A nanny who looked after Madeleine McCann has told how the youngster’s parents were plunged into despair and panic when the ­horrifying truth she had vanished sank in. The former child minder said she is still haunted by the image of dad Gerry desperately trying to find their missing daughter while she tried to comfort weeping mum Kate who cried: “They’ve taken her.”

Breaking her silence after 10 years, the witness also claimed the resort from which Madeleine vanished was considered so unsafe nannies were handed rape alarms and told to not go out alone. And she slammed the Portuguese police’s handling of the disappearance, insisting their ­blundering scuppered any chances of finding who had snatched three-year-old Madeleine, especially as they initially failed to preserve the crime scene, possibly contaminating any evidence.

Speaking of that dreadful night in May 2007, the ex-nanny –who looked after the girl several times – said: “A parent came to me and said there was something going on, and said someone’s looking for a child, I didn’t instantly think it was Maddie. A couple of minutes later I walked into Kate crying, friends comforting her, Gerry looking under cars, and it just blew up. I don’t even think she saw me. I just stood next to her and tried to comfort her. She was pacing up and down. The worst possible thing had just happened to her.

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