Published: 12 Apr 2008
A few Days Old, but Important to Dispel the Myths Put About by 24 Liars Sorry I mean 24 Horas.
MADELEINE McCann’s parents yesterday blasted claims they and the Tapas Seven had demanded a private jet and five-star hotels to return to Portugal.
Cops there want them all to take part in a reconstruction of Maddie’s abduction.
But a Portuguese newspaper alleged some of the group said they would only return if their “extravagant” demands were met.
24 Horas quoted a Portuguese judicial source as saying: “One of the couples demanded a private jet to travel with their children to the Algarve. Another demanded they be put up in a five-star hotel.
“The only thing missing from the list was a request that we send them to the moon on skates.”
Official suspects Gerry and Kate McCann were already furious after full police statements they made were leaked – in what they regard as a crass attempt to smear them.
Yesterday their spokesman Clarence Mitchell angrily denied the paper’s report. He said: “No such demands have been made. All talk of private jets and five-star hotels is complete rubbish.”
The claims were also denied by the Tapas Seven – pals who were dining with the McCanns the night Maddie vanished in Praia da Luz days before her fourth birthday.
In a statement, Jane Tanner, 37, partner Dr Russell O’Brien, 36, Dr Matthew Oldfield, 37, wife Rachael, 36, David Payne, 41, wife Fiona, 34, and her mum Dianne Webster, 61, slammed the “blatant lies”.
They insisted: “All talk of private jets and luxury hotels is as nonsensical as it baseless.”
Faro police chief Guilhermino Encarnacao confirmed the group had stipulated certain conditions, the paper claimed.
But Mr Mitchell said: “They would only be in the context of logistics. For example many of them are very busy hospital doctors and would want to know how long they would be needed for.
"But I don’t think it has even got to that stage yet.”
Yesterday police chief Paulo Rebelo – who is heading the Portuguese Maddie probe – cut short his visit to Britain where he was involved in reinterviews of the Tapas Seven.
He was said to have been “red faced with fury” after the leaking of the McCanns’ police statements.
Kate’s words – read out on Spanish TV – revealed Maddie asked her why she had not come into her room when she was crying the night before she vanished.
A source close to the Maddie case said: “The first police chief in charge of Maddie’s case was removed for briefing the Portuguese press. Since Rebelo took over there have been no such leaks, until this week.
“He feels it embarrassed him while he was in England working with British officers. He has gone back early to try to track down who was behind the leaks.”
Heart specialist Gerry, 39, and Kate, 40, of Rothley, Leics, are in discussions about a possible return to Portugal to help police piece together the events of that night but mood of co-operation has soured markedly following police leaks. The McCanns want a Crimewatch-style TV reconstruction.
"All this nonsense over the last 24 or 36 hours does not in any way endear them to the idea of going back," Mr Mitchell said.
It has still to be decided whether the McCanns – who also have three-year-old twins Amelie and Sean – will be interviewed again.
Yesterday Mr Mitchell attacked the Portuguese cops’ “smear campaign” against the parents as “shameless and brazen”.
He said even Leicestershire Police had “expressed concern” over the leaked witness statements.
And he insisted Maddie’s comments about her crying “puzzled” her parents and were said as “a breezy aside”.
Mr Mitchell added: “It was out of character for Madeleine to cry, and with hindsight Kate and Gerry think someone could have disturbed her that night.
“People are asking were they negligent? But they felt that Madeleine and the twins were safe and secure.
“They decided to be even more accurate and careful in the times they checked on the children.
“They took every precaution but their system failed and they were incredibly unlucky.”
- It was said that Paulo Rebelo returned to Portugal early to discover who was behind the leaks
- So who was? Does Rebelo know yet?
- Doesn't look as if he discovered much as the PJ have been leaking daily since Rebelo returned
- Still the way this investigation has been managed, why would we expect Paulo Rebelo to detect who is behind these leaks?
- Seems the PJ couldn't detect a gas leak with a naked flame!
- Who leaked that Jane Tanner had changed her statement?
- This leak came before Rebelo had scared customs officers with his passport photo on his return to Portugal.
- Does the P in PJ stand for 'Police' or 'Plumbers'?
- Who told Portuguese gutter press 24 Horas that the friends had demanded a private jet?
- When does the Portuguese government intend to do something about the lack lustre performance of the PJ?
- When is there going to be a full and open public inquiry into the Portuguese police handling of this investigation?