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McCann's insist Maddie taken

Original Source: SUN: THURSDAY 13 SEPTEMBER 2007
From JULIE MOULT  in Praia da Luz
September 13, 2007
GERRY and Kate McCann have insisted since Day One that their daughter Maddie was snatched from their holiday villa.

They had been dining with seven pals that night and say they regularly checked on her and twins Sean and Amelie.

The couple — legally bound to secrecy — have not spoken of the account they gave cops.

But The Sun can reveal details of precisely what they and others say happened.

The couple collected Maddie and the two-year-old twins from the resort creche at 6pm.

Friends saw her alive and well at 6.40pm — the last time Maddie was seen by anyone other than the family.

Kate put the three children to bed around 7.30pm while Gerry played tennis. She put the twins in cots either side of Maddie’s bed.

The couple then washed and got dressed before meeting pals at the tapas restaurant at 8.30pm — just 120 metres or a 52-second walk away.

Five pals arrive by 8.55pm. Gerry checked on the kids at 9.05pm and said they were fine. Five minutes later Jane Tanner, 36, arrived late to dinner, explaining one of her children had been sick.

She later told police she saw a man walking away from the McCanns’ apartment with a small child over his shoulder under a blanket — but thought it was his kid.

A pal said: “She’s convinced she witnessed Madeleine’s abduction and is grief-stricken she didn’t raise the alarm.”

At 9.25pm, Gerry returned to the restaurant table.

Five minutes later, Matthew Oldfield leaves to check on his own children and the McCanns’.

At 10pm, Kate went to the apartment and discovered her daughter had gone. She says the bedroom window on to the road was pushed completely open, the pull-down shutter was up and Madeleine was missing.

A pal called police from the resort reception at 10.14pm, but it was not until 11.10pm that two officers arrived.

According to a leaked report, a bedroom door that Gerry had expected to be shut may have been open when he got to the room. This and witness statements led police to consider that a kidnapper or killer may have been hiding in the apartment even as Gerry checked her.

Pal Rachael Oldfield, who was there that night, said: “If somebody was watching our movements it would be possible.” Three other pals also insist they saw Robert Murat — still a suspect — outside the apartment, peeking in through a window the night Maddie vanished. He denies it.

Kate and Gerry say most of the evidence police have against them can be explained.

Sniffer dogs brought over by British police detected a smell of death on GP Kate’s blouse and jeans. But she had been present at the deaths of six patients shortly before flying to Portugal. The same odour was found on Maddie’s soft toy Cuddle Cat. Kate said she had taken the toy to work.

Maddie’s blood was also found near a window and under a sofa in the apartment.

But a mobile phone video shows her tripping as she excitedly boards the holiday flight and cuts her knee. It could have come from that. The tiny samples could even be from a mosquito bite.

The family also insist that traces of Maddie’s blood, hair and fibres found in the car itself could have come off their own clothes in a process called “secondary transfer”.

And they claim bungling police ruined evidence by not taping off the apartment until 10am the following morning, waiting 48 hours to take fingerprints and doing some so shoddily they had to be re-done.

The apartment was even re-rented before British police carried out forensic tests three months later.


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