Mrs Pamela Fenn
THE agonising moment when Madeleine McCann’s parents realised she was
missing was revealed last night by a fresh witness.
Detectives were told Kate McCann cried hysterically after discovering that her
daughter had vanished.
She sobbed “We’ve let her down, we’ve let her down” as she and her husband
Gerry frantically searched for the little girl. The extraordinary details of
the panic and confusion were given by a neighbour of the McCanns at the
apartment block in Praia da Luz from where four-year-old Madeleine went missing
112 days ago.
Expatriate Pamela Fenn, 81, who lives in the flat above where the McCanns were
staying, was re-interviewed by detectives on Monday after it emerged that she
might have fresh clues.
Widow Mrs Fenn told police that two nights before Madeleine went missing she
heard a little girl in the apartment crying for over an hour.
She said the toddler, who is believed to have been Madeleine, was crying
“Daddy, daddy” constantly between 10.30 and 11.45pm.
The crying had stopped when the parents returned to the apartment.
On the night Madeleine disappeared, Mrs Fenn also heard a child crying, but it
was when Kate returned from a nearby restaurant to check on her daughter that
she was first aware something was wrong.
A source close to Mrs Fenn said: “She often sits on the balcony at night and
heard a commotion downstairs.
“She heard the woman who she now knows to be Kate crying ‘We have let her down,
we have let her down’.”
The source added: “She did not understand what was meant by this, but she asked
if they wanted her to call the police. She was told it had already been done.”
Mrs Fenn has also told police about an attempted burglary at her apartment
several weeks earlier.
She said a man broke in through the first-floor window but she disturbed him
and he jumped out of it.
The source said: “She did not think it was significant. She has lived in Luz
for some time and at her previous address was the victim of burglaries on a
“There are lots of drug addicts in the area who prey on tourist apartments.
Nothing was taken so she did not initially report it to the police.”
The report of an intruder echoes the experience of a Scottish holidaymaker at
the Ocean Club resort just three weeks before Madeleine went missing.
The woman told police that an intruder used a key to enter her apartment at the
Mark Warner-run resort on the first night of her stay, making off with personal
belongings and £500 worth of currency.
“It was in the same block as the one where the little girl was taken from,” she
said. “The police were called. They told us someone with a key had got into the
“There was no proof of that but that was their opinion, as there was nothing
else disturbed. There were no broken windows and no forced entry.”
Mrs Fenn told police that she had a niece from Britain staying with her in the
week the McCanns were on holiday there.
Her niece, who has now been interviewed by detectives in Britain,
spotted a suspicious looking man hanging around the McCanns’ apartment about
the time Madeleine disappeared.
She told detectives that he matched the description of a suspect seen by Jane
Tanner, one of the McCanns’ holiday friends. Miss Tanner reported seeing the
man rushing away from the apartment with a child wrapped in a blanket under his
A second witness spotted the man minutes later rushing past the church in the
resort and heading to the sea front.
The dark-haired man was wearing white trousers and a dark jacket.
Remarkably, given her close proximity to the scene, Mrs Fenn had not been
interviewed fully by detectives in the days after Madeleine vanished.
It was only after a team of British officers were called in that her
information was acted upon and officers from Portimao police headquarters spent
more than three hours going over her statement in fine detail.
Mrs Fenn page 75
Then a lady appeared on a balcony – I’m
fairly certain this was about 11pm, before the police
arrived – and, in a plummy voice, inquired, ‘Can someone
tell me what all the noise is about?’ I explained as clearly
as I was able, given the state I was in, that my little girl
had been stolen from her bed, to which she casually
responded, ‘Oh, I see,’ almost as if she’d just been told
that a can of beans had fallen off a kitchen shelf. I
remember feeling both shocked and angry at this woefully
inadequate and apparently unconcerned reaction. I recollect
that in our outrage, Fiona and I shouted back something
rather short and to the point.