Wednesday, 22 October 2008

Madeleine McCann case: Russell O'Brien's interview 11th May 2007

Enfants Kidnappés 21/10/08

21 octobre 2008

Being of British nationality with no command of the Portuguese language in spoken of written form, he will be accompanied during his interview by a translator: Alice D.A.

He totally confirms his previous statements as being true and which will be reproduced for the legal process.

Questioned about how he met the other members of the group who accompanied him on holiday, the informant states that he has known David Payne since 1989, when they were medical students at the same university. Subsequently, they worked on a few occasions at the same hospital, but with the medical faculty at the same university. He knew Fiona Payne through David Payne. They got married around 4 years ago and the informant was their witness.

He met Matthew Oldfield in 1994, both being doctors, they got along well. The informant was witness to the Marriage of Matthew Oldfield and Rachael Mampilly in 1990.

He got to know (Gerry) McCann more recently, around 2002 or 2003. The latter is also a doctor. Contact between them has essentially been through the Payne couple. The four couples get together when the opportunity presents itself but, living so far away from each other, they take advantage of holiday times to get together and spend time together. The couples all have children of a similar age, something they have in common.

Asked if they have had problems linked to their profession, the men of the group all being doctors as well as Kate Healy and Fiona Payne, the informant, for his part, doesn't recall having encountered a situation that was worth mentioning. However, he remembered that Matthew Oldfield had a difficult experience when someone's parents accused the medical team directed by Matthew, which was on duty that day, of a late diagnosis which led to the death of a patient. The informant has no knowledge of any threat directed at Matthew Oldfield or any other member of the medical team but only that a complaint was lodged at the hospital against the team in question. He has no knowledge of a similar situation concerning Gerry McCann or Kate Healy.

Asked if there were any problems between the couples or personal to the couples, which might be professional or emotional, even certain tendencies, the informant states that he has nothing particular to say which would be interesting to record in the present process. He states that he is not well enough acquainted with the intimate relationship of couples he is not involved with. That is the kind of agreement they have between them. They see each other when they have the opportunity to talk and do sporting activities in a friendly way. He adds that the couple with whom he has little involvement, is actually the McCann couple, but that is not because he is aware of any strange or complicated situations. He has no knowledge of any tendencies whatsoever, drugs or games on the part of people in the group.

Questioned, the informant states that this is the second time the four couples have been together (the first time was for the marriage of David and Fiona in Italy), although he has spent holidays with two or three couples but not with the group currently in Portugal. He recalls that in September 2005, three couples, not including the informant and his wife, spent their holiday in Majorca. The informant and his wife did not go with them because Jane Tanner was nearing the end of her pregnancy.

This holiday was planned by everyone, although it was David and Fiona who organised the details. The informant and his wife, Jane Tanner, traveled with the couple Matthew Oldfield and Rachael Mampilly and their respective children on the same flight. Owing to different travel times, the four couples met up at the "Ocean Club Resort" where they had dinner at around 6pm at the "Millennium" restaurant. During registration, it was requested that the four couples be placed in the same block in order to more easily supervise the children.

The "Millennium" restaurant is a long way from block 5 where the couples were lodged. As meals at the "Millennium" restaurant were served after 7.30pm, except on Saturdays for the reception of new clients arriving that day, they found that time late for the children. They opted for meals at the "Tapas" which is close to the swimming pool, back facing the apartment block where the couples were staying. The informant states that David and Fiona's children were very restless and they preferred to be as close as possible to the apartment. All the couples were in agreement with no objections.

Questioned, the informant states that during their holiday in Greece with the same tourist company the "Mark Warner" group, they found out that there was a service called "Baby Listening" which consisted of leaving the children to sleep in the apartment during dinner while the children were observed through the windows by supervisors listening for children crying and immediately informing the parents. The informant states that this service exists in Greece but not in Portugal. That is what they learned while registering.

At the Ocean Club. there is a baby-sitting service for the time when parents are dining. this service is free. The children don't stay in the apartment but in crèche buildings. The service for care in the residence is fee-paying (around 15 €/hour) and operates until 1am. For here, they opted for a kind of child monitoring similar to that used in Greece. Thus, a rota was organised between members of the couples for making checks. They thought that with the number of adults present, it would be easy to work in this way. Randomly, someone would get up and suggest going to listen, near the bedroom windows, for the children crying.

Questioned, the informant states that the couple, David and Fiona Payne did not get up to check on the children because they had a baby monitor at the table, considered sufficiently reliable for there to be no need to check on the spot. He states he cannot say how many times each member of the group got up to check their respective children. Being worried about his child, the informant did the checks with his wife, which was more convenient. The informant advises that he only went once to the McCann couple's apartment but he doesn't recall if it was his own idea or if someone had asked him to. He states that he didn't know that the patio door, at the rear, which gives access to the apartment, was closed but not locked.

Gerry probably told him tonight, it was for going into the apartment and checking the children. The informant explains that as far as he and his wife are concerned, this kind of checking was safe and effective. So, each member of the group went regularly to check their children, usually every 15 to 30 minutes. For his part, he guarantees that all the doors and windows were closed and locked, while making clear that the windows and patio doors to the living room can be closed - and opened - from the inside of the apartment. He only noticed Gerald and Kate McCann using the patio door at the rear, that being the easiest access via a staircase, and the McCanns' apartment was the closest to the lane. During the check all he did was listen near the windows. He tried to hear if there were any noises or cries from inside the apartments.

Asked about the routines during the holiday, he confirms all his previous statements so his version coincides exactly with that of his wife, Jane Tanner and completely tallies with her statements. He has no knowledge of something strange/suspicious happening that Thursday, May 3rd 2007 with the group of friends or with the children. Everyone seemed normal to him amongst the swimming pool employees, the gardeners and the rest of the employees of the complex. Same at the beach, he never noticed any strange people or who appeared suspicious.

Questioned, he stated that no one in the group usued a vehicle, owned or rented, given that no one in the group went away from Praia da Luz.

The informant gave a version of what happened on May 3rd. In this version, it is to be noted that all the facts presented, about their activities and/or those of other members of the group, coincide with the version already presented by his wife Jane Tanner.

He states that only for the night, on May 3rd, at around 7.15/7/30 he was in the apartment. He stayed reading stories with Emie O'Brien, who was feeling slightly better but refusing to go to sleep. Nevertheless, his partner went to dinner at the "Tapas" restaurant at around 8.30/8.40pm. As the menu was always the same and the group knew its contents, the informant told his wife what he wanted to eat and she placed the order while he tried to get Emie O'Brien to sleep. When he arrived at the restaurant, the group was almost complete, without the children. Only David, Fiona and Dianne Webster, who arrived 10 minutes later, were missing.

At around 9pm, they all ordered dinner. As usual, every 15 to 30 minutes, someone from each apartment went to the apartments/bedrooms to check that the children were OK. That evening, as Emie wasn't well, the intervals were reduced. He recalls that Matthew Oldfield left the restaurant at around 9pm to make sure there were no problems with the children. He is not sure who went out first but, he thinks that, around five minutes later, Gerry McCann went to see his children. Around 5 or 10 minutes after Gerry McCann, the informant's wife left in her turn, to check the children. As with the other couples, the monitoring was only listening in nature. Jane Tanner, as was her habit, went personally to check how her children were. He doesn't recall who, Gerry or Jane, came back first to the table but he remembers that Jane said she had passed Gerry in the street and that he was talking with another tourist from the complex, the one called Jez.

Around 9.45pm, taking advantage of a pause between courses, the informant left the restaurant with Matthew Oldfield to see the children. When he got to his apartment, he immediately heard Emie crying. He stayed in the bedroom with her. He thinks that Matthew Oldfield checked his apartment but doesn't know if he was asked to also check that of the McCann couple. Matthew Oldfield, after going to the informant's apartment to see if he needed any help, want back to the restaurant and told Jane Tanner that the informant was staying in the apartment with Emie who was crying. In fact, the informant had completely changed Emie's clothes because she had vomited. His partner came to replace him around 15 minutes later so that he could finish his dinner.

At around 9.55, he went back to the restaurant where his meal had been waiting for 5 or 10 minutes. All the others gathered at the table had finished the meal.
At around 10pm, Kate left to see the children in her apartment from where she returned desperate, shouting as she entered the restaurant for the attention of our table, that Madeleine had disappeared. We all went out running, with the exception of Dianne Webster. With several people it was decided to go around the apartment blocks and our own apartments to see if Madeleine was there. During the searches that were done after Madeleine's disappearance, the informant did not notice any suspicious detail/person/object.

In answer to our question, he responds that he cannot describe what the childrens' bedroom was like after Madeleine McCann's disappearance, because he never went in there. As soon as they were alerted, they immediately left the table and the informant started the searches in the area around the apartment blocks then in the village and in the area of the beach.

Questioned, he does not know if the shutters of the McCanns' childrens' bedroom window were open or closed. He cannot answer the question because he noticed nothing. He adds that when he went to see the children with Matthew Oldfield, they were busy talking and they didn't look towards the windows.

Asked if he knows whether or not Matthew Oldfield checked the McCann children, he reports that he doesn't know because he stayed with his daughter Emie in his apartment. But he subsequently heard that Matthew went to check the McCann children and that he apparently saw the twins but not Madeleine's bed because it was in a corner where he didn't have a line of sight.

Questioned, he states having no suspicions to put forward and that he doesn't recall any detail or situation which could be associated with Madeleine McCann's disappearance.

At our request, he states that he doesn't recall any incident or discussion between any members of the group. The informant only recalls a fact that doesn't have much significance for him but which he tells us given the circumstances. Thus, between the tennis courts and the beach, he made the acquaintance of a British man named Nigel, married with a child of around 3/4 years. He had superficial conversations with that person. On the day of Madeleine's disappearance, mid-morning, while he as going to the tennis courts with his children, Nigel approached him. He was busy filming his daughter with a video camera. Faced with the various news items about paedophile films, they ended up having a conversation which the informant considered to be perfectly normal and inoffensive in which Nigel commented that he was almost afraid to film his own daughter. The informant was in agreement and both talked about the stupidity of the situation and the "state of our world." The informant states that he has no reason to suspect Nigel and that he seemed to be a normal citizen with a normal family. He thought no more of that conversation but he reports it with all the situations he has experienced this week.

He states that this is the truth as he knows it. At this point we ask him for a buccal sample, taken by the specialist Irene T. He quickly agreed to this request while signing the present document.