Up to 60 witnesses will be questioned by police in Britain over Madeleine McCann’s
A series of intensive interviews will start this week
after a three-man team of senior Portuguese detectives
fly into Leicestershire tomorrow.
The trio, led by Paulo Rebelo, the chief investigator in
the case, will begin by supervising the quizzing of key
witness Jane Tanner.
Ms Tanner, 36, claimed she saw a man carrying a girl
from the McCanns’ holiday apartment in the
at about 9.15pm.
Yet another witness says he was outside the flat in
Praia da Luz at the same time but did not see her or the
After Ms Tanner’s interview, British police, supervised
by the Portuguese, will spend three days speaking to
remaining members of the Tapas Seven who were dining
with Madeleine’s parents when she vanished.
No lawyers will be present and friends of the group
stressed they are meeting the police voluntarily. They
have been warned to expect lengthy bouts of questioning.
The group were all dining with Kate and Gerry McCann on
the night their daughter vanished on May 3 last year in
Praia da Luz.
Ms Tanner’s partner Dr Russell O’Brien, 36, from Exeter, was away from the group tending to his
sick daughter in the period when Madeleine was snatched.
Dr Matthew Oldfield, 37, a hospital consultant from London, and his wife Rachel, 36, a recruitment
consultant, were also at the tapas restaurant.
David Payne, 41, a cardiovascular researcher from
Leicester, was the final person, apart from
the McCann family, to see Madeleine. His wife, Fiona,
34, and her mother, Diane Webster, will also be
questioned by police in Leicester.
Then officers will switch their attention to three
separate bands of witnesses who have been singled out by
Gerry and Kate McCann as vital.
As arguidos, or official suspects, the couple have the
right to demand that certain individuals be seen by
police if they are believed to hold relevant
information. Despite plans for the Portuguese
investigators to return home on Friday, British police
will mount a full-scale operation in which more than 50
more witnesses will be interviewed. These will include
other guests who were staying at the resort, Ocean Club
apartments staff and holidaymakers staying nearby.
Relatives of the McCanns who visited the Algarve in the weeks after she went
missing are understood to be on the list, as are their
current spokesman Clarence Mitchell and his predecessor
Two sisters who were puzzled by a blond pair of men in
their 30s acting strangely at the resort hours before
Madeleine went missing are on the interview list.
Jayne Jensen, 54, and Annie Wiltshire, 58, said one of
the men standing outside the patio doors started to walk
down a flight of steps.
But when he was seen by divorced mum-of-two Annie, from
Maidstone, he retraced his steps and began
talking to his friend.
Yesterday the McCanns made an emotional plea to
Portuguese detectives to clear them in time for the one
year anniversary of their daughter’s disappearance.
Madeleine’s parents, both 39, hope the unprecedented
move to question their friends in
will mark an end to their seven-month ordeal as
The couple are desperate to return to Praia da Luz to
mark the tragic date with a renewed appeal for
information which could unlock the mystery surrounding
Clarence Mitchell confirmed that Kate and Gerry want
detectives to lift their arguido status and reveal any
evidence they hold.
He said they will not return to the Algarve while they are still
He said: “Kate and Gerry want to return to Praia da Luz
to reinvigorate our campaign to find Madeleine.”