Thursday, December 29, 2011

Fiona Payne, Telling It Like It Was

Fiona Payne

By Dr Martin Roberts
29 December 2011


During her rogatory interview at Leicestershire Police headquarters in April 2008, Fiona Payne spelled out to DC 1485 Messiah the reality of that notorious night in Praia da Luz, when parents assumed responsibility for their own children (as they should), not other peoples, 'routines' were inexplicably altered, and the McCanns totally oblivious to events inside 5A.

Reply "Yeah, yeah. Erm, but it worked really well and, you know, everybody was checking, had their own sort of, I mean, we didn't really formally discuss what everybody was doing, we just all felt it was fine to sort of operate our own baby listening service, I guess that's what we thought we were doing, what every MARK WARNER holiday we'd been on before did. Erm, tut, we didn't, Dave and I and my mum didn't because we, we brought our baby monitor, which worked, we'd tested it, it's a digital monitor so it's offering, erm, continuous monitoring of sound every second and it alarms if it loses contact or anything, so on the first day we'd sort of tried that by the, you know, by the Tapas Bar and it worked, so we didn't even go back and check our children, we took the monitor out, erm, and very much felt we were doing what we do at home really, you know, putting them to sleep and listen, if they cried we'd hear. Erm, the others had, you know, decided they were sort of going back every twenty minutes, erm, and checking on their own children. I think, on the whole, I wasn't really aware of people cross checking each other's children, although on the night and previous nights there would have been the odd occasion where somebody was, was, was going and saying 'Oh I've listened in at your door and your kids are fine' or 'I've checked on yours and they're fine', so there was a bit of that going on, but, on the whole, people checked their own children. Erm, and, again, on the actual night Madeleine was taken, that was, was very much different, I think, to, to previous nights, in that, there was probably more cross checking that night."

('Probably more cross-checking...' There was absolutely none before, and 'one swallow doth not a Summer make.' Notice also the 'I've listened in at your door' variant of 'cross-checking,' which could just as well have been, indeed most probably was, 'at your window,' sound travelling more easily through glass than solid wood).

Reply "I mean, I think every night we saw all of each other, bar the Thursday, again, that was a different night."

1485 "It was different."

Reply "In that Kate wasn't there with, with the three kids, because we'd all done something different in the early evening, so we were a bit later coming back to the Tapas Bar."

Checking, once more...

Reply "Because I've got no idea who went first and, to be completely honest, I didn't at the time. Erm, but I'd say on, on the first few nights it all seemed, erm, fairly well spaced, you know, like people going together, that was just a feeling, a general feeling that I'm giving you. Erm, whereas, again, that differed on the Thursday night, in that, it seemed more, erm, out of, people were more out of synch."

1485 "Would all nine do the checking at some point?"

Reply "No, Dave and I and my mother never checked anybody."

Gerry McCann, in his own statement to Police of 10 May, 2007, volunteered the following:

'On Wednesday night, 2 May 2007, apart from the deponent and his wife, he thinks that DAVID PAYNE also went to his apartment to check that his children were well, not having reported to him any abnormal situation with the children.'

(Well of course David Payne did not report any abnormal situation with the children. He had no way of knowing whether 'the situation' was abnormal or not. He didn't even look to find out, did he. His wife, Fiona, has told us so).

On this day, the deponent and KATE had already left the back door closed, but not locked, to allow entrance by their group colleagues to check on the children.

(And which of these group colleagues might that have been? Not David Payne certainly).

Fiona Payne once more:

Reply "Erm, I guess some people were doing more checking and it tended to be the men doing, again, this is a feeling, it seemed to be they did a lot more sort of upping and downing, erm, tut, you know, than, than the women perhaps. Erm, I mean, Gerry and Russell."

1485 "Gerry and Russell?"

Reply "Yeah, I don't know, they, again, a feeling, is they probably did a bit more checking than the girls did."

(One can quite easily relate to DC 1485 Messiah's bewilderment here. Gerry and Russell? Gerry, who claims to have left the table once, around nine, on the Thursday night, and Russell! Not Matthew Oldfield, who 'checked' at least twice as often as Gerry on that occasion and actually entered the McCann apartment, or so he would have us believe. No. Gerry and Russell were doing a 'lot more upping and downing.' Really?)

1485 "And would you pass anybody on the way to the Tapas?"

Reply "Erm, tut, no, erm, not that I'd."

1485 "Any of the group perhaps going to do their checks or?"

Reply "No, because generally, as I say, we, the early part of the week, we were generally all within the same sort of time bracket, so, yeah, we didn't, on previous nights, see anybody coming back. Erm, Thursday night was different,..."

Regarding seating arrangements at the diner

Reply "Erm, Kate was to my left and that I'm positive of. Erm, and I think Gerry was certainly to my right, I think he was immediately on my right. Erm, I know Russell was opposite, he would have been about there. My mum was, my mum and Dave were sat, I think Dave was next to Gerry and mum next to Russell, they were certainly on that side of the table, erm, yeah, I think it was Dave, I'm not a hundred percent on that. And then I think it was Jane and then Rachael. That's how I remember it. And I think possibly we were slightly rotated that way actually, because I remember me and Kate pretty much with our backs, erm, you know, to, to the apartments, so probably turn that round a bit actually. Yeah, Russell was probably, you know, more directly."

(Both McCann parents had their backs to the apartment block therefore. Again, in his 10 May statement to Police, Gerry McCann mentioned that they were seated at the table, in a position that allowed the deponent to see almost the entire back door of his apartment, through which they left and entered and which gave access to the living room. Almost the entire back door no less! Unless he had eyes in the back of his head the deponent would have had to turn around for an 'unimpeded view' through the plastic screen behind him).

A few 'ins and outs'

1485 "What about the rest of the party, Kate and Gerry, did they ever discuss with you whether they locked their doors or their windows when they were in and out?"

Reply "Erm, I mean, I was aware of them swapping their arrangement at some point, because I know they had been coming, using the front door, erm, which is the door with the key, to go in and check the children, and then, at some point, that changed to using the back door, just because, as you can see from the map, it was quicker for them to do that and easier to get in, then just sort of quickly nip in through the French doors and out again. I couldn't tell you what point that was, but I know, I know there was a conversation about, oh we've started nipping in that way rather than going the long way round. Erm, so, I suppose, at that point, that's when they, because you couldn't lock the French doors from outside, that's when they weren't locking it."

1485 "Yeah. How far down the week was that?"

Reply "Erm, I mean, my feeling is, you know, they did it the front way for a couple of night and the rest left it open, but I don't know, I mean, they'd know that, as I say, I just remember the conversation."

1485 "Yeah. Did Kate ever discus that with you, you know, when she discussed about Madeleine, did she ever discuss, you know, the?"

Reply "No, as I say, it came up at that, that conversation, which I think was on the, on the, on the Thursday night, about, erm, you know, whether I would feel happy leaving, leaving a door unlocked, but that was the only time I'd heard Kate sort of almost saying, question whether they should do it or not."

1485 "Did she say that she actually left it unlocked then?"

Reply "Yeah, she must have done, because I knew that it wasn't locked. And I was a bit."

1485 "And did she."

Reply "I mean, I was a bit surprised, I mean, Kate, you were asking about what they're like as parents, and they're certainly not, erm, paranoid parents, what I would call paranoid parents...So, you know, I think, as I said earlier, I think that was something she wasn't quite happy with."

1485 "Did she say that she had confronted Gerry over that matter?"

Reply "No. No, I mean, I think they'd discussed it and, you know...But, you know, I don't think there was an issue between them about it but, as I say, Kate was, it was just something that I’m sure was on her mind that night."

So Fiona, who claims not to know when, exactly, the McCanns desisted from using the main door of their apartment in favour of the rear entrance, learns of Kate's door dilemma, in conversation, only on the Thursday night, when the topic was clearly on Kate's mind. It cannot have been on her mind previously or she would have mentioned it, previously. And it was on the occasion of this very conversation ('at that point') that the McCanns apparently changed their routine, leaving the patio door open ('they weren't locking it'). When prompted as to whether Kate had explicitly described the door as 'unlocked' that night Fiona Payne can only assume so ('she must have done...').

'Far fetched' does not begin to describe an account of events in which predators study the behaviour of their victims for several days, during which time they have every access to their quarry - a young child at their mercy, due to a supposed open-door policy coupled with little or no parental vigilance. Seemingly unable to resist a challenge, these vultures defer seizure of their prey until the very day the guardians 'wise up' and institute a more rigorous system of supervision, i.e., more 'upping and downing.' Yet still they succeed in their crime, despite only a 'small window of opportunity' being open to them (about three minutes, as opposed to the hour(s) they could have enjoyed beforehand).

Change is a fundamental aspect of the universe and parents on holiday have every right to amend their routine, if indeed they have one, at any time. But here things are peculiarly different. Instead of a change from one generally accepted routine to another (generally accepted routine), the shift is, in fact, from no routine whatsoever to a post hoc confection, unconfirmed either by the participants' actions or others' descriptions of said actions.

We may reasonably ask why, therefore, Thursday May 3, 2007 should have been such a landmark day for the McCanns. In fact it has been so asked already (see articles: 'Clairvoyance' and 'What's in a Name?' McCannfiles, 2011). Whilst it could conceivably have been events that night which prompted them to report, in retrospect, a system of inter-family 'checking' - a system to which other so-called participants apparently subscribed in a strangely non-committal way - the decision to leave the rear entrance door open was clearly made to benefit somebody, and made before Madeline McCann was 'aducted.'

If they are to be believed, the McCanns had put up with the long walk from the Tapas bar for five nights already, before deciding, with only two nights remaining, that they'd rather put their children in jeopardy instead and save themselves a few steps. And with absolutely no history of extreme neighbourliness in the checking department that week, why should the McCanns assume, come the Thursday, that their carousing companions would be queuing up to add the McCann children to their own inspection rostas?

Neither personal convenience nor shared responsibility makes for a convincing argument; the latter especially, since the McCanns appear to have been wholly unconcerned about the nocturnal welfare of anyone else's children. They did not reciprocally 'check' any apartment other than 5A, at any time.

For whom did they leave their patio door open therefore? Madeleine, in case of fire (which only became a serious risk after five days)? The Paynes (who did not look in on any one else's children either - ditto Russell O'Brien and Jane Tanner)? Matthew Oldfield (who unexpectedly volunteered a 'fly past' and was then told he could go in through the open door)? Themselves (fit enough to run for miles that day but not to walk an extra twenty or thirty yards that night)? These options being equally unlikely, there remains a somewhat more sinister possibility, consistent with Kate McCanns perplexing observation, 'They've taken her.' (pronoun 'they': subject understood).