Last updated at 10:04 09 November 2007
Changes in the evidence of two of the so-called Tapas Nine could "dramatically change" the Madeleine McCann investigation, it was claimed yesterday.
The pair who allegedly want to correct their version of events were named yesterday in a Portuguese newspaper as Russell O'Brien and his partner Jane Tanner.
Miss Tanner has given a key account of seeing a man carrying a child away from the McCanns' apartment. Both her and Dr O'Brien deny that they have contacted police to change their statements.
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Four of the Tapas Nine: (clockwise from top left) Fiona Payne, Jane Tanner, Russell O' Brien, Rachael Oldfield. Not pictured are Matthew Oldfield, David Payne, and Dianne Webster
Read more...However, according to police sources the two who want to change details in their accounts of the night of May 3 were said to have asked that their names are kept secret to avoid pressure from those close to the McCanns.
A police source said any change to the statements of the couple could alter the course of the six-month investigation. He said: "The investigation could be changed dramatically if the two witnesses decide to clarify what really happened that night."
Officers have analysed a series of alleged contradictions and inconsistencies in the statements of the Tapas Nine, the group who ate together on the night Madeleine disappeared.
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Missing: Madeleine disappeared on May 3 while on holiday in PortugalThe new focus of the inquiry led to fears that four of the friends - Miss Tanner, Dr O'Brien, David Payne and Matthew Oldfield --could be named as official suspects.
Police said the pair who wanted to change their accounts contacted detectives after learning they could be made arguidos.
Miss Tanner told how she saw a man carry a child from the McCanns' apartment at about 9.15pm on the night Madeleine disappeared.
But another witness, TV producer Jeremy Wilkins, told police he was outside the apartment at the same time and did not see anything.
Her partner Dr O'Brien, 36, was away from the tapas bar for longest of any of the group.
He said he left the table for 25 minutes to look after his daughter, who had been sick, but other witnesses say he could have been away for up to 45 minutes.
Miss Tanner described claims that they were about to change their statements as "absolute rubbish".
Dr Payne, 41, of Leicester, and Dr Oldfield, 37, from Richmond, South-West London, have also denied that they want to change their accounts.
McCann family spokesman Clarence Mitchell insisted it was not true that any of the group wanted to correct their statements.
Kate and Gerry McCann could sue the Portuguese police for £1million for failing to find their daughter, it was claimed.
Their spokesman Clarence Mitchell said it was something the couple's legal team might consider if the inquiry is closed
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-492193/Madeleine-Changes-evidence-Tapas-Nine-dramatically-change-investigation.html#ixzz13pKR0jBx