Now you’re thinking, what’s this all about? How can anyone who wasn’t there, that night, offer an insight into the events? Well, I certainly wasn’t there – but others were, and through their witness statements, much can be learned about the chain of events, namely after the alarm to Madeleine’s disappearance was raised.
Unfortunately, we don’t have independent witnesses of whatever happened between 5.30 and 10 p.m. in apartment 5A at the Ocean Club, on the 3rd of May 2007. But we do have at least one independent witness who, because of her professional position and her language skills, had the privilege to witness certain actions and behaviours and phrases, that night.
But don’t take it from me. Instead, read what Silvia Batista, then a manager at the Ocean Club, told the police on the 26th of July 2007, in her third statement to be included in the process files that were publicly released:
“Concerning the matter of the process, the witness said:
That she has given statements for several times within the process, and remembers the contents of what she stated before, therefore reproducing the contents of the previous statements into this statement.
The deponent offers another statement because with the passage of time, since Madeleine’s disappearance, she has remembered some details of the facts that she witnessed, which she considers of some interest to the investigation.
Like she said before, she was alerted to Madeleine’s disappearance between 10.30 and 11 p.m. She was at home and was informed about the event through a telephone call. She immediately went to the Ocean Club, where she arrived only minutes before the GNR officers. When she arrived at the resort, she went immediately to apartment 5A, where she met several persons both on the inside and on the outside of the apartment. She went into the apartment but left it right away without speaking to anyone, because she was informed that the GNR officers were at the main reception, so she went to meet them.
When she arrived near the GNR officers, she verified that Gerry, Madeleine’s father, was behind her, in the company of another individual whose identity she doesn’t remember. At that moment, Gerry placed both knees on the floor, hit the floor with both hands, too, placing himself like a praying arab, and shouted out twice in rage, and it was not possible to understand what he said. Then Gerry got back on his feet and accompanied the deponent and the other individual who was in the GNR car, to apartment 5A.
Already on location, the deponent entered the apartment and asked those who were present both for the passports of all family members and photographs of the missing person. The deponent walked Gerry to the GNR car, so he could deliver the requested documents. She states that she carried out these diligences, and other diligences, at the request of the GNR Commander as they used the deponent’s knowledge of the English language to translate the questions that were asked from the missing person’s family members, and the answers that were given. She remembers that Gerry gave the GNR Commander several photographs of the missing person. These were postcard-type photographs, taking their size and shape into account. They were actually photographs of the size and shape of a postcard, and they seemed to be all similar to her.
She also realised that from the very first moment on, both Gerry and the rest of the group members insisted in stating that Madeleine had been abducted, all of them using the word “abducted” instead of missing, and they all showed great interest in informing the press about the situation.
The deponent further recalls that she entered the room where Madeleine had been sleeping. She now remembers that the door was closed. The inside of the room was dark. The shutters were down, and light entered only through its holes. The windows were closed and the curtains slightly open. Gerry, who accompanied the deponent during this visit, with the GNR officers also present, said that it had been him who had closed the window because the babies were still sleeping inside, which the deponent could verify as true. Gerry mentioned that when he noticed that Madeleine was missing, he had found the window and shutters open, and the curtains fluttering.
The deponent recalls that the cots that were used by the babies were placed in the middle of the room and aligned, and therefore she found it strange that someone could have taken Madeleine from the bed where she was sleeping up to the window, because there was no space to get through. The deponent opened the bedroom’s wardrobe to check if eventually Madeleine was hiding inside. Then they all left the room, and someone closed its door again. The deponent remained in the living room for a while, with the GNR officers, Gerry and the other group members that were there in a frenzy, going in and out and speaking on their mobile phones. She noticed that none of the group members, including the child’s mother and father, were busy looking for her. The mother was sitting on the master bedroom’s bed, the father accompanied the deponent and the GNR officers and the other group members walked in and out and spoke on the phone, apparently concerned about informing the press about the event.
She thought that the child’s mother was downbeat with the situation, the father showed his concern and also asked both for the press to be alerted and for dogs to be brought in for the search. Concerning the others, she can only recall that Fiona and her husband, Payne, were hysterical about the situation. At a given moment, right after the PJ’s elements arrived, the child’s parents removed the twins from the cots where they still slept, and took them into the apartment on the first floor. At Kate’s request, the deponent removed the soft toys and a blanket from the cots, and also took them to the first floor. The babies’ cots were left only with the mattresses.
The deponent also wishes to mention that at around 3 a.m. Madeleine’s parents asked for the presence of a priest on location. They didn’t explain the reason why they wanted a priest, but the deponent found the fact strange as there were no indications that the little girl was dead, and that’s the circumstance under which usually the presence of a priest is requested.
At a given moment, the deponent translated the deposition from one of the ladies that belonged to the group of English people, namely one that she indicates as being a brunette. This lady told the GNR officers, and the deponent translated, that she had seen a man crossing the road, possibly carrying a child. The deponent found that situation strange because she was convinced that when she saw this man, the lady was positioned in a spot that has no viewing angle to the location where she had seen the man. She doesn’t know exactly where the lady was positioned when she saw the man passing by, but she knows that she indicated that she saw him passing on the street that lies in front of the window to the bedroom where Madeleine was, walking into the direction of the street that leads to the Baptista supermarket.
When questioned about the clothes that the English group members wore that night, she mentions that she only remembers that Fiona wore a green blouse, Gerry wore a dark coloured shirt, and Fiona’s husband wore light-coloured trousers, she thinks cream-coloured.
And she stated nothing further.”
Witness statement of Silvia M C R Batista, 26.07.2007, page 1975 of process 221/07.0GALGS