Madeleine McCann's nanny breaks her silence
A NANNY who looked after Madeline McCann has spoken for the first time about what happened on the night the British three-year-old went missing.
The woman, who remains anonymous but worked at the Portuguese resort where McCann disappeared from in 2007, told The Mirror she is still haunted by what happened.
Madeline vanished from the resort she was staying in with her parents and twin siblings, but the decade-long investigation into her disappearance has been fruitless.
The McCann's left their children sleeping as they ate with friends at a nearby tapas bar, but when they returned to check on the children at 10pm, the realised Madeline was missing from her bed.
The nanny believes there is "no way" that Madeline's parents, Kate and Gerry McCann, could be responsible for their daughter's disappearance, because of the way they reacted when they found out she was missing.
"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," she said.
"I remember thinking, even before I knew them, how they were the picture perfect family."
After realising that Maddie had gone missing, she said Kate was in a "catatonic state".
"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, Gerry looking 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," she said.
She also accused the Portuguese police of botching the investigation and ruining any chances of finding who kidnapped Madeline.
"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.' 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."
The Ocean Club resort was located in Praia da Luz, a small seaside town in the south of Portugal, and owned by Mark Warner, a British businessman who owns several hotels around the world.
The nanny says the resort was unsafe and women were encouraged to carry rape whistles.
"I just couldn't get over how different it was to other Mark Warner resorts," the nanny said.
"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."
She says she hopes Madeline is still alive and wonders if she can remember what happened to her.
"I hope she is still alive. But I think the only person who knows exactly what happened is Madeleine.
"Sometimes, when I talk about it, it feels like I'm right back there again. I wonder if she's alive. Does she even remember? Does she remember her parents?
"I'm probably less harrowed by it now, but that's just because, although it's awful, it's become accepted.
"It's Madeleine, she's gone missing but it would just be the best day ever if I could be told that she's been found."