Fury of Tapas 7; McCann friends hit back

30 October 2007 
The Sun
Antonella Lazzeri 
Pals: There is NO pact

The Tapas Seven pals of Gerry and Kate McCann yesterday denied sharing a "pact of silence" over what happened the night Madeleine went missing.

And they angrily insisted there was no "secret" between them.

The seven friends -including Jane Tanner -have faced Portuguese press accusations that they "covered up" and "lied" for Kate and Gerry after Maddie, of Rothley, Leics, vanished from her Algarve holiday villa days before her fourth birthday in May.

There have been claims of inconsistencies in statements given to police by the group, who were eating with Kate and Gerry in a Praia da Luz tapas bar when Kate, 39, found Maddie missing.

Suspicions have continued because none of the seven has given their own account in public. But speaking for the first time yesterday, the pals told in a statement how they WANTED to talk on the McCanns' behalf -but had been gagged by cops.

They said: "The police told us not to discuss our statements. We've always tried to honour this.

"We wish to state there is categorically no so-called pact of silence -or indeed anything secretive between us. Just the desire to assist the search. It is frustrating that the fact we have done as we were asked is still being looked upon as suspicious."

The seven are Jane, 37, her partner Dr Russell O'Brien, 36, Dr Matthew Oldfield, 37, his wife Rachael, 36, David Payne, 41, his wife Fiona, 34, and her mother Dianne Webster.

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