The UK press continue their breathless pursuit for more and more 'sightings' - the concentration now turning
to Brussels and Venezuela.
|The Sun asked: "Is it her?" The McCanns were apparently 'unable to say for sure'.
I saw her on Monday, 09 August 2008
|Daily Express 09 August 2008
By John Chapman
Saturday August 9, 2008
The hunt for Madeleine McCann focused on Belgium
last night after it emerged that police are investigating a fresh sighting.
A bank worker in Brussels reported seeing Madeleine accompanied
by a woman of North African appearance on Monday morning.
The witness is believed to be a security guard who was operating
the bank’s CCTV system. Detectives were last night poring over images taken from the cameras at a branch of the KBC
Police are said to be particularly interested in this latest sighting
because it was reported to them before files were released by Portuguese police earlier this week in which further sightings
in Belgium were documented.[>
It will also offer renewed hope to Gerry and Kate McCann after it
was revealed that there have been more than 100 similar reports from people claiming to have spotted the youngster since she
Police scour bank CCTV after Madeleine spotted by guard, 09 August 2008
Police scour bank CCTV after Madeleine spotted by guard Daily Express
By John Chapman and Mark Reynolds
Saturday August 9, 2008
Poilce were last
night trawling through CCTV images from a Belgian bank as the parents of Madeleine McCann were given fresh hope that she could
A blonde, blue-eyed girl who
looked "much like" Madeleine was spotted in the bank in Brussels on Monday morning this week.
An eagle-eyed member
of staff saw the youngster in the company of a woman of North African appearance.[>
Crucially, the sighting came before the 30,000-page Portuguese police file on the case was released later
on Monday and explains why it is being treated so seriously.
It emerged last night that the bank official who suspected the little girl was Madeleine is a male security
officer who monitors the branch’s CCTV images.[>
A police source said: "He is convinced he saw Madeleine but obviously it needs checking out carefully. We
have been in this position before and we don’t want to make any mistakes."
Detectives are not revealing the name of the witness or the location of the branch, apart from saying
it is a KBC Bank in west Brussels.
A Belgian police spokesman said: "We always take these reports seriously and are looking into the matter.
"A worker in the bank saw a North African woman with a young blonde girl with blue eyes. The child was
said to be much like Madeleine."
Belgium's sordid history of sex crimes and paedophile rings is now firmly under the spotlight amid concerns
that she was stolen to order by child sex perverts.
Interpol officials in Brussels have received 107 reports of "sightings" since she vanished while on holiday
with her family in Portugal on May 3 last year.
Thirty-six were investigated, 34 were deemed too vague and 37 came from clairvoyants.[>
Private detectives working for Kate and Gerry McCann, from Rothley, Leicestershire, are to check out the
most credible sightings.[>
The McCanns' family spokesman, Clarence Mitchell, said the couple's investigators welcomed information
about all possible sightings but were most interested in recent reports.[>
He urged people with information to pass on any leads to the detectives using the contact numbers on the
McCanns' website, www.findmadeleine.com. Mr Mitchell said: "The critical information they really need is recent sightings."
A Scotland Yard intelligence report sent to Portuguese police warned that Madeleine had been targeted
by a Belgian child sex gang. But they admitted the report from a secret source "may have been wrong."
The police files from Portugal revealed a spate of sightings in Belgium last summer.[>
On May 15, music journalist Line Compere reported seeing the youngster with an Eastern European couple
on a tram.
She told the Daily Express: "I keep playing the moment over and over in my mind. Could that girl have
been Madeleine? In any case, I have little doubt that this child had been kidnapped."
Ms Compere, 31, added: "We were on the Number 18 tram from Porte d’Anderlecht going towards the
Gare du Midi. They got off and then got on to the number 51 tram.
"She really looked like Madeleine, but her hair was different. In the photos I saw of Madeleine, she had
a fringe, but this girl did not. She was dressed all in pink and was in a pushchair.[>
"I was standing close to her and saw her eyes – they were blue. But I did not notice any marking
on her eye. She was with a man and a woman, both between 35 and 40. They were white but had dark hair and looked Eastern European.
They were both dressed in dark clothes. The girl looked very different to the adults. I was interviewed by Belgian police
who launched an inquiry, and I gave them all the details I knew."
Ms Compere said she saw the girl 12 days after three-year-old Madeleine disappeared in Praia da Luz.[>
She told police her suspicions were aroused because the man and woman with the youngster did not look
like her, appeared to be speaking a different language and did not seem to know her well.
At this point she had never seen a picture of Madeleine, but later that day she was shown a photograph
of the missing girl, according to the files.[>
Ms Compere told police in her interview on June 1 last year: "When I saw the photo it immediately jumped
out to me that there was a big resemblance to the little girl on the tram."
Later that month a Briton saw a youngster asleep on a train travelling from Brussels to Antwerp.
He said the child could have been drugged.
In June, Belgian-born Gilles Crippiau said he saw a girl looking like Madeleine in a town near the French
A Dutch witness, 41-year-old mother-of-one Anna Stam, has met the McCanns' spokesman Mr Mitchell and helped
to draw an artist's impression of the people she believes she saw with the missing child.
She claims a girl calling herself Maddie was in her shop accompanied by a "strange" family.[>
The sketches show a dark-featured man with a moustache in his late 30s, who was speaking Portuguese,
and a brown-haired woman in her 40s talking French.[>
Ms Stam was approached by the young girl who asked her in unaccented English: "Do you know where my mummy
When Ms Stam told the girl her mother was in the store, the child replied: "She is not my mummy," adding
"She is a stranger, she took me from my mummy."
Ms Stam said she thought that the girl looked "very much like" Madeleine, apart from the colour of her
Maddie 'seen 5 days ago', 09 August 2008
|The Sun 09 August 2008
From LUCY HAGAN in Brussels
Published: Today, 09 August 2008
COPS were last night
probing a dramatic new "sighting" of Madeleine McCann just FIVE DAYS ago.
A little girl looking just like missing Maddie was spotted on CCTV at a bank in Brussels, Belgium.
It follows three earlier sightings in Belgium and three in Holland.
Maddie's desperate parents Kate and Gerry last night described the sighting as "invaluable".
As Belgian police urgently studied recent CCTV images from a bank, McCann spokesman Clarence Mitchell
said their own investigators would "move promptly".
The hunt for missing Maddie gained new impetus after a bank guard saw an English-speaking girl with a
woman of North African appearance on a security camera in Brussels on Monday.
The woman seemed to be struggling to speak French.
And the fact she had a blue-eyed, blonde girl of four or five with her raised the guard's suspicions.
Maddie was almost four when she vanished from her family's holiday flat in Praia da Luz, Portugal, in
May last year.
Cops interviewed the guard yesterday and are taking the sighting seriously. Commissioner Johan Berckmans
said: "We've taken tapes from the bank for analysis."
The sighting was in the KBC bank in the run-down immigrant Molenbeek district of EU capital Brussels.
There are fears that Maddie was snatched to order for Belgian paedophiles.
The Sun told yesterday how three credible sightings in Belgium and three more in Holland were reported
soon after she disappeared.
Mr Mitchell said of the new CCTV shots: "This is exactly the kind of up-to-date information we are looking
for. We will be liaising to get access to the footage."
'Caution' on spot
OLD sightings revealed in police files should be treated with caution, the McCanns say.
Spokesman Clarence Mitchell fears people may not come forward with new sightings as they assume she is in Amsterdam,
where she was said to be spotted by a shopworker.
Mr Mitchell added: "It would be wrong to concentrate on this one sighting. We haven't found it more credible than any
Madeleine McCann: Parents reluctant to believe sightings,
09 August 2008
Aug 9 2008
and Gerry McCann will not "commit themselves emotionally" about any sightings of their daughter Madeleine until they have
been confirmed officially, their spokesman said today.
Clarence Mitchell said the couple would wait for confirmation from authorities and their own investigators
about a recent sighting.
His comments follow reports that police in Belgium are examining CCTV footage of a girl seen in a Belgian
bank which could be Madeleine McCann.
A bank security worker said she saw the girl on Monday accompanied by a woman of North African appearance,
on CCTV footage from a branch of KBC Bank in the west of Brussels.
Mr Mitchell said: "We are taking this sighting seriously in the sense that all information that is relevant
is taken seriously.
"We do not have it confirmed yet. At the moment Kate and Gerry's private investigators are liaising with
the Belgian authorities.
"I am still waiting to hear from the investigators."
The footage has been handed to police who told reporters the child "was said to be much like Madeleine".
The report comes as officers sift through hundreds of other sightings of the missing child.
Today Mr Mitchell said the McCanns would wait until their lawyers and investigators had confirmation before
He said they would not necessarily make any move public if they did find their daughter until they had
brought her home safely.
He said they would wait for official confirmation to avoid any disappointments.
He said: "They are waiting to hear before they commit themselves emotionally.
"There have been too many disappointments in the past for them to get excited until it has been checked
"If they reacted to every sighting they would be travelling the world.
"We wait until we have something definitive to move on."
Mr Mitchell said the couple were glad the focus had moved back to their missing daughter, especially after
their arguido status was lifted on July 21, when prosecutors shelved the case.
He added: "We have always tried to keep the focus on Madeleine but the legal aspect and the police case
has detracted from that.
"Kate and Gerry are relieved the arguido status was lifted recently and are pleased their lawyers now
have full access to the files.
"They are waiting to hear from the lawyers who are going through it meticulously and translating it."
Madeleine was nearly four when she vanished from her family's holiday flat in the Algarve resort of Praia
da Luz on May 3 last year.
Belgian police said they had received more than 100 reports of possible sightings of the youngster and
around 30 merited further investigation.
The sightings come after it was revealed a Scotland Yard informant suggested Madeleine was stolen to order
by a Belgian paedophile gang.
Met sources said they did "everything possible" with the tip and, despite warnings that the Scotland Yard
intelligence may be flawed, investigators employed by Gerry and Kate McCann are vigorously pursuing the leads in Belgium.
Alain Remue, head of the Belgian police missing persons unit, said officers had examined "every possible
link" between the disappearance and information they received.
A number of Belgian sightings are recorded in the Portuguese police files released this week.
They include one from Line Compere, 31, who told Belgian police she saw a blonde-haired, blue-eyed child
who looked "very much" like Madeleine with an eastern European couple on a tram in Brussels.
Other reported sightings were on a train from Brussels to Antwerp in May last year, in a shop in Mouscron,
near the French border, on June 2 last year and in a snack bar in Gooik, near Brussels, on June 8, 2007, with a known 33-year-old
Portuguese man who lives in Amsterdam.
Madeleine McCann: 'Strange Englishman' photographed children on beach, 09
Madeleine McCann: 'Strange Englishman' photographed children on beach Telegraph
A "strange Englishman" was spotted taking pictures of children on a Portuguese
beach visited by Madeleine McCann just before she went missing, police files reveal.
By David Harrison in Praia da Luz
Last Updated: 11:56PM BST 09 Aug 2008
|Ivan Mochacho, who works at a beachfront restaurant visited by Kate and Gerry McCann
Officers received several complaints from holidaymakers
about a man they had seen behaving strangely near Praia da Luz, where the McCann family was staying.
The revelation will add weight to the theory that Madeleine was snatched to order by an international
paedophile gang after being photographed by a "spotter".
In a separate twist, it has emerged that a British yachtsman told police he saw Madeleine
on a Caribbean island in May.
Both developments are disclosed in newly released Portuguese police files. Last week it emerged
British police were told Madeleine had been abducted three days after being photographed by a spotter.
According to the account in a Metropolitan police email sent to the Portuguese and Leicestershire
forces, the picture was sent to a child abduction ring in Belgium, which had placed an order for a "young girl".
Having seen the image, the gang agreed that Madeleine should be taken. The files reveal that
on May 9 last year – six days after Madeleine disappeared – officers interviewed Ernesto Mochacho, owner of a
restaurant on Zavial beach, a 20-minute drive from Praia da Luz, which has a naturist area.
Mr Mochacho recalled seeing the McCanns with their three children for the last time at his
restaurant in April.
His son, who also works at the restaurant, the only one on the beach, said he told police
he had seen a "tall, thin Englishman in his forties" taking photographs.
"He was weird, a strange guy," Ivo Mochacho, 23, told The Sunday Telegraph. He said
police visited the restaurant just after Madeleine vanished.
"Madeleine came here for lunch with her parents not long before she disappeared," he said.
"I don't know if this guy took a picture of Madeleine. It's impossible to say. But he took a lot of photographs on the beach.
"The police said they had had complaints about a man acting strangely on the beaches. They
thought he might have been a watcher, a voyeur. They told me to get in touch if I saw him again but I never saw him after
Mr Mochacho said members of the "Tapas Nine" – the group of friends dining with Kate
and Gerry McCann on the night Madeleine went missing – were regulars at the restaurant, which has a terrace looking
out across the Mediterranean. "They came a lot but I only saw the McCann family here once," he said.
The McCanns have long suspected that three-year-old Madeleine was abducted by a paedophile
Last month police shelved their investigation and finally cleared the couple, both 40-year-old
doctors from Rothley, Leicestershire, of involvement in Madeleine's disappearance.
Portuguese files also reveal Trevor Francis, a British yachtsman, told police he had seen
Madeleine on the island of Margarita on May 16 this year.
Mr Francis, who is retired but owns a nursing home in Worthing, West Sussex, and captains
a charter yacht, told police in a statement in June: "I saw the little blemish in her right eye. She really stood out. She
was the absolute image of the missing Madeleine."
Mr Francis said he was having lunch at a restaurant in the town of Porlamar on Margarita,
which is part of Venezuela, when the girl arrived with three women who looked Spanish or South American.
He said: "I was afraid to do anything. I decided to get a good look to make sure it was her
so I could report it."
The girl looked healthy, but seemed "sullen and refused to eat", he said. His report has been
sent to the Portuguese and Venezuelan authorities.
Sunday Express cover, 10
|Sunday Express 10 August 2008
I was afraid to grab her, 10
|News of the World 10 August 2008
Witness was sure restaurant girl was Maddie but feared causing a scene
By Ross Hall
VITAL new witness in the hunt for Madeleine McCann has told cops: "I saw Maddie. I know it was her—I saw the unique
blemish in her eye."
Businessman Trevor Francis is certain he spotted the missing five-year-old in Venezuela
just WEEKS ago. Because of the remarkable eye detail, Gerry and Kate McCann regard this as one of the most significant sightings.
Trevor, who swears he spotted Madeleine McCann in the Caribbean just weeks ago,
has told of the haunting moment he saw the tell-tale blemish in her eye.
In a dramatic statement to police back in the UK yacht skipper Trevor Francis, 64,
said the girl was with three women in a restaurant on the Venezuelan island of Margarita.
|I'M CERTAIN: Witness Trevor
He recalled: "Her eyes met mine as I walked past and that's when I saw the little blemish in her right eye—it was
like a little fleck."
And he added: "I wanted to grab her or shout out her name and see what reaction I would get.
"But I was afraid to do anything and cause a scene. . . a huge ruckus would have erupted and it could have made things
"I decided to get a good look to make sure it was her so I could come back to England and report it."
Unlike all other reported sightings, fresh witness Trevor is the FIRST to get a clear view of the unique blemish matching
McCann family spokesman Clarence Mitchell last night said the detail of his description was very significant.
He added: "The investigation team are looking into this seriously. The eye makes it potentially more serious than other
Our revelation climaxes a week in which the Portuguese police case files were released, highlighting reported sightings
across the world since Madeleine went missing from the family’s holiday apartment in Praia da Luz a year ago. Many have
already been discredited or ruled out.
But now the McCanns' private investigators are making urgent enquiries into the Margarita connection. Caribbean islands
are on a regular sailing route from Portugal.
Divorced dad of two Mr Francis, 64, built and owns a nursing home in Worthing, West Sussex, but spends most of his time
on his five-bedroom yacht Northern Seas based in Margarita.
On a recent trip home to check on business interests he made a detailed hand-written statement to Sussex cops revealing
he’s certain he saw Madeleine on May 16 this year in the Lugar de Equenter restaurant in the town of Porlamar.
"I was in there having some lunch," said Trevor. "There was lots of light and nothing to obstruct my view.
"The door opened and three females with a little girl came in. They sat down at a table opposite me about 20 feet away.
At first I did not take any notice as I was having trouble with my order. Then I glanced back and noticed the little girl
was white with fair hair.
"There are sometimes white children in Venezuela but not as fair as this child. She really stood out. I was transfixed.
"She was the absolute image of the missing Madeleine McCann with chin-length straight fair hair, about four years old,
a pretty girl.
"What I noticed most prominently were her eyes—they were big and staring. I shuffled in my seat so I could see
'Madeleine' clearly. I didn't pay much attention to the three women because I was concentrating on the little girl.
"However from what I saw I would say that they were all of Spanish/South American origin.
"Female '1' I can describe as being heavily built, dark short bobbed hair. Female '2' had bleached platinum blonde hair,
with a slim build.
"The third had long black hair, she was heavily built. They were late 30s to early 40s. They weren't very pretty. They
seemed to be local women as they didn't hesitate at finding a table when they came in and they seemed to know the waiters.
One of the women was trying to feed the girl what looked like some sort of pasta dish.
"Although the girl looked healthy and well cared for, she was very sullen looking and refused to eat anything. Something
just didn't fit. She looked unhappy and out of place.
"The women were talking amongst themselves and at the little girl. I couldn’t understand, they were speaking in
"The little girl wasn't saying anything, I watched her for about 20-30 minutes and decided to get a close look as I left
the restaurant. Then I was four to five feet away."
That was the dramatic moment Trevor spotted the tiny eye blemish. He said: "I haven't been in England for all of the
press coverage and updates about Madeleine McCann but I have seen photos of her on the news. From what I saw that day I am
about 85 per cent certain that it was in fact Madeleine McCann."
The eye blemish — often referred to as the "mark of Madeleine"—has formed a key part in the campaign to highlight
her disappearance. It is played up prominently on posters and videos. It is actually what doctors call a coloboma—or
defect—of the iris. Figures suggest it occurs in only about 0.007 per cent of the population.
Witness Trevor's son Ben, 22, of Worthing told us last night: "My dad is a very serious, credible and intelligent man.
He’s not the sort of person who would make things up. And he'd certainly never lie about something like this."
Meanwhile, dozens of specialist police were drafted into Brussels yesterday after a bank security guard reported he saw
a girl resembling her on Monday. He spoke out after case files revealed Scotland Yard had warned the child could have been
stolen to order for a Belgian paedophile gang.
As detectives studied the CCTV pictures from the KBC bank in the rundown immigrant Molenbeek district, other officers
trained in search techniques joined the hunt.
A spokesman said: "We're taking this very seriously. House-to-house searches have started, and numerous people are being
spoken to. We're determined to establish exactly who the little girl in the CCTV images is."
Madeleine sighting in the Caribbean just 12 weeks ago, 10
Madeleine sighting in the Caribbean just
12 weeks ago Sunday Mirror
Headline in paper edition: 'I saw eye-mark
girl on holiday isle'
By Lori Campbell
little girl with Madeleine's unique eye blemish was seen in the Caribbean just 12 weeks ago.
The sighting is being treated as "high priority" by Kate and Gerry's private investigators as it is the
first to mention the distinctive mark in her right eye.
Briton Trevor Francis, captain of a charter yacht, is convinced he saw Maddy on the island of Margarita
where he was moored.
The marina is on a direct shipping route from Portugal - where she was snatched. He saw three women in
a restaurant on May 16 with a girl he is "85 per cent certain" was Madeleine.
Mr Francis has told British police: "I noticed that the little girl was white with fair hair.
"There are sometimes white children in Venezuela but not as fair as this child.
"She really stood out. She was the absolute image of the missing Madeleine McCann. She was very sullen-looking
and refused to eat. She looked unhappy and out of place."
He added: "I shuffled in my seat so I could see 'Madeleine' clearly.
"I was about four or five feet away from the little girl. Her eyes met mine as I walked past and that's
when I saw the little blemish in her right eye - it was like a little fleck."
British police advised Portuguese police to treat the sighting as "very high priority", but the files
do not say what, if any, action was taken. The McCanns' spokesman Clarence Mitchell said: "It is very encouraging that Mr
Francis got close enough to see the mark, which we believe is unique to Madeleine.
"Our investigators will be speaking to him."
In another new sighting, Angolan Marco Ventura claimed he saw a girl identical to Madeleine in Portugal,
in a Dutch-registered BMW, five weeks after she disappeared.
Two other witnesses have said they saw her in Holland.
Fresh hopes for Maddie as spies bug paedophiles, 10
Fresh hopes for Maddie as spies bug paedophiles The People
DOGGED BY BLUNDERS
By Tracey Kandohla And Nick Dorman
10 August 2008
McCann's parents Kate and Gerry last night said they'd been given new hope by a sighting in Belgium of a blonde toddler who
looks like their daughter.
The blue-eyed English-speaking tot was captured on CCTV with a North African woman at a bank in the capital
And after being told of the latest twist, Kate and Gerry confided to a pal: "Let's pray this is the breakthrough
we've been waiting for." Government spies bugging phone calls between child-sex perverts in Britain and on the continent are
convinced the four-year-old was kidnapped to order by a Belgian paedophile ring.
And last Monday's sighting is the FOURTH in Belgium since Maddie vanished 15 months ago.
Family spokesman Clarence Mitchell said: "This lead is the most encouraging we've had and has given Kate
and Gerry fresh hope.
"What we want is proof of life and this latest CCTV footage could be what we are looking for.
"But they won't be properly relieved until Madeleine is safely home."
Kate and Gerry - both 40-year-old doctors - were last night at home with three-year-old twins Sean and
Amelie in Rothley, Leics, waiting for more news about the sighting.
But a close friend cautioned: "They have to be careful they don't get too excited - they've been disappointed
too many times before.
"However, they both feel more encouraged with this one."
The spooks have been monitoring conversations between paedophiles in the UK, Belgium and neighbouring
Holland for months.
The perverts are thought to keep in touch through the internet-based phone service Skype - which they
use because they don't have to provide official ID when they log on.
Experts from secret government spy base GCHQ started listening in to the calls after vice squad officers
in London were tipped off in March that a group in Belgium had last year circulated a request for a three-year-old.
Cops believe the plea was picked up by a Portuguese paedo, who took a photo of Maddie near her holiday
flat and sent it to them. The youngster disappeared just three days later.
A security source said: "GCHQ have been told to keep a close eye on Skype calls between individuals with
known links to child-sex websites.
"They believe someone could let slip a crucial clue when they think they are having a secret chat about
their evil desires.
"And one slip of the tongue could unlock the whole mystery of what happened to Maddie."
And following last week's Brussels sighting, a police source said: "It suggests what many of us have suspected
already - that she was abducted and brought to Belgium for paedophiles."
'Madeleine' begged: Let me go home, 11
By Nick Fagge in Brussels
Monday 11, 2008
BRITISH girl who looks just like Madeleine McCann was heard pleading to be allowed to go home, the Daily Express can reveal.
CCTV images of the blonde blue-eyed youngster, seen just seven days ago at a Brussels bank, are now being
Last night Belgian police said the case had been given top priority and was being passed to a magistrate
who would launch a full inquiry.[>
The revelation comes as further details of the sensational "Madeleine sighting" in the Belgian capital
The little girl, who looked "much like" Madeleine, was spotted by a security guard
at the Havenlaan branch of the KBC Bank in the district of Molenbeek St Jean.
Led by the hand by a North African Arab woman, she was captured on up to seven different CCTV cameras.
The pair walked around the building last Monday morning and into the heart of the capital's run-down Arab
She was overheard demanding in English: "I want to go back home."
A source close to the police investigation told the Daily Express: "The CCTV footage is so clear that
the police think they must really check it out.
"The little girl looks so much like Madeleine only her mother will be able to tell for sure.[>
"The girl walked past the bank two times. The security guard had a good look at her – he was less
than one metre away." The girl appeared to be about five years old – the same age as Madeleine would be today.
Madeleine was almost four when she vanished from her family's holiday flat in Praia da Luz, Portugal,
in May last year.[>
The guard – stationed outside the bank's main entrance – was so shocked he considered
following the pair but decided not to leave his post, a police source has revealed.
The source said: "The witness is not some crackpot looking for publicity. He is a serious man who went
through the proper procedures before contacting the police." The sighting is expected to give fresh hope to Kate and Gerry
McCann that their daughter is still alive.
Last night the McCanns' spokesman said the couple had not seen the CCTV images and were waiting to hear
from the Belgian authorities.
Clarence Mitchell said: "The Belgian police are investigating the CCTV and private investigators are liaising
with them to establish what these images show.
"I have not heard back from the investigators but this is being looked into as a top priority." The Moroccan
woman is described as being aged between 30 and 40, dressed in Western clothes but with a headscarf, and speaking French with
a thick accent.
A police spokesman said: "The case file has now been sent to the District Attorney's office for the sighting
to be fully investigated.[>
"Either a magistrate has been appointed already, or one will be appointed this week so this lead can be
A police source added: "He is convinced he saw Madeleine but obviously it needs checking out carefully.
"We have been in this position before and we don't want to make any mistakes."
The location of the sighting, amid the Brussels Arab community, has created suspicions of a possible link
to the many Madeleine sightings in Morocco. There have been up to half a dozen reports of Madeleine there, and more across
Detectives are investigating more than 100 "sightings" in Belgium following warnings she could have been
stolen for a paedophile ring.
Can we go back now?, 11 August 2008
|Is it her? ... cops suspect the little girl in this picture could be Madeleine McCann
By LUCY HAGAN in Brussels
Published: Today, 11 August 2008
A LITTLE girl who cops suspect could be Madeleine McCann asked a woman she was seen walking with, "Can we go back
now?" it emerged last night.
The poignant plea in English was overheard by a bank security guard in Brussels, Belgium — and he is convinced
the kiddie was missing Maddie.
The Securitas guard became suspicious and ran out of the KBC bank branch last Monday after spotting the pair on monitors
linked to CCTV cameras covering the street.
Tapes were last night being studied by police — and footage obtained by The Sun has been passed to Maddie's parents
Kate and Gerry to see if they recognise the child.
The guard told detectives the blonde blue-eyed girl looked just like Maddie, who was nearly four when she vanished from
her family's holiday apartment in Portugal on May 3 last year.
She was with a woman the man did not believe was her mother because they were very unalike.
He heard the girl say: "Can we go back now?"
Click on our slideshow to see pictures of the pair caught on CCTV.
Click here for slideshow
The dark-skinned woman, wearing a hijab headdress, spoke in a different language, possibly broken French.
Police interviewed the guard, who speaks fluent Flemish, Dutch and English, on Thursday.
They also seized film from five closed-circuit cameras.
Footage first shows the girl being led along a quiet street named Ulensstraat, in the run- down immigrant
area of Molenbeek. The pair are heading towards the Vergotedok canal.
The back view shows the mystery woman is dressed in black trousers, a white coat and a black headscarf.
The child has a fringe like Madeleine's.
She has on a white jumper with a pink waistband, a pink tartan skirt and beige boots.
The bank security guard can be seen coming out of the building. He watches them reach the end of the street
A second camera then films the pair from the front in the Avenue du Port.
The woman is North African or Arabic with thick black eyebrows. She has on a patterned black top and white
shoes and appears to be pregnant.
Camera three sees them turn on to a main road. They walk slowly and stop and start. The woman briefly lets
go of the girl's hand to check her mobile.
They then passed out of view of cameras — but the guard saw them pause briefly at the canal. The woman
said something and they retraced their steps.
A fourth camera shows the girl wriggle and pull at the adult's hand with both hers.
The woman crouches to speak to her. Final images show the guard watching them pass again.
The girl turns her head and takes a long look at him.
A source said: "The guard thought something weird was going on and noted the time. When he saw a photo of
Maddie next day, he was sure it was her and called the police."
The Sun first revealed the alleged sighting on Saturday.
McCann spokesman Clarence Mitchell said last night: "We're extremely grateful to The Sun for providing
the footage. It is potentially very significant.
"Kate and Gerry have seen the material. It is being enhanced as a priority in the United States."
Brussels police decided the CCTV was a strong lead and passed it to federal cops on Friday.
Portuguese files made public last month contained 107 reports linking Maddie with Belgium and Holland.
Scotland Yard asked Belgian cops to investigate if Maddie was snatched by a paedophile ring in their country.
Kate and Gerry, both 40, of Rothley, Leics, were official suspects in Maddie's disappearance until last month
but have always said she was abducted.
CCTV Films 'Madeleine' In Belgium, 11
CCTV Films 'Madeleine' In Belgium
11:51am UK, Monday August 11, 2008
Police are studying CCTV footage of a young girl resembling Madeleine McCann
walking with a woman in Belgium.
|The footage is being enhanced by American specialists
A bank security guard raised the alarm after spotting the blonde-haired, blue-eyed girl in Brussels.
The child, who is around Madeleine's age, was caught on security cameras with a dark-haired women in a hijab head scarf
who spoke in a different language.
She was of North African or Arabic appearance and seemed to be pregnant.
At one stage, the girl was heard to ask in English: "Can we go back now?"
The images, revealed by The Sun newspaper, have been handed over to police and Madeleine's parents Gerry and Kate.
A source told the paper: "The guard thought something weird was going on and noted the time.
"When he saw a photo of Maddie next day, he was sure it was her and called the police."
The McCann's spokesman Clarence Mitchell said the footage is being enhanced in America.
Madeleine vanished from her family's holiday apartment in the Algarve on May 3 last year just before her fourth birthday.
Files released by Portuguese police reveal a series of "sightings" of the youngster around the world since she disappeared.
However, another theory is that she was abducted-to-order by a paedophile ring in Belgium.
Madeleine McCann 'sighting' on CCTV of Brussels Bank, 11 August 2008
Madeleine McCann 'sighting' on CCTV of Brussels Bank
A LITTLE girl who cops suspect could be Madeleine McCann asked a woman
she was seen walking with, "Can we go back now?" it emerged last night.
The poignant plea in English was overheard
by a bank security guard in Brussels, Belgium — and he is convinced the kiddie was missing Maddie.
guard became suspicious and ran out of the KBC bank branch last Monday after spotting the pair on monitors linked to CCTV
cameras covering the street.
Tapes were last night being studied by police — and footage obtained by The Sun
has been passed to Maddie's parents Kate and Gerry to see if they recognise the child.
The guard told detectives
the blonde blue-eyed girl looked just like Maddie, who was nearly four when she vanished from her family's holiday apartment
in Portugal on May 3 last year.
She was with a woman the man did not believe was her mother because they were very
He heard the girl say: "Can we go back now?"
CCTV woman not traced, 11 August 2008
'Madeleine' CCTV woman not traced Ananova
11 August 2008
A woman captured on CCTV in Belgium a week ago with a young girl resembling
Madeleine McCann has still not come forward despite massive publicity.
Private detectives for the missing child's parents, Gerry and Kate McCann, are desperately trying to find
the woman, who was filmed with a blonde youngster in Brussels last Monday.
The couple have been shown CCTV footage obtained by The Sun newspaper, but are unable to say for sure
whether or not the girl is Madeleine, family spokesman Clarence Mitchell said.
Now experts in the US hired by the McCanns are analysing the security camera clips to enhance the quality
of the images and extract further clues.
A series of CCTV pictures show the woman, of North African or Arabic appearance, walking down the street
hand-in-hand with the girl in the western Molenbeek suburb of Brussels.
A security guard at a branch of KBC Bank overheard the child say to the adult in English, "Can we go back
now?" The Sun reported.
Mr Mitchell said: "It's been taken as seriously as anything else we've had all the way through. We're
not ruling it out. Gerry and Kate are very good at saying 'that's definitely not Madeleine' quite quickly. In this case they're
not sure. Until we have a better resolution (image) and have a bit more information on what was or wasn't said, we won't know."
It is understood there have been a series of potential sightings of Madeleine in Belgium reported over
the past week.
A source close to the McCanns' investigators said it was surprising that the woman captured on CCTV had
not contacted Belgian police if there was an innocent explanation.
The source said: "If the woman's an immigrant it may be that she hasn't seen the publicity. We do wonder
why she hasn't come forward yet."
30 new 'sightings' of Madeleine in Belgium in a week, 12 August 2008
30 new 'sightings' of Madeleine in Belgium in a week Daily Express
By Nick Fragge in Brussels
Tuesday August 12, 2008
DETECTIVES in Belgium have been alerted to 30 new "sightings" of missing
Madeleine McCann in the past seven days, the Daily Express can reveal.
They come a week after a blonde, blue-eyed child was spotted outside a Brussels bank, pleading with a
north African woman in English to be allowed to go home.[>
And images of the little girl, walking hand in hand with the veiled Moroccan in the rundown Arab-dominated
Molenbeek St Jean quarter, have raised hopes fears that Madeleine is alive and being held in the country.
The fresh leads by members of the public have placed the British youngster in the Belgian capital as well
as other towns in the Flemish-speaking north.
The information is being co-ordinated by Belgian federal prosecutor Lieve Pellens. Yesterday she told
the Daily Express: "We have received 30 new leads in the past week. Some claim to have seen Madeleine in Brussels while others
have spotted her in the north of the country."
The new clues bring the number of "Madeleine sightings" in Belgium to 135 since she went missing in May
Ms Pellens added: "Many people in Belgium have followed the Madeleine case and everyone is desperate to
help. In some cases the girl who is spotted is speaking Flemish but in other instances the girl seen is speaking English.
"The information in each case is being checked and each lead is being followed up. But we are still waiting
for the golden information that will lead us to her."
Ms Pellens said she was reluctant to give more details about the "sightings" for fear of tipping off the
youngster's possible abductors. Last week a young girl who looked "much like" Madeleine was spotted at a branch of the KBC
Bank, in the west of Brussels, by a security guard.
The child, who appeared to be about five – the same age as Madeleine would be today – walked
within three feet of the witness.
Led by the hand by the woman, she was captured on a number of CCTV cameras as the pair walked around the
imposing building last Monday morning and then into the Arab quarter.[>
The security guard was shocked at the likeness to Madeleine and considered following them but decided
not to leave his post.
The new "sightings" have bolstered claims that Madeleine was snatched to order by a paedophile ring based
in Belgium. Last night Kate and Gerry McCanns' spokesman Clarence Mitchell told the Daily Express: "We are extremely grateful
to the Belgian authorities for pursuing all these potential leads. This number of sightings does seem particularly high. But
if any one is genuine it is vital the information is checked out.
"Private investigators working for Kate and Gerry McCann in Belgium will be liaising with the Belgian
authorities as an absolute priority to see if any of these new sightings are the key to finding Madeleine."
Most of the Portuguese police officers who looked for Madeleine after her disappearance had no proper
training in missing people searches, case files revealed yesterday.
Up to 100 personnel scoured the area around the Algarve resort of Praia da Luz after her disappearance
but failed to find clues and the Portuguese called in Britain’s leading search adviser, Mark Harrison.
"The search officers – with the exception of the search-and-rescue team dispatched from Lisbon –
had not benefited from any formal training in search procedures," said Mr Harrison.
He highlighted an area to the east of Praia da Luz which afforded "many opportunities to dispose of a
body" and recommended fresh searches there.
Maddie sightings: We'll know in 24 hours, 12 August 2008
Maddie sightings: We'll know in 24 hours Daily Star
By Jerry Lawton
12th August 2008
MADELEINE McCann's parents could find out if she is alive in the next 24 hours.
They think a girl captured on CCTV cameras at a Belgian bank just a week ago could be the daughter they
have not seen for 15 months.
Last night Kate and Gerry McCann were anxiously awaiting the opinion of US experts who were enhancing
and analysing the images.
GP Kate and heart surgeon Gerry, both 40, called them in after deciding the girl was like Madeleine "in
lots of respects".
Their spokesman Clarence Mitchell last night urged the North African woman seen with the girl by a bank
security guard in Brussels to come forward.
He said: "The girl in the footage bears a resemblance to Madeleine and it is now being enhanced and analysed
by our investigators.
"At the moment we are not ruling it in or out. The work is being done in America because they have the
technological capacity to enhance the video.
"They have considerable work to do but we expect an answer within the next 24 to 48 hours.
"Kate and Gerry are being kept fully informed."
Mr Mitchell added: "We are urging the woman the girl was with to make herself known to police.
"We can understand why the security guard called the police because the child looks similar to Madeleine
in lots of respects." In the past seven days Belgian investigators have been alerted to 30 "sightings" of the then three-year-old,
who vanished from her family's holiday flat in Praia da Luz, Portugal, in May last year.
They come a week after a little blonde, blue-eyed girl was spotted pleading with an Arab woman in English
to be allowed to go home outside the KBC Bank in the west of Brussels.
CCTV images show her walking hand-in-hand with the veiled Moroccan, in the run-down Arab-dominated Molenbeek
St Jean quarter.
Belgian Federal Prosecutor Lieve Pellens, who is co-ordinating checks on the sightings, said: "We have
received 30 new leads in the past week.
"Some claim to have seen Madeleine in Brussels while others have spotted her in the north of the country."
The new clues bring the total number of "Madeleine sightings" in Belgium to 135.
Miss Pellens said every one was being thoroughly investigated by detectives from the country's Missing
"Many people have followed the Madeleine case and everyone is desperate to help," she said.
"In some cases the girl who is spotted is speaking Flemish but in other instances the girl seen is speaking
"The information in each case is being checked.
"We are urging the woman seen in the CCTV images to come forward and tell us who the girl is."
I sold an ice cream to 'Maddie', 12 August
I sold an ice cream to 'Maddie' The Sun
From LUCY HAGAN in Brussels
Published: Today, 10 August 2008
A STREET vendor told last night how he sold an ice cream to a girl he
believes was Madeleine McCann eight days ago.
The sad English child was spotted with a woman in Brussels,
Belgium, by Antonio Migliardi.
She asked for a chocolate flavour
ice — Maddie's favourite.
And she had a distinctive eye mark like Maddie.
It happened outside a KBC bank minutes
after CCTV cameras on the building picked up a girl like Maddie with the North African-looking woman.
The sensational pictures were published in The Sun yesterday
and have been seen by Maddie's parents Kate and Gerry McCann.
Antonio, 44, saw the English girl and the French-speaking
woman last Monday.
The Belgian-Italian said last night: "The woman was very
severe with the child.
"She held her hand firmly and kept pulling her closer.
"When I gave the ice cream to the child she stood frozen.
The lady took it in her place.
"Normally a happy child always takes the ice. This was not
a normal situation."
He recalled: "It was about 13.40 or 13.45 hours.
"The lady had a headscarf and the blonde girl I guess was
Maddie was nearly four when she vanished
in Portugal in May last year.
Antonio went on: "The little girl looked healthy but very
"She had her eyes towards the floor and was too shy to look
"The lady asked her in a mixture of French and English what
"The girl answered in English. She looked up for only
a second, with an unhappy face, and said, 'Chocolate please' then she looked down again.
"She did seem to have some kind of spot in her eye, like
"I had not seen the pictures of Maddie with a spot in her
eye at that time. I found them a very strange couple."
McCann family spokesman Clarence
Mitchell confirmed that chocolate was Maddie's favourite ice cream flavour.
He promised to pass the information to investigators.
More than than 100 Maddie "sightings" are being investigated
by Belgian cops.
One was on a tram and in another, on a train, the little
girl appeared drugged.
And Anna Stam, 41, saw a girl calling herself Maddie in
a shop in Amsterdam in neighbouring Holland.
CCTV girl: 'Not Maddie', 12 August 2008
By STAFF REPORTER
Published: Today, 12 August 2008
KATE and Gerry McCann have been dealt a fresh blow in their search for daughter Maddie.
The girl resembling Maddie shown in CCTV footage yesterday is not believed to be her.
A Belgian man has claimed that the girl in the footage was his daughter.
The woman pictured is believed to be the girl's nanny.
The revelation is yet more bad news for the McCanns.
After recent sightings in Belgium and Amsterdam this footage seemed the best lead so far.
The devastated couple have never given up hope searching for their daughter who went missing in May last
Meanwhile a bank security guard who saw a child like Madeleine McCann had insisted yesterday: "I would
bet everything I own that it was her."
He spotted the little blonde girl with a woman on his bank CCTV last Monday and became so suspicious he
went outside to check on them.
And last night it emerged that an ice cream seller outside the KBC bank in Brussels, Belgium, saw the
mystery pair the same day.
Both insist the little English girl bore a haunting resemblance to Maddie — missing since May
3 last year.
Belgian police yesterday began a hunt for the pregnant woman with the girl in the CCTV footage —
exclusively published in yesterday's Sun.
It emerged today though that a man had come forward claiming that the girl in the footage was his daughter.
The woman was of North African or Arab appearance and wore a hijab headscarf — as did the woman
seen by the ice cream seller. The security guard, 35, is seen on the CCTV following the couple and has been interviewed by
He has asked not to be identified but told The Sun he stands by his testimony.
And he is sure the child was Maddie. He added: "If it's not Madeleine, it was her twin."
The man, who is in the process of joining the Belgian police, had a good look at the girl on two occasions
as she walked past the bank.
He said: "Each time I had the impression I knew her face. If I had recognised her as Madeleine I would
have looked for the speck in her eye. It was only later that I saw her face and recognised that it was her."
Maddie has a distinctive mark in her right eye that was spotted by the ice cream man.
The guard made a note of the time after his "sighting" and later called the police.
A police source said yesterday that the first tests carried out by biometrics experts on the CCTV footage
had placed the girl at five years old. And the source said the child's face also corresponded with Madeleine's hair and face
shape. Lab experts believe the woman was around four months pregnant.
Local cops, who in Brussels are each allocated a square of streets, were yesterday being interviewed to
see if they recognised the woman.
Hospitals have been contacted to find the names of all pregnant women registered to give birth in Brussels.
It is believed inquiries have so far found no woman like the one caught on film registered as living in
Lieve Pellens, a spokeswoman for the Belgian Federal Police, confirmed yesterday: "We are looking for
the woman in the video. We have taken all sightings seriously."
Both of Monday’s "sightings" were in the Molenbeek-Saint-Jean neighbourhood, ten minutes' walk to
the west of the centre of Brussels.
It is a run-down, crime-ridden immigrant neighbourhood with a North African population, mainly Moroccan
and Algerian. Europeans seldom venture there. Five minutes away, the Schaerbeek neighbourhood is the main Brussels red light
The Belgian capital is tipped to rival Amsterdam as the sex capital of Europe.
Maddie vanished from a flat in Portugal, while on holiday with parents Kate and Gerry, both 40, of Rothley,
Fresh heartache for McCanns as police say Belgian sighting is NOT Madeleine, 12
Fresh heartache for McCanns as police say Belgian sighting is NOT Madeleine Daily Mail
By NICOLA BODEN
Last updated at 10:54 AM on 12th August 2008
McCanns were dealt another desperate blow today when a possible sighting of their daughter Madeleine in Belgium was ruled
out by police.
A security guard who saw the little girl walking past the KBC Bank in Brussels with a woman in a hijab
had said: 'I would bet everything I own that it was her.'
Even Kate and Gerry McCann could not tell from CCTV footage whether the girl was their long-lost child.
Previously they have always known immediately it was not her.
But now Belgian police have said a man has come forward to say the girl is his daughter and that she was
out with her nanny.
Lieve Pellens, spokeswoman for the Belgian federal prosecutor's office, said: 'He saw this picture and
obviously for him it was very easy recognising the girl accompanied by a woman in a veil.
'It's her nanny - she is a young Moroccan woman who is qualified to look after children and works in a
The McCanns had been treating the sighting as a priority and the confirmation it is not Madeleine will
bring fresh heartache for the couple.
Their spokesman, Clarence Mitchell, said today that they were disappointed but were still determined to
keep up the search.
'I am very pleased that this little girl has been identified and that she can be ruled out, from her family's
perspective,' he said.
'Clearly for Kate and Gerry it is a disappointment. But we have had many of these before and the search
for Madeleine will continue.'
After 15 months of desperate searching, there has still been no definite sign of Madeleine since she vanished
from their holiday apartment in the Algarve last May.
It had been hoped the latest sightings of a Madeleine lookalike in Brussels just one week ago were the
breakthrough they had sought.
A security guard spotted a girl with a woman wearing a hijab headscarf on CCTV footage as he worked at
a branch of KBC Bank in the city.
He overheard the child say to the adult in English: 'Can we go back now?' before they walked off hand-in-hand
in the western Molenbeek suburb.
'I would bet everything I own that it was her... If it's not Madeleine, it was her twin,' he told the
A street vendor then came forward to say he had sold the same girl an ice cream and was also convinced
she was Madeleine.
Antonio Migliardi believed he saw the distinctive mark in the eye of the girl as he served her a chocolate
ice, said to be Madeleine's favourite type.
'The little girl looked healthy but very sad. She had her eyes towards the floor and was too shy to look
up,' he told the Sun.
'The lady asked her in a mixture of French and English what she wanted. The girl answered in English.
She looked up for only a second, with an unhappy face, and said "Chocolate please", then she looked down again.
'She did not seem to have some kind of spot in her eye, like a comma. I had not seen the pictures of Maddie
with a spot in her eye at that time. I found them a very strange couple.'
Results of the first police tests on the CCTV footage of the pair walking from the bank had placed the
girl at five years old.
Madeleine was about to turn four when she vanished from her family's holiday apartment in the Algarve
last May and would now be five.
The McCanns were shown the CCTV but were unable to say for sure whether or not the girl is Madeleine,
family spokesman Clarence Mitchell said.
Their private investigators also looked at the sighting, with the help of experts in Brussels and video
enhancement technicians in the U.S.
Belgian police had planned to show the CCTV footage on national television if nobody came forward to explain
But Miss Pellens said today that it had turned out that the four-year-old girl was the 'ordinary Belgian
daughter of an ordinary Belgian citizen'.
She suggested Belgian people were more sensitive to the case because of the country's horrific recent
record, in particular the case of paedophile and child murderer Marc Dutroux.
She said: 'Because of our horrible history I think Belgian people are a bit more aware. Most of the people
who report sightings are really doing it in good faith.'
In the last week alone, following the release of the police files on the case, there have been a series
of new potential sightings in Belgium.
Miss Pellens said: 'This is normal. With this big media attention people are stimulated and are looking
with more attention on the subway and on airplanes.We are still dealing with a couple of sightings, but not with much hope.'
There have been hundreds of sightings of Madeleine reported around the world since she went missing from
Praia da Luz in Portugal on May 3 last year.
The McCanns have always been careful not to get their hopes up because so many have proved to be without
But in the past week since secret police files were released, there has been a growing focus on Belgium
with revelations of various sightings during the past year.
The Portuguese dossier also revealed British police had received tip-off Madeleine had been snatched
to order for a Belgian paedophile ring.
Police sources cautioned last week that the information was 'flawed' and had been impossible to corroborate
with forces in the UK or abroad.
Two women also told Portuguese detectives they saw a Madeleine lookalike in neighbouring Holland but the
files showed little was done to follow up their stories.
The global Maddy McCann sightings, from Sao Paolo
to Essex, 16 August 2008
The global Maddy McCann sightings, from
Sao Paolo to Essex Daily Mirror
By Victoria Ward in Praia da Luz
From Sao Paolo to Romford, global reports of little girl
For the past 15 months the world has been moved by the tragedy of missing Madeleine
Her image has become ingrained in the public
consciousness as well-meaning people wonder whether they have spotted the abducted four-year-old.
Sightings have been reported in Europe,
India, the US and Brazil. In the UK, Maddy has been "seen" in towns from Epsom to Fife, Broadstairs to Newcastle.
There were suspected sightings in car parks,
restaurants, supermarkets, DIY shops, cars, buses, trains, at airports, on beaches and at the hairdressers.
Some contacted CrimeStoppers anonymously,
some called police, some wrote detailed statements and sent photographs.
Some were apologetic, fearful of wasting
police time. Others said they could not sleep until they had reported their sighting.
Madeleine has never been found but the
public response to the McCanns' worldwide publicity drive has been incredible.
Newly released Portuguese police files
contain 2,550 pages of sightings spread over 17 volumes.
They reveal that every effort was made
to interview each witness and check out every sighting.
Most were made in the days after Madeleine
first disappeared from her holiday flat in Praia da Luz on May 3.
A dip into the files throws up reams of
reports and hastily scribbled notes as officers followed them up, checked them out and disregarded them, one by one.
Many simply proved impossible to verify.
They reveal the sheer volume of work as
police teams all over the world ploughed through any potential lead in the desperate search to find her.
Among the mammoth files are scores of sightings
where vigilant Brits suspected they had seen the missing girl.
Often they tried to speak to the girls
or their bewildered parents and looked for Madeleine's distinctive right eye.
Many reports simply describe a blonde child
in a car with adults who appear to be of a different nationality.
Suspicions were raised by the smallest
detail - unkempt hair, an uneven haircut, sun tan, brand new pram or clothes that did not fit properly.
Scores of sightings simply reported a blonde
little girl, who "looked like Madeleine".
Many involved children who looked upset,
were screaming and crying or not interacting with their parents.
Many which seemed credible at first only
led to crushing disappointments for parents Kate and Gerry McCann.
However, they quickly conditioned themselves
not to place too much emphasis on any one sighting unless the police or their private detectives had reason to do so.
The McCanns' spokesman Clarence Mitchell
said: "Kate and Gerry are immensely grateful to everyone who reported possible sightings. Everybody has been incredibly well
meaning and helpful.
"That's exactly the sort of approach they
had hoped for and continue to hope for."
Pages of notes from the Serious Organised
Crime Agency requested that: "In all cases any possible witnesses be traced, local inquiries be made to trace any further
witnesses and any CCTV be preserved. Any hotels should be checked for identity of guests. Vehicle owners should be seen and
Leicestershire police also issued instructions
to local forces when sightings were made in their areas, such as how to deal with CCTV footage and how to obtain full witness
The files suggest efforts were made to
contact everyone who reported a sighting, regardless of its quality.
Operation Task - the British end of the
investigation - even appeared to have allocated Madeleine her own code, referring to her as N1. Many sightings were made in
ALGARVE resorts in the fortnight after Madeleine's disappearance.
A man from Strathclyde was on holiday in
ALBUFEIRA when he saw a girl in a hotel foyer on May 5 who said: "I want to see my mummy." He told police he was "convinced"
it was Madeleine.
The next day a sighting was reported at
a LISBON metro station, and the day after that in a white van in NORTH YORKS.
On May 8, a tourist from Stockport was
on holiday in RHODES when he thought he saw Madeleine in TRIANDA village.
A woman from Cheadle, Cheshire, phoned
cops when she thought she saw Maddy during a holiday in ALICANTE.
She tried to talk to the girl, who had
"beautiful, sad eyes" and hair that "needed combing" but her family moved her away.
A police note read: "Neither the couple
nor the little girl spoke but caller said girl just seemed very sad."
Meanwhile, a woman in Margate reported
seeing a couple and a young child "with dark skin as if she'd been on holiday and caught the sun" in a face on BROADSTAIRS
High Street on May 6.
The man said to the waitress: "This is
our little visitor" and the witness thought the couple were trying to protect child from view.
One the same day, another Briton thought
he saw a man with Madeleine as he watched the Arsenal v Chelsea football match in the Queen Vic pub in EL ARENAL, MAJORCA.
A woman from Northern Ireland thought she
had spotted the tot on the TROONLARNE ferry. She told police: "I watched her thinking why would she be in Troon of all places?"
On May 4, a man contacted police after
seeing a fair-haired child in FLEET,WEYMOUTH who was "screaming and crying earnestly... clearly very upset and agitated."
She was walking with a man who was over 6ft.
On the same day, someone reported seeing
a girl on a PORTUGAL to LONDON flight who looked tired. The witness thought this was "strange as it was only 10.55am".
Another tourist reported seeing a girl
dressed as a boy who looked poorly in MAJORCA on May 8. The man she was with was "the image of James Hewitt".
"They were doing numbers in French but
I felt they weren't French," she added.
There was a girl waving and smiling from
a van in ROMFORD, another with puffy eyes at GATWICK airport, one on a bus in Leicester and another at Morrison's supermarket
in MALDON, ESSEX.
A young woman from the Midlands was on
a hen party in the Algarve resort of ALBUFEIRAin June last year and told police that she returned to her apartment drunk at
5am, was sick as she got out of the taxi, stumbled on the doorstep as the owners of the block opened the door and she saw
a child with "dark hair, biggish cheeks and a tiny mouth".
Another Brit took a picture of a girl at
a bull ring in SEVILLE on May 12 and told police: "I doubt that someone who abducted Maddy on the Thursday would be visiting
a bull ring on the Saturday so I suspect this photo won't help you but I thought it was better to send it anyway."
An air passenger reported a sighting on
a jet to the Brazilian capital SAO PAOLO.
The previous year a man called police claiming
to have seen Maddy at a book fair in RIO DE JANEIRO.
An eye-witness report by a British diplomat
sparked a major incident in GUATEMALA when officials stopped a man in a shopping mall with a little girl. It turned out to
be a local child with a bodyguard and despite an apology, her father accused the British Government of plotting to kidnap
He demanded a formal written apology from
the British Embassy.
Mr Mitchell said the search continued and
urged anyone with information to contact www.findmadeleine.com.
Note to Victoria Ward: The capital
of Brazil is Brasilia, not São Paulo.
British couple tried to 'rescue' Maddy lookalike... from a Croatian football star
and his model wife, 18 August 2008
British couple tried to 'rescue' Maddy
lookalike... from a Croatian football star and his model wife Daily Mail
By DAILY MAIL REPORTER
Last updated at 2:39 PM on 18th August 2008
|Father and son: Footballer Dino Drpic with son Leone
two British tourists spotted a woman leading a child with long blonde hair on the Croatian holiday island of Krk, they immediately
thought it was Madeleine McCann.
The couple became more even more convinced that the youngster was the missing Briton after secretly taking
a couple of photographs.
So when the adult leading the child was not looking, the British woman grabbed the youngster's arm.
It was only then that she realised the child not only wasn't Madeleine, it
wasn't even a little girl.
To make matters worse, the boy's father is a famous Croatian footballer and his mother - who was with
him at the time - is a renowned glamour model.
Dino Drpic, who is a defender for Dinamo Zagreb and has several international caps, and his wife Nives
are the Posh and Becks of Croatia.
Their son Leone has long blond hair like Madeleine's, but the similarity ends there - he is even six months
younger that the missing three-year-old.
Today Nives told of the moment that the British couple mistakenly attempted to make
off with their little boy.
She said: 'I started getting suspicious when the British woman approached Leone and started chatting with
'Suddenly she grabbed him by the arm, apparently thinking nobody was watching him.
'However, when I went over she realised her mistake and apologised.'
Nives said she was used to people staring and taking photographs of her because she and her husband are famous in Croatia.
The British couple have not been named.
Madeleine was three when she disappeared during a family holiday in Praia da Luz, Portugal, on May 3 last year.
Since then there have been false sightings as far apart as Morocco, Belgium, Chile and Venezuela.
to Nigel at