Jane Tanner, Russell O’Brien, Fiona Payne, David Payne, Matthew Oldfield, Rachael Oldfield and Dianne Webster, the group of friends who were with Kate and Gerry McCann when their daughter Madeleine was abducted in Portugal in May 2007, have secured full apologies and £375,000 in damages from Express Newspapers. At the friends’ request, the damages are all to be donated to the Find Madeleine Fund.

Statement to Press

“Tapas 7”

16 October 2008

The abduction of Madeleine McCann, the daughter of our friends Kate and Gerry, on May 3rd 2007, changed all our lives in an instant. But for no-one more so than Madeleine.

The defamatory stories written about us were not only extremely damaging on a personal level but we strongly feel were detrimental to the search for Madeleine. This aspect has been particularly heartbreaking to witness.

Although we are very pleased with today’s result, it changes little when Madeleine’s plight remains ongoing – she is still missing and her abductor is still free. Our only aim is to see her safely recovered and re-united with the family who so adore her.

All the damages received today are being paid directly into the Find Madeleine Fund to continue the ongoing search and investigation into her disappearance.

We believe that Madeleine is still alive and CAN be found.

We ask anyone who has any information, however small or seemingly unimportant, to come forward. All contact details can be found on the web at www.findmadeleine.com or by calling +44 845 8384699.

And finally we thank wholeheartedly all those who have already helped in the search for Madeleine.

Statement in Open Court

(1) Jane Tanner (2) Russell O’Brien (3) Fiona Payne (4) David Payne (5) Matthew Oldfield (6) Rachael Oldfield (7) Dianne Webster and Express Newspapers

16 October 2008

Solicitor Advocate for the Claimants
My Lord, in this action I appear for the Claimants Jane Tanner, Russell O’Brien, Fiona Payne, David Payne, Matthew Oldfield, Rachael Oldfield and Dianne Webster.

My friend Mr Keith Mathieson appears for the Defendant, Express Newspapers, which publishes the Daily Express, the Sunday Express and the Daily Star.

The Claimants are all friends of Kate and Gerry McCann and were holidaying with the McCanns in Praia da Luz, Portugal, in May 2007. On the night of Madeleine McCann’s disappearance, the Claimants were dining with the McCanns in a restaurant close to the McCanns’ apartment. The Claimants have frequently been referred to in the media and have become popularly known as the “Tapas 7”.

Between July and December last year, the Defendant published a number of articles which referred to the Tapas 7 or to one or more of the Claimants individually. These articles suggested that at least some of the Claimants, in particular Dr O’Brien, had been identified as potential suspects by the Portuguese authorities. The articles also suggested that the Claimants had covered up the true facts concerning Madeleine McCann’s disappearance and misled the authorities investigating her disappearance.

The Defendant accepts that these allegations are wholly untrue and that there is no evidence to support them. The Defendant acknowledges that the actions of the Claimants following Madeleine’s disappearance were entirely proper and were motivated by a desire to find Madeleine and to support the McCann family through a very difficult and stressful time.

The Defendant is represented here today by its solicitor in order to apologise for the distress and embarrassment caused to the Claimants. Full apologies are also being published by the three newspapers in question. As an expression of its regret, the Defendant has agreed to pay substantial damages to the Claimants, which they will donate to the Find Madeleine Fund. The Defendant has also agreed to pay the Claimants’ legal costs.

Solicitor for the Defendant
My Lord, on behalf of the Defendant, I confirm what my friend has said.

The Defendant apologises to each of the Claimants for publishing false allegations about them. The Defendant regrets the distress caused to the Claimants and in acknowledgment of that I confirm that the Defendant has agreed to pay substantial damages to the Claimants, which they will donate to the Find Madeleine Fund, and to pay their legal costs.

Solicitor Advocate for the Claimants
My Lord, in all the circumstances, I am pleased to confirm that the Claimants’ objectives in bringing these proceedings have been achieved.

Adam Tudor
Carter-Ruck -Solicitor Advocate on behalf of the Claimants

Keith Mathieson
Reynolds Porter Chamberlain – on behalf of the Defendant

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