Madeleine McCann's former nanny breaks silence to describe night three-year-old went missing
A child minder who had looked after Madeleine McCann has broken her silence about the night the three-year-old went missing ten years ago.
The former nanny said she the image of Madeleine's parents Gerry and Kate desperately trying to find their missing daughter still haunts her.
Speaking for the first time she recalled Mrs McCann crying and saying “they’ve taken her”.
The witness also claimed the Praia da Luz resort in which the McCanns were staying was considered so unsafe for nannies at the time that staff were handed rape alarms and warned against going out alone.
Describing the resort as radically different to other resorts owned by the Mark Warner travel firm, she added that a girl had been attacked in the area a year before Madeleine's disappearance.
Mark Warner, a global travel firm, quit Praia da Luz in 2015.
The nanny, who did not wish to be named but looked after Madeleine on a number of occasions, also criticised Portuguese police for their handling of the case, suggesting crucial opportunities to collect evidence were missed.
Describing the night the three-year-old was snatched, she told of how she attempted to comfort Mrs McCann, who was in a "catatonic state", while Mr McCann searched under cars in the area.
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“That’s the one thing I really remember from him, looking under the cars. I can’t forget that," she told the Daily Mirror.
“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 child minder said she and other staff at the Ocean Club resort to search through bins into the early hours of the morning in the hope of finding Madeleine.
Speaking a decade later, she said: “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.”
The nanny also claimed it took local police 90 minutes to arrive - by which time the crime scene, the apartment from which Madeleine had vanished, had been contaminated and potentially vital evidence lost.
She added she was astonished that Madeleine's parents were ever considered suspects.
“I know I didn’t step into that apartment but pretty much everybody else did. So, evidence gone, nothing. There was nobody there to say, ‘We need to lock this off now.’," she added.
The former nanny said when she was questioned by Metropolitan Police investigating the case, she discovered her five-page statement to Portuguese police had not been passed on to them in full, with key information missed out.
Madeleine was mostly cared for by Catriona Baker, the nanny allocated to her, but other childminders would occasionally watch the toddler. The woman said she was a favourite among the carers, and remembered her "shy, very sweet" temperament.
The abduction occurred in May 2007 when the three-year-old was sleeping in the family's apartment with her siblings twins Amelie and Sean.
At the time, her parents were eating dinner with friends at a restaurant around 40 yards away, something the former nanny described as completely normal in the resort.