Bridget O'Donnell, who became friends with Kate and Gerry McCann while staying at the same complex, broke her silence to declare that although Kate and Gerry McCann made a "disastrous decision" in leaving Madeleine alone, they are innocent of any crime.
She described Gerry McCann was "relaxed" about leaving his children alone in their holiday apartment the night Madeleine disappeared, and told of the Portuguese detectives' incompetence, saying that they did not even know what Madeleine looked like the day after she disappeared.
Yesterday, for the first time, Miss O'Donnell described a crucial encounter when her partner, TV producer Jeremy Wilkins, spoke to Gerry McCann during the hour when Madeleine vanished.
The cardiologist was on his way back to the resort's tapas restaurant at 8.30pm after checking on his three children when he bumped into Mr Wilkins, who was taking his baby son out in a buggy to try to get him to sleep before spending the evening in the family's accommodation.
"The two men stopped to have a chat," she wrote in The Guardian.
"They talked about daughters, fathers, families.
"Gerry was relaxed and friendly.
"They discussed their baby-sitting dilemmas at the resort and Gerry said that he and Kate would have stayed in too if they had not been on holiday in a group."
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