Apart from the French book* news, it's been a pretty quiet week, so I've been having a look the witness statements from the investigation over on the Maddie Case Files. I came across the statement of Ricardo Alexandre da Luz Oliveira, the waiter assigned to the Tapas group table most nights.
Now I'm certainly not naive, but I think after 4+ years you tend to become a bit forgetful of certain things. Thanks to the night of 3rd May and the timeline that's been forced upon us, you tend to drift towards that hour and a half in the restaurant, with possibly anxious parents, away from their children, gobbling down their food.
However, they weren't anxious and neither were they there for an hour and a half.
Restaurants tend to have two or three sittings per night, especially if in demand. And the Tapas Bar was in demand. This group took up seating for nine for the whole evening, every evening causing holidaymakers like the McKenzie family to be refused a table, forcing them to get takeaway to eat in the apartment. Thankfully, Mr McKenzie had the common sense to wait in the apartment with his child whilst his wife collected their food from the very same restaurant. Yes, as well as offering a free creche service to diners, the Tapas Bar also provided takeaway.
Some holidaymakers were fortunate enough to book a table... the Carpenters dined with their children, the Wilkins dined whilst their children were looked after in the restaurant's free creche... the Tapas group must've thought they were utter fools, dining with their children?...
We know that the McCanns enjoyed that bottle of Montana Sauvignon Blanc before leaving the apartment and according to Ricardo the group were in no rush to eat, waiting on all members to arrive before ordering. Before they all arrived, some would have cocktails. On seating, 4 bottles of wine would be placed on the table and during the meal, another 4 would be depositied which would be completely consumed. Ricardo remembers serving Almond Bitters to all and after three courses, the group would stay at their table until after 11pm and be at the bar until it closed at midnight. This group were normally the last to leave.
Drink, drink, drink and the last to leave when the place closed! Sounds like an absolutely spanking piss up and really good fun, doesn't it? It would be if there weren't children and babies involved.
Gerry McCann says that all this was within the realms of responsible parenting. I say it is absolutely not. Parenting is a responsibility for life, there is no escape. This whole group tried to. Apparently.
You can view the witness statements from the official Portuguese police investigation on the Maddie Case Files.
*Belle Famille by Arthur Dreyfus is the tale of little Madec Macand, and a story which has eery similarities to the missing Madeleleine case. Should make an interesting read and hopefully translated extracts will be provided by Anna Andress when available. At the moment, available to buy on Amazon France.