrongly linked to the disappearance of Madeleine McCann has hit out at the way he is portrayed in a best-selling book about the mystery.

Briton Robert Murat was cleared of any involvement in the case four years ago but Kate McCann’s book Madelaine, about her missing daughter, has brought back painful memories for Jenny Murat, 76.
Having seen the McCanns’ suffering at the hands of the British press highlighted in last week’s Leveson report, she is anxious to stress her son’s total innocence.
She and Robert had hoped their nightmare would end in 2008 when he won £600,000 damages from British newspapers, but last night at her home on the Algarve, Mrs Murat spoke of how still the “tragedy consumes us, day in, day out”.

The widow and former nurse said: “Kate of all people should know what it is like to be wrongly accused, so how can she be comfortable repeating wrong allegations about my son in her book?”
In the book published last summer, Kate wrote: “Two officers talked openly about Robert Murat, who remained an arguido [suspect] and drip-fed us snippets of ‘evidence’ linking him to Madeleine.”

However, later in the book she writes: “Nothing we were told by the police indicated Murat took Madeleine or was in any way involved in her abduction.” Mrs Murat argues: “Surely it would have been wiser not to mention the allegations from the outset if there was ‘nothing relevant’.”
The police spotlight fell on Robert 11 days after Madeleine vanished from the McCanns’ holiday apartment in Praia de Luz, Portugal in May 2007.
Mrs Murat said: “Robert was at my home throughout that night and thankfully that is now fully accepted as fact. He did not leave once.”
She feels Robert, too, should have been called to give evidence to the Leveson inquiry.
She explained: “Again we were denied an opportunity to put our side of the story. Robert was the subject of a most disgraceful character assassination, yet was not even invited to contribute to the debate. His life has been hugely damaged. This tragedy consumes us, day in, day out.
She added: “Kate’s book and the resulting publicity did not help. I do feel sympathetic towards the McCanns and obviously wish they could find their daughter. We can’t fathom the hell they must go through but they seem oblivious to the impact all this has had on our lives and the lives of others.
“We tried our best to help, but have ended being pilloried and abused and still it goes on.”
Mrs Murat, now working on her own book about the case, added: “I am sick of all the half-truths and innuendos, so I do want a full and accurate record of the truth. It is important that our story is told.”
Title: Re: Robert Murat
Post by: Wonderfulspam on February 02, 2014, 10:10:11 PM
5th May 2013

Sunday Express

Madeleine world exclusive: 'Bring them all back to Portugal’

ROBERT MURAT today appeals for Scotland Yard to stage a filmed reconstruction of all the events surrounding the disappearance of Madeleine McCann.

Marking the sixth anniversary of her abduction, the Algarve-based businessman says a 48-hour timeline would help police conducting a £4.5million review of the case.

Mr Murat, who was cleared as a suspect, said: “They need to start from the beginning.” So far the two-year review by more than 20 detectives in London has not led to a breakthrough.

Portugal’s authorities have not been persuaded to reopen the investigation, although Policia Judiciaria policewoman Helena Monteiro liaises regularly with officers from the Yard’s Operation Grange.

Mr Murat, 39, spoke to the Sunday Express while sipping tea in Casa ­Liliana, his elderly mother Jenny’s villa 150 yards from apartment 5a of the Ocean Club where Madeleine vanished.

He said: “They need to speak to everybody, including myself, and they need to get the Portuguese involved in a much more constructive way.

“To get somewhere now they need to have a joint team working here together in Praia da Luz. This is where it happened. It didn’t happen in England.

“The reconstruction should cover the critical period just before and after the abduction.”

Madeleine was three when she disappeared from the apartment at about 9.15pm while her parents Kate and Gerry McCann and seven friends ate at a tapas bar nearby. When the Judiciaria named the McCanns as suspects, they and their friends chose not to take part in a PJ-led reconstruction. It would be different now that they have been cleared, said Mr Murat.

He said: “A reconstruction is a real necessity. I am sure it would fill in some of the missing pieces of the jigsaw. Even now after all this time, the timeline is still confused.”

Thirteen days after Madeleine’s disappearance Mr Murat was named as a suspect. His mother’s home, where he lived then, was searched, his computers were taken, he was questioned for 19 hours by Portuguese police and his property business was wrecked.

His eagerness to help with the original investigation, helping police with translations, aroused a journalist’s suspicions. Three of the McCanns’ friends believed they saw him on the night Madeleine vanished but his mother confirmed to police he was with her all night at Casa Liliana.

After being cleared as a suspect in July 2008 he won substantial damages from newspapers.

Despite his ordeal he believes Madeleine’s fate should be uppermost in everybody’s minds as another anniversary passes.

He said: “You cannot lose sight of the fact that a child was taken and we need to know what happened to her.”

He is still willing to be interviewed by the review team, which has made no effort to contact him. “I have no problem with that whatsoever,” he said emphatically.

“I am available to help on the proper legal basis. I think everybody who was around at that time, holidaymakers and people at the Ocean Club, should be interviewed again. The timeline needs to be made crystal clear because there is still so much confusion, such a mess.”

Asked if he thought Madeleine’s fate would ever be known, he brushed back his thick dark brown hair, rubbed his tanned chin and said: “I hope so, I believe it will come out one day.” He said Portugal’s financial crisis means “if the British do want to get to the bottom of this, it is a case of funding the Portuguese”.

Mr Murat, who grew up in Devon and Portugal, now has a young family with wife Michaela. They were both victims of the relentless media frenzy when Madeleine vanished and it has left its scars. For the first time during the interview he became emotional and said in a whisper: “There is no way to describe the impact this has had on our lives. Six years later it still affects me. I wasn’t able to do much for years and years.

“It was difficult getting back on the horse, so to speak, and do the stuff I was doing before.”

His property business went, partly because his computers were held by the PJ for so long, but now he has built up Newteq, an Apple-authorised service provider on the Algarve. He said he and Michaela live a quiet life, staying away from some events because people still come up to him and say: “You’re that Mr Murat.”

Before 2007 he says he was one of those people who was always eager to help others, to get involved in the community. Now he is more guarded.

When the original police investigation was at its height, he bumped into a British man, Steve Carpenter, who persuaded him to meet the McCanns because they needed his language skills. He said: “I met Gerry and said: ‘I don’t know what to say, there is nothing I can say but I do speak Portuguese and English and I will help in any way I can’.”

He helped Portugal’s GNR military officers to search the Ocean Club apartments and translated statements from key witnesses, giving him a unique inside perspective on the case.

He said: “From the experiences of the interviews there are some points that could be looked at.

“There needs to be much more transparency, much more openness to dissipate a lot of the stuff that has been talked about on the internet and on blogs.”

He does not believe the results of the Yard’s work should be made available to the public.

“The Yard needs to get together with the Portuguese police and ­produce a final report,” he said. “They need to sit down together and come up with a final version, a structured report.

“The report should be done by the Portuguese with the support of the British.”

Last week Prime Minister David Cameron had a private meeting with the McCanns in London, promising them the review would not fall foul of budget cuts and giving them enough confidence to say on their website that they hope for a significant breakthrough in the months ahead.

On Friday night Kate and Gerry, both 45, gathered around a candle which burns night and day for Madeleine outside their home village of Rothley, Leicestershire. A 50-strong crowd supported them as they marked the anniversary with prayers with Madeleine’s ­siblings, eight-year-old twins Sean and Amelie.

Mr Murat said: “It must be a ­tremendously difficult time of year for them and of course as a human being you feel for them and for the loss of their daughter.

“At this time of year, like so many people on the Algarve, we have been thinking about this poor girl.

“I just hope in the months ahead the PJ are fully involved because in my view that is the best way of solving the mystery.”

At St Vincent’s church in Praia da Luz, where Kate and Gerry went regularly, worshippers also prayed for Madeleine, whose 10th birthday is on May 12.

Clarence Mitchell, the McCanns’ spokesman, declined to comment on Mr Murat’s views last night, saying the couple were happy with how Scotland Yard is conducting the review.