Charlotte Pennington Highlighted
Thanks to MCF Press News for this link
Compare to witness statement and Mirror Article below
'They've taken her' claims new nanny witness
By DAN NEWLING
Last updated at 16:41 25 September 2007
The first eyewitness account of the frantic moments after Madeleine McCann disappeared can be revealed today.
Nanny Charlotte Pennington confirms that Kate McCann did scream: "They've taken her, they've taken her!"
The mother's precise words have become a pivotal issue in the case, with Portuguese police questioning why she would automatically assume Maddie had been abducted.
Mrs McCann's family have countered this by insisting they recall her shouting: "Madeleine's gone."
Miss Pennington, however, one of the first people to set foot in the couple's apartment after the disappearance, says she heard the mother use both phrases.
The 20-year-old Briton, who tended children for the Mark Warner holiday complex in Praia da Luz, firmly believes the McCanns are innocent.
Speaking publicly for the first time yesterday, she described Mrs McCann in the aftermath as "a broken woman" who was shuddering and unable to move.
"We are trained to comfort people in this type of situation but she was just inconsolable," she said.
Miss Pennington is considered a vital witness by Portuguese detectives with whom she spent more than four-and-a-half hours giving a statement.
She also claims British expat Robert Murat, the first suspect in the case, was in the area of the Ocean Club complex that night. He has repeatedly denied that he was there.
Talking from her mother's home in Leatherhead, Surrey, yesterday she told the Daily Mail: "I was in the apartment less than five minutes after they found that Madeleine had gone.
"When we were coming out we saw Kate and she was screaming: 'They've taken her, they've taken her!'
"I was standing right in front of her outside the apartment's back door, in the alleyway. I was very close to her. It might not have been the first thing she said. But she definitely said it.
"I was one of three Mark Warner staff who saw her shouting it. They have all given statements to the Portuguese police saying that."
The "they've taken her" version of events was first given in the Portuguese press two days after Madeleine disappeared on May 3.
It remained unchallenged until last Thursday when a source close to the McCann family claimed Kate had actually shouted: 'Madeleine's gone!'
Miss Pennington flew out to start work at Praia da Luz on April 28 - the same day that the McCanns arrived. She had worked for Mark Warner on two previous occasions.
She was employed as a nanny in the Ocean Club resort's Baby Club, looking after children aged four to 12 months.
However, she also came into close contact with Madeleine, her two-year-old sister and brother Amelie and Sean, and their parents, both doctors aged 39.
She dismissed claims that the McCanns were not seen for six hours leading up to the disappearance.
She said: "I was helping give the children high tea. The twins were there and Madeleine and both parents.
"It was supposed to finish at 5.30pm but because they were a big group and really social, it didn't finish until about 6pm. There was nothing out of the ordinary at all."
After tea Miss Pennington went to work at the resort's evening creche, in which parents could leave their children while they went out for supper.
Just before 10pm the last mother arrived to collect her child from the creche and mentioned that she had just bumped into a man, who had been shouting a name.
"She didn't get the name, but she said it sounded something like 'Abbey, Gabby or Maddie'. We automatically went into lost-child procedure. In these situations, the first thing we do is investigate the scene.
"We knew that one of the other nanny's charges was called Maddie. We told the head of department what had happened and she took us straight to the apartment.
"There were no children in the room. The twins had been taken out already, I think by one of the McCanns' friends.
"When we were coming out we saw Kate and she was screaming: 'They've taken her. They've taken her!'
Asked if it was the only thing she said, Miss Pennington answered: "It might not have been the first thing she said. But she definitely said it. She also repeated Madeleine's name and said: 'She's gone, she's gone'.
"I couldn't really believe what I was seeing - she was just so distraught. She was screaming out and tears were running down her face.
"Everyone else was running around trying to help.
"Kate and her friend, who was looking after her, were the only ones who weren't out looking for Madeleine."
While Gerry McCann leapt into action and began frantically searching the resort, she said his wife remained outside the apartment, shuddering with tears and unable to move.
Asked why she thought Mrs McCann might have shouted "They've taken her", Miss Pennington said:
"I'm not really sure. But maybe she saw some people looking at Madeleine earlier that day, and she immediately thought that they must have taken her."
The nanny was one of three staff who steered Mrs McCann to the nearby reception area, where they asked her to describe what Madeleine was wearing.
But she remained so hysterical that she could hardly communicate.
"We get missing children all the time, and I have seen plenty of hysterical mothers. But none of them were like Kate."
She confirmed reports from the McCanns' friends that Murat was at the scene.
"He was outside the lobby just before we started on our big search," she said.
"He was adamant that he wasn't there. But he was. He was there in the road, he was just looking. It was about 10.30. He was just watching
"I didn't know his name then. But the next day he was our interpreter and I met him then. He didn't take part in the searches, but he was there."
Murat has insisted that he was at his home nearby throughout the evening of Madeleine's disappearance. Portuguese sources have claimed that he will soon be told that he is no longer a suspect.
Miss Pennington explained that she spent the rest of the evening searching for Madeleine, before finally going to bed at 4am.
The following afternoon she was one of the first people to give witness statements to the Portuguese police.
Since then, she said, she has spoken to a Portuguese detective once and to two British detectives.
Compare to her Witness statement and Mirror article
Charlotte Elizabeth Anne Pennington
Date/Time: 2007/05/07 14H30
Translator Robert Murat
• Has been in Portugal since April 28th, the day upon which she began working for the Ocean Club tourist Complex in Luz, Lagos, and where she is employed as a child educator. Her work contract was completed in the U.K. with MarkWarner;
• The witness clarifies that between the 19th of April and the 04th of May 2007 she worked with a group of children staying in the aforementioned complex between the ages of 4 months and one year of age (the Baby Club);
• The witness further clarifies that the BabyClub group was divided in three sub-groups, with each group composed of two babies, so that each group had a different infant educator allocated to it;
• With relation to the facts of the investigation, the witness states that in the course of her work, she came across Madeleine McCann many times, explaining that, even though she [Madeleine] did not belong to her [Pennington’s] group, this was normal, as the physical space where the children groups are located is contiguous;
• The witness clarifies that Madeleine was registered with the ‘MiniClub’, a group with children between 3 and 4 years of age. The principal space where the children from MiniClub and BabyClub are situated is in the same building as the Ocean Club complex reception and this is why the witness had personal contact with the identified child. However, she clarifies that it was normal during “siesta”-- understood to be between the hours of 09H00 and 10H30 and 14H30 and 15H00, at the exact time that children are brought into the crèche by their parents—when the children under her guard are asleep, that she would participate with the children and the activities in the MiniClub;
• Witness states that on two different days, Sunday, 29th of April 2007, and on Thursday, 03rd of May 2007, (she worked the dinner shift which started at 5.15 on Thursday) she had direct contact with Madeleine McCann, telling her stories and speaking with her.
• Witness states that as she was an intelligent child, timid at first contact, and who later felt more comfortable, was a child who conversed normally for her age, and was of a calm demeanour. She adds that it was usual for Madeleine to be called “Maddy”, as this is how she [Madeleine] presented herself to the witness;
• On the 3rd of May 2007, around 22H15, the witness was working during “dinner hour”, together with her colleagues Jackie and Amy, when an unknown woman came to them indicating that she was a tourist lodged at the complex and asked them if they had heard about a disappearance of a child, whose name she referred to as “Maggie” or “Maddy”;
• The witness also clarified that the crèche in the complex also offers complementary services allowing parents to leave their children with baby sitters during dinner-time, between the hours of 19H15 and 23H00;
• She advised the aforementioned individual that no one had told them of the disappearance, who she believed by the name given, was Madeleine, also for the reason that Amy contacted via telephone her supervisor, Lyndsay, who informed her that Madeleine had indeed disappeared;
• After this situation, they began the “search procedure for a missing child” which consists of an organised search involving different areas of the complex in question;
• The witness states that she participated in the searches, together with her colleague—Amy, searching various areas of the Ocean Club establishment. She also states that she searched the patio area of the residence where Madeleine stayed with her parents and siblings, and during which, she encountered many individuals inside the apartment but was not able to tell if they were complex employees or friends of the couple. She did not enter the residence in question;
• She participated in the searches until 01H30 on the 4th of May, 2007, when she returned to her residence;
• During the search, she noticed, together with her colleagues from the Ocean Club, that other people participated in the searches (tourists, and proprietors from the complex in question);
• She was not aware of the time but believes it was around midnight when she noticed that the local authorities (police) were present and assessing the situation;
• States that the searches carried out by the Ocean Club elements terminated at around 04H00 the next morning, 04 of May, 2007, with negative results;
• States that she did not maintain contact with the minor in question, Madeleine McCann, but only to the extent that she was a child educator, as she was located together where the missing child was being watched in the crèche. She is unaware of Madeleine’s habits and that of her parents, not having perceived any odd situation related to the child or any other during her work period in Portugal;
• The witness also states that Madeleine was normally left by her parents around 09H15 in the crèche, as her parents left the twins beforehand in the Toddler Club;
• Is not aware of any situation that seemed odd/strange related, directly, or indirectly to the disappearance of Madeleine McCann. Nothing more to declare.
What REALLY happened the night Madeleine McCann disappeared as nanny breaks her 10-year silence
'Gerry frantically looked under cars while Kate paced up and down crying: "they've got Maddie"' says child-carer who worked in the Praia da Luz resort where Maddie vanished
BY MATTHEW YOUNG
22:00, 17 APR 2017 UPDATED 22:06, 17 APR 2017
A nanny who looked after Madeleine McCann has told how the youngster’s parents were plunged into despair and panic when the horrifying truth she had vanished sank in.
The former child minder said she is still haunted by the image of dad Gerry desperately trying to find their missing daughter while she tried to comfort weeping mum Kate who cried: “They’ve taken her.”
Breaking her silence after 10 years, the witness also claimed the resort from which Madeleine vanished was considered so unsafe nannies were handed rape alarms and told to not go out alone.
And she slammed the Portuguese police’s handling of the disappearance, insisting their blundering scuppered any chances of finding who had snatched three-year-old Madeleine.
Speaking of that dreadful night in May 2007, the ex-nanny –who looked after the girl several times – 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, 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.”
Along with other staff, the ex-carer, who worked for travel firm Mark Warner at the the Ocean Club resort, sifted by hand in the dark through industrial-sized bins and piping leading into the sea in their hunt for Madeleine.
They also walked Praia da Luz’s small, winding streets searching for the missing girl until they were told, against their wills at 5am, that it was time for bed.
But the woman, who we are not naming, said she is still furious with local police , who she claimed took 90 minutes to arrive on the scene.
And she told how people were in and out of the apartment where Madeleine vanished from – contaminating a potential crime scene.
The former nanny added: “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.”
She also told how she was interviewed by officers in the wake of Madeleine’s disappearance and later detectives from the Met’s Operation Grange handed her two pages of statements they had retrieved from their Algarve compratiots.
Her original statement was four to five pages long, but the one the Portuguese had been working from was only two pages long – missing a number of details from her interview. The woman claimed “whole chunks of information were missed out”.
She added: “I think a lot of things should’ve happened differently. Unfortunately the effects were catastrophic.”
And the carer told how she was astonished Kate and Gerry were ever deemed suspects in their own child’s disappearance. She is still constantly quizzed by people about the case who ask if “the parents did it”.
She 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.”
The woman also told how Madeleine was a favourite among the child minders. Her allocated nanny was Catriona Baker, but others also got the chance to look after her. The carer added: “I remember her character and temperament. She was slightly shy, very sweet. Not loud or precocious.
The nanny said that Madeleine was a helpful, polite child (Photo: PA)
“We obviously give the same care to all the children, but she was a real cutie and a real sweetheart. If you asked her, ‘Can you just pass me that?’ She’d be like, ‘Sure.’
“She was easy for us, and you were happy to sit and help out this pretty little girl who’s really nice.”
While the Ocean Club was clearly popular with British holidaymakers like the McCanns, from Rothley, Leics, the former child minder claimed it was considered an unsafe place for those who worked there.
After she arrived she was stunned when a fellow nanny passed on a message from hotel staff to never venture off the site alone.
She added: “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.” It emerged in 2014 that 11 years earlier a 10-year-old British girl had been sexually assaulted “in the heart” of Praia da Luz.
The victim came forward three years ago after a Scotland Yard appeal revealed a string of potentially linked sex assaults on young UK girls across the Algarve between 2004 and 2006.
Mark Warner, which operates in resorts all over the world, quit Praia da Luz in 2015.
Madeleine vanished as her parents ate with friends at a tapas bar just 40 yards from where she slept next to twin siblings, Amelie and Sean.
But the former nanny, who couldn’t face child minding again after the Algarve horror, said dining while kids were in the apartments was “really normal” in such resorts. And she insisted there was no evidence Kate and Gerry would ever neglect their kids. She said: “I remember thinking, even before I knew them, how they were the picture perfect family.”
The tapas bar was not far from the family's apartment (Photo: The People)
Asked if she thinks Madeleine is still alive, the woman said: “Think possibly is the wrong word, but hope. I hope she is still alive.
“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.
She was taken from the Mark Warner Ocean Club resort (Photo: Daily Mirror)
No because 10 years seems like a really long time, she’d be nearly 14.
“And yes, because 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?