Just five hours in May

What really happened to Madeleine Beth McCann?

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Russel O'Brien

Member of the Tapas 7

Dr. Russel James O'Brien was interviewed four times by the PJ and fith and last by LP. See here links with some extracts regarding evening 3rd May:

04-May-2007 “Until yesterday, May 3rd 2007, he has no knowledge of anything suspicious or strange happening around the group of friends or their children. Everybody seemed normal to him from the cleaning staff, to the gardeners, to the rest of the employees of the complex. Also on the beach, he never noticed anything strange or people who could have been thought of as strange enough to attract his suspicions. Yesterday, as his daughter xxxx was feeling ill, the informant dropped yyyy (his other daughter!) at the Kids Club at around 10am after breakfast. He completely corroborates his partner Jane Tanner's statements for the rest of the day. At around 7.15/7.30pm, the informant went back to his apartment. He read stories to his daughters, including xxxx who was feeling better. His partner, Jane, went to have dinner at the TAPAS restaurant at around 8.30pm and he went there at around 8.45pm. When he arrived at the restaurant, nearly all the adults were present, without children, with the exception of David, Fiona and Diane. They arrived more or less 5 minutes later. At around 9pm, they had all ordered their meals. While they were eating, it was normal that every 15 minutes, one person from each apartment would go to the apartments/bedrooms make sure the children were ok. Yesterday, as xxxx was not well, the interval between checks was reduced. He recalls that Matthew Oldfield left the restaurant at shortly after 9pm to check the children. He is no longer sure who went out first, but five minutes later, Gerry McCann and his own partner, Jane, went out, almost at the same time, to check the children. Jane could have come back first because she found Gerry chatting with a person who is also a guest in the same place, named Jez. He thinks that Jane only checked their apartment, being worried about xxxx. Then Gerry came back at around 9.25/9.30 and they started to eat the first course. [as entradas]. At around 9.35/9.40, taking advantage of the lull [waiting pause] before being served with the first [main] course, the informant left the restaurant with Matthew to check the children. When he got there, his daughter xxxx was crying. He stayed in her bedroom with her. He supposes that Matthew checked his apartment. Matthew returned to the restaurant five minutes after leaving it. His partner came to take his place in xxxx's bedroom around 15 minutes later after finishing dinner. At around 9.55, he went back to the restaurant where his food had been waiting for 5 or 10 minutes. All the other adults had finished. At around 10pm, Kate Healy went out to check her children in her apartment. When she came back, she came towards our table, shouting that Madeleine had disappeared. They all went out, running, and he with a few more people decided to look around the apartment blocks, and in their own apartments, to see if they could find Madeleine. In the personal search that he did following the disappearance he did not manage to identify any suspect item/person/object. When it seemed to them that possibly she didn't have to be in the immediate surrounding area they widened the search area having the same fruitless result. He does not know who called the police…”

11-May-2007 “…He furthers that he did not know if the glass sliding doors were locked or not but that probably Gerry told him on this night to enter his apartment to check on the children. The deponent explains that for him and his spouse, this system was secure and effective and each couple would check on their children every 15/30 minutes. For his part, he guarantees that all the doors and windows were closed and locked, explaining that the windows and the glass sliding doors can only be open and closed via the interior of the apartment. As he understood, only Gerald and Kate used the system of entering through the sliding doors, as this was easier. They stayed in the apartment closest to the pathway and there was a corridor in the back area that gave access to the stairs. The rest of the elements of the group went via the passage-way, until the corner and would enter through their front doors. When the carried out the audio checks, they would position themselves near the windows and would try to hear if noise was coming from inside or crying. - Questioned regarding his routine during the holidays, he confirms in all of his previous declarations and that his version is absolutely in line with his companion's Jane Tanner. ….- Until the past Thursday, 3rd of May 2007, he has no knowledge of any strange/suspicious happenings in the group of friends or with the children. Everything to him seemed normal, from the cleaning staff, gardeners, and the rest of the functionaries of the complex. He also saw no strange people on the beach who looked of a suspicious nature. - Questioned, states that no one from the group used a vehicle, particular or rented and that they went everywhere in Praia da Luz on foot. - He made note of the activities on the 3rd of May p.p.. This note consists of all the facts presented, of his activities and those of the group. They are in accordance with the version already represented by his wife, Jane Tanner. - Regarding the night period, affirms that, on this day, around 19H15/19H30 he went to his apartment. Told his daughters some stories, having stayed with Evie O'Brien, who was a little better but had a hard time sleeping. Meanwhile, his companion Jane went to dinner in the restaurant the Tapas around 20H35/20H40 with the deponent going around 20H45. ….- When he arrived at the restaurant, all the adults were there, without the children. David and Fiona were missing and Dianne Webster. They arrived more or less 10 minutes after. - Around 2100 they ordered dinner. - As was normal, in more or less every 15/30 minutes, one person from each apartment would go to the apartments/rooms to check on the children and if they were well. On that day, as Evie O'Brien was ill, this time was reduced. - He remembers that Matthew Oldfield left the restaurant, around 21H00, having gone to the apartments to ensure that no noise was coming from within. - He is not sure who left first. But has the notion that, about five minutes after, Gerry McCann went to check on his children. Around 5 or 10 minutes after Gerry McCann had left, the deponent's companion, Jane Tanner, also left, to check personally on how her two children were doing. He does remember is Jane or Gerry arrived first but remembers that Jane commented on having passed Gerry on the road, and that he was talking to another guest in the same locale, named Jez. - Around 21h25, taking advantage of a pause in the service of the first plate, the deponent left the restaurant with Matthew Oldfield to check on the children. He arrived at his apartment and immediately heard his daughter Evie crying and stayed in the apartment. He believes that Matthew Oldfield went to his apartment, and is not aware if he was going to also check on the McCann children and went to the deponent's apartment and asked him if he needed help. - Matthew Oldfield returned to the restaurant, having told Jane Tanner that the deponent stayed behind with Evie O'Brien because she was crying. - The truth is that after the crying, the deponent had to change all the sheets and his daughter's clothing as she had vomited. - His companion came to change places with him 15 minutes after and told him to go finish dinner. - Around 21H55, he returned to the restaurant, having stayed there for 5/10 minutes waiting to be served his plate. At this point, all the others had already finished eating. - Around 22H00, Kate Healy left to check on the children in her apartment an returned in desperation, entered the restaurant screaming, in the direction of the table where the group was seated, affirming that Madeleine McCann has disappeared. - All of them left, except Dianne Webster, and the deponent with some other people decided to start looking around the apartment blocks, and in the apartments, to see if they could find Madeleine. - In the searches they carried out, after the disappearance, they did not identify any element/person/or suspicious object. - Because he is asked, states that he cannot describe the state of the children's room after the disappearance of Madeleine McCann, because he never entered there. When they were alerted to the situation, they immediately left the table, and the deponent immediately began searching the immediate areas, heading towards the village and the beach zone. - Questioned regarding if he noticed whether the blind to the children's room was up or down, states that he cannot answer because he did not look. He remembers that when he went to check on his children, together with Matthew Oldfield, they were talking and did not look to the windows. - Questioned whether he knows if Matthew Oldfield went, or not, to check on the McCann children, he states that he does not know as he stayed with his daughter Evie Obrien in the apartment, but heard, after, a comment that he [Matt] was supposed to have gone, but that in the checking, he went to the outside of the door to the room, saw the twins, and not Madeleine McCann's bed, which was situated at an angle which did not give him visual contact. - States that he has no suspicion to present, and doe not remember any detail of situation that could be related to the disappearance of little Madeleine McCann….”

16-May-2007 …statement regarding MURAT

11-July-2007 …statement regarding MURAT

10-April-2008 “… On the 3rd May 2007 I saw Madeleine in the morning a couple of times this was when I dropped Ella off. I took the kids up to breakfast at the Millennium club and walked to the Ocean Club I was late getting Ella there, the kids were having a great time at the kids club and all appeared to well. I went to the flat with Evie, whilst she was resting I read a book. When she woke up we went outside to watch Jane play tennis I saw Madeleine at lunchtime I can’t recall if Jane or I collected Ella it’s all a bit hazy now. I recall that Jane had been having a tennis lesson also there was Kate and Rachael. We were watching some children have their lesson this was before lunch. I recall that one of the guests a guy from Southampton came over his daughter was playing tennis, he wanted to take a picture but expressed to us how uncomfortable he felt in doing so- he said something similar to feeling like a pervert or a dirty old man when taking a picture of his own child, I do not wish to implicate him. I recall that the child was of a similar age to Madeleine and Ella. I recall that Madeleine and Ella had had a similar lesson the day before. We agreed that in this day and age taking a photograph of your own child you shouldn’t be made to feel uncomfortable, it was a horrible coincident. I would like to stress that I do not think that this man had any involvement in Madeleine’s disappearance. I feel that it was a haunting coincidence.

Ella went back to the kids club and I went out with Matt sailing, I Jane was looking after Evie. Whilst I was out sailing with Matt he fell in the water, I had to sail back to save him this made the day quite memorable that and it being the best day weather wise. When we came back Jane was at the beach with the children, I recall that at some point around 17:00-17:30 Kate was out running she was dressed in her full running kit which was a vest and shorts- one item was grey and the other pale blue but I cannot say which way round. When Kate ran past on her run she didn’t speak to us, but she did acknowledge us as a group. We didn’t stick to our usual routine so much that day the children stayed with us and ate their tea at the bar by the beach called the Paridiso. Everyone was there at the beach except Kate, Gerry and their kids. I collected Ella from the Ocean Club before she went up to tea at the Tapas Bar, I cannot say whether Madeleine was there or not. It was a warm day, good afternoon I recall that I went up to the social tennis around 18:00hours with Matt I think David went to the apartment and then up to Gerry’s. I played tennis for around an hour to an hour and a half, Dan the tennis coach was also present, as were some other male guests and Gerry we played a mixture of singles and doubles. The kids came up with Jane, Fiona and Rachael from the beach, but not the MC CANN’S children I presume that they were at the apartment. They stayed for a short while before going back to the apartment to be bathed and put to bed. I got back to the flat around 20:00hours as we were running late we had to take the rackets back with us. The children were in bed Jane went down to the restaurant around 20:30-20:40hours I remained in the flat for another ten minutes or so waiting for them to settle down. I went down to the Tapas bar the adults of 5H were running late as usual, David and Fiona are always late and it is a standing joke in our group. Around 21:00hours Matt was going over to check on Grace so he said he would chase (page 6) the Payne’s up as we were all waiting to order and we were conscious that the waiting staff wanted us to place our orders. I believe that he listened at the windows on his way to find the PAYNES having gone to check on Grace.

The evening was the same as evenings before Kate and Gerry were behaving entirely normally. Following Madeleine’s disappearance and subsequent search we had made a time line together this will show what time Gerry left the table. I don’t recall at what point but it was around 21:05 Gerry left the table was only away for a little while, Jane also went to check the children and was gone for a minute or so. The children were ok she didn’t mention anything unusual. After we had eaten the starters I needed to go to the toilet so Matt and I decided we would go and check on the children. We walked together I recall that the light was fading I went straight to 5D I could hear Evie was murmuring. I went into the apartment and Matt went into his. I went to the toilet to urinate and then started to clean up Evie and change her, Matt came into my apartment and asked if I needed any help. It was getting darker by this time. I said to go back and tell Jane that Evie was unwell. I sat in the lounge and read to Evie Jane came back having eaten her meal. We stayed together in the apartment for around 5minutes. I went across to the Tapas restaurant this would have been around 21:45hours, Jane remained with Evie. The group joked about Jane having been to relieve me they were all in good humour. Kate left the table there was nothing significant about her leaving but I think it was a similar time to my meal arriving. I think that this would have been around 22:00hours, I didn’t have a watch or phone to check the time but Rachael did ask for the time and 22:00hours was mentioned. I know that she didn’t leave straight after me arriving back as the waiters had agreed to cook me a fresh meal.

Kate returned through the reception area standing at the end of the path near the stones, and yelled over towards our table in the Tapas bar I cannot recall exactly what she yelled but it was along the lines of Maddy is missing. We all got up immediately except Dianne who remained at the table. I am fairly sure on the time, I have put a great deal of thought who may have been watching us during the week, but all appeared quite normal to us, the people who would have known our routine would have been the waiters. I can’t recall any other people dining in the restaurant at the time, there would have been people in there but as we ate quite left they would have left during our meal. We went over to Gerry and Kate’s apartment I didn’t go in to the apartment. I can recall it would have been a similar layout to ours, although the furniture and décor was different to ours as the apartments are leased. I didn’t go into the bedroom on this occasion, but I’d imagine that there are wardrobes in there as there are in ours. When I had been into the apartment on previous occasions it had been dark. During the interview I drew a seating plan of the Tapas bar and who was sitting where which I have previously marked and produced as my exhibit.

On the evening I was wearing brown jeans/cord style trousers, a pale blue stripe top, and Jane had taken my jumper which was blue. The nights were quite chilly which is why Jane had my jumper I am quite use to the cold. I wish to reiterate that I joined the group at the Tapas bar 20:45 I went down to the table alone, everyone was there except the PAYNE’S and Dianne. (page seven) When I went to check the children I went to my flat first then Matt walked on to his flat 5B, I believe that he was gone for around 60-90seconds. Then he checked on the MC CANN’S children having left my apartment. This was the final check before Madeleine was noticed missing, nothing appeared to be unusual and there was nothing that suggested we were being watched. When Kate raised the alarm she didn’t get to the table as the area was all enclosed, she was at the start of the path she shouted across to us. We ran out through the reception we were all in a panic some people went into the flat I stayed outside, I then conducted a quick search of the immediate area with Matt, Dave and possibly Gerry. We searched a cul-de-sac area which I would describe as being a passage way at the front of the block on the car park side. We went on to search the gardens and patios. Then we went downhill towards the centre. On the second search we went to the shopping centre and then towards the tennis courts. We searched around the back of the tennis courts. On my way back I bumped into Dave he said to me this is bad this is really bad they’ve not found her. We searched down to the beach I searched the East side, and Matt and Dave the West side. We went back to 5A it was clear that panic was setting in Gerry was on the phone to a family member back home, for someone that is such a strong character he is usually so calm, decisive, confident. He was lying on the floor in hysterics, he had a high voice crying like a baby, I didn’t know what to say.

By this time we had been joined by Ocean Club staff I am aware that Fiona and Rachael had spoken to Jane. Jane has been made to feel frustrated, like she is a sympathetic witness, a fantasist and a liar. She feels that the P.J do not believe her. I went to Jane she was with Rachael I hugged her she said “I knew there was something odd, I knew it was strange”. “I watched someone carrying a child”. She played it down Jane’s character is to be calm, composed but she wasn’t herself at this time. She was adamant that she had seen the man, and that the child could have been Madeleine. She feels there is a good chance she witnessed the abduction….

…. We tried to find a picture of Madeleine Kate checked her camera but these were mainly of her at home or not such a clear picture. We found a picture of Madeleine but we couldn’t print it off. Cat or one of the nannies said that they had a printer and took the camera away to get some photos copied. A copy of the photo was given directly to the Police, someone from the Mark Warner staff made a poster- but I do not know who that was. (page eight) I am not sure who informed the authorities or media of Madeleine’s disappearance but Gerry may have informed the authorities along with Matt. As for the media I think Rachael called a friend who works at the BBC. I loathe the media even more so now, I have a very low opinion of them Dave was also seen keen to make use of the media and think that he may have constructed an email- but I am not sure whether that was actually sent. I know that there were attempts to contact the British Consulate. Searches- I searched mainly on my own, although we were all close by to each other. The searches weren’t really planned no plans were drawn up and there wasn’t really any particular structure. There may have been places that we missed, it was hap-hazard and panicked. It wasn’t well organised. Leave doors/windows open- We didn’t leave doors/windows open. We did sit outside on Saturday along with other days on the patio, we wouldn’t have left it open once away. Checks on children- Checks made on children, we had the routine already outlined in this statement. How often- four-five checks per evening. Kate and Gerry checked by the clock, where as Jane and I checked between courses, I don’t have any recollection of the MC CANN’S children crying had I have heard them crying I would have checked on them….”