This information belongs to the Ministério Público in Portimão, Portugal.
It was released to the public on 4 August 2008 in accordance with Portuguese Law


675 to 678 Witness statement of Fatima Maria Serafim da Silva Espada 2007.05.08
03-Processos Vol III Pages 675 to 678


Witness statement

Taken by officer Jose Luis, Inspector

Date : 2007: 05: 08

Name: Fatima Maria Serafim da Silva Espada

Profession: Cleaner

Place of work: Luz Ocean Club

She has worked at the Ocean Club for approximately eleven years. She is a permanent employee of the Club and works all year round. She has a day and a half off a week. She has fixed working hours from 10.00 AM to 18.00 with a break for lunch from 13.30 to 18.00 and remains at the club during this time or goes to attend to personal matters near to the Club. She has a fixed day off on Tuesdays and had a day off on May 1st (national holiday) as well Sunday afternoon 29th April.

When asked how her work was organised in the club, specifically in the cleaning areas where she worked, she said there are norms pre-defining the areas where each employee worked, with the aim of delivering an efficient service. This principle does not imply that in times of work overload for any colleague, that they could not help out even in areas that were not allocated to them. She knows because she has heard that the missing English girl was staying in block 5 apartment A, which is referred to as 5A out of habit. This apartment is situated in a zone that was not allocated to her, but to a colleague, in this case her mother Maria Julia Silva.

She knows that the little girl disappeared on the night of 3rd May and is sure that she only heard about this on the following morning when she arrived at work, as it was the only subject being talked about.

She had the opportunity to observe the photos of Madeleine that were being circulated everywhere and has no hesitation in confirming that she saw the child before her disappearance in the company of her siblings and mother and father, although in the latter case she only observed him from a distance.

She states that this took place on Sunday 29th April, just before she finished her morning work shift (13.30) as she had the afternoon off that day. At about 13.15 she went to help her mother, who was cleaning apartment I of the same block (5) situated on the first floor. She clearly remembers seeing the girl accompanied by her siblings and mother leave their apartment (5 A) and walk to the stairs leading to the floor above. She was very close to them at a distance of about 1 metre, observing their movements for a few moments because she was charmed by them. Madeleine led the way with a plate (perhaps plastic) in her hand bearing a piece of bread. As regards the clothes she was wearing she only remembers a skirt but cannot recall its description. She noted, because she thought them nice, the type of shoes she was wearing, tennis shoes, light in colour she thinks, which had little lights along the soles, which lit up each time she stepped on the ground. Her siblings followed behind her, wearing the same king of shoes and each holding a piece of bread in their hands, their mother followed behind them without holding their hands. She seems to remember that the mother was also carrying a plate. Moments afterwards, perhaps the time it took to close the apartment door, the father came out and also headed to the apartment upstairs. When asked, she does not remember whether the father pulled the door closed or locked it with a key.

After she chatted to her mother about there being many children in the apartments, she had the idea that the family in 5H were friends of Madeleine's family who were staying in 5 A.

She never cleaned any of these apartments referred to as they were allocated to her mother. Her mother never mentioned anything strange to her, either before or after the girl's disappearance that could be related to the disappearance. The only comment she remembered concerned the clutter in the apartments, mainly clothing which was left all around the place. She thinks that her mother cleaned the apartments in that block on Monday and Wednesday (02-05).

When asked if she observed anything in the apartments where she cleaned that indicated a person particularly interested in children, such as objects, photos, videos or anything else, she replies no. She has no knowledge of any fact that could contribute to discover Madeleine's whereabouts and pledges to contact the authorities if anything should happen.

No more is said. She reads the statement and finds it in conformity, ratifies it and signs it together with me, the officer who drew up the statement.


Site Policy HOME PAGE Contact details