Saturday, October 30, 2010

Portuguese police to fly to Britain and interrogate Tapas Nine

Last updated at 11:18 28 March 2008

Portugal's top police officer has given investigators in the Madeleine McCann case the go-ahead to fly to Britain and question the so-called Tapas Nine.
Policia Judiciaria national director Alipio Ribeiro reportedly told detectives to get ready for a make-or-break trip to solve the mystery of Madeleine's disappearance in a phone call yesterday to Algarve police chief Guilhermino Encarnacao.
Paulo Rebelo, the chief investigator in the case, will travel to Britain on April 7 with questions for the friends of the McCann family who were eating tapas when Madeleine disappeared last May.
It's likely he will be joined by Ricardo Paiva and Luis Viriato, two chief inspectors that accompanied Rebelo to Britain last November to meet with DNA experts.
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Fiona Payne, Jane Tanner, Russell O' Brien and Rachael Oldfield were dining with the McCanns Interrogation: (clockwise from top left) Fiona Payne, Jane Tanner, Russell O' Brien, Rachael Oldfield
The date was proposed by Portuguese police chiefs after meetings with Leicestershire Detective Superintendent Stuart Prior in the Algarve earlier this month.
But British detectives are yet to confirm the visit, although they plan to question the group of friends.
David Payne, Russell O'Brien and his partner Jane Tanner are rumoured to be the first three McCann holiday friends to be questioned.
A source told Portuguese daily 24 horas, which yesterday claimed British and Algarve police had now agreed the April 7 date: 'We are at a crucial phase of the process.
'There are clear contradictions in the statements that the McCanns and their friends who were eating tapas with them on May 3, gave.
'British police are going to question them again and put to them the questions formulated by the Portuguese Public Prosecution Service.
'The need to question Madeleine's parents again will be determined by the results of the interrogations of their holiday friends.'
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Gerry and Kate McCann Gerry and Kate McCann hope their missing daughter Madeleine will be found alive
Dr Payne, a 41-year-old cardiovascular researcher from Leicester, was the last person outside the McCann family to see Madeleine at the Ocean Club resort on May 3.
Gerry asked him to check on his wife and children while he was having a tennis lesson at about 6.30pm.
Dr O'Brien, 36, from Exeter, was away from the rest of the group for up to 45 minutes between 9.30pm until 10.15pm while he tended to his own child, who was being sick in his apartment.
Attention has also focused on Jane Tanner's claim she saw a man carrying a girl from the McCanns' ground-floor apartment at about 9.15pm the night she disappeared.
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Madeleine Madeleine McCann went missing last May in Portugal
However, another witness says he was outside the flat at the same time but did not see her or the mystery man.
The trio deny claims their initial statements contained any contradictions.
The McCanns' spokesman Clarence Mitchell says the Tapas Nine are keen to help police understand their original statements and want the re-interviewing to take place as soon as possible.
A Lisbon-based press spokesman for the Policia Judiciaria today refused to comment.

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