Saturday, October 30, 2010

‘Tapas Nine' to face three days of police interviews over Madeleine's disappearance

Same article updated

Last updated at 12:18 31 March 2008

Portuguese police are planning to question the so-called Tapas Nine during three days of interviews in a final attempt to solve the mystery of Madeleine McCann's disappearance.
The detectives believe there are inconsistencies in the accounts of what happened on the night the three-year-old vanished from her family's holiday apartment in Praia da Luz last May while the group of friends ate dinner with Madeleine's parents, Kate and Gerry McCann, in a nearby restaurant.
It had been believed that the detectives could spend up to two months in the UK.
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Maddy Still missing: Madeleine McCann disappeared last May
However, a team led by chief investigator Paulo Rebelo is set to fly to Britain on April 7 to start interviews in Leicester the next day, and they are scheduled to return to the Algarve on April 11.
British police officers will conduct the interviews on behalf of their Portuguese counterparts, but Rebelo and his team will be allowed to sit in as they take place.
Mr and Mrs McCann, who are both still official suspects, are not expected to be questioned.
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jane tanner madeleine tapas nine Police questions: Jane Tanner, one of the 'Tapas Nine', will be interviewed by British police in April
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: "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."
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.
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Kate Gerry McCann No interview: Gerry and Kate McCann will not face further questions
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.
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.

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