Tapas seven deny pact of silence


SEVEN FRIENDS who were dining with Kate and Gerry McCann when their daughter Madeleine vanished have denied making a pact of silence to protect the couple.

Portuguese police reportedly believe the group were hiding damaging facts about the parents.

It has been alleged the details could implicate the couple in their daughter’s disappearance.

But the friends insist that it was only at detectives’ request that they had avoided speaking about the case publicly.

The seven had joined the couple at a tapas restaurant in the Algarve resort of Praia da Luz before Madeleine went missing on May 3.

They issued a formal statement through the McCanns’ spokesman, Clarence Mitchell.

“We wish to state that there is categorically no ‘pact of silence’ or indeed anything secretive between us – just the desire to assist the search for Madeleine,” the statement said.

It added: “From day one, the police in Portugal told us not to discuss our statements.

“We have always tried to honour this request as well as respecting Portugal’s judicial secrecy laws, despite the very large number of inaccurate, speculative and often unpleasant articles that have been published.”

The holidaying adults who ate together in the Ocean Club resort have been nicknamed the ‘Tapas Nine’.

They were the McCanns, Russell O’Brien and his partner Jane Tanner, Rachael and Matthew Oldfield, Fiona and David Payne, and Mrs Payne’s mother Dianne Webster.