"Dianne WEBSTER is Fiona’s mother we obviously met her through Fiona and Dave PAYNE, we have been friends with them for some time meeting them at Fiona and Dave’s house. We have been for trips out on their boat I’d say we know Dianne quite well."
Dianne is something of an ephemeral figure in the saga of Madeleine McCann and without the closeness of ties binding the rest of the group it is difficult to get any kind of insight into what kind of person she is purely from the information available in the public domain. However from John Blacksmith, in his blog review of Kate's book 'Madeleine we have two incidental but sharp observations of her that chime me; that of his reading of Kate's assessment of Dianne, and his own assessment, cleverly and succinctly woven together:
"the stage-comedy scatty old lady Dianne Webster, who can't even remember her own address and isn't old at all, veering wildly between genuine forgetfulness and a sharp suspicion that the less she says about anything the better for everybody."
Typically she had breakfast on her own in the apartment from 8:00 am while the rest of the family took theirs at the Millenium restaurant situated in the Mark Warner Complex. It was only on the Wednesday of that week that she went along with the family routine because it was raining on that day. On arrival Dianne had put herself, Kate and Jane Tanner down for tennis lessons, and after breakfast during the week, except for that Wednesday, she would attend the tennis coaching lessons; there were two sessions between 9:00 and 11:00 a.m. but she decided on the 9:00 - 10:00 a.m. slot. Dianne never made it her business to drop the kids off for the morning crèche activities.
Around mid morning, following tennis she would occasionally go to the Batista supermarket and buy provisions for lunch which was taken by most of the group in the Paynes apartment starting at around 12:15 to 12:30 in the afternoon, it being larger and more accommodating than those of the others. Interestingly, the only consistent absentees from these gatherings were the McCanns who made their own arrangements during the week. As far as the morning goes, other than getting in provisions Dianne tells us she spent the morning, after taking a shower following the tennis, relaxing on the verandah or popping down to the pool for a spot of sunbathing. The following is from Dianne's Rogatory interview with Leicester Police on the 11th April 2008.
D.C Ferguson ”What did you do for lunch?”
Reply ”Lunch I think we had that in the apartment err there was a Supermarket just down the road, which I think I went a few times and did shopping, err put some stuff in the house because obviously it was an apartment with a kitchen and whatnot. Err I spent a lot of time making sandwiches.”
D.C. Ferguson ”Did you do the preparing for, because I understand a lot of people visited for lunch time because it was the biggest apartment?”
Reply ”Yeah, yeah.”
D.C. Ferguson ”So did you end up doing all the preparations?”
Reply ”Yeah I used to err I volunteered, I wasn’t expected to but err but I can’t, I can’t, I wouldn’t say that was everyday.
It was only after lunch that Dianne might take on child minding responsibilities for her daughter and son-in-law after the children had attended the morning playgroup (according to the creche registers). The Payne children never attended afternoon playgroups. From her Leicester rogatory interview we have:
"D.C. Ferguson ”And in relation to your granddaughters, they went to the kids club in the morning. Did they go in the afternoon or?”
Reply ”No because err I think it was only the older ones that, that err had an afternoon kids club. Err I don’t know, well I don’t think they did, because I know they only went to one of them and I think Scarlet was in the other one, I don’t think they were both in the same one. But I don’t, no I don’t think they did err I don’t think they went to the afternoon one.”
This is supported by the fact that though the name of the eldest appeared on each afternoon crèche register she was never once signed in or out. Presumably then the children's names were pre-written before attendance. One would have thought that if the registers had merely been incomplete then the chances are her presence would have been timed and signed for at least once. Also, we have this from Dianne's testimony to the Policia Judicaire on 11th May 2007:
"After lunch the children took a nap, usually staying in her care, since they [the adults] went with the PAYNEs to continue with, together, the leisure activities to which the holidays were dedicated. The purpose of those activities, it is clear, that it was usual to go to the beach, pool and practice several sports monitored by the resort. Also she went to the beach at times with the Paynes and the children when they were not at the Kids Club."
During this time Dianne would remain in the apartment, usually reading. The Paynes, for their part, continued with their holiday activities unhindered by parental responsibility until about a quarter to five in the afternoon or thereabouts, though Fiona did spend time with her mother in the apartment of an afternoon. From her police interview on the 4th May we have:
Concerning the usual routines, the informant states that she only spent part of each afternoon with her family and that not always. Sometimes she read, she went shopping or did other things.
Between 4:30 and 5:00pm the crèches would empty and the children brought to the Tapas Bar by the crèche staff to be reunited with their parents and provided with their evening meal. As Kate explains:
"Just before 5:00pm the Nannies would bring the children to a raised area next to the Tapas restaurant to meet their parents and have 'High Tea'. Madeleine's Mini Club arrived walking in single file clutching Sammy Snake, a long rope with coloured rings attached to it"
Dianne would stay with the family at the Tapas until about 6:30 pm in the evening before returning to the apartment where the adults would prepare the children for bed. They would hopefully be asleep by 7:00 pm to 7:30 pm whereupon the whole group, including Dianne Webster, would make ready to dine at the Tapas in the evening where a table had been pre-booked by Rachael Oldfield for the week for 8:30pm to dine until around 11:00 pm. Dianne was want to note during her police interviews that she never at any time checked upon the children personally, during the adult evening Tapas meal, as part of the regime of regular checks, instigated at the beginning of the holiday and carried out by the rest of the group. She also commented that it was her understanding that the various 'checkers' only ever checked on their own children, and not those of other members of the party.
Jane Tanner offers us one possibly further small insight into Dianne with the following rather unflattering remark.
"D.C. Ferguson “And what about the rest of the group, can you comment on what they were drinking?”
Reply “Erm, no, we just tended to stick with, because the wine was included, we tended to stick with just the, the wine that was given, so. I’ll tell you, the person who drank most of the wine was actually Fiona’s mum, Dianne was the, was the biggest drinker of the lot of us actually, which is quite”.
D.C. Ferguson “It’s coping with all those children around her”.
Reply “Yeah, exactly. So, no, I mean, nobody was, nobody was that drunk that night at all”.