A nanny who minded Madeleine McCann in Praia da Luz has spoken out about how Kate and Gerry were plunged into a panic when her disappearance became clear.
The former child minder, who was not in charge of Maddie on the night of the disappearance, revealed that the experience of comforting the weeping parents still haunts her.
She is breaking a silence of 10 years after working at the resort which was considered unsafe for nannies, many of them being given rape alarms and told not to go out alone, the Mirror reports.
The nanny, who is remaining anonymous, slammed the organisation of the Portuguese police, saying that their blundering scuppered any chance of finding the culprits.
Speaking about the traumatic night in May 2007, the ex nanny who looked after Maddie several times during their stay, said:
A parent came to me and said there was something going on, and said someone’s looking for a child, I didn’t instantly think it was Maddie.
A couple of minutes later I walked into Kate crying, friends comforting her, Gerrylooking under cars, and it just blew up.
I don’t even think she saw me. I just stood next to her and tried to comfort her.
She was pacing up and down. The worst possible thing had just happened to her.
I think I said something like, ‘She’ll be found, these things happen all the time.
She was crying, but almost in a catatonic state, and Gerry was very distressed. That’s the one thing I really remember from him, looking under the cars. I can’t forget that.
We were told to start looking in bins in case her body was in there. It was at that point we realised this was serious.
The nanny, along with other staff, who worked for travel firm Mark Warner at the Ocean Club resort, looked through bins and piping leading to the sea in their hunt for the young girl.
The woman reported that the local police took 90 minutes to arrive at the scene and the hotel staff were trawling the streets until 5am when they were told to go to bed against their wills.
The nanny said:
The police didn’t get there for ages, maybe an hour and a half, so we were looking for her.
And at the end of the day, no matter how much you’ve been trained with children, we were children, mainly teenagers, we’re not police.
That’s why police were trying to get everyone’s timelines, because they weren’t there.
I think a lot of things should’ve happened differently. Unfortunately the effects were catastrophic.
When asked if the parents did it, the ex-nanny said:
I tell them no, there’s no way at all. A, timings and B, where it was, their reactions, the whole thing. Not a chance.
Maddie was reportedly a favourite among the nannies and she described her a ‘shy, very sweet. Not loud or precocious’.
I just couldn’t get over how different it was to other Mark Warner resorts.
We were told, ‘Here’s a rape whistle, don’t go anywhere by yourself, ever.’ There’d been a girl attacked the year or so before in Praia da Luz. It didn’t sound like a family resort to me.
I just got the feeling the locals didn’t want us there.
I remember thinking, even before I knew them, how they were the picture perfect family.
It’s probably very naive, but the best case scenario of a very horrible situation, is that she was procured and taken for a rich person who didn’t have children.
I can’t go anywhere else in my head. I can read it about other people and know how horrible that seedy world is where children are sold. But my brain won’t go there with her. I just switch off.
But I think the only person who knows exactly what happened is Madeleine. Can I believe it’s 10 years on? Yes and no.
The allocated nanny on the night of her disappearance was Catriona Baker.
Operation Grange, which was given another £85,000 of Home Office funding, will extend the investigation until September.
The nanny expressed that it would be ‘the best day ever’ if she was found.