Madeleine McCann
Madeleine McCann went missing in 2007. A child minder working in the Portuguese resort has spoken of the torment of the night she disappeared. Getty Images

A nanny who had looked after Madeleine McCann has spoken of the night when the British toddler went missing in Portugal a decade ago.

The child minder, who was working at the resort in Praia da Luz in Portugal, told the Mirror the resort was so unsafe that nannies were advised not to go out alone and were even given rape whistles.

She said she is haunted by the events of 3 May 2007 when Madeleine disappeared and criticised the police investigation.

"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. She was crying, but almost in a catatonic state, and Gerry was very distressed.

"That's the one thing I really remember from him, looking under the cars. I can't forget that," she said.

The woman, who has not been named, said that local police took 90 minutes to arrive at the crime scene, had missed out "whole chunks" of information during their investigation and that people were able to walk through their apartment, contaminating the crime scene.

She said there was "no way" the McCanns had anything to do with their daughter's disappearance.

"I think a lot of things should've happened differently. ­Unfortunately the effects were catastrophic."

She said she could not believe Kate and Gerry were ever considered suspects and said she still gets questions about whether they did it.

She said: "I tell them no, there's no way at all. A, timings and B, where it was, their r­eactions, the whole thing. Not a chance," she told the Mirror.

Police have been given an £85,000 'last throw of the dice' to explore a new lead after identifying a new person of interest, who was reportedly close by when the three-year-old went missing.

A source said: "There is just one person who detectives want to speak to, who was near the area where Madeleine disappeared almost ten years ago. An international search has been under way to find them."