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


233 to 238 Witness statement of Jeronimo Tomas Rodrigues Salcedas 2007.05.06


02-Processos Volume II Pages 233 to 238


Processos Volume II

Pages 233 to 238

Witness Statement

Jeronimo Tomas Rodrigues Salcedas

Date: 2007/05/06

Occupation: Barman / Waiter

Place of Work: Ocean Club

He is the son of Portuguese immigrants who have been living in England for the past 15 years, they live in the city of Swindon, near Bristol. His father works for the English Consulate and his mother is a teaching assistant.

As regards the witness' professional qualifications, he completed a professional course in hotel and tourism and can also carry out ludical activities with children as an 'animator' and has worked in these kind of activities for four years with groups of children aged three (during the first year) and aged three to five (during the following years). After this kind of work he dedicated himself to the automobile sector and worked for Honda for a very short time, about three weeks, as he could not adapt to this kind of work. After a stay in England during which time he did not find work, about three weeks, he decided to come to Portugal to work in tourism, having contacted a cousin of his who works in the Algarve, Miguel Coelho who is Head Chef at the OC, who helped him be taken on immediately as barman.

He began work at the club on 2nd April.

When asked for the reason that he changed professions (children - automobiles) he said that he did this because he had simply reached saturation point. He says that ever since he has been working this has always been the case. He never stays in the same kind of work for a long time. However, when asked he says that it was always positive, that he likes to work with children. He never had any problem in this activity or in carrying out his profession. He remembers that the name of the establishment where he worked was called 'Sixpenny' in Swindon.

When asked, he says that he currently lives with his cousin, Miguel Coelho aged twenty two, in an apartment in Luz, near to the beach.

The witness earns 550 Euros a month plus tips. He pays 350 Euros as monthly rent as well as domestic costs which he shares in equal part with his cousin.

Currently, and for the last three or four weeks he has worked the night shift, from 16.00 to 24.00. He sometimes exchanges shifts with a colleague and in these cases works from 09.30 to 17.30.

When asked if he is aware of Madeleine's disappearance, he replies yes and says that it is a very delicate situation and that nothing else has been spoken about since she disappeared. In spite of having already observed many photos of Madeleine he claims that he could not state with any certainty that he had seen her at any moment, the same goes for whom he now knows to be her twin siblings. The specifics of his work do not leave him with much time to focus his attention on the children that were around, although as he has stated previously he worked with children of Madeleine's approximate age for almost four years.

When asked, he says that many children would be present around the Tapas restaurant during the day, as just outside the restaurant there is a small playground, near to the pool. The presence of children would reduce significantly at night time, also because there were fewer people dining in the restaurant, about 20 - 30 meals were served.

With regard to the group Madeleine's family belonged to, he remembers there were nine adults, he does not know how many children were associated with them as they brought them to dinner. He think the group arrived at the club on 28th April (Saturday), a day when the Tapas restaurant does not serve dinner because it closes at 19.00.

In this order of ideas he thinks that the group in question dined at the Tapas restaurant for the first time on Sunday (29th May). He does not know if they had lunch as he was not on duty at that time.

Of the whole group Madeleine's father was without doubt the most noticeable person as he was the most talkative, very pleasant and with a nice manner. In this respect the whole group showed a pleasant friendliness.

They would arrive for dinner according to daily bookings which they did themselves at the reception, he remembers the bookings were always made for 20.30 or 21.00. This booking could be made on the same day until 16.00, it was necessary to show proof of accommodation as well as the number of persons included in the booking. He says that the group arrived in phases but no long delays occurred.

When asked, he said that they would normally stay at the restaurant until 23.30 - 24.00, although some of them would leave earlier, at about 23.00. They were people who showed their satisfaction with the food and would consume on average 8 bottles of wine (4 red, 4 white) between the nine of them, which he considered to be normal consumption for a group of such a number.

They did not drink coffee and as regards after dinner drinks (digestivos) they only consumed these once on 2nd May.

He noticed, because it was obvious, that some of the members of the group would regularly leave the restaurant to do something, which he gradually came to realise was 'controlling' the children. Even so, he was always convinced that the children were in some place belonging to the Ocean Club, under the care of a Mark Warner company associated to the club.

This company provides child care services until 18.00, however if there was a request these hours could be extended to the evening period, from 20.00 to 23.00, paid as an additional service.

Referring to the day of 3rd May when Madeleine disappeared, the witness says that he was working.

At that time, at about 22.20 - 22.30 he noticed that there was only one person sitting at the group's table, the oldest of them and he asked her jokingly whether they had left her alone.

The person in question said that the others had gone to the apartment to look for a girl who had disappeared. Seconds later Madeleine's father appeared, greatly agitated, looking for his daughter everywhere, obviously and immediately heading towards the pool and surrounding areas.

Shortly afterwards Luz Ocean Club was in a state of absolute commotion. Everyone was trying to help in the search for Madeleine which was multiplied in numerous search actions over a large perimeter. The witness immediately perceived the seriousness of the situation. Madeleine's mother was shouting desperately for her daughter. The witness told another chef at the Millenium restaurant so that he would also help in the searches.

He was part of a team together with one of the other MW employees, Leanne, of English nationality, with whom he searched for the girl until 05.00. He remembers that during the early morning hours there were about 50 - 60 people searching who covered all the access routes to the club, the village of Luz, beach, amongst others. The search was fruitless. Madeleine was not and still has not been found.

Considering his previous profession and using the sensitivity that he had from working with children, the witness said that there was no situation with him or with third parties that he had noticed that caused him to have any doubts that such a situation could occur. Even forcing his memory he has no idea of anything that could help locate the girl.

When asked he says that he was working at the OC and has no idea whether situations of theft from the apartments were checked.

No more is said.

Reads, ratifies, signs.


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