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Original Source:   EXPRESS: 24 OCTOBER 2007
Wednesday October 24,2007
By David Pilditch in Praia da Luz
THE father of Madeleine McCann stunned hotel staff by organising a game of tennis while the massive hunt for his daughter was under way, it was revealed yesterday.

Waiter Jose Baptista, 45, told how the staff were amazed by the calm demeanour of Gerry McCann and his wife Kate in the agonising days after Madeleine disappeared.

Heart specialist Gerry, 39, is also said to have regularly wandered down to the tapas bar at the family’s holiday complex where he was given free bottles of wine to take back to his apartment. Mr Baptista added that staff at the Ocean Club resort in Praia da Luz rarely saw the McCanns display any emotion away from the TV cameras.

“If my kid disappeared I’d go insane. I wouldn’t be able to function. They’d have to lock me away,” said Mr Baptista.

“They were so cool about it. All the staff commented about how they were able to play tennis and take things calmly. Everybody around them seemed more upset than they were.

“They very rarely showed any signs of affection like they did for the cameras. I think I saw them holding hands once. But they weren’t always together and affectionate like they are in front of the cameras. I never saw close contact.”

Mr Baptista said he often saw the couple after Madeleine, four, went missing – especially at the tapas bar where they had been dining when she vanished on May 3.

Mr Baptista, who has been interviewed twice by Portuguese police, said: “The McCanns moved to another apartment but we still saw them.

“The management told us we shouldn’t charge them for anything because of their situation. Gerry would often come up to the bar to ask for a beer or a bottle of white wine.

“Sometimes we would take them some dinner to their apartment because they didn’t want to eat in the restaurant.

“What we found really strange was Gerry playing tennis a few days after the little girl disappeared.

“He played with an old couple from England. I just thought that everybody else in the group seemed more upset and stressed and bothered than the parents.

“They are very cool people. I never saw them cry or anything. They played tennis and went jogging. They didn’t seem as distraught as their friends.”

A source close to the couple’s lawyers said that, in the days after Madeleine disappeared, they were advised by criminal psychologists not to display too much emotion in case a kidnapper was watching. He said: “They were told a child abductor might be getting his kicks from their grief so they should try to maintain an air of calm.

“They were very conscious whoever had taken their daughter may be watching their every move and Madeleine’s life may depend on their reactions and appearance.

“Who would not behave differently, even ‘oddly’, in such circumstances? Inside, this was, and continues, to tear them apart.”

Mr Baptista, who served the McCanns on the night Madeleine disappeared, has told the Daily Express how the couple and their seven holiday friends made a special arrangement with resort managers to be allowed to dine in the tapas bar. For four nights the group, known as the Tapas Nine, spent around three hours there while their children were left unattended.

Mr Baptista said he told police, during two interviews lasting four hours, that he believed Madeleine’s disappearance could only have been the fault of her parents or a family friend.

The group could not see the McCanns’ apartment from their table.

Mr Baptista also said he cannot understand why the group did not use the resort’s babysitter service which would have cost £10 an hour between them. He insisted it would have been impossible for an abductor to strike without being seen.

Mr Baptista also claimed that when GP Kate, 39, reported Madeleine missing it was the first time she had checked on her. Until then, only the men had looked in on the children.

Portuguese police have accused Kate of accidentally killing her daughter inside the couple’s apartment and Gerry of helping to dispose of the body.

The couple deny any involvement and insist she was abducted. They claim they are being framed by police desperate to close the case.

Meanwhile, it was reported that police believe they can prove Madeleine was at the home of official suspect Robert Murat.

They claim that traces of hair and body fluids found during one of three searches of his home came from Madeleine.


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