Wednesday, 30 January 2013

Georges Moréas: Typhaine Taton, Antoine Brugerolle and Madeleine McCann

Anne-Sophie photo Anne-Sophie-Faucheur_zpsf6753f32.jpg

Anne-Sophie Faucheur, mother of Typhaine Taton

The mother of little Typhaine and her partner have both just been sentenced to 30 years in prison. In the course of the trial, terrible things came out: the child was not getting to sleep; her mother, Anne-Sophie Faucheur, then delivered a barrage of blows. She then slipped on a pair of trainers before hitting her again, this time in the stomach. During this time, Nicolas Willot, her partner, held Typhaine up. Yet, in June 2012, before the cameras, this couple invoked sympathy by pleading for their child to be returned. Before the Court of Assizes, while an expert psychiatrist stated that in the mother there was no "clear, definite, conscious desire," to kill her daughter, it's
understandable why the jury remained skeptical.

In Seine-et-Marne a few days ago, the parents of a two-year-old girl who disappeared in 2011 were placed under investigation for murder. She was buried 500 metres from their home. The body has not yet been formally identified.

These cases, and many others, draw attention to the difficulties faced by police officers when confronted with the disappearance of a child. It's not easy to remain unmoved when dealing with desperate parents. And yet, there is no question of giving way to empathy or even feeling for them which could cloud their judgement. What is the difference between the tears of guilty parents and those parents who are overcome with pain? Within the same group of investigators, opinion is often divided.

There is no miracle formula. No magic profiler, as in the TV series. In this, even forensic scientists mark time and accept there is a place for the old methods: intuition or the well-worn technique of good cop/bad cop. Thus, after Typhaine's disappearance, the Lille police had the couple in custody for a few hours and then released them because experience told them it wasn't the right time for obtaining confessions. In these cases where we are dealing with infanticide, the denial is important. An investigation that starts with certainty often finishes with failure. 

And we have to get our priorities right: first of all, find the child. But, the initial sense of urgency gone, traditional investigators take up their tasks: verifications, witness statements, cross-checking, reconstruction, stake-outs, shadowing, surveillance techniques, etc. That's what happened with Typhaine. And the surveillance reports are damning. "Making salacious jokes about the presiding judge, masturbating in the evening on porn sites, accessing dating sites, dancing at a baptism, at a wedding, partying, having dinner parties, making wedding plans... Everything that was seen from the surveillance van was a long way, a very long way from the image of the devastated couple they had wanted to put forward at the press conference," a police officer stated in the witness box.

The police know, but they don't intervene. In the absence of proof, they record all the details. And, without doubt, in order to win the trust of Anne-Sophie Faucheur and Nicolas Willot, the presiding judge calls them for interview with the status of concerned parties. "That means their status as victims is recognised," their lawyer said. 

The net closes in. With a young police officer, a new face, the mother lets slip that she saw her daughter die. She speaks of an accident. A first confession, or more of a confidence. All that remains is to gently pull in the line. A fine art. 

This type of case is like walking on eggshells. The fear is of going wrong and missing the slightest chance to save the child. Because experience doesn't help very much where every situation is different. Thus, with little Antoine's disappearance, on September 11th 2008, the investigators initially thought he was a runaway. Three days later, the prosecutor declared: "The more time passes, the more the theory of running away loses credibility.."

Two weeks after the events, the child's mother, Alexandrine Brugerolle de Fraissinette, and several other people of her acquaintance, were placed under arrest. The young woman's apartment was taken over by scene of crime police officers. The walls were sounded, strips of parquet were lifted, fluorescent light was passed over certain areas. Two small drops, minute, around a millimetre in circumference, were finally detected near the light switch in Antoine's bedroom. And that's all. In other words, nothing! "We've got to go back to zero," stated one of the leading investigating officers. The case is not closed. Meanwhile, recently, the mother has again been arrested. But we still don't know what happened to little Antoine. He was six and a half years old.

In the case of Madeleine McCann, who disappeared on May 3rd 2007, in Portugal we reach the limits of the absurd. A cop left his job: Commissioner Gonçalo Amaral. From the start of the investigation, he picked up on contradictions in statements from the parents, the McCanns, British holidaymakers who immediately sought to protect themselves by making contact with the authorities from their own country. The police officer considered accidental death of the child, covered up by the parents by faking an abduction. But he was not supported by his superiors. Sacked from the police (1) for having shared his doubts with journalists, he wrote a book to explain his theory. Today, ruined, he has a fight on with the McCanns' lawyers who are  suing him for 1.2 million pounds (2) in civil damages. Of note is that the trial which was due to start soon has been adjourned. Are there new elements in this case which has been the leader in newspapers all over the world?

In France, the police and the Gendarmerie hold all the legal authority to investigate the disappearance of a child (or a vulnerable adult). With one basic principle: every report must be considered as a cause for concern and an investigation must be opened. If there is disagreement between the police and those registering the disappearance, it is up to the prosecutor to decide. As soon as there is the slightest indication of an offence, the latter actions the "flagrante delicto," (3) procedure, with all the powers that go with it.

With the disappearance of a child, more than all other cases, the prosecutor is the key figure. He makes emergency decisions. It's also he who determines if an "alerte enlèvement," (4) should be triggered. Often the result of an investigation depends on the soundness of his decisions and of the harmony between him and the police or the gendarmerie and also..his ability to resist pressure from the media.

Georges Moréas 28/01/2013

Police Et Cetera blog


1) Gonçalo Amaral was not sacked. He was removed from the investigation and subsequently took early retirement so that he could speak freely about the case.

2) The figure is €1.2 million or £1 million

3) Basically "caught in the act." 

4) The "Abduction Alert," system which was rolled out across most EU countries following its development and success in France. 

Sunday, 27 January 2013

Typhaine Taton: Mother and Step-father Guilty of Murder and Faking Disappearance (Part 2)

Anne-Sophie Faucheur and Nicolas Willot at a press conference June 24th 2009  (Transcript to follow)

The fatal evening of June 10th 2009

On the evening of the tragedy, Typhaine "wasn't going to sleep and was walking around in her room," which "infuriated," her mother. "The beating" started: smacks, slaps, punches, kicks. "It was very hard," admits the accused. "Then I took up a pair of trainers and I hit her in the stomach. She went to the floor. She would have had a hard time walking. I don't remember any more, but she must have cried," she goes on. Nicolas Willot explains clearly, almost coldly, having "held her up by her armpits while Anne-Sophie hit her so that she wouldn't fall to the floor." The beating was followed by a "long cold shower," to "calm," Typhaine. 

The couple go back to sit in front of the telly, to watch the film "Rasta Rocket." The little girl gives out "a rattle," before collapsing in the shower. "I tried to revive her. I didn't succeed," says Nicolas Willot, a volunteer fireman.

Did the couple want to kill Typhaine? That's one of the central questions of this trial. Both respond with a negative. According to the expert psychiatrist, Roland Coutanceau, there wasn't "a conscious wish to kill on the part of the mother." Doctor Ameziane Ait-Menguellet's opinion is the opposite "a determination that can only be explained by a wish to have an end to it." 

Staging the disappearance

According to the version from the two accused, Anne-Sophie Faucheur wanted to give herself up once the child's death was discovered. But her partner, for "fear of going to prison," and of "losing the other children," (Caroline and Apolline, their daughter) conceals Typhaine's naked body in the cellar with a plastic sack. The body would stay there for eight days, "until after Apolline's baptism," before being buried by Nicolas in a forest in the Charleroi area (Belgium) 

There again, as in the case of Marina, a plan is set in motion to make it look like an abduction. Typhaine's mother reports her daughter's disappearance on June 18th 2009. She states that she lost her in the street, in the centre of Maubeuge. The couple even go as far as giving a press conference at the end of June, launching an appeal to the whole of France to find Typhaine. 

"She doesn't behave like a mother who has just lost a child"

In spite of this staging, the police officers' doubts are rapidly focused on the couple. From Anne-Sophie Faucheur's first interview, "we sensed the lies in her claims. She wasn't behaving like a mother who had just lost a five-year-old child in the streets of Maubeuge," one of them reported in the witness box.

"Making salacious jokes about the presiding judge, masturbating in the evening on porn sites, going onto dating sites, dancing at a baptism, at a wedding, partying, having dinner parties, making wedding plans..Everything that was seen from the surveillance van was a long way, a very long way from the image of the devastated couple they had wanted to present at a press conference," another said. 

"Inconsistencies" leaped out at the investigators: Typhaine's absence from her little sister Apolline's baptism on June 13th, and then Nicolas Willot's telephone request to his father to provide a false witness statement. On September 22nd, a text message sent by Anne-Sophie Faucheur, after her interview by a presiding judge, in which she details for her partner Typhaine's last meal on the day of her alleged disappearance, designed to convince the investigators. 

The confessions and the discovery of the body

During a second time in custody, the mother cracks after 12 hours. She confesses to having seen Typhaine die but claims an accident. Her partner gives up in his turn. The theory of a punishment that went wrong takes shape up to a clear account of the events. 

The little girl, buried naked face down in the ground, is found on December 9th 2009, following the step-father's directions. 

The post-mortem on the body, which was in "an advanced state of decomposition,"did not lead to "an established cause of death."But the body retained evidence of physical violence," a Belgian doctor, François Beauthier, explained. And listing the horror: "recent traumatic injury, facture of the left orbital bone, sprain to the left wrist, torsion fracture to the left elbow, fracture of the pubic bone and bruising to the left buttock." "Recent fractures," that correspond to violent and necessarily painful strikes.

"Why did you kill her?" Typhaine's grandmother insists. "Sometimes, she had a hard look and I was convinced that she was giving me nasty looks (...) I never felt like I was her mother. There was no connection," Anne-Sophie Faucheur said. 

Catherine Fournier

francetvinfo 26/01/2013


Typhaine Taton: Mother and Step-father Guilty of Murder and Faking Disappearance (Part 1)

press conf photo Typhainemotherandstep-father_zps57ef1152.jpg

Anne-Sophie Faucheur and Nicolas Williot during a press conference on Typhaine's alleged disappearance on June 24th 2009 in Maubeuge (Nord Département)

At the Douai (Nord Département) Court of Assizes on January 25th 2013, Anne-Sophie Faucheur, aged 26, was sentenced to 30 years in prison, to serve a minimum term of 20 years, for the murder of her five-year-old daughter Typhaine in June 2009. Her partner, Nicolas Willot, aged 27, received the same sentence.

The verdict met with silence from the accused and members of Typhaine's father's family, who all wore white T shirts bearing an image of the little girl. 

The couple were also found guilty of making false statements to make people believe the child had disappeared. FranceTV unravels the threads of the child's six months of suffering.

Abducted while leaving school

Typhaine is born on April 6th 2004. Anne-Sophie Faucheur, already mother to Caroline aged one, is 18 years old. This second child arrives too quickly, too soon. "From the pregnancy on, it's difficult, I reject her somewhat,"  the young woman states from the witness box. The couple's relationship falls apart and they separate in December 2005. François Taton, the father, has custody of Typhaine and lives with his mother. Anne-Sophie Faucheur has Caroline, an informal agreement, made without going before a court. 

Apart from occasional visits, on her birthday and at Christmas, the relationship between the mother and her younger daughter is almost non-existent. But on January 22nd 2009, she comes to pick up her daughter from school, under the pretext that Typhaine's father has had an accident. She takes Typhaine to Aulnoye-Aymeries, where she is living with her new partner, Nicolas Willot. She justified herself before the court by saying that she missed Typhaine. 

François Taton begins the process of recovering his daughter. "I went to the Lille Central police station and they didn't take any action because there was no court order," for custody of the children, he explains at the hearing, according to reports by our colleagues at France 3. "I consulted two lawyers for getting Typhaine back. But that was going to take some time because it required making an application to a court bailiff to find her address. From the moment I had it, I went there every weekend, but they had moved house, and I never saw Typhaine again. On the day she took her, neither I nor any member of my family were able to say goodbye to her." 

 photo Typhainefather_zps0cc62055.jpg

Typhaine's father, François Taton, at the court in Douai on January 21st 2013

From "happy," child to "ghost," child

Typhaine's arrival at her mother's house does not go well. "I had idealised our reunion. It didn't occur to me that she might be disturbed. I think I expected so much,   I wasn't thinking straight. In February, I began to be very authoritarian, hard," the accused came out with in the witness box. "Why did you come for her?" Typhaine's grandmother threw at her. "She was happy, she had a home, a father, her aunts, her cousins, security, she was alive and she was happy with us."

grandmother photo Typhainegrandmother_zps6115faa5.jpg

Marie-José Taton, Typhaine's grandmother, at the court in Douai.

"The smacks quickly began to rain down," recounts her partner, "The situation deteriorated rapidly. Typhaine was a shy, withdrawn child, never happy, whatever we did. That attitude annoyed Anne-Sophie," he recalls, "She hit her when she got angry. Any excuse." He acknowledged that he himself began to beat the child in May.

Spankings, beaten with a belt, kicks and punches, cold shower. The ill-treatment increased, in many ways recalling the suffering endured by Marinaanother victim of deadly abuse whose parents were sentenced in June to 30 years in prison. Like her, Typhaine was regularly locked in the cellar, in the dark, chained up. Like her, she was regularly deprived of food. Like her, she was taken out of school. No one saw her. 

 "Typhaine was a ghost child," a Lille police officer offered in the witness box. "I must have seen her in the garden two or three times between Easter and May. When I was told she was 5, I was astonished. She was so tiny," a neighbour, who was the last person to see the little girl alive on May 20th, testified. During his plea, the lawyer for the association, Enfance et partage drew attention to the responsibility of the education department in this affair: "The school's directors did very little for six months. It would take until June 11th for the schools inspection service to contact the public prosecutor. It would be too late."

(francetvinfo 25/01/2013)

Monday, 21 January 2013

Maddie Kidnap Photo Shock! Madeleine McCann in Brazil! - Updated 22/01/2013

James Murray penned this scoop for the Sunday Express.

DETECTIVES have been given a photo which appears to show Madeleine McCann with an abductor.
The Sunday Express was passed the picture independently but Scotland Yard appealed to us not to publish it while it continues sensitive global investigations into the missing girl.
Officers were happy for us to describe the potentially key evidence which shows a healthy fair-haired girl aged three or four in pink trousers, a green top and a blue hat.
The child is walking along a road, possibly near a port or airport as there are many people with suitcases in the area. It is sunny with a palm tree in the background.
The photograph was allegedly taken in Brazil in June 2007, a month after Madeleine, three, was snatched from a holiday apartment in Praia da Luz on Portugal’s Algarve coast.
The girl is holding the hand of a swarthy foreign-looking man aged about 50 with long dark hair and a beard. He is wearing cut-off jeans and a green T-shirt.
Nearby, another man in checked shorts and a black T-shirt is pulling a red suitcase. There is no sign of a woman and the child looks out of place with the older men.

Pamalam, of Gerry McCann's blogs was sent emails from a person in Brazil on January 11th and January 14th, seemingly from someone who thought that her web site was an official one for the McCanns. (Emails posted on Pam's site)

One of the emails included this photo:

Brazil photo MaddieinBrazil_zps715f42e1.jpg

And there they are! As described by intrepid journo, James Murray, who told Lord Leveson that he always researches his story, the girl is holding the hand of a 'swarthy,' man who is wearing cut-off jeans and a green T-shirt. Check!

And the little girl in the image, a healthy (how can he tell?) fair-haired girl aged three or four in pink trousers, a green top and a blue hat. Yes, she's there! Check! 

Nearby, another man in checked shorts and a black T-shirt is pulling a red suitcase. Yes, three out of three! There he is! I do believe we have the right photo! This is the one James Murray must be referring to, the one he cannot publish, which I'm sure he did some research on before the 'Shock,' story was plastered BIG on the Sunday Express front page! 

But hey! Lookie lookie! I have another copy of this photo. No, nobody sent it to me, either intentionally or by mistake

MaddieinIbiza_zps749bbcb1 photo MaddieinIbiza_zps749bbcb1.jpg

It's not as clear, but it does appear to be the same scene with the same people. Yes, child dressed as above, described by Mr Murray. Two men? Check! 

Will someone please tell James Murray that Ibiza is not in Brazil?! Mr Murray, Ibiza is in Spain, that land mass just below France on your map of Europe! Image number 2 above is from a BBC news article of Saturday 30th June 2007 when Spanish police evacuated Ibiza's airport after a Basque newspaper received an anonymous bomb threat.

A spokesman for Scotland Yard said: “An image has been passed to us and it is being assessed.”

Save time and money, just look on the BBC's web site! 

The Yard may send the picture to FBI imaging experts in America for an opinion.

Well, if they do, I do hope they report the findings of the FBI's experts. I'm sure they won't ask me for my opinion, but it sure does look like that photo was taken in Ibiza. Ibiza de Janeiro the next holiday hot-spot?

Hope this helps, James, though I'm sure you've been alerted to the news as told by thousands of highly amusing messages on Twitter! 

Kate and Gerry photo KandGScraggy.jpg

Oh dear! 


Joana Morais has translated the emails from Brazil, which were received by Pamalam. Joana notes that the Portuguese is poorly constructed grammatically, with several spelling errors. She also indicates that the passport number given by the sender would indicate that he is from the Czech Republic.

Pamalam has posted Joana's translations here 

Thank you Joana and Pamalam.