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The waiter’s testimony


THE key witness in the missing Madeleine McCann case was in hiding last night after fleeing Portugal. Police have sworn the waiter to secrecy over his vital testimony and know where he is. But friends say he is terrified his identity is about to be revealed and that he will come under pressure from rival factions in the case. He is scared of British and Portuguese government influence in the probe. Friends claim he is also wary of the team of private eyes hired by Kate and Gerry McCann to help find their daughter. MADELEINE McCann’s disappearance could only be the fault of her parents or a family friend, it was claimed yesterday.


A crucial eyewitness accuses the McCanns of being irresponsible parents.

The waiter who served them on that fateful night says he cannot understand why they did not use the resort’s £10-a-night babysitting service. He even goes on to claim that he told police: “I did not think she had been taken by an abductor. “I told them it had to be one of the family or a friend. It had to be someone close.” Jose Batista, 45, broke almost six months of silence to give the most detailed account yet of the McCanns’ holiday and the build-up to Madeleine’s disappearance. Mr Batista, who served the McCanns and their friends at the tapas restaurant where they were dining on the night Madeleine disappeared, says they could not have seen their apartment from their table, as they have claimed. He also says he was surprised that they apparently made a special arrangement with staff so that they could leave their children alone on four consecutive nights to eat at the tapas bar near their apartments in the Ocean Club complex in Praia da Luz with their friends, dubbed the Tapas Nine. “The group did check on their children regularly,” he told the Daily Express. “I know that because I often took food to the table and found one of them was not there. “I would take it back to the kitchen to heat it up. But it was always the men who went to check, never the women. “The only time I can remember Kate McCann leaving the table was the night that the little girl disappeared. “It didn’t really mean anything at the time, but after all that happened I did begin to think that it was slightly strange. Why had Kate suddenly gone to check on the children that time, when she never had before?” Mr Batista said that it was his testimony in four hours of interviews with Portuguese detectives that led to officers questioning why it was part-time GP Kate, 39, who discovered her daughter had vanished and raised the alarm. The waiter said the McCanns and their friends had approached the resort manager to ask if they could eat at the tapas bar rather than the main restaurant as they had on the first two nights of their holiday. The parents had complained that their children were staying out past their bedtimes when they ate at the main restaurant and were becoming tired and fractious. He said Mark Warner managers apparently agreed and a table was set for the group at the tapas bar. It was nearer to their apartments than the main restaurant and the group felt comfortable leaving their children unattended. For four consecutive evenings the McCanns and their seven friends left their children alone for periods of a few minutes as they drank beer and cocktails and up to 10 bottles of wine between them. But their decision ended in tragedy when Madeleine vanished from the McCanns’ apartment on May 3. Mr Batista’s revelations come as Portuguese police announced that Kate and Gerry’s friends are to face new questioning. Mr Batista said it was impossible to see the McCanns’ ground-floor apartment from the restaurant despite it being less than 100 yards away. He said: “They left their children alone. If I was in their position I certainly wouldn’t have done that. “If they’ve got money why didn’t they get the cash together to get one nanny to look after all the children in one apartment? It is not right to say you can see their apartment from the restaurant. All you can see is the first floor upwards.” He added: “A few days after Madeleine disappeared I gave a very detailed statement to police like all the other staff. “I told them I did not think she had been taken by an abductor. It would not have been possible to be watching their apartment. “During the evening the streets are quite deserted in that area. I told them it had to be one of the family or a friend. It had to be someone close.” (...)Mr Batista said he was working in the poolside restaurant every night of the McCanns’ holiday. He said: “They were very classy people. Compared with some of the people we get, they were very polite and quiet. They dressed well and didn’t make a mess or put their feet on chairs, anything like that. “If they hadn’t been such a big group I probably wouldn’t have noticed them at all.” Describing their evening routine he said: “It was always the whole group that went to dinner. “They always ate here, always at the same time and it was always the whole group – four couples and an older woman. “The package they were on included their dinner in the evening, and free wine to go with the meal until dessert is served. “You often get people who keep screaming for more wine or are stupid about the rules, trying to drink as much as possible because it’s free. But the McCanns and their friends were very sensible about it. “Sometimes they would start off with the men having a beer while the women would drink cocktails. It’s been reported that they had 14 bottles of wine a night but I was serving them and I know it was usually between eight and 10. “Afterwards they would mostly just have a coffee or sit around chatting rather than order more alcohol.” He added: “The group always came around 8pm, arrived within five minutes of each other and ordered their dinner, and they always left together as a group between 10.30pm and 11pm.” Mr Batista described in detail for the first time the events that unfolded the night Madeleine disappeared. He said he was one of four waiting staff on duty during a busy period. Mr Batista said: “I had seen them with the kids by the pool during the day. It was a normal night. They came at more or less the same time they always arrived. “The adults were obviously enjoying some quiet time, and I realised they were taking it in turns to check on the children. “I remember the men going off to check the children about every 20 minutes.” But around 10pm chaos erupted after Kate returned to the table to alert the group that Madeleine had vanished. Mr Batista said: “It all became madness. We were beginning to wind down at the restaurant and I had been clearing some tables. “I went into the kitchen for a few minutes and when I came out I saw that the McCanns’ table was empty except for the older woman. She looked scared.
“Then I heard all the shouting and screaming coming from the apartments and my colleague told me a child had gone missing.“After that it was chaos. People were running around the resort shouting for Madeleine and we all started to help looking for her.“My partner and I were both trying to help out. We took our cars out and searched for her. There was nothing organised.”


  1. this seems like an honest statement from an independent witness

  2. this seems like an honest statement from an independent witness


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