Tuesday, 14 October 2008

1 Praia da Luz

Praia da Luz is a small pretty portugese coastal resort which has a quiet charm. The walk between the beach and the apartments would take maybe five to ten minutes.

Lagos is 2 kilometers or 10 minutes by car East of Praia da Luz. It would not be difficult to put a small body in a car, drive East and still be back in time to call the police.

2 Could this have happened?

Could this have happened?

1) A group of British doctors go on holiday to Praia da Luz
2) A difficult to settle child given drugs by her doctor parents and dies
3) The body is taken out to sea from the nearby port of Lagos
4) Associated evidence is lost on the road to Huelva
5) The doctors still practice
6) No visible trace and no evidence

The Tapas Bar can be seen on the right and the apartment where the children were sleeping is in the middle of the picture. The distances is not so far, at least not on the night in question, althoug Chaplins Restaurant is significantly further from the apartment.

This is the tennis court

These are the narrow alleyways that separate the appartments

3 Once a fishing village

The original character of Praia da Luz is re emerging as the distubance of Madeleine’s disappearance dies down.

Once a fishing village, Praia da Luz now depends on “Brits abroad” to make a living. It has a church, a fortress, a rocky coastline and a small sheltered beach. The town consists of mostly of tightly packed white painted holiday apartments, while the locals live in smaller, shabbier high-rise flats on the outskirts of town. The locals look at foreigners suspiciously while the Brits are known for drinking and throwing things. It is hard to imagine a place less likely to house a paedophile ring.

This Chaplins, next to the Church, not even pretending to be Portugese

4 All quiet on the front

Mark Warner has left and the Ocean Club complex is now just that, a set of largely empty holiday apartments. The church is bare apart from a small shrine to Madeleine and a faded newspaper cutting on the notice board. The history of a fishing village, even in the Mediterranean, is one of people lost at sea. Like all such places, people make the best of things and get on with life.

5 The Countryside around Praia da Luz

The countryside around Praia da Luz is rocky scrubland. Any attempt to dig a hole would be evident for years to come. On the other hand, the countryside is littered with discarded golf bags, mattresses, bottles, bits of clothing, nappies, toys, and plastic bags. There must be thousands such tips between Praia da Luz and Heluva.

6 The Port of Lagos

The Port of Lagos is 2km, a ten minute drive, east of Praia da Luz. It has a large International Marina and expensive ocean going yachts.

7 British Doctors

The strap line of the General Medical Council is “Regulating Doctors, Ensuring Good Medical Practice”. “Good Medical Practice” means you do not prescribe for yourself or for your family except in an emergency. Every year doctors are removed from the Medical Register because they do this.

Nonetheless, doctors do prescribe medicine for themselves, their families and their children, not least “to help them settle” at night. The medicine cabinet of some doctors is better stocked than the local pharmacy.

Rules have been rigorously enforced following the case of Dr Harold Shipman case, a doctor who murdered hundreds of his patients. Prescribing for yourself, your family and your children falls outside “Good Medical Practice”. Where a doctor did this and the child died, he or she would not only be removed from the medical register but would face a charge of manslaughter.

With a part-time locum General Practitioner, the scandal would fade quickly. When it happens to a Consultant Cardiologist at a major teaching Hospital, the consequences would be wider reaching and longer lasting.