Monday, February 15, 2021

Beyond a Reasonable Waterslide. Beyond the Pale

 Chapter 39 from PeterMac's FREE e-book:

Regular readers will already understand, but anyone unfamiliar with discussion of anything to do with the McCanns and the ‘Complete Mystery’ of Madeleine’s disappearance 
[© C. Mitchell] should scatter the word “allegedly” freely throughout this essay.

* * * *
The story published in “First” magazine on 19th May 2007, giving details of an interview by Danielle Gusmaroli with one Mrs Vicky Boyd about her long meeting with Kate McCann, and including precise details of a waterslide, the colour of a skirt, the length of time they sat by the pool in the sun, the exact time of day, the whereabouts of Gerry, and sundry other issues, continues to bother me, as it does several other researchers. 
It is not so much that the entire story is nonsense. We have established that in a previous Chapter 
It is something potentially far more sinister, far more worrying. 
Kate McCann’s version of the truth, which at no point overlaps with this story in any way, is based on what she describes as “my detailed chronology of events..” Her words, not mine. 
We know that KM’s version of the truth is anything but the truth, and have established that the Pool Photo, the so-called Last Photo, can only have been taken at lunchtime on Sunday 29th May, making the nomination of the image as the Last Photo perhaps inadvertently and embarrassingly, absolutely accurate. 

Whatever KM was doing during the afternoon of Thursday 3/5/7 it was clearly not sitting on a sun-lounger in the sun talking for an hour or more to Mrs Boyd and watching Madeleine in a blue skirt whizzing down a waterside 

So far, so boring, and so irrelevant. 
But is it ? 

To re-cap I refer readers to Chapter 20, Spot the Waterslide for some further details . . . 
This article appeared in an edition of an unknown and short lived magazine, of the type found in hairdressing salons [or so I am told !] to while away the time wasted under hair driers. 
It seems to have been an early edition after a re-launch, since it is offered at an introductory price. 

Strangely it has a Sterling price and a price in Euros, but specifically states this is for Spain and the Canary Islands. Not for the EU as a whole. And specifically not for Portugal. 
The timing of the magazine’s issue is noteworthy. The publication date is given as 19 May. 
We remember that the Pool Photo was released on 24th May, having obviously been sent to the Press Agency on 23rd, following the return to PdL by GM with Clarence Mitchell, and the arrival of his sister Philomena on 22nd. 

It has been confirmed that the Pool photo never appeared in the PJ’s files. It was never handed to them by GM nor Mitchell, and that fact confirmed the exposure of the blatant and obvious lie in GM’s statement of 10/5/7 that “he has no other photos in his possession”
The PJ became aware of it but dismissed it as a ‘montage’ attempting to show GM as a loving father, and paid it little more attention. It is not thought they had access to the full 24mB and 7mPixel image, which included the entire EXIF metadata and was subsequently released onto the internet by a researcher. It was this which enabled much of the subsequent forensic analysis and logical deductions to be made. 

Look, if you can bear to, at the front cover of the issue in question. 
In a star shape logo top left are the words. “Special Trial Price 99p”. This only applies to the UK, as the price for Spain and the Canary Islands is given as €1.75 
The exchange rate for Friday 18 May 2007 was €1.463 to £1 Stg. making the price in Euros equivalent to £1.20. Spain was not offered the Special Trial Price, if indeed it was ever offered in Spain at all. 

The story and the web of intrigue around it becomes tangled and it may be helpful to break it down into individual issues and concerns 
The Story itself 
The Publication of the story 
Possible deductions and conclusions 
Theories arising 

The latter two will of course be entirely speculative and personal opinion. 
Only the two people responsible for this can provide the full facts 

The Story. 
Let us examine the time and date of this alleged meeting 
“The three-year-old was having great fun tearing around with the pal he had met that afternoon” 
So this was NOT Lunchtime 

But the next day Madeleine who turned four last Saturday, was abducted.” 
This is capable of implying that the events in the article took place on Wednesday 2/5/7, but it more probably suggests that it was ‘the next day’ when the Boyd’s became aware of the abduction. That would be 4/5/7, and put the date of the events at 3/5/7 

“When posters went up . . ‘Mummy, isn’t that the little girl I played with yesterday“ 
Confirms the date as 3/5/7 

“She and Louie were kicking a football around in the play area for about an hour” 
Implies this was not straight after lunch. 

Maddie’s dad Gerry, 38, was playing tennis on a nearby court, and after the match . . .” 
Confirms this was afternoon, not lunchtime 

So we have established that we are dealing with the afternoon of 
Thursday 3rd May 2007 

And then the crucial details. They are given as a direct quote. 
“Vicky …was sitting by the pool as Maddie’s mum Kate, 38 relaxed on a sun-lounger and watched her daughter whizzing down the waterslide. 
“Maddie was wearing a sunhat, a little pink top and blue skirt… Vicky recalled” 

In the previous chapter we observed that 
• there is no waterslide 
• small children even if very good and strong swimmers would not use a waterslide unsupervised 
• A child using a waterslide would be wearing a swimming costume rather than a blue skirt. 

Even allowing for the ‘passage of time’ between the alleged event and the interview (no more than 72 hours, for which see later) this is clearly an extraordinary catalogue of improbable or impossible details. 

Now we come to an uncomfortable fact. Another uncomfortable fact. 

We have a first hand report of events that day, Kate McCanns autobiography, or Exhibit A as it is increasingly being referred to. (pages 65/6 if anyone can be bothered to check) 

As usual there is far too much detail. I paste a long quote to prevent any possible misunderstanding. 

“Madeleine that lunchtime is one of them. She was wearing an outfit I’d bought especially for her holiday: a peach-coloured smock top from Gap and some white broderie-anglaise shorts from Monsoon – a small extravagance, perhaps, but I’d pictured how lovely she would look in them and I’d been right. She was striding ahead of Fiona and me, swinging her bare arms to and fro. The weather was a little on the cool side and I remember thinking I should have brought a cardigan for her, although she seemed oblivious of the temperature, just happy and carefree. I was following her with my eyes, admiring her. I wonder now, the nausea rising in my throat, if someone else was doing the same. 
        At the Toddler Club near the Tapas restaurant Fiona collected Lily and headed back to her flat. Madeleine and I met up with Sean, Amelie and Gerry and returned to ours for lunch. As the children were getting quite restless in the apartment we decided to get them out in the fresh air before the afternoon’s activities. We went to the [p.66] play area, which was such a hit with our three that they never seemed to get fed up with it. We then sat round the toddler pool for a while, dipping our feet in, and I took what has turned out to be my last photograph to date of Madeleine. Heartbreaking as it is for me to look at it now, it encapsulates the essence of Madeleine: so beautiful and so happy. 
        Together we took Sean and Amelie back to the Toddler Club at around 2.40pm and dropped Madeleine off with the Minis ten minutes later. Ella was already there. Gerry and I had booked an hour-long couples’ tennis lesson with the professional coach at three-thirty, and as the courts were unoccupied, we decided to have a knock-up for half an hour first. Near the end of our lesson, as I strove desperately to improve my substandard backhand, another guest appeared, and he and Gerry decided to have a game together. 
        Having arranged for Gerry to meet the children, I opted to go for a run along the beach, where I spotted the rest of our holiday group….I had finished my run by five-thirty at the Tapas area, where I found Madeleine and the twins already having their tea with Gerry. ” 

It is very clear. 
Lunch in the apartment, followed by a family visit to the play area and the toddler pool on a cold day – so no actual swimming – the creation of the forged photo, white shorts . . . 
(No sun-lounger, no waterslide, no football, no blue skirt ) 
Then children back to the crêches followed by a half-hour knock-up, and then a JOINT hour-long tennis lesson. Then after 90 minutes of tennis, a run along the beach and a return to high-tea. 

In plain English KM categorically refutes everything Gusmaroli and Boyd have cobbled together. And has done so in a book which has sold millions of copies in two editions, and is relied upon by the McCanns and their supporters as ‘Holy Writ’ – absolute and inviolable truth. 

But now we must look at the undoubted fact that KMs version is also a tissue of lies, deceit and prevarication. The fuller facts, analysis and references are to be found in the several chapters dealing with the Pool photo. 
Briefly, the weather on 3/5/7 was cold and windy, with only half an hour of sunshine recorded through the whole day; the Pool photo was undoubtedly taken during the lunch break on Sunday 29/4/7 and the date subsequently altered by a skilled and knowledgeable relative. 
This leaves us in the strange position of having two totally contradictory stories allegedly supporting the official story, and yet being able to demonstrate beyond a reasonable doubt that both are false

The Genesis and publication of the Story 
Gusmaroli was in Portugal at the time, as confirmed in the Author acknowledgement in the article. 
The interview must have taken place within a tight time frame 

How can we be sure of this ? 

There are various stages in the process of getting a story into a published magazine. 

Let us go through them in reverse order. These are the absolute tightest estimates and are derived from discussions and knowledge from people in the trade. 
The implication is clear. Gusmaroli conducted the interview – if interview there was – some time between Friday 4th and Monday 7th or Tuesday 8th. 

The article includes several existing public domain photos which would have required research and selection by staff in the First office, plus one of the Boyd family which may have been taken in PdL. 
It also has three pieces of space allocated to it. The main body of the ‘story’ which takes up 2 whole pages, a front page headline block, and a long piece by the sub-editor which is one entire page. 

And then we concentrate on another marker in the article 
“Madeleine, who turned four last Saturday . . .” 
Madeleine’s date of birth is 12/5/03.         12/5/07 was indeed a Saturday 
The article is in a magazine published on Saturday 19/5/07 

For the article to include that detail, it must have been written in the full knowledge that it was going to be published in that exact edition, unless some parenthesised instruction such as – (insert date here) –was included in the copy. 

Consider also for a moment. 
In a small resort in which one defined area is crowded with reporters, police, detectives, cars, dogs, film crews, news commentators, concerned locals, and foreigners whose holidays have just been terminally disrupted, . . . . . is it credible that Gusmaroli just happened upon the only person in the village who had spent an hour with the mother of the missing child only one or two days before? In the street? By chance? And spoke to her? And persuaded her to speak at length? On record? With personal details? 

That would surely be a truly remarkable coincidence. 

Boyd’s story does not appear in any other syndicated outlets, despite its obvious commercial value at that time. How the egregious Jon Clarke and all the other journalists swarming round PdL during those first weeks managed to miss her is not explained. 

Is there something more sinister at work ? 
Warning: Some of this is pure conjecture 
Look back at the publication of the magazine, and the window of opportunity for the interview and creation of the article. 
To re-cap, the piece includes several existing public domain photos which would have required research and selection, plus one of the Boyd family which may have been taken in PdL. 
It also has three pieces of space allocated to it. The main body of the ‘story’ which takes up 2 whole pages, a front page headline block, and a long piece by the editor which is one entire page. 

Does it not suggest that Gusmaroli was told what the article had to include, how long it had to be, and to whom to send it ? 

Whether Vicky Boyd ever said the things alleged we may never know. She has not replied to my contacting her. (For which incidentally I do not blame her. She is under absolutely no obligation to do so) 

So far as we can discover Gusmaroli’s article was not syndicated to any other paper. It did not appear in the Daily Mail, which was a tabloid for which she used to write. 

The Magazine in question, First, which is published by Emap, was launched in May 2006, but was not the success its US predecessor had been. The Editor resigned, a new editor was appointed and it was re-launched in the spring of 2007. This may explain the Special Introductory price. It makes it look as if it had miraculously “popped up” with its first or second of the new edition tailored for this particular story. But the new Editor also resigned shortly after this edition was published. It disappeared fairly shortly afterwards after a series of stories about not hitting its sales targets. 

The publishers have not replied to my emails seeking clarification on a number of points. 
Possibly not surprising since I was exploring the economics of sending a journalist to PdL for one 600 word article for an obscure women’s magazine. It does not seem to have been syndicated or churned by any of the usual suspects. 

We may never know whether Boyd invented all the things ascribed to her, or whether she is an innocent victim in all of this. We will never know if she was paid for the interview and photo. 

We shall certainly never know why Gusmaroli, a professional and experienced reporter, did not check even the most basic of the facts being related to her - if indeed they were - or write the article so that it would reflect even some of the truth, some vestige of credibility, or at the very least one or two verifiable details. 

She is described by one of her more recent employers as having “a tradition of breaking exclusives”
We may hope this was not one of them, and that her CV does not rely on journalism of this type. 
The unworthy suspicion grows that this was a highly detailed and specific commission. 
But organised by whom? Murdoch ? MI5 ? Masons ? Blair/Brown ? HM Government ? 
And when? 
Would no one at Emap, the publishing company, object to being coerced or manipulated in this way ? 

(Incidentally and obviously ‘a propos’ of nothing, and clearly totally coincidentally, the editor of First, 
Jane Johnson, resigned from EMAP on 12 June 2007, to go to News of the World, the now defunct Murdoch tabloid, in the role of Deputy Editor and Editorial Director. Second in Command to the egregious Rebekah Brooks. The edition of 19 May would have been the last one she edited. 

Given the length of time it takes to ‘’apply for’ and negotiate a career change of that magnitude, we can safely assume that she knew and had decided some time before June 2007) 

But behind all this is a much more serious issue. 

This is not just another in the long line of mendacious nonsense about sightings of suspects pedalled by poor journalists for cheap tabloids and populist Television shows. The outrageous mendacity and misdirection by Jon Clarke of The Olive Press has been exposed for what it is, but continues unabated. 

This seems to be different. 
This seems to be part of the deliberate attempt to provide false testimony that Madeleine was alive and well very specifically during the afternoon of Thursday 3rd May 2007. Its publication and distribution was timed to coincide with the release of the forged Pool photo with its altered date, and to corroborate that story. 

The fact that it does no such thing is in one sense even worse – for the McCanns

As the ‘evidence’ is analysed and dissected, only to be shown to be entirely without substance, to be invented, to be false and fraudulent, the more it becomes proof of the exact opposite. 
Now we have TWO such stories, both referring to important and crucial events on one important day, but both proven to be false, and each contradicting the other. 

The combination becomes yet more proof that Madeleine was already dead, 
and that desperate attempts had been put in train to conceal that fact 

It is the equivalent in a criminal trial of relying purely on an alibi as a defence. If it can be broken, you are finished. 

As such it needs to be exposed and the people involved in this disgraceful act to be held to account and ultimately brought to justice. 
Whether they ever will be, is, of course, an entirely different matter. 

One day, one, just one, person will be driven by a higher sense either of common decency or of overwhelming guilt at what they have done to purge their conscience and to tell the truth. 

When that person does, it will be too late for everyone else involved in this disgusting charade to avoid the brickbats and the shame; the prosecutions and the sentences that will inevitably follow; the guilt by association, and the public disgrace and humiliation for all those on the periphery. 

In Memoriam 
Madeleine Beth McCann. 
Abandoned and betrayed by all who should have stood up for her 
RIP little one 

If you want a totally ridiculous conspiracy theory, try this 
  • Murdoch, The Sun and Sky TV have always been firm and uncritical supporters of the McCanns
  • Brunt was turned from his initial dispassionate and professional reporting, and to his eternal shame became a prime player in the Brenda Leyland scandal.
  • The Editor of a little-known and failing women’s magazine is persuaded to devote several pages of one edition to a story timed to correspond with the release of the Last Photo, and to corroborate it
  • A hapless reporter is given the job of writing or of filling in some details in an article already prepared
  • A random holiday maker is selected and bought
  • The article is published
  • The editor is immediately ‘promoted’ into the Murdoch empire with a significant increase in salary
  • As it becomes clear that all it not as it seemed, the reporter emigrates and is employed by another Murdoch outlet
All ludicrous nonsense of course, as are all conspiracy theories. 


Danielle Gusmaroli emigrated or returned to Australia a few years later, married on Bali (according to her FB and Instagram pages) and now writes for Daily Mail Australia submitting important and in-depth articles on subjects such as homemade toothpaste, chocolate cake, cellulite thighs, wearing nappies during pregnancy, exposed nipples, and why a 10 year old girl thinks sex is disgusting. 
She also writes for, or is employed by the Daily Telegraph Australia, which is not a clone of the British version, but a tabloid in the stable of News Corp, which is ultimately owned by Murdoch who has been mentioned before (vide supra, Editor of First, Jane Johnson). Her articles are syndicated across southern Australia, to publications such as Courier Mail. 

Mrs. Victoria Boyd was easily traced from the details supplied by Gusmaroli in the article which padded out the 600 words with irrelevant and gratuitous details of the family’s full names, occupations, place of residence, previous holidays, and the names and ages of the two children. It took less than 5 minutes with google to trace the family to their home address and a contact telephone number. Mrs Boyd may still work for the bank mentioned. 

Out of common decency I will not reveal their details here. 


I have turned this story over in my mind for a very long time. I asked other researchers to criticise it forcefully and destructively, searching for any mistake or logical error in the development of the thesis. 

Could the article have been written in error perhaps as to the time, the date, or the place? 
Could there have been a genuine misunderstanding, by someone, about something? 
Could Gusmaroli have mis-heard, or misunderstood or misreported what she was told? 

Could the meeting and the waterslide and the football perhaps have occurred on Wednesday 2nd ? 
Or Tuesday 1st, or possibly even the Monday? 
Sadly the answer is clear. 
All four days were overcast, cold and windy. On the Tuesday even Kate correctly records that it rained. 
The weather reports for the Algarve are, and have always been, available on-line for anyone who wishes to look.     Including journalists and lawyers. 
The article is so specific, so detailed; the words used are put as direct speech in quotation marks; the interview must have been conducted when the events described were in the very recent past – probably no more than three days; the Boyds were happy to have another photo taken and published in The Sun a year later . . . that we must conclude that no such caveats apply, and that the article contains the story as it was intended to be told. 
The fact that the story is so wrong on so many levels is disturbing. 

It is surely stretching credulity to propose that a seasoned reporter and a respectable woman with a family would both either agree, or allow themselves to be coerced into purposefully giving false information in the case of a missing child, when that might amount to the crime of obstructing the Police, or even Perverting the Course of Justice, and a possible risk of a heavy penalty. 

But in this case we have had our credulity stretched beyond breaking point many times before. 


One of the things decent journalists cherish above all is a reputation for telling and uncovering the truth. They form the “Fourth Estate”, and are a vital part of a modern democracy, exercising their right to freedom of expression on our behalf, giving voice to the inarticulate, and standing up for the rights of the oppressed. 

The story of what really happened to Madeleine Beth McCann is very probably the biggest and certainly the longest-lasting story that any of the journalists involved have ever covered. 

IF – and of course ONLY IF – any of the journalists we have looked at so far invented a story, or distorted facts, or told untruths, or connived or agreed to do so, then each carries a heavy burden on their shoulders. 

For publicly voicing doubts about the absolute and inviolable truth of the “official story” one woman was hounded to her death, a Portuguese Detective Chief Inspector was impoverished and his marriage destroyed by being put through a series of trials over six years for writing a book about his understanding of what the evidence revealed, and an old man was sentenced to a term of imprisonment for daring to tell the truth as he saw it. 

And the “official story’ was supported in its so-called credibility by invented articles such as this one. 

Accordingly it is surely incumbent on all the journalists involved immediately to tell the world the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth about how this evidently bogus story, not to mention Clarke’s ludicrous inventions about the trench, entering the apartment and all the rest of that extended web of deceit, came into being. 

Failing that, then their individual reputations as journalists will be destroyed for ever, along with the reputations of every other person, high or low, who was involved in developing and promoting this dreadful lie. 

Again we have to make clear that we do not know what happened. 

The world can however be very sure indeed of what did NOT happen. The evidence on that is clear. 

Before allowing this essay to be published I sent a Draft copy in .pdf format to Mrs Danielle Gusmaroli, indicating I was prepared to correct any factual inaccuracies she might identify, and a printed copy to Mrs Boyd, with the same offer. 
Mrs Gusmaroli replied and we discussed several points in the draft, which I have now amended at her request. 

Mrs Boyd has not replied. 

As always I am ready to apologise and correct any mistakes or inaccuracies, and revise anything I may inadvertently have misunderstood or misinterpreted.




   “madeleine”. Kate McCann, Random Press, 2011, at pp. 123, 266, 272, 282 . . . 



7    Witness statement of Gerald Patrick McCann, on the 10th of May 2007, at 3.20 p.m.
        Processos Vol I, pages 891-903 Location: CID Portimão

8    “madeleine”. Kate McCann, Random Press, 2011, at pp. 65, 66

       chapters 14, 15, 21, 22, 28, 28A


11    Danielle Gusmaroli. DELETED


        Danielle Gusmaroli
        Senior reporter
        She enjoys a deep dig and likes to get to the heart of the matter. Has a tradition of breaking exclusives. 
          She comes from a pedigree of London’s Fleet Street newspapers and has several national awards to her name.

14.a › article › emap-puts-former-... 
Jul 12, 2007 — LONDON - Emap has turned to the former long-serving editor of Now 
Emap puts former Now editor in charge of First 
LONDON - Emap has turned to the former long-serving editor of Now magazine, Jane Ennis, to take charge of its problematic weekly celebrity and current affairs title, First. 
by Paul McNally 
Ennis takes over as editor from Jane Johnson, who left the Emap magazine last month to join the News of the World as deputy editor. 
First launched in May 2006, billed as a weekly magazine for women interested in more than celebrity gossip and real-life stories. 
In its debut set of ABC figures, covering the second half of 2006, First posted a circulation of 100,439. Its launch target was to be selling 150,000 copies by May 2007.

        Wed 13 Jun 2007 12.00 BST 
        Jane Johnson, the launch editor of Emap's Closer magazine, is to be the new deputy editor of the News of the World
Johnson, one of Emap's top editors who successfully launched real life and celebrity title Closer in 2002, is returning to Fleet Street after five years. She was previously an executive editor on the Sunday Mirror. 
Johnson was promoted to editorial director at Emap last year, overseeing Closer and First. 
She handed in her notice yesterday but no leaving date was set. Emap is looking to appoint a new editor for First.      

        JUNE 13, 2007 
        Emap's Jane Johnson joins News of the World 
        The launch editor of Closer, Jane Johnson, has been announced as the new deputy editor of the News of the World
The move is a return for Johnson to her tabloid roots. She was previously women’s editor at the Daily Mirror in the late 90s and returned to an executive editor role at the Sunday Mirror before the move to Emap. 
She leaves Emap after five years in which she launched one of its most successful titles, the real life plus celebrity hybrid, Closer. 
Most recently she has been drafted in to oversee the development of the company’s latest women’s weekly, First and taken a editorial director role across the two titles. 
Johnson will take on the role of deputy editor and editorial director at The News of the World.


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