The Tapas 9
This case has always troubled me. Something was not quite right. When the story hit the headlines in 2007 everyone had tremendous sympathy for the McCanns, despite their questionable child minding arrangements. In this series of articles I hope to challenge the official version and make you question your own assumptions. It will take us into murky waters, layer upon layer of cover ups.
We are all familiar with Madeleine McCann, the three year old who vanished whilst on holiday in Praia da Luz, Portugal. She was on holiday with her twin siblings and a group of friends, back in 2007. It was headline news all over the world.
About six months ago, a chance meeting with someone who had worked on the case blew a hole through everything I thought I knew. The official narrative is that on May 3rd 2007, an abductor, having observed the McCanns’ routine, entered their apartment and took Madeleine from her bed, while her parents were drinking and eating dinner in the nearby Tapas bar.
I tried to research the case, only to find many websites had been removed. Strange. I watched the Netflix documentary- eight hours of boredom and I was none the wiser. It seemed that the only place to start was to read the transcript of interviews with the Portuguese and British police, to compare them and make a time line. Online there exists the whole of the Portuguese police’s findings, suspicions, and conclusions. And obviously there are the Tapas 9’s ( above) version of events.
This is the first of a series of articles which examines the case in detail, and includes information never published in the mainstream British media. You may well ask why, and after £12m of taxpayers’ money spent, we are no nearer to an official conclusion.
I wish to make it clear from the start that I am accusing no one of any wrongdoing. I am delving into the complex layers of the case, and asking if there is another credible version of the “abduction “.
I will start at the beginning and assume that the reader knows only what has been reported in the media. On the 28th April 2007 a group of friends ( pictured above) began a holiday at the Ocean Club resort. There were nine adults and eight children. The majority of the adults were doctors. Some individuals are more important than others in this story, as we shall see.
The two most significant members of this group, apart from the McCanns were DAVID PAYNE (doctor) – bottom left and JANE TANNER (media consultant)- bottom right.
This is the full list:-David Payne, Fiona Payne -2 small daughters.
Diane Webster -Fiona’s mother.
Russell O’Brien (doctor) and his partner Jane Tanner – 2 small girls.
Matthew Oldfield (doctor) Rachael Oldfield (lawyer)- 18 month old baby.
It’s important to know who’s who as the story unfolds. TANNER is important because she claimed to have seen the abductor. PAYNE is important because he was the last of the Tapas 9 to see Madeleine alive, other than Kate and Gerry, according to testimony given to the Portuguese police.
SO, on the 28th of April 2007 the McCanns, along with their friends, began a holiday in the Ocean Club resort, in Praia da Luz Portugal. They had chosen this resort because it offered children’s activities, which meant that the adults were free to play tennis, and take advantage of the adult amenities of the resort. The Tapas 9’s accommodation was fairly close together, the McCanns having been allocated 5A, the end of a block which connects to a road.
A pattern soon developed, and after the second night the children would have high tea about 5.30pm, followed by a bath and a short playtime before bed. The adults assembled at 8.30pm in the Tapas Bar which was a restaurant on the complex. They decided not to take advantage of the resort’s child minding facilities, but instead chose to leave their children alone in their apartments, operating a checking system every half an hour, according to statements given to police. The staff at the Tapas restaurant were less sure that it was every half hour, however.
So was it safe to do this? I absolutely do not think so. Gerry and Kate have repeatedly stated that it felt like eating in your own back garden with the children asleep upstairs. I don’t think that analogy is correct at all. They left the children alone in unfamiliar apartments with the patio doors slightly open for ease of checking. Bushes obscured any view of the apartments and of course it was dark. As I stated earlier, the rear of the McCanns’ apartment connected to a narrow public road. Gerry, in his first statement claimed they always locked the whole apartment and did their checks by unlocking the door. Kate however admitted that they left the patio doors ajar, and so Gerry changed his statement, giving the reason that the noise of the key in the door might awaken the children.
On Thursday May 3rd, the group gathered as normal in the Tapas restaurant. Gerry checked the children at 9pm, and at 9.08 was seen chatting with Jez Wilkins, another holidaymaker he had met at the Ocean Club. I mention this because I will later show how this is critical to the timeline of what happened. Matthew Oldfield was the next to check, around 9.30pm, but he admitted that he did not actually see Madeleine- he listened and all was quiet, so he was satisfied all was ok.
Kate McCann did the 10pm check and a few minutes later ran screaming to the restaurant, “Madeleine’s gone. They’ve taken her!” Let’s just stop here and think. Why did she jump to that conclusion? The patio door was open and Madeleine could have wandered off, or she could be on the complex looking for her parents. And if Kate thought a child abductor was in the vicinity, why did she leave the twins, Shawn and Amelie alone in the apartment? Surely they too could be in danger?
Anyway the police were called, and a frantic search for the missing Madeleine began. Phone calls were made to relatives in the U.K. relaying stories of a jemmied window and broken shutters. Against the advice of the police, people in England phoned the media, and so began the circus.
Crime scene photos and the police records show that there were no jemmied windows, no broken shutters, and the only prints on that window were Kate McCann’s – perfectly understandable because she lodged in the apartment. Kate claimed later that when she entered the apartment there was a “whoosh”of the curtains due to the open window when she opened the door into the children’s bedroom.
This window, the alleged escape route for the abductor is highly improbable. It is quite small and would not be the obvious exit point, especially with an abducted child. Much more obvious would be the patio door, which an abductor watching the movement of the family would surely use, especially as it backed onto the road.
I will end this introductory article by saying that through all the mayhem of the search for Madeleine, people in and out of the apartment, shouting and calling- the twins never stirred from their slumber, not once.
NEXT- I will try to test the abduction theory.