The purpose of this site is for information and a record of Gerry McCann's Blog Archives. As most people will appreciate GM deleted all past blogs from the official website. Hopefully this Archive will be helpful to anyone who is interested in Justice for Madeleine Beth McCann. Many Thanks, Pamalam

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'Tapas Seven' Libel Payout, 16 Oct 2008 *

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Fiona Payne at the high court, 16 October 2008

The friends who were with the parents of Madeleine McCann when she disappeared in Portugal, known collectively as the 'Tapas Seven', receive 375,000 in libel damages from Express Newspapers.
 
The Daily Express, Daily Star and Sunday Express also publish apologies. 

Transcript of Fiona Payne's statement, 16 October 2008
Transcript of Fiona Payne's statement outside High Court
 
16 October 2008
 
"Good morning.
 
I'm Fiona Payne and I'm speaking on behalf of the group.
 
'The abduction of Madeleine McCann, the daughter of our friends Kate and Gerry, on May 3rd 2007, changed all our lives in an instant.
 
But for no-one more so than Madeleine.
 
The defamatory stories written about us were not only extremely damaging on a personal level but we strongly feel were detrimental to the search for Madeleine. 
 
This aspect has been particularly heartbreaking to witness.
 
Although we are very pleased with today's result it changes little when Madeleine's plight remains ongoing: She is still missing and her abductor still free.
 
Our only aim is to see her safely recovered and reunited with the family who so adore her.
 
All the damages received today are being paid directly into the Find Madeleine Fund to continue this ongoing search and investigation into her disappearance.
 
We believe that Madeleine is still alive and can be found. 
 
We ask anyone who has any information, however small or seemingly unimportant, please come forward.
 
Contact details can be found on the Find Madeleine website.
 
And finally, we thank wholeheartedly all those who have already helped in the search for Madeleine.'
 
Thank you."

Press Release, 16 October 2008
Press Release Carter-Ruck

"Tapas Seven" Secure Apologies and £375,000 in Libel Damages from Express Newspapers

16 October 2008

The Daily Express and Daily Star newspapers have today published full apologies to Jane Tanner, Russell O'Brien, Fiona Payne, David Payne, Matthew Oldfield, Rachael Oldfield and Dianne Webster, the group of friends who were with Kate and Gerry McCann when their daughter Madeleine was abducted in Portugal in May 2007. The Sunday Express will be publishing a separate apology to Russell O’Brien and Jane Tanner this Sunday.

Between July and December 2007 these newspapers published around twenty articles, falsely alleging that the friends, who became known in the media as the "Tapas 7", were to be suspected of involvement in Madeleine's abduction and of having misled the Portuguese authorities investigating her disappearance. The articles also falsely suggested that the seven had covered up the true facts concerning Madeleine's disappearance.

As well as publishing apologies, the Express Group further apologised in the High Court in London today before Mr Justice Eady.

The solicitor representing the seven individuals, Carter-Ruck partner
Adam Tudor, told Mr Justice Eady that Express Newspapers had acknowledged the complete falsity of the allegations in question and that there was no evidence to support them. The newspapers also acknowledged that the actions of the individuals following Madeleine's disappearance were entirely proper and motivated solely by a desire to find Madeleine and support Kate and Gerry McCann at such a difficult time.

Express Group has also agreed to pay libel damages of £375,000 to the seven, every penny of which will be donated, at their request, to the fund established to help find Madeleine. Express Newspapers will also be paying the legal costs of bringing the complaint.

Statement in Open Court, 16 October 2008
Statement in Open Court Carter-Ruck

(1) Jane Tanner (2) Russell O'Brien (3) Fiona Payne (4) David Payne (5) Matthew Oldfield (6) Rachael Oldfield (7) Dianne Webster and Express Newspapers

16 October 2008

Solicitor Advocate for the Claimants
My Lord, in this action I appear for the Claimants Jane Tanner, Russell O'Brien, Fiona Payne, David Payne, Matthew Oldfield, Rachael Oldfield and Dianne Webster.

My friend Mr Keith Mathieson appears for the Defendant, Express Newspapers, which publishes the Daily Express, the Sunday Express and the Daily Star.

The Claimants are all friends of Kate and Gerry McCann and were holidaying with the McCanns in Praia da Luz, Portugal, in May 2007.  On the night of Madeleine McCann's disappearance, the Claimants were dining with the McCanns in a restaurant close to the McCanns' apartment. The Claimants have frequently been  referred to in the media and have become popularly known as the "Tapas 7".

Between July and December last year, the Defendant published a number of articles which referred to the Tapas 7 or to one or more of the Claimants individually.  These articles  suggested that at least some of the Claimants, in particular Dr O'Brien, had been identified as potential suspects by the Portuguese authorities.  The articles also suggested that the Claimants had covered up the true facts concerning Madeleine McCann's disappearance and misled the authorities investigating her disappearance.

The Defendant accepts that these  allegations are wholly untrue and that there is no evidence to support them. The Defendant acknowledges that the actions of the Claimants following Madeleine's disappearance were entirely proper and were motivated by a desire to find Madeleine and to support the McCann family through a very difficult and stressful time.

The Defendant is represented here today by its solicitor in order to apologise for the distress and embarrassment caused to the Claimants. Full apologies are also being published by the three newspapers in question. As an expression of its regret, the Defendant has agreed to pay substantial damages to the Claimants, which they will donate to the Find Madeleine Fund.  The Defendant has also agreed to pay the Claimants' legal costs.

Solicitor for the Defendant
My Lord, on behalf of the Defendant, I confirm what my friend has said.

The Defendant apologises to each of the Claimants for publishing false allegations about them. The Defendant regrets the distress caused to the Claimants and in acknowledgment of that I confirm that the Defendant has agreed to pay substantial damages to the Claimants, which they will donate to the Find Madeleine Fund, and to pay their legal costs.

Solicitor Advocate for the Claimants
My Lord, in all the circumstances, I am pleased to confirm that the Claimants' objectives in bringing these proceedings have been achieved.

Adam Tudor
Carter-Ruck
Solicitor Advocate on behalf of the Claimants

Keith Mathieson
Reynolds Porter Chamberlain
on behalf of the Defendant

Media reports, pictures and videos

Carter Ruck will advise 'Tapas 7', 07 July 2008
Carter Ruck will advise 'Tapas 7' The Independent
 
By Tom Peck and Robert Verkaik
Monnday, 7 July 2008
 
Four months after Gerry and Kate McCann won apologies and a 550,000 libel pay out from four newspapers for "grotesque and grossly defamatory" articles concerning the disappearance of their daughter, Madeleine, seven friends of the couple have employed the same lawyers to act against at least one national newspaper.
 
The Carter Ruck libel firm is advising the so-called "Tapas Seven" group who were with the McCanns on the evening of Madeleine's disappearance in May 2007 in the Portuguese resort of Praia da Luz. Matthew Oldfield, Rachel Oldfield, Russell O'Brien, Jane Tanner, David Payne, Fiona Payne and Diane Webster are in talks with the Carter Ruck partner Adam Tudor, with action expected within weeks.
 
Mr Tudor, who acted for the McCanns, yesterday commented: "I can confirm I and my firm are advising the seven friends." He declined to elaborate or specify which newspaper they were considering suing.
 
At the centre of possible action would be suggestions that the friends kept a "pact of silence" in their dealings with police, and that they refused to take part in a reconstruction of the night Madeleine disappeared.

Madeleine: Tapas 7 Win Payout, 15 October 2008
Madeleine: Tapas 7 Win Payout Sky News
 
BREAKING NEWS
 
4.40pm, UK, Wednesday October 15, 2008 
 
Friends who were with the parents of Madeleine McCann when she disappeared in Portugal are to be paid 375,000 in libel damages by Express Newspapers.
 
Sky's Crime correspondent Martin Brunt said: "The Tapas 7, friends of Kate and Gerry McCann - those who were on holiday with them in Portugal last year - are to receive apologies tomorrow morning in the High Court from Express Newspapers, and they will share a payout of 375,000.
 
"I'm told an apology will be read out in the court and then there'll be statements from the McCanns and the 'Tapas 7' lawyers.
 
"There will also be apologies in the Daily Express and Daily Star newspapers and we can expect something similar in the Sunday Express."
 
"The friends had complained about around two dozen articles in which they claimed they were libelled; accusations that they had covered up the truth of what had happened to Madeleine, allegations that they had obstructed the authorities and even allegations that one of them had been involved in Madeleine's disappearance," said Brunt.
 
"This is the third time this year newspapers have agreed a settlement.
 
"The first settlement was against Express Newspapers - they were forced to pay out just over 500,000 to Kate and Gerry McCann for more than 100 defamatory articles.
 
"In July, a number of newspaper groups were involved in an even bigger payout - around 600,000 - to Robert Mural, the first suspect in the case, who was subsequently cleared of suspicion by the Portuguese authorities.
 
*
 
Updated article:
 
Madeleine: 'Tapas 7' win payout Sky News
 
5:38pm UK, Wednesday October 15, 2008
 
Friends who were with the parents of Madeleine McCann when she disappeared in Portugal are to receive 375,000 in libel damages.
 
Sky's Crime correspondent Martin Brunt said: "The Tapas 7, friends of Kate and Gerry McCann - those who were on holiday with them in Portugal last year - are to receive apologies in the High Court on Thursday morning from Express Newspapers, and they will share a payout of 375,000.
 
"I'm told an apology will be read out in the court and then there'll be statements from the McCanns and the 'Tapas 7' lawyers.
 
"There will also be apologies in the Daily Express and Daily Star newspapers and we can expect something similar in the Sunday Express."
 
"I understand the money will go into the Madeleine Fund.
 
"The friends had complained about around two dozen articles in which they claimed they were libelled; accusations that they had covered up the truth of what had happened to Madeleine, allegations that they had obstructed the authorities and even allegations that one of them had been involved in Madeleine's disappearance," said Brunt.
 
The seven are couples Jane Tanner and Russell O'Brien, Rachael and Matthew Oldfield, Fiona and David Payne, and Mrs Payne's mother, Dianne Webster.
 
With the McCanns, they made up the party staying in Praia da Luz in the Algarve in May last year when Madeleine disappeared, just days before her fourth birthday.
 
The nickname for the group comes from the tapas restaurant where all nine adults were dining when Madeleine went missing from her family's holiday apartment nearby.
 
Brunt added: "This is the third time this year newspapers have agreed a settlement.
 
"The first was against Express Newspapers - they were forced to pay out just over 500,000 to Kate and Gerry McCann for more than 100 defamatory articles.
 
"In July, a number of newspaper groups were involved in an even bigger payout - around 600,000 - to Robert Murat, the first suspect in the case, who was subsequently cleared of suspicion by the Portuguese authorities."

Tapas Seven to receive damages from Express Group, 15 October 2008
Tapas Seven to receive damages from Express Group Telegraph
 
The friends of Kate and Gerry McCann, on holiday with the couple when their daughter Madeleine disappeared, are expected to receive nearly 400,000 in damages from the Express Group.
 
By Caroline Gammell
Last Updated: 6:30PM BST 15 Oct 2008 
 
The group – known as the Tapas Seven – took action against the Daily Express, the Daily Star and the Sunday Express over around 20 defamatory articles.
 
They complained about the implication that they may have lied about the circumstances in which three-year-old Madeleine vanished from Praia da Luz last May and misled the authorities.
 
It is understood that a settlement has been reached and will be outlined in the High Court tomorrow. All of the seven, who are represented by Carter-Ruck, are expected to be at court apart from Russell O'Brien and Jne Tanner.
 
The Express and The Daily Star are expected to print apologies to all seven in tomorrow's (thurs) edition of the newspaper.
 
It is understood that the group will receive around 375,000 which will be donated to the Find Madeleine Fund, taking the total in the find to more than 800,000.
 
The Tapas Seven – who were on holiday with the McCanns in the Algarve - are Jane Tanner and Russell O'Brien, from Exeter, Rachael and Matthew Oldfield, from London, Fiona and David Payne, from Leicester, and Dianne Webster, from Leicester.
 
The Express Group paid Mrs and Mrs McCann 500,000 compensation over the suggestion that they may have been involved in their daughter's disappearance.

Madeleine: More Sub-stantial Damages, 15 October 2008
Madeleine: More Sub-stantial Damages Sky News
 
By Martin Brunt
October 15, 2008 5:59 PM
 
Back to the High Court in the morning and another Madeleine McCann payout... this time to the 'Tapas 7'.
 
Where will it end? Here, probably. Unless other hacks want to push their luck.
 
Kate and Gerry's friends who were with them in Portugal had complained about 20 or so newspaper articles which accused them, variously, of covering up details of Madeleine's disappearance and misleading the authorities there.
 
In one case there was an allegation, based on Portuguese reports, that one of the friends had been involved in the disappearance.
 
The latest payment of 375,000 is from Express Newspapers, which have already paid the McCanns 550,000.
 
Although the award is to the McCann friends, I gather it will go to the Madeleine Fund to help in the continued search for the young girl.
 
Any connection between the combined 925,000 Express payout and the 86 redundancies recently announced at the, er, Express is entirely coincidental.
 
Those losing their jobs are mostly sub-editors, who provide a check on the exuberance and accuracy of the papers' reporters.

Metro report states that 'Tapas Seven' were with the parents of Madeleine 'on the night she died', 15 October 2008
Screenshot of Metro article stating Madeleine 'died'
Screenshot of Metro article stating Madeleine 'died'

Tapas 7's '375k damages' for Maddie reports Metro
 
Wednesday, October 15, 2008
 
Friends of Madeleine McCann's parents who were with the couple on the night she died are to receive 375,000 in libel damages, it has been reported.
 
Sky News said the money will be paid out to the so-called "Tapas Seven" by Express Newspapers.
 
The group were holidaying with Kate and Gerry McCann when three-year-old Madeleine disappeared in May last year.
 
The Channel's crime correspondent Martin Brunt said: "The Tapas Seven, friends of Kate and Gerry McCann - those who were on hoiday with them in Portugal last year - are to receive apologies tomorrow morning in the High Court from Express Newspapers, and they will share a payout of 375,000.
 
"I'm told an apology will be read out in the court and then there'll be statements from the McCanns and the 'Tapas 7' lawyers.
 
"There will also be apologies in the Daily Express and Daily Star newspapers."
 
The newspaper group has already paid 550,000 dmanages to the McCann's after suggested they may have been involved in their daughter's disappearance.
 
The money is likely to go toward the Find Madeleine fund.

'The Tapas Seven' - An apology, 16 October 2008
'The Tapas Seven' - An apology Daily Express
 
Thursday October 16, 2008 
 
In articles published between July and December last year we suggested that the holiday companions of Kate and Gerry McCann might have covered up the true facts concerning Madeleine McCann's disappearance and/or misled the authorities investigating her disappearance.
 
We also reported speculation that one member of the group, Dr Russell O’Brien, was suspected of involvement with Madeleine's abduction.
 
We now accept that these suggestions should never have been made and were completely untrue.
 
We apologise to Jane Tanner, Russell O'Brien, Fiona Payne, David Payne, Matthew Oldfield, Rachael Oldfield and Diane Webster to whom we have agreed to pay substantial damages which they will be donating to the Find Madeleine Fund.
 
*
 
'The Tapas Seven' - An apology Daily Star
 
16th October 2008
 
In articles published in September and November last year we suggested that the holiday companions of Kate and Gerry McCann might have covered up the true facts concerning Madeleine McCann's disappearance and/or misled the authorities investigating her disappearance.
 
We also suggested that the McCanns' friends had been identified as potential suspects.
 
We now accept that these suggestions should never have been made and were completely untrue.
 
We apologise to Jane Tanner, Russell O'Brien, Fiona Payne, David Payne, Matthew Oldfield, Rachael Oldfield and Diane Webster to whom we have agreed to pay substantial damages which they will be donating to the Find Madeleine Fund.

Madeleine McCann: Daily Express publishes apology to 'Tapas Seven', 16 October 2008
Madeleine McCann: Daily Express publishes apology to 'Tapas Seven' Telegraph
 
The Daily Express newspaper has printed an apology to friends of Kate and Gerry McCann, as part of a legal settlement thought to include nearly 400,000 in damages.
 
By Matthew Moore
Last Updated: 8:18AM BST 16 Oct 2008 
 
The group – known as the Tapas Seven – had taken action against the Express Group over a series of articles relating to the disappearance of Madeleine McCann from the Portuguese resort where they were all holidaying last year.
 
Under the headline "Tapas Seven – an apology" on page five of Thursday's paper, the Daily Express apologised for publishing "completely untrue" suggestions that the friends may have lied about the circumstances of the case.
 
"In articles published between July and December last year we suggested that the holiday companions of Kate and Gerry McCann might have covered up the true facts concerning Madeleine McCann's disappearance and/or misled the authorities investigating her disappearance," the apology read.
 
"We also reported speculation that one member of the group, Dr Russell O'Brien, was suspected of involvement with Madeleine's abduction.
 
"We now accept that these suggestions should never have been made and were completely untrue.
 
"We apologise to Jane Tanner, Russell O'Brien, Fiona Payne, David Payne, Matthew Oldfield, Rachael Oldfield and Diane Webster to whom we have agreed to pay substantial damages which they will donate to the Find Madeleine Fund."
 
The same apology was printed in the Daily Star newspaper.
 
The full details of the Tapas Seven's settlement with Express Newspapers, which also publishes the Sunday Express and Daily Star, will be outlined in the High Court.
 
The seven, who are represented by Carter-Ruck, are expected to be at court except for Russell O'Brien and Jane Tanner.
 
It is understood that the group will receive around 375,000 which will be donated to the Find Madeleine Fund, taking the total in the fund to more than 800,000.
 
The Express Group paid Mrs and Mrs McCann 500,000 compensation over the suggestion that they may have been involved in their daughter's disappearance.

'Tapas 7' arrive at High Court, 16 October 2008
'Tapas 7' Arrive At High Court Sky News
 
BREAKING NEWS
 
10:27am UK, Thursday October 16, 2008
 
Friends of Kate and Gerry McCann have arrived at the High Court to receive 375,000 in newspaper damages.
 
The Express Newspapers group will pay out the huge sum after falsely claiming the so-called 'Tapas 7' misled the Madeleine investigation.
 
It has also apologised to the friends, who were eating with the couple in a nearby restaurant on the night the girl disappeared.
 
The seven are expected to donate the money to the Find Madeleine fund.
 
More follows...
 
*
 
Update:
 
'Tapas 7' Arrive At High Court Sky News
 
10:39am UK, Thursday October 16, 2008
 
Friends of Kate and Gerry McCann have arrived at the High Court to receive 375,000 in newspaper damages. 

'Tapas Seven' arrive at High Court
Kate and Gerry McCann friends arrive at High Court

The Express Newspapers group will pay out the huge sum after falsely claiming the so-called 'Tapas 7' misled the Madeleine investigation.
 
It has also apologised to the friends, who were eating with the couple in a nearby restaurant on the night the girl disappeared.
 
The seven are couples Jane Tanner and Russell O'Brien, Rachael and Matthew Oldfield, Fiona and David Payne, and Mrs Payne's mother, Dianne Webster.
 
They are expected to donate the money to the Find Madeleine fund.
 
The friends were on holiday with the McCanns in Praia da Luz, Portugal, last May, when Madeleine disappeared, just days before her fourth birthday.
 
The nickname for the group came from the restaurant where all nine adults were dining when Madeleine went missing from her family's holiday apartment nearby.
 
Sky's Crime correspondent Martin Brunt said: "This is the third time this year newspapers have agreed a settlement.
 
"The first was against Express Newspapers - they were forced to pay out just over 500,000 to Kate and Gerry McCann for more than 100 defamatory articles.
 
"In July, a number of newspaper groups were involved in an even bigger payout - around 600,000 - to Robert Murat, the first suspect in the case, who was subsequently cleared of suspicion by the Portuguese authorities."
 
*
 
Update to headline/header:
 
'Tapas 7' Receive 375k Damages
 
10:53am UK, Thursday October 16, 2008
 
Friends of Kate and Gerry McCann have received 375,000 in newspaper damages at the High Court.
 
The Express Newspapers group paid out the huge sum after falsely claiming the so-called 'Tapas 7' misled the Madeleine investigation.
 
It also apologised to the friends, who were eating with the couple in a nearby restaurant on the night the girl disappeared.
 
(article then continues as above)
 
*
 
'Tapas 7' Receive 375k Damages Sky News
 
11:01am UK, Thursday October 16, 2008
 
Friends of Kate and Gerry McCann have received 375,000 in newspaper damages at the High Court.
 
The Express Newspapers group paid out the huge sum after falsely claiming the so-called 'Tapas 7' misled the Madeleine investigation.
 
It also apologised to the friends, who were eating with the couple in a nearby restaurant on the night the girl disappeared.
 
The seven - couples Jane Tanner and Russell O'Brien, Rachael and Matthew Oldfield, Fiona and David Payne, and Mrs Payne's mother, Dianne Webster - said they will donate the money to the Find Madeleine fund.
 
Speaking outside court, Fiona Payne said the libellous stories printed in the Express and Star newspapers had been "detrimental to the search for Madeleine - this aspect has been particularly heart-breaking to ourselves."
 
The friends were on holiday with the McCanns in Praia da Luz, Portugal, last May, when Madeleine disappeared, just days before her fourth birthday.
 
(article then continues as previously)
 
*
 
'Tapas 7' Receive 375k Damages Sky News
 
11:09am UK, Thursday October 16, 2008
 
Friends of Kate and Gerry McCann have received 375,000 in newspaper damages at the High Court.
 
The Express Newspapers group paid out the huge sum after falsely claiming the so-called 'Tapas 7' misled the Madeleine investigation.
 
It also apologised to the friends, who were eating with the couple in a nearby restaurant on the night the girl disappeared.
 
The seven - couples Jane Tanner and Russell O'Brien, Rachael and Matthew Oldfield, Fiona and David Payne, and Mrs Payne's mother, Dianne Webster - said they will donate the money to the Find Madeleine fund.
 
Speaking outside court, Mrs Payne said the pay-out "changed little" because Madeleine was still missing.
 
She said the libellous stories printed in the Express and Star newspapers were not only personally, but "detrimental to the search for Madeleine - this aspect has been particularly heart-breaking to ourselves."
 
Statement From Tapas 7 Outside The High Court

Mrs Payne also urged anyone with information to get in contact through the Find Madeleine website, stressing: "We believe that Madeleine is still alive and can be found."
 
The friends were on holiday with the McCanns in Praia da Luz, Portugal, last May, when Madeleine disappeared, just days before her fourth birthday.
 
(article then continues as previously)
 
*
 
Update to headline and photo changed:
 
Madeleine: 'Tapas 7' Win Damages Sky News
 
1:44pm UK, Thursday October 16, 2008
 
Friends of Kate and Gerry McCann have accepted 375,000 in newspaper damages at the High Court.

'Tapas 7' at the high court

(article then continues as previously)
 

Madeleine McCann: Express apologises to the 'tapas seven' in high court, 16 October 2008
Madeleine McCann: Express apologises to the 'tapas seven' in high court Guardian
 
Oliver Luft at the high court and Stephen Brook 
Thursday October 16 2008 11.08 BST

Tapas 7 at the high court

Express Newspapers today apologised in the high court to the "tapas seven" and paid them 375,000 in libel damages for printing false allegations about them after the disappearance of Madeleine McCann.
 
The group had been dining with Madeleine's parents, Kate and Gerry, the night the girl disappeared from her holiday apartment in the Praia da Luz resort in Portugal on May 3, 2007.
 
Today's apology came after Express Newspapers titles the Daily Express and Daily Star printed apologies to the "tapas seven".
 
Adam Tudor, from law firm Carter-Ruck, representing the group, said in the statement read out in the high court: "The defendant accepts that these allegations are wholly untrue and there was no evidence to support them.
 
"The defendant accepts that these actions of the claimants following Madeleine's disappearance were entirely proper and were motivated by a desire to find Madeleine and to support the McCann family through a very difficult time."
 
Six members of the group - Jane Tanner, Fiona Payne, David Payne, Matthew Oldfield, Rachael Oldfield and Diane Webster - were at the high court when the statement was read out in front of Mr Justice Eady. The seventh member, Russell O'Brien, was not present.
 
The 375,000 damages payment will go to the Find Madeleine Fund. Express Newspapers has also agreed to pay the legal costs of the "tapas seven".
 
Solicitor Keith Mathieson, acting for Express Newspapers, said: "The defendant apologises to all of the claimants for publishing false allegations about them. The defendant regrets the distress caused."
 
Fiona Payne spoke on behalf of the "tapas seven" outside the high court: "The abduction of Madeleine McCann, daughter of our friends Kate and Gerry on May 3, 2007, changed all our lives in an instant, but for no one more so than Madeleine.
 
"The defamatory stories written about us were not only extremely damaging on a personal level but we strongly feel were detrimental to the search for Madeleine. This aspect has been particularly heartbreaking.
 
"Although we are very pleased with today's result it changes little. Madeleine's plight remains ongoing: she is still missing, her abductor is still free. Our only motivation is to see her finally recovered and reunited with her family that so adore her.
 
"We believe that Madeleine is still alive and can be found. We ask anyone who has any information, however small, to come forward, as we thank wholeheartedly all those who have already done so."
 
Today's payout follows previous libel damages settlements this year by British papers to the McCanns and to Robert Murat.
 
In July, Murat accepted more than 600,000 in damages from 11 British newspapers after he was libelled in more than 100 articles.
 
The Express Newspapers-owned Daily Express, Sunday Express and Daily Star; Associated Newspapers' Daily Mail, Evening Standard, and Metro; Mirror Group Newspapers' Daily Mirror and Sunday Mirror and Scottish Daily Record; and News Group's Sun and News of the World acknowledged that the stories they had run about Murat over nine months were entirely untrue and should never have been printed.
 
In March, Kate and Gerry McCann accepted 550,000 from Express Newspapers after the Daily and Sunday Express, the Daily Star and Daily Star Sunday ran numerous defamatory articles after their daughter Madeleine disappeared from the Praia da Luz resort on May 3, 2007.

'Tapas seven' make statement, 16 October 2008
Libel payout for McCann friends BBC News
 
Page last updated at 11:08 GMT, Thursday, 16 October 2008 12:08 UK
 
Seven friends who were dining with the McCanns when their daughter Madeleine disappeared have received a 375,000 libel payout from Express Newspapers.
 
It comes after untrue allegations about the conduct of the so-called "tapas seven" appeared in three newspapers.
 
Jane Tanner, Russell O'Brien, Fiona and David Payne, Matthew and Rachel Oldfield and Diane Webster are donating the money to the Find Madeleine fund.
 
Madeleine, of Rothley, Leicestershire, went missing in Portugal in May 2007.
 
Search goes on
 
The damages relate to articles in the Daily Express, the Sunday Express and the Daily Star between July and December last year.
 
In a joint statement outside London's High Court read by Mrs Payne, the friends said they were pleased with the result but that it changed very little.
 
In the court, solicitor-advocate Adam Tudor told Mr Justice Eady the articles had suggested that at least some of the seven - particularly Dr Russell O'Brien - had been identified as potential suspects by the Portuguese authorities.
 
The newspapers had also suggested the friends had covered up the true facts and misled the authorities.
 
Solicitor Keith Mathieson, for Express Newspapers, apologised to the individuals and said the newspaper accepted that the allegations were wholly untrue.
 
The statement read by Mrs Payne said the stories written about the seven were "not only extremely damaging on a personal level, but we strongly feel were detrimental to the search for Madeleine".
 
"This aspect has been particularly heartbreaking to witness."
 
The group said they still believed Madeleine could be found, and urged anyone with information to come forward.
 
The statement said: "She is still missing and her abductor still free. Our only aim is to see her safely recovered and reunited with the family who so adore her."
 
Both the Daily Express and the Daily Star newspapers published apologies to the seven in Thursday's editions.
 
They said: "We now accept that these suggestions should never have been made and were completely untrue."
 
The apology is expected to be repeated in the Sunday Express.
 
Madeleine was in a holiday apartment in Praia da Luz, in the Algarve, with her younger twin siblings when she disappeared on 3 May 2007 - just eight days before her fourth birthday.
 
Her parents Kate and Gerry McCann were having dinner with their friends at a tapas restaurant 100 yards from the apartment at the time.
 
The friends have since been dubbed the "tapas seven" by the media.
 
When Mrs McCann returned to check on the children at 2200 local time, she realised Madeleine had disappeared.
 
On 15 May 2007, British-born Robert Murat was made an official suspect - or "arguido" - in the case and in September that year Madeleine's parents were also formally named as suspects.
 
But the police inquiry into the girl's disappearance was wound up this July because of a lack of evidence.
 
Previous payouts
 
The McCanns and Mr Murat - who have always strongly denied having had any involvement in what happened to Madeleine - were then declared to no longer be formal suspects.
 
Thursday's newspaper apologies are not the first about articles relating to the case.
 
Last month The News of the World apologised for publishing extracts of Kate McCann's diary without her permission.
 
In July Mr Murat accepted a 600,000 damages settlement over allegations in 11 UK newspapers that he had been involved in Madeleine's disappearance.
 
In March, Madeleine's parents won a libel settlement and apology from Express Newspapers for suggesting they had been responsible.
 
The newspaper group paid 550,000 to the Find Madeleine campaign and the Daily Express and Daily Star both carried front-page apologies under the headline "Kate and Gerry McCann: Sorry".
 
*
 
'Tapas seven' make statement
 
Page last updated at 11:00 GMT, Thursday, 16 October 2008 12:00 UK
 
 
In a joint statement outside London's High Court read by Fiona Payne, Kate and Gerry McCann's friends said they were pleased with the result but that it changed very little.
 
Express Newspapers paid 375,000 damages to the group for a series of defamatory articles it published following the abduction of Madeleine McCann in Portugal last year.

'The Tapas Seven' - An apology, 19 October 2008
'The Tapas Seven' - An apology Sunday Express
 
Sunday October 19, 2008
 
In articles published on 16 September and 2 December 2007 we suggested that Russell O'Brien and Jane Tanner, the holiday companions of Kate and Gerry McCann, might be named as official suspects by the Portuguese police investigating Madeleine's disappearance and that Dr O'Brien might have helped to cover up the true facts.
 
We now accept that these suggestions should never have been made and were completely untrue.
 
We apologise to Russell O'Brien and Jane Tanner to whom we have agreed to pay substantial damages which they will be donating to the Find Madeleine Fund.

The two offending Sunday Express articles, which are reproduced here for reference purposes:

McCann friends could face police quiz, 16 September 2007
McCann friends could face police quiz Sunday Express (article no longer available online)
 
Russell O'Brien could be questioned over his statement
 
By Padraic Flanagan in Praia da Luz
Saturday September 15, 2007 (appeared in Sunday Express following day)
 
FRIENDS of Kate and Gerry McCann could have helped the couple get rid of daughter Madeleine's body, it was claimed last night.
 
According to sources in Portugal, detectives plan to ask several of the McCanns' dining companions to return to answer more questions about the night the youngster disappeared.
 
Police believe alleged discrepancies in their accounts demand fresh investigation. The friends have angrily denied the conspiracy "hurtful" theory.
 
Officers are thought to be working on the theory that some may have been involved in the four-year-old's disappearance on May 3 or took part in a cover-up.
 
The revelation comes after it emerged sniffer dogs detected blood in a second apartment near the McCanns Ocean Club apartment in Praia da Luz.
 
Detectives are waiting for the results of samples sent to Britain's Forensic Science Service, which they believe will show the body was hidden there. The McCanns were dining with seven friends just 40 yards from their apartment when Madeleine went missing from a ground-floor bedroom.
 
Prosecutors believe proving that Kate and Gerry killed their daughter and hid her body would be difficult or impossible without finding her body or suggesting where she was dumped.
 
A senior officer in the case, Luis Sequeira, said: "The fact that the sniffer dogs found the trail of Madeleine in another apartment in the complex is a very important one."
 
Police in Portugal are examining the theory that Mrs McCann may have accidentally killed Madeleine and allegedly relied on her husband and friends to help dispose of the body. The friends, including doctor Russell O'Brien and his partner Jane Tanner, consistently deny any wrong-doing.
 
The McCanns vehemently reject any involvement in the death of their daughter but the exact sequence of events on the night she disappeared are shrouded in mystery.
 
It was reported yesterday that officers believe some of the accounts were deliberately falsified to help cover up a crime.
 
They are understood to be considering adding to the list of official suspects because of the conflicts and contradictions in statements, Portuguese newspaper Correio da Manha said.
 
Officers putting the case against Mrs McCann claim it would have been almost impossible for the couple to hide the body for several months before moving it and then covering up the death without the help of others.
 
"Straight after the disappearance it was noticeable how all the attention was focused only on the couple," said a source close to the case.
 
"And in the months that followed, the McCanns' every movement was covered by a battalion of journalists, so it would have been difficult for them to do anything in secret."
 
The source said detectives are troubled by apparent inconsistencies in the timings given by the group, especially the child monitoring activities while they dined.
 
Investigators are reconsidering Ms Tanner's claim that she saw a man with what looked like a child in his arms walking away from the apartment. She has always said that her version of events is true and correct.
 
Police in Portugal may send British police a list of questions they want the friends to answer, allowing some interviews to take place in this country.

McCanns' friend quiz over "mystery" phone call, 02 December 2007
McCanns' friend quiz over "mystery" phone call Sunday Express (article was never published online)
 
Sunday 02 December 2007
 
A close friend of Kate and Gerry McCann who was holidaying with them when Madeleine vanished will be questioned by Portuguese police this week over a "mystery" phone call.

Dr Russell O'Brien, 36, has come under investigation after a team of telephone surveillance officers highlighted a mobile phone call made to the missing four-year-old's father just over a month after she disappeared.

Portuguese detectives now believe that a phone call between Gerry McCann, 39, and Dr O'Brien is the missing link in Madeleine's disappearance and could help find her body.

Investigators are focusing on the exact whereabouts of Dr O'Brien when the call was made on June 10.

Last night it was unclear exactly what was said during the debated call but it is understood that key words aroused police suspicions.

The development is a massive blow to the McCanns who had been led to believe they would be cleared of any involvement in their daughter's alleged death by Christmas.

A team of senior detectives are to fly to Britain after gaining official permission to re-interview certain members of the group, including Dr O'Brien. He has taken advice from a lawyer recommended by the McCann legal team.

The Sunday Express has learned Mr McCann told police the call, 38 days after Madeleine vanished, was made within 4km of the Mark Warner resort in Praia da Luz where the party were staying but technicians working on the mobile phone network have dismissed his claim after examining records.

It has also emerged that each member of the "Tapas Nine" was placed under surveillance after Brisitish communications experts arrived in the Algarve at the end of May.

A close friend of the group told how just weeks after Madeleine went missing, her parents and their friends had grown concerned they were being closely watched by Portuguese police.

He said: "Although they never officially thought they were under surveillance - Kate and Gerry were always cautious when making calls because they knew it was possible that somebody could be listening in.

"They were concerned that their phones could have been tapped or that the electronic traffic between them and their friends was being recorded"

Kate and Gerry, both 39, were named as "arguidos", formal suspects, in their daughter's disappearance on September 9.

They have not been charged but police let it be known they had evidence to indicate that Madeleine accidentally died in apartment 5A and her body was hidden for weeks before being moved in the boot of a Renault Scenic the family hired 25 days later.

British experts attempted to trace the movements of Madeleine's abductor by following a trail left by mobile telephone signals. The technique helped convict Ian Huntley for the murders of Holly wells and Jessica Chapman in Soham, Cambridgeshire, in 2002.

Trails are created by silent transmissions sent by mobile phones even when not in use. These create a timed computer log of the handset's movement which can narrow down its location to an area as small as a few square yards.

Police analysts examining records of mobile phones belonging to the McCanns and their holiday group returned their findings to Portuguese prosecutors last week.

Detectives used the detailed information to "test" statements by guests and staff at the Ocean Club complex.

Last week, Portuguese officers arrived in Britain to talk to Leicestershire Police and British forensic experts about the implications of DNA results from tests at the Forensic Science Service's base in Birmingham.

Friends of the McCanns thought the summit indicated Madeleine's parents would be cleared as suspects after DNA evidence against them appeared to collapse, but last night it was clear there are still doubts about contradictions in the statements the group gave to police. Both Kate and Gerry McCann deny any involvement with Madeleine's disappearance but police still maintain the case against them does not rely on DNA results.

Dr O'Brien could also be named as an arguido. Last night a friend said: "If he faces a situation where the arguido status becomes an issue, it allows certain rights, like the right to have a lawyer present and the right to remain silent."

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Now hunt centres on disused barn

The hunt for Madeleine McCann last night centred on a disused barn near Praia da Luz where police found a towel stained with what may turn out to be the little girl's blood.

Fibres found on the towel allegedly match fibres from the hire car rented by Maddie's parents, Kate and Gerry McCann.

Portuguese detectives discussed the breakthrough when they met British police and a Crown Prosecution Service official last week at a police station in Leicester.

Today for the first time the Sunday Express can shed light on the new avenue plicie are pursuing in the hope of a breakthrough in the baffling case.

Based on fresh information from mobile phone surveillance police began a search of an area in the south east of the resort. They came across a towel, with an Aztec design, near a disused barn in a remote area close to Praia da Luz.

Portuguese sources say forensic scientists used a substance called Luminol to look for blood deposits and found three sites on the edges of the towel. They tested the blood deposits to see if there was a match for Madeleine's DNA.

Although the samples were not good quality the scientists were able to do what is called low copy analysis, which showed there was "moderate" support to suggest the blood deposits matched Madeleine's blood.

The results were not conclusive are not regarded as being strong enough to be presented as evidence in any court case.

They also found a loaf and a carrier bag, which produced no significant information, but close analysis of the towel revealed fibres which were not made of the towel material. The fibre fragments were microscopically examined against fibres found in the boot of the Renault Scenic hired by the McCanns 25 days after Maddie vanished.

Portuguese police said there was "strong support" that the fibres found on the towel matched fibres from the boot of the car.

One possibility being considered by the Portuguese detectives was that the towel had at some point been in the boot of the Renault Scenic, which would explain how fibres had got on it.

The Real McCann Scandal, 23 October 2008
The Real McCann Scandal New Statesman
 
Brian Cathcart
Published 23 October 2008
 
Brian Catchcart details how the British press set out to systematically destroy the parents of Madeleine McCann.
 
You may have missed it: at the High Court in London on 15 October, Express Newspapers agreed to pay 375,000 in libel damages to the so-called "Tapas Seven", the friends of Kate and Gerry McCann who were with the couple in Portugal when Madeleine McCann disappeared.
 
This development did not receive much coverage. There were three sentences in the Sun on page 21, for example, and just a little more in the Daily Mirror on page 20. In the Daily Express itself you might easily have failed to spot the apology that was part of the settlement, as the two paragraphs in the top corner of page five were a little lost beside the bold headline blaring out across the rest of the spread: "Let the jobless lag lofts, says Brown". The Tapas Seven victory, it seems, was treated as a minor footnote to a burned-out story; few people were likely to be interested.
 
Well, they ought to be interested, because the McCann case was the greatest scandal in our news media in at least a decade - an outrage far worse than the Andrew Gilligan "sexed-up dossier" affair of 2003 - and those responsible are now slinking away almost unpunished. They are escaping, moreover, by the most shameful of means. The editors and proprietors of the papers responsible for the great balloon of speculative nonsense that was the McCann story had the power to kill off discussion of what went wrong in the press, and they used it. When their balloon burst, they simply began pretending it had never existed.
 
Not one editor and, so far as I know, not one reporter has lost his or her job or even faced formal reprimand as a result of the McCann coverage. There has been no serious inquest in the industry and no organised attempt to establish what went wrong, while no measures have been taken to prevent a repetition. Where there have been consequences, as with the Tapas Seven, they have come from outside and been reported to the public with the most grudging economy.
 
This is a remarkable evasion of responsibility by an industry which is the first to boast of its own importance to a healthy democracy, and it is all the more unpalatable when you consider the standards this same industry expects of others.
 
"We want scapegoats," wrote Max Hastings in the Daily Mail recently, as he surveyed the wreckage of the banking industry. "And when we have the names, like the profiteers of the First World War, they should be perceived as men and women whom decent people will not share a park bench with." Patrick O'Flynn, chief political commentator of the Daily Express, took a similar line: "Setting aside the quite understandable desire for revenge against the reckless bankers who enriched themselves for so long at our expense, there are other perfectly sound reasons for insisting that the bosses of British finance are dispatched to the nearest jobcentre."
 
The Mirror applauded Gordon Brown when he went "gunning for greedy bankers" and demanded that "heads must roll". So did the Guardian's business editor, Deborah Hargreaves, who wanted to see the fat cats in court, while in the same paper Simon Jenkins thought the time might have come for firing squads.
 
Our national press is unforgiving when things go wrong, and the problem doesn’t have to be as apocalyptic as the banking crisis. Ask Steve McClaren, pilloried so comprehensively for his performance as England manager that he now coaches at a small club in the eastern Netherlands. Ask Sir Ian Blair, the former Commissioner of the Met, whose scalp was demanded by most of the right-wing press even though crime figures were improving. Ask the two BA executives who had to go after the disastrous opening of Heathrow’s Terminal Five (Willie Walsh, their boss, survived a clamour of calls for his own resignation). Ask, indeed, the long line of government ministers from Charles Clarke back to Cecil Parkinson and beyond, who have been ordered out of office by editors and leader writers whose high expectations they failed to satisfy. If anything like the same standards were applied to the people running national newspapers, at least three or four of them would have been dispatched to their nearest jobcentres months ago for their conduct in the McCann coverage.
 
Very few stories have commanded such intense public interest since the death of Princess Diana, and editors found that the image of Madeleine, or her name in a headline, was almost a daily necessity. If it didn't add sales, then at least it helped a paper compete with other titles doing the same thing. But look at what we now know about the stories published in this hyster ical atmosphere, starting with ones about the Tapas Seven. In as many as 20 articles published over six months, the Sunday and Daily Express and the Daily Star suggested that this group covered up the truth about the girl's disappearance and misled the police who were invest igating the case. They also suggested that one member of the group was officially suspected of being in volved in abducting Madeleine.
 
As the official apology put it: "We now accept that these suggestions should never have been made and were completely untrue." That apology came three months after the former suspect Robert Murat and two associates, Michaela Walczuch and Sergey Malinka, accepted between them 800,000 in damages from the Daily and Sunday Express, the Daily Star, the Daily Mirror, the Sunday Mirror, the Daily Record, Metro, the London Evening Standard, the Daily Mail, the Sun and the News of the World.
 
In nearly 100 articles, these 11 newspapers made allegations against the three which they admitted were entirely without foundation - allegations which could hardly have been graver, since they included lying to the police, paedophile activities and involvement in the abduction of Madeleine McCann. And four months before that apology, Express Newspapers paid 550,000 to Gerry and Kate McCann, who had sued over more than 100 stories about them in the group's four titles, some of which were "grossly defamatory". The real picture is probably even worse, since, in a perverse way, the Express papers were unlucky to be singled out. Anyone who read the McCann coverage elsewhere in the national press will know that the McCanns could probably have sued other titles with equal success; why they didn't is their business.
 
Such a catalogue cannot be dismissed as a one-off error caused by the misjudgements of individuals - a description that might be applied to the Andrew Gilligan affair and certainly applies to the Daily Mirror fake Iraq torture photo graphs scandal (both of which, incidentally, led to resignations and sackings). Error on this scale, involving hundreds of "completely untrue" news reports, published on front pages month after month in the teeth of desperate denials, can only be systemic. Judging by what appeared in print, it involved a reckless neglect of ethical standards, a persistent failure to apply even the most basic journalistic rigour, and plenty of plain cruelty.
 
No explanation has emerged besides the obvious one: that this was all done to sell newspapers. Seeing the scale of public interest, it looks as though editors were ready to publish stories, and reporters were ready to write them, even when they had no merit whatsoever. Is that better or worse than the crimes of Sir Fred "the Shred" Goodwin, now shamed out of his job running Royal Bank of Scotland, or of Steve McClaren, or of Sir Ian Blair? Perhaps this judgement is harsh. Perhaps what went wrong in Praia da Luz was more innocent or subtle than it appears. Perhaps it was really all the fault of the Portuguese police, or of the unreasonable demands of the newspaper-reading public.
 
In that case, as these papers might say in other circumstances, we should be told. If a matter is complicated, the standard response of the leader writers is to demand a public inquiry to get all the evidence out in the open and deliver an informed verdict. And an inquiry might not only look at the conduct of reporters and newspapers, but could also assess the arguments about the conduct of the McCanns, who have been accused of manipulating public opinion through adept use of public relations. Journalists have made much of this, though it is hard to see how anything the couple did could justify so many unfounded news stories, most of them published on front pages.
 
But fitting as these matters are for an inquiry, and enlightening though it would be to hear the evidence of the various parties, as things stand there is no likelihood that an inquiry might take place. What we have had instead is a brief flurry of brooms as this shameful episode was swept under the carpet, and no acknowledgement whatever of the scale of the fault. And it is useless to protest that justice has been done in the courts, with those damages and apologies. The sums are far below the levels that might alter behaviour in Fleet Street; indeed, editors laugh off such penalties when, as in this case and in the recent Max Mosley sadomasochist sex scandal, they can be set against extra copies sold.
 
What is to be done with proprietors and editors who are shameless enough to tolerate such errors, cynical enough to cover them up and hypocritical enough to demand that others resign for faults that are less grave? All I can suggest, taking my lead from Max Hastings, is this: if you happen to see one of them on a park bench, make a point of sitting somewhere else.
 
Brian Cathcart is professor of journalism at Kingston University

With thanks to Nigel at McCann Files

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