The Mark Warner Ocean Club nannies are believed to be key witnesses to
the events of May 3rd.
Also on this page a look at what childcare facilities were, and were not,
available to the McCanns and their friends.
Nanny No.2: Charlotte Pennington
The vital witness: Nanny Charlotte Pennington
Kate McCann DID scream 'They've taken her' claims new nanny witness
By Dan Newling
Last updated at 16:41 25 September 2007
The first eyewitness account of the frantic moments after Madeleine McCann disappeared can be revealed today.
Nanny Charlotte Pennington confirms that Kate McCann did scream: "They've taken her, they've taken her!"
The mother's precise words have become a pivotal issue in the case, with Portuguese police questioning why she would
automatically assume Maddie had been abducted.
Mrs McCann's family have countered this by insisting they recall her shouting: "Madeleine's gone."
Miss Pennington, however, one of the first people to set foot in the couple's apartment after the disappearance, says
she heard the mother use both phrases.
The 20-year-old Briton, who tended children for the Mark Warner holiday complex in Praia da Luz, firmly believes the
McCanns are innocent.
Speaking publicly for the first time yesterday, she described Mrs McCann in the aftermath as "a broken woman" who was
shuddering and unable to move.
"We are trained to comfort people in this type of situation but she was just inconsolable," she said.
Miss Pennington is considered a vital witness by Portuguese detectives with whom she spent more than four-and-a-half
hours giving a statement.
She also claims British expat Robert Murat, the first suspect in the case, was in the area of the Ocean Club complex
that night. He has repeatedly denied that he was there.
Talking from her mother's home in Leatherhead, Surrey, yesterday she told the Daily Mail: "I was in the apartment less
than five minutes after they found that Madeleine had gone.
"When we were coming out we saw Kate and she was screaming: 'They've taken her, they've taken her!'
"I was standing right in front of her outside the apartment's back door, in the alleyway. I was very close to her. It
might not have been the first thing she said. But she definitely said it.
"I was one of three Mark Warner staff who saw her shouting it. They have all given statements to the Portuguese police
The "they've taken her" version of events was first given in the Portuguese press two days after Madeleine disappeared
on May 3.
It remained unchallenged until last Thursday when a source close to the McCann family claimed Kate had actually shouted:
Miss Pennington flew out to start work at Praia da Luz on April 28 - the same day that the McCanns arrived. She had worked
for Mark Warner on two previous occasions.
She was employed as a nanny in the Ocean Club resort's Baby Club, looking after children aged four to 12 months.
However, she also came into close contact with Madeleine, her two-year-old sister and brother Amelie and Sean, and their
parents, both doctors aged 39.
She dismissed claims that the McCanns were not seen for six hours leading up to the disappearance.
She said: "I was helping give the children high tea. The twins were there and Madeleine and both parents.
"It was supposed to finish at 5.30pm but because they were a big group and really social, it didn't finish until about
6pm. There was nothing out of the ordinary at all."
After tea Miss Pennington went to work at the resort's evening creche, in which parents could leave their children while
they went out for supper.
Just before 10pm the last mother arrived to collect her child from the creche and mentioned that she had just bumped
into a man, who had been shouting a name.
"She didn't get the name, but she said it sounded something like 'Abbey, Gabby or Maddie'. We automatically went into
lost-child procedure. In these situations, the first thing we do is investigate the scene.
"We knew that one of the other nanny's charges was called Maddie. We told the head of department what had happened and
she took us straight to the apartment.
"There were no children in the room. The twins had been taken out already, I think by one of the McCanns' friends.
"When we were coming out we saw Kate and she was screaming: 'They've taken her. They've taken her!'
Asked if it was the only thing she said, Miss Pennington answered: "It might not have been the first thing she said.
But she definitely said it. She also repeated Madeleine's name and said: 'She's gone, she's gone'.
"I couldn't really believe what I was seeing - she was just so distraught. She was screaming out and tears were running
down her face.
"Everyone else was running around trying to help.
"Kate and her friend, who was looking after her, were the only ones who weren't out looking for Madeleine."
While Gerry McCann leapt into action and began frantically searching the resort, she said his wife remained outside the
apartment, shuddering with tears and unable to move.
Asked why she thought Mrs McCann might have shouted "They've taken her", Miss Pennington said:
"I'm not really sure. But maybe she saw some people looking at Madeleine earlier that day, and she immediately thought
that they must have taken her."
The nanny was one of three staff who steered Mrs McCann to the nearby reception area, where they asked her to describe
what Madeleine was wearing.
But she remained so hysterical that she could hardly communicate.
"We get missing children all the time, and I have seen plenty of hysterical mothers. But none of them were like Kate."
She confirmed reports from the McCanns' friends that Murat was at the scene.
"He was outside the lobby just before we started on our big search," she said.
"He was adamant that he wasn't there. But he was. He was there in the road, he was just looking. It was about 10.30.
He was just watching.
"I didn't know his name then. But the next day he was our interpreter and I met him then. He didn't take part in the
searches, but he was there."
Murat has insisted that he was at his home nearby throughout the evening of Madeleine's disappearance. Portuguese sources
have claimed that he will soon be told that he is no longer a suspect.
Miss Pennington explained that she spent the rest of the evening searching for Madeleine, before finally going to bed
The following afternoon she was one of the first people to give witness statements to the Portuguese police.
Since then, she said, she has spoken to a Portuguese detective once and to two British detectives.
Note: On Dispatches, Charlotte Pennington said:
"On May the third, it was just Madeleine I was reading a story to. I later saw them around lunchtime. That's the last
time I saw them together as a family."
Nanny No.3: Kirsty Maryan
Cavorting half-naked as a pole-dancing nurse, the nanny
who is a key witness in Maddie case Daily Mail
by David Wilkes
Last updated at 12:05 08 December 2007
The party is in full swing as childminders from the resort where
Madeleine McCann vanished let their hair down.
In a series of photos, nannies from the Ocean Club in Praia da Luz
are seen in provocative and sometimes lurid poses.
Kirsty Maryan, 19, who has been described by the McCann family's
private investigators as a key witness in the case, poses in a nurse's uniform and stockings and suspenders.
Goodtime girl: Ocean Club nanny Kirsty Maryan as Miss Massage
In one shot, she pretends to be a poledancer. In another she unzips to the waist while holding a finger to her lips.
A logo on her outfit reads 'Miss Massage'.
In others, Ocean Club nannies are pictured pulling down their jeans and pants to moon at the camera.
Most disturbingly, Emma Wilding, 22, is snapped exposing her bottom while wearing one of the yellow wristbands sold to
raise funds for the Find Madeleine campaign.
Madeleine's mother Kate has worn one of the bands ever since her daughter disappeared.
In another picture Miss Maryan, stripped down to her black bra, dances with Miss Wilding, who has also removed her top.
Flesh photography: Miss Maryan, second from the right, partying with friends
The girls' antics were described last night by a friend of the McCann family as "insensitive" and "inappropriate".
It is unclear exactly when the dozens of photos were taken, but they were only recently posted on the internet social
networking website Facebook.
Some are believed to have been taken on a night out in Praia da Luz, while others, including the nurse uniform shots,
appear to date from a birthday party in Britain.
Miss Wilding says on the website that she met Miss Maryan "randomly" this year at Luton Airport and discovered they would
be working together at the Mark Warner complex.
"We had some amazing nights!" she adds.
Miss Maryan is said to be regarded as an important witness in the case after reportedly voicing doubts about the movements
of suspect Robert Murat in the days following Madeleine's disappearance.
Last night a friend of Madeleine's parents said: "All of the nannies are fully supportive of the search for Madeleine.
No one was more concerned than they were.
"As young women they are entitled to have fun when they have the chance. But it's a tad insensitive to have done this
wearing the wristband.
"It's inappropriate and they should have thought before indulging in this sort of behaviour."
The McCanns made full use of the resort's daytime childminder service during their holiday. Madeleine and her two-year-
old twin siblings Sean and Amelie spent many hours being looked after by the carers.
But on the evening of May 3, Mr and Mrs McCann left their children in their apartment while they dined with their friends
at a nearby tapas bar - something they have been heavily criticised for.
They and the friends took it in turns to make regular checks on the children during the evening.
Last night neither Miss Maryan nor Miss Wilding would comment on the photos.
Miss Maryan's mother Joy, from Eastbourne, Sussex, said: "She is too traumatised to talk about the case."
Miss Wilding's mother Viv, who lives in Chichester, said: "She is here but she does not want to talk about it."
The two girls are now thought to have gone to work at a resort in the French Alps.
A Mark Warner spokesman declined to comment.
Mark Warner Ocean Club childcare arrangements
Mark Warner Ocean Club creche at Praia da Luz
It appears that nearly 8 months down the line there is still a great deal of misunderstanding,
and possible misdirection, surrounding the childcare arrangements that would have been available to the McCanns and friends
on the evening of May 3rd.
What was available:
"Mark Warner has built up an enviable reputation as a child-friendly holiday company and in Praia da Luz its customers
can take advantage of free evening childcare if they dine at one of the resort's two restaurants.
eating in the resort's tapas restaurant, the McCanns elected not to put their children in the creche.
chose to check up on their children themselves."
"Its childcare services include a creche with an outdoor play area, and nannies who organise supervised activities for
There is also babysitting, and a "dining-out" creche service in the evenings for children aged four months
to nine years - parents eating in the resort's restaurants drop the children off and pick them up later."
Mark Warner Ocean Club advertised facilities
Evening crèche service
In all of our resorts we offer an evening crèche service for the younger children
(4 months - 5 years) enabling you to have a relaxing dinner. The evening crèche service operates from 7.30pm until 11.30pm
and allows you to drop off your children at our crèche where they will be entertained with films or games or they can go to
sleep in a designated quiet area.
Extra baby-sitting can be arranged in resort through
the Childcare Manager from €12 per hour. Please note that babysitters are in high demand, and whilst every effort is
made to accommodate requests, this service is subject to staff availability and cannot be guaranteed. Please give at least
24 hours notice if you require this service.
What was not available
"The spokesman confirmed that no special review was being undertaken at the resort, which Mark Warner believes offers
adequate childcare services for those that require it.
The resort has a crèche where parents can leave children while
Families are also offered the option of private babysitters for £10 an hour although availability is limited
and they have to be booked 24 hours in advance.
Unlike most Mark Warner resorts, the Ocean Club does not give parents
the option of a "baby listening service" where nannies tour the complex listening for crying children and then alerting parents.
"That is not a feasible option at the Ocean Club," said the spokesman.
"It is a spread-out resort that is not
exclusive to Mark Warner so it wouldn't work."
To dispell the myth that children were not welcomed or allowed in the restaurants
we have this from David James Smith who appears to be quoting Mr McCann himself.
"Gerry thought how lucky he was, his children asleep nearby, he and Kate free to come and enjoy some adult time at
the restaurant and not have to sit with their children, as this couple were."
*This article written by 'Kashmir' from the Mirror Forum
Child minding services rejected by McCanns on 03 May 2007 (link)
The search for a new personality in the desperate search of the small British four-year-old is complicating even more
the McCanns' situation.
The Technical Services Director of the Ocean Club resort, Silvia Batista, affirmed that the same night on which Madeleine
disappeared, she in person offered child-minding services "because the hotel is responsible for its clients' children, but
they rejected that". Madeleine was seen for the last time on the 3rd of May when she was sleeping next to her siblings in
a rented room in a hotel in Praia da Luz, in the south of Portugal. The parents of the little girl are being questioned for
having left her alone in that room in order to go to eat with some friends.
According to the director of the hotel, "every month registries of robberies in the area are kept, and we therefore advise
the service of a child-minder", but even knowing this, Maddie's parents did not accept it. Batista confirmed in an interview
with the website Globo.com that the hotel has been working from the start with the Police to find the little girl. The director
added that the room used by the McCann family was closed the first two months, then was opened for 15 days, but was then closed
once again. Also, the director of the resort pointed out that in the area there are "many inquisitive people, but they do
not disrupt the routine of the place.
"We did not bear the blame for the disappearance of the little girl, it couldn't
be said whose fault it was, but certainly not ours", assured the director and indicated that "the parents of the girl that
night were very unconcerned", and there was no reason they should not have requested the service of a child-minder.
I just want to go home, says fitness teacher who
is key witness, 16 August 2007
I just want to go home, says fitness teacher who is key witness
Last updated at 12:03 16 August 2007
A Briton critical to the Madeleine McCann investigation has told friends she is now desperate to leave Portugal.
Aerobics instructor Najoua Chekaya was chatting with Gerry and Kate McCann and their friends when Madeleine, then three,
vanished from the family's Algarve apartment in Praia da Luz.
That night, Ms Chekaya had organised a bar quiz at the Ocean Club resort where the McCanns were staying. Her evidence
is understood to corroborate the McCanns' movements in the hour before the disappearance was discovered.
This week police in Portugal publicly declared the McCanns, both doctors from Leicestershire, were not suspects following
a smear campaign which suggested they and their friends were somehow implicated.
Ms Chekaya, 21, from Flitwick, Beds, is still working in Praia da Luz for Ocean Club operator Mark Warner.
But she wrote to one friend on social networking site Facebook: "Missin you guys loads. dun with portugal now, wana cum
home n have fun in flitwick!! neva thought id say that!!"
Portuguese laws make it an offence for witnesses in a criminal inquiry to discuss their evidence, but it is understood
Ms Chekaya was invited by Mr McCann to join his table when the quiz finished at 9.30pm.
It is understood she remained chatting with the McCanns and their friends until 10pm, when Mrs McCann went to check on
Madeleine and discovered her daughter missing. What happened between 9pm and 10pm is likely to hold the key to Madeleine's
Mr McCann checked on Madeleine and her two younger siblings at 9.05pm and reported that all was well and his daughter
About 10 to 15 minutes after he returned to the table, a friend, Jane Tanner, went to check. She reported seeing a dark-haired
man of about 35 carrying a child as she walked back to the bar afterwards but thought nothing of it.
Madeleine and the missing hour: how often did the McCanns check on their
children?, 11 August 2007
Madeleine and the missing hour: how often did the McCanns check on their children?
By SUE REID
Last Updated at 16:31 11 August 2007
Sitting beside a swimming pool in the Algarve on that May evening Gerry and Kate McCann were enjoying themselves. The
tapas bar of the Mark Warner holiday resort in Praia da Luz was buzzing with holidaymakers and it was quiz night.
The McCanns were favourites to win the contest organised by the resort's aerobics teacher Najova Chekaya. After all,
the two doctors had brains on their side. Around their table were seven friends from England, three of them also doctors and
one a top medical research fellow.
The group of nine were holidaying in Portugal and wanted to have a good time. As one of the doctors, Matthew Oldfield,
was to recall: "We drank. So what! We were on holiday."
But 50 yards away on the other side of the swimming pool, the group's children were sleeping alone. In the bedroom of
one ground floor apartment was Madeleine, the McCanns' three-year-old daughter.
Her twin brother and sister, Sean and Amelie, two, lay in cots either side of her. They had been tucked up at 7pm. Half
an hour later the McCanns had joined their friends for dinner at the tapas bar.
What happened next has mystified the world.
At 10pm Kate McCann got up from the table to check on her children. She slipped in through the patio windows to find
the twins safely asleep - and her daughter's bed empty.
In tears and calling out Madeleine's name, she ran back to her friends to tell them: "They've taken her, they've taken
Madeleine has not been seen in the 100 days since May 3. Last night Portuguese police said they were concentrating on
what they call the "missing hour" before Mrs McCann found her daughter gone. They say it is possible that she was kidnapped
after her father last checked her at 9.05pm and her mother's terrible discovery.
Meanwhile the campaign to keep the public aware of Madeleine's name goes on. It has involved her Roman Catholic parents
visiting the Pope.
And, on the instructions of JK Rowling, posters of Madeleine were distributed at British bookshops as they opened for
the sale of the new Harry Potter book.
This week the donations from the public to a Madeleine fund, financing the PR campaign and global search for the little
girl from Rothley in Leicestershire, was nudging £1 million.
More than 50 million people visited the Find Madeleine website in the 48 hours after its launch.
Nothing like this has ever been seen before, and probably never will again.
The campaign has been organised by the McCanns, both 38. Today they believe their daughter is still alive and was abducted
by a stranger. Whether the motive was paedophilia, the sale of Madeleine for adoption or even the trade of her organs, they
have no idea. Nor do they speculate.
As Mr McCann wrote on his website the other day: "The Portuguese police have assured us on numerous occasions that they
are looking for Madeleine and not a corpse."
Yet this week attitudes towards the McCanns underwent a seismic shift, the questions growing more aggressive by the day.
The scenario of a small girl being kidnapped without warning on a spring holiday in a family friendly resort is now the subject
of lurid debate - particularly in Portugal.
Disturbing questions are being asked about the behaviour of the McCanns and their friends.
The catalyst was the discovery this week, by British police with sniffer dogs, of specks of blood on a wall in the family's
The blood is now being analysed in this country, raising unpalatable speculation that Madeleine was killed where she
slept and was then carried off to the beach or bundled into a car boot.
The reluctance of Gerry and Kate McCann or their friends to speak publicly, or in any detail, about the minutiae of the
evening has fuelled the controversy, although they insist it is illegal in Portugal to comment on any police investigation.
In another uncomfortable development the Portuguese press, including the respected newspaper Dairio de Noticias, has
claimed that interviews given by the McCann group to police contain discrepancies. Their stories and the timings of their
movements on the night do not tally.
Furthermore, emails and phone messages sent between the group - and intercepted by the PolÌcia Judiciaria and British
detectives helping the inquiry - are reported to contain conversations that contradict earlier statements.
But the spotlight is equally falling on the seemingly woeful response of the Policia Judiciaria. They only arrived two
hours after the alarm was raised. A British expert on child abduction who visited the resort a few days later said it the
worst preserved crime scene he had ever witnessed.
Twenty people - including resort workers and other holidaymakers - are believed to have entered the McCanns' apartment
after the disappearance. The patio windows at the rear, and the closest point to the tapas bar, were touched by searchers.
The patio had been left open by the McCanns in case of fire and, it appears, so that they could easily check the children.
But what of Madeleine's bedroom? It was situated next to the apartment's front door which is around the corner and a
further 30 yards on, next to a road into the resort and a busy carpark.
Notably the bedroom, completely out of the sight of the tapas bar, had heavy, metal window shutters. These were also
contaminated in the search.
Even her bedtime toy Cuddle Cat - which is now carried by Mrs McCann - was not isolated for forensic analysis.
Local newspapers and television have criticised the McCann group, who left their children alone for two and a half hours
as they wined and dined.
One question being asked is why didn't the parents put their children in the evening creche which is open until 11.30pm?
Why didn't they hire a babysitter, bookable at the Mark Warner reception desk?
In a further twist, locals now claim that Madeleine did not always settle well. One evening they allege she ran away
into the paths between the apartments, hiding for half an hour when it was time for bed.
Whatever the truth, to begin to unravel the mystery one has to go back to the seemingly carefree days at the start of
Gerry and Kate McCann and their friends are like-minded people, with children of similar ages. And they knew each other
in the Midlands. Mr McCann is a consultant cardiologist at a Leicester's Glenfield Hospital and his wife is a GP.
Until recently Dr Oldfield worked at Leicester general hospital. David Payne is a senior research fellow in cardiovascular
sciences at Leicester University and his wife, Fiona, is a doctor. Another of the holidaymakers, Dr Russell O'Brien, also
worked at Leicester University before moving this summer.
Recently they all went to Mark Warner's in Greece where they had devised a plan of leaving their children to sleep while
they had dinner nearby.
As Mr McCann explained: "The distance is so small, it was so close it was almost like having dinner in your garden. What
we were doing was rigorous with multiple people checking at regular intervals."
When asked if Madeleine might have wandered out through the unlocked patio windows towards the swimming pool, or beyond
to the beach, the McCanns dismiss it out of hand.
"We're absolutely certain. We double and treble-checked and have no doubt she was taken," said Mr McCann. Yet another
scenario is now emerging in the local press. It is built on the recollections of other guests and workers at the resort.
The official story from the McCanns is this. Mr McCann said he checked on his three children at 9.05pm. He noticed that
a door in the apartment which had been left shut was ajar.
He thought nothing of it but it may have indicated that a kidnapper was already there. But his daughter was fast asleep
so he went back to the tapas bar.
Another of the group, Jane Tanner, says she took her turn 10 minutes later. She claimed later to police that she saw
a dark-haired man of about 35 carrying a child as she walked back to the bar afterwards but thought nothing of it.
Soon after her return - at 9.45pm - Dr Oldfield did his round of the bedrooms. In a first statement to police, it is
unclear if he actually went inside the McCann flat.
Indeed, one scenario is that many of the checks of the children were not visible, but involved listening at doors or
even from outside the apartments.
However, in a second statement Dr Oldfield insists he did look in Madeleine's bedroom, believes he saw her there, and
that there was light coming in through the windows as though the heavy shutters had been opened.
Again, he thought little of it until afterwards. Then, of course, it was Mrs McCann's turn. She found Madeleine gone.
Madeleine's aunt Trish Cameron recalled that she received a call later that night from her younger brother, Mr McCann,
who told her: "I went back to check the children at nine o'clock. They were all sound asleep, windows shut, shutters shut."
Mrs Cameron related that when Mrs McCann went to the two apartment a little under an hour later: "The shutters had been
jemmied open. They think someone must have come in the window and gone out of the front door with Madeleine."
But what is now perturbing Portuguese police is how could she be abducted when the McCann group were checking so often?
Or have reports inadvertently exaggerated how vigilant the parents really were?
A worker at the tapas bar says that only a tall man, believed to be Russell O'Brien, got up from the table during the
entire evening. Of course, this witness might be wrong. A busy barman could not have eyes on the McCann party for two and
a half hours.
And what of Najova Chekaya, the aerobics teacher running the quiz? She was invited over to the McCann table by Mr McCann
himself when the game ended at 9.30. She stayed for half an hour. She later claimed to friends that nobody left the table.
There is another conundrum too. It concerns the sighting by Jane Tanner of the man carrying a child. He was wearing beige
trousers and smart black shoes. Her report is taken seriously by police.
Yet a British holidaymaker, Jeremy Wilkins, has given a deposition that does not support her evidence. He knew Mr McCann
because he played tennis with him, and was walking his eight-month-old son in the night air when the drama unfolded.
He says that he met Mr McCann, who had come out of his apartment at 9.05pm, and had a word with him. Soon after that
Jane Tanner would have crossed paths with Mr Wilkins and his baby.
Mr Wilkins says he saw no man carrying a child or Jane Tanner herself. "It was a very narrow path and I think it would
have been almost impossible for anyone to walk by without me noticing," he said.
So today the questions remain. Was Madeleine kidnapped or killed? Or unwatched, did she simply walk out and get lost?
How could there be a break in with a jemmy through metal shutters without waking the twins or alerting a passerby?
Someone, somewhere must know the answers.
Najoua Chekaya's short police statement, 14
Duarte Levy and Paulo Reis
Thursday August 14 2008
Najoua Chekaya arrived in Portugal on March 2007, recruited in England
to work for Mark Warner, according to her statement to the PJ, in May 2007. Just a curiosity, the translator was Robert Murat.
She described her daily working routine, as an aerobics instructor and said that when she arrived at Ocean Club, she was asked
also to perform a "Quiz Game", at night (09:00 pm), at the Tapas Bar, twice a week – every Sunday and Tuesday.
On May 1, 2007, after the "Quiz" was finished, Najoua was invited by Gerry McCann to sit at their table,
to have a drink. She was there for 15/20 minutes, between 9.30 and 9:50 pm. There was just casual talk and she doesn't know
if Madeleine's mother was at the table or not.
During that period of time, nobody left the table, but there was an empty chair. Who has been sitting
at that chair, Najoua didn't know.
Note: This is an extremely important piece
of information, as we had previously been led to believe that at 9.30pm, on the night of Madeleine's disappearance, Ms
Chekaya had been invited to join the tapas table, by Gerry McCann, following completion of the quiz. Her police statement
makes it quite clear that this was not the case. Consequently, she cannot corroborate, or provide an alibi for, any of
the McCanns or their friends movements on the night of May 3rd.
First mention of Najoua Chekaya was in
Sol on 30 June 2007:
'An aerobic instructor from the resort
entertains the dinner guests at Tapas with a 'Quiz'. At 9.30 p.m. the game ends, and Gerry invites her to their table, where
she stays for half an hour. During that time, as she later confided to friends, nobody left the table, but one of the chairs
was vacant. Najova Chekaya refuses to talk to Sol.'
The Daily Mail later picked up the story,
twice, as above.
to Nigel at