The purpose of
this site is for information and a record of Gerry McCann's Blog
Archives. As most people will appreciate GM deleted all past blogs
from the official website. Hopefully this Archive will be helpful to
anyone who is interested in Justice for Madeleine Beth McCann. Many
Note: This site does not belong to the McCanns. It belongs to Pamalam. If
you wish to contact the McCanns directly, please use
the contact/email details
1) George Brooks, an ex-pat from Liverpool, claims to have seen a suspicious couple carrying a child,
near Lagos marina, 7/8 hours after Madeleine had been reported missing. For reasons unknown, in all early media reports he
is referred to as 'George Burke'. Despite the claims of many of these reports, it appears that Mr Brooks never
made an official statement to the Portuguese police.
2) Meanwhile, a friend of Kate McCann's aunt and uncle
has a friend that claims to have had a strong vision that Madeleine was on a boat with a man in the marina in Lagos...
The George Brooks/Burke
Map of George Brooks/Burke
sighting at Lagos marina
With thanks to News Winnow for map (click image to enlarge)
Pizza Hut at Lagos marina
Pizza Hut is situated on the upper floor of this row of shops
(on the extreme right of this photo)
Lagos marina, aerial view
looking towards the beach
Lagos marina, aerial view
looking from the beach
In a nutshell: Complete media coverage
of the George Brooks/Burke sighting
nutshell: Complete media coverage of the George Brooks/Burke sighting
What follows are all the press published details of the sighting. The complete articles,
from which these extracts have been taken, appear below this section.
05 May 2007
Intriguingly, a Briton who runs a company in the Algarve has told police he spotted a couple carrying a young child
George Burke, from Liverpool, was driving home from nearby Lagos around 6am when he caught the
two people in his car headlights. 'I couldn't see them clearly because it was dark and windy. They scurried down a
side road and out of sight.'
- Daily Mail
05 May 2007
Meanwhile British tourist George Burke claimed he had seen a couple carrying a young child early yesterday morning. Mr Burke,
from Liverpool, was driving back from Lagos, just a few miles from Praia de Luz. He said: "I couldn't see them clearly
as it was dark and windy - but I thought it was odd. They scurried down a side road."
- The Sun
05 May 2007
The police are checking out one possible sighting about eight hours
after Madeleine disappeared. Just before dawn a motorist said that his car headlights picked out a couple on the road; they
had a child with them and, according to him, it looked as if they were trying to avoid being seen.
- Sky News
06 May 2007
Police are also investigating a British businessman's
revelation that he spotted a couple carrying a young child just hours after Maddie disappeared.
George Burke told cops he saw a couple carrying a young child at around 6am, seven hours after the abduction, as he drove
home from nearby Lagos.
When his headlights lit them, he said they "scurried down a side road and out of sight".
- News of the World
07 May 2007
A British expat told yesterday
how he saw a "suspicious" couple with a child like Maddy rushing towards a railway station not long after the little
Supermarket owner George Burke, from Liverpool, said that a "vicious looking" man and
woman were carrying the child, eight miles from where she was abducted.
The sighting was about eight hours after
Maddy had vanished from her bed at the Ocean Club resort as she slept beside her two-year-old twin brother and sister.
Father-of-two Mr Burke said he was driving home just before 6am on Friday when he caught the couple in his headlights.
"It was very, very dark, " he said. "It was hard to make out exactly what the couple looked like, but
through the gloom I could definitely see a very suspicious-looking man and woman, carrying a child who fitted Madeleine's
"Though there was nobody else on the road, they were hurrying across a dual carriageway that
leads straight to the train station and marina in Lagos.
"The woman was in her thirties, darkhaired and slim.
The man, also in his thirties, was less than six feet tall and slightly stocky.
He had shoulder-length hair and
looked quite tanned. They did not look like tourists and they certainly didn't seem to be British.
could tell from their posture that they were trying to carry the child without anyone seeing it and they were extremely disturbed
when I caught them in my headlights.
"It was only after I returned home to my house in Burgau, along the coast
from Praia da Luz, that I realised the importance of what I had seen. I quickly rang the police."
police alerted airports, ports and border controls several hours after the alarm was raised, before cordoning the area.
Helped by Mr Burke's description, they have built a profile of the man they believe is their prime suspect. Mr
Burke said they told him not to tell the media what he had seen but he decided to break his silence to help to track down
"I'm the father of two teenagers myself, " he added, "but you can't begin
to understand the agony and the distress that the child's parents are going through."
- Daily Express
07 May 2007
Last night an expatriate British businessman described how
he saw a couple carrying a young child eight hours after Madeleine went missing.
George Burke, originally from
Liverpool, was driving home at 6am on Friday after dropping his son at a station when the man and woman were caught in his
headlights and immediately scurried out of sight. He said he thought nothing more about the incident until he heard about
Madeleine's disappearance, after which he contacted police.
- Daily Mail
Police are also investigating reports that a "suspicious" couple were spotted with
a blonde child in nearby Lagos on Friday morning.
British businessman George Burke, who has lived near the resort
for 16 years after moving from Liverpool, said they "scurried" down a road towards a railway station. He added:
"It was 6am and pitch black I couldn't be certain it was her."
- Daily Mirror
07 May 2007
A British expat yesterday described seeing a "suspicious" couple
with a child fitting Maddy's description eight hours after the toddler was snatched.
George Burke said he saw
a "vicious" looking man and woman carrying the child towards a railway station eight miles from where she was abducted.
- Daily Star
08 May 2007
One man from Liverpool, George
Burke, said that he had seen a couple with a girl who fitted Madeleine's description eight hours after her disappearance,
again close to the marina and the railway station at Lagos, which is a 10-minute drive from Praia da Luz.
28 November 2007
A British expat says he saw Madeleine
McCann being dragged towards a marina by a "very suspicious" couple, just hours after she vanished, it was reported
Businessman George Burke says he saw a small girl resembling Madeleine being hauled along by a "vicious
looking" man and woman, as he drove past Lagos marina in the early morning of May 4, just eight hours after she vanished.
He said: "It was dark and they were hurrying towards the marina. There was no one else around at the time and
they looked very suspicious."
Mr Burke, who is from Liverpool but lives in Portugal, reported the sighting
to Portuguese police but said they did not take him seriously. He is now being quizzed by the McCanns'private
detectives who say the sighting may be crucial.
- Daily Express
28 November 2007
A British expat insists he
saw Madeleine McCann hours after she vanished - being cruelly dragged towards a marina by a couple.
said a small girl, who bore a remarkable resemblance to Madeleine, was being hauled along by a "vicious-looking"
man and a woman.
He added: "It was dark and they were hurrying towards the marina. There was no-one else around
at the time and they looked very suspicious."
George saw the couple and the child while driving past Lagos
marina and rail station at 6am on the morning of May 4.
He told Portuguese police after news of Madeleine's
disappearance was announced.
Astonishingly, they did not take his report seriously. But now he is to quizzed again
by the McCanns' private detectives, who say the sighting may be crucial.
A British businessman's sighting of Madeleine McCann near a marina eight hours after she vanished has convinced
private detectives she WAS smuggled out of Portugal by sea.
George Burke insists he saw a vicious-looking man and
a woman dragging a Madeleine lookalike along a road that leads to Lagos marina.
But investigators believe Portuguese
police who interviewed the dad-of-two failed to take the sighting seriously.
A source said: "The private investigators
are now concentrating on Lagos and the marina.
"What Mr Burke saw could be incredibly valuable.
was concerned enough to call the police and they eventually followed up on his information.
"Now the investigators
want to talk to Mr Burke. There is a strong chance Madeleine was taken by boat from the marina and is still alive somewhere."
George, who is from Liverpool but now lives in Portugal, saw the couple with the girl as he drove past the marina
at about 6am on May 4. He said: "It was very, very dark and it was hard to make out exactly what the couple looked like.
But through the gloom I could see a very suspicious-looking man and woman, with a child who fitted Madeleine's description.
"Though there was nobody else on the road, they were hurrying across a road that leads straight to the train
station and marina."
Kate and Gerry McCann have always believed the four-year-old was probably taken out of
Portugal by sea to North Africa.
George contacted police as soon as he got home but border and port authorities
were not alerted for another 12 hours.
- Daily Mirror
29 November 2007
The latest "sighting" is from a British expat who says he saw Madeleine being dragged towards a marina by
a "very suspicious" couple eight hours after she vanished.
Businessman George Burke says he saw a small
girl resembling Madeleine being hauled along by a "vicious-looking" man and woman as he drove past Lagos marina
– five miles from Praia da Luz – in the early morning of May 4.
- Daily Express
11 August 2008
Detectives also failed to question George Brooks, 61, from Liverpool, who
reported seeing a couple carrying a child near the local marina only hours after Madeleine vanished.
A friend of
the McCanns, of Rothley, Leicestershire, said last night: 'The way the Policia Judiciaria dismissed a lot of the leads
is astonishing. At the moment Kate and Gerry are concentrating on the Belgium sighting, as it was the most recent.'
- Daily Mail
11 August 2008
Meanwhile, it has emerged
police failed to quiz Liverpool man George Brooks, 61, who saw a suspicious couple carrying a child in Praia da Luz hours
after Madeleine vanished.
By the time police finally visited the restaurant where he worked, he had left and they
made no further effort to contact him.
- Daily Mirror
11 August 2008
Police also failed to interview pizza worker George Brooks, 61, of Liverpool, who saw a suspicious couple carrying
a child near the local marina hours after Maddie vanished.
Mr Brooks spoke to the McCanns' private detectives.
But by the time Portuguese police visited his restaurant they were told he had left.
- The Sun
Taken while she slept, 05 May 2007
Taken while she slept Daily Mail (original version here, later version online)
By Michael Seamark 05 May 2007
The distraught parents of missing three-year-old Madeleine
McCann were clinging to hope that she was still alive last night.
As a desperate hunt continued in the Algarve,
her mother relived the horrific moment she discovered her daughter had vanished from her bed while she and her husband were
in a restaurant only 40 yards away.
Doctor Kate McCann ran from their apartment in an upmarket Portuguese resort
screaming: 'Someone has taken my little girl.'
Kate and her husband Gerry, a consultant cardiologist, have
told family and friends they suspect their daughter was snatched while her two-year-old twin brother and sister were sound
asleep in cots on either side of her.
Madeleine, who was born by IVF treatment, disappeared from the family's
ground-floor holiday apartment at the 'family friendly' Mark Warner holiday complex in the Praia da Luz resort as
her parents ate at a tapas restaurant close by.
The child's aunt, Trish Cameron, yesterday described the frantic
telephone call she received after the couple discovered their daughter was missing around ten o'clock on Thursday night.
"It was my young brother Gerry distraught on the phone, breaking his heart. He said: 'Madeleine's been
abducted, she's been abducted'.
"They kept going back to check the kids every half hour. The restaurant
was only 40 yards away. He went back at nine o'clock to check the children. They were all sound asleep, windows shut,
Kate then went over to the two-bedroom ground-floor apartment and 'came out screaming',
said Mrs Cameron. 'The door was lying open, the window in the bedroom and the shutters had been jemmied open.
"Nothing had been touched in the apartment, no valuables taken, no passports. They think someone must have come in
the window and gone out the door with her."
Portuguese police yesterday sealed off the three-storey block
and forensic specialists fingerprinted the ground floor window of the McCanns' apartment. All airports, ports and border
posts have been alerted.
But despite a massive search throughout the night by police, sniffer dogs and dozens of
holidaymakers, there has been no sign of Madeleine, wearing white pyjamas when her parents put her to bed with twins Amelie
and Sean in the bougainvillea-clad apartment.
Intriguingly, a Briton who runs a company in the Algarve has told
police he spotted a couple carrying a young child early yesterday.
George Burke, from Liverpool, was driving home
from nearby Lagos around 6am when he caught the two people in his car headlights. "I couldn't see them clearly because
it was dark and windy. They scurried down a side road and out of sight."
Last night, as police helicopters
and launches scoured the sea, beach and village, Madeleine's family issued a statement which read: "This is a particularly
difficult time for the family and we are all comforting each other. At this time all the family's focus is in assisting
the UK and in particular the Portuguese authorities in securing Madeleine's safe return."
Mr McCann, a
consultant cardiologist at Leicester's Glenfield Hospital, and his wife Kate, a GP, had chosen the up-market resort because
it was family-friendly.
A friend of the couple, Jill Renwick, said: "This is the first time they have done
this. They are very, very anxious parents and very careful."
She said Madeleine - known as Maddy - was 'gorgeous,
active and chatty and intelligent, not shy. She is four next week and starts school this year.'
who have been married eight years and recently moved into a £600,000 detached house in Rothley, a suburb of Leicester,
were on holiday with a group of fellow doctors and other young children, paying around £1,600 for a week.
the evenings, Mark Warner offers a drop-in creche service enabling customers to leave young children with staff while they
enjoy a relaxing dinner.
Customers may also pay for individual baby-sitters but the McCanns, both 38, chose not
to use either service, instead taking it in turns regularly to check their three young children themselves from the restaurant
on the other side of a swimming pool from their apartment.
After Mrs McCann raised the alarm, Mark Warner said
it immediately launched a search of all areas within the complex and the peaceful, 1,000-population fishing village.
Resort manager John Hill said: "As well as staff, we had guests helping, also the majority of the Praia da Luz village.
"Police were informed at the same time as the alarm was raised. They arrived about 10.45pm and after statements
were taken from the family police decided to escalate the situation."
Paul Moyes, 47, from Cheshire, and his
wife Susan own a holiday apartment in the same black as the McCanns. He said: "There was a knock on the door at about
11.30 from a hotel guest telling us a girl was missing and asking us to help in the search.
"There were uniformed
police, plain clothes and even off-duty local officers. The search went on all night, people were using torches.
"We searched the beach and the hotel grounds with scores of people. Quite a few of us own holiday homes here so it's
a close-knit community and something like this is terribly shocking." Michael Hannar, from Pontefract, Yorkshire, owns
a ground floor apartment close to the McCanns.
He said: "I don't believe a three-year-old child would
have been strong enough to open the window or shutter.
"Mine are difficult to open, especially if the window
is fully closed. The shutter is also difficult to open."
Family friend Mrs Renwick said the McCanns - who
met while training at the Western Infirmary at Glasgow - felt let down by police.
"I spoke to them this morning
and they said the police had done nothing overnight and they felt as if they'd been left on their own."
Resort manager Mr Hill said: "We're in a sleepy fishing village and manpower for the police, I agree, was low at
the time. After the CID were involved more police were called."
In Leicester, neighbours spoke of the loving,
Tracey Horsefield, a 32-year-old nurse, said: "They never let those children out on their
own. I have never seen Madeleine without her parents."
Mr McCann's mother Eileen, 67, from Glasgow, said
the couple had been desperate to have children and eventually underwent IVF treatment.
"Madeleine made their
lives complete when she came along. The three children were very close and I don't know how they will cope - how any of
Madeleine's uncle Michael Healy said: "There has been some negative spin put on this,
with people criticising them for leaving the kids.
"But it's nonsense, they were close by and eating within
sight of where the children were and checking on them. No one was rip-roaring drunk."
Nothing describes anguish for our Maddie, 05 May 2007
Nothing describes anguish for our Maddie The Sun (original version here, later version online)
for lost Maddie
John Askill and Julie Moult in Praia da Luz, Portugal,
and James Clench in London 05 May 2007
HOLS PARENTS' PLEA FOR MISSING GIRL, 3
MISSING Maddie McCann's distraught parents choked back tears last night as they made a desperate plea to get
Speaking 24 hours after discovering three-year-old Maddie had vanished from their holiday apartment,
dad Gerry said: "Words cannot describe the anguish and despair we are feeling as the parents of a beautiful daughter."
As wife Kate poignantly clutched Maddie's pink teddy, he added haltingly: "We request anyone with any information
relating to Madeleine's disappearance should please contact Portuguese police to help us get her back to safety.
"Please if you have Madeleine, please let her come home to her mummy, daddy, brother and sister. Everyone can understand
how distressing this current situation is."
The couple, both 38-year-old doctors, looked red-eyed as they
stood just yards from their holiday flat. Earlier, shattered relatives and friends told of the heart-stopping moment mum Kate
discovered her precious daughter was missing.
Kate and Gerry, a consultant cardiologist, had left Maddie asleep
with their baby twins as they ate at a tapas restaurant 50 yards from their holiday apartment in Portugal's Algarve.
The pair took turns to check on the children every half hour. But when Kate
returned to the room at 10pm on Thursday there was no sign of her angel-faced girl.
As a desperate police hunt
continued in the resort of Praia da Luz last night, Maddie's aunt Trish Cameron told how distraught Gerry described the
scene in a frantic late-night phone call.
Trish, of Dumbarton, Scotland, said: "The kids were all sound asleep,
windows shut, shutters shut.
"Kate went back at 10pm to check. The front door was lying open, the window had
been tampered with, the shutters had been jemmied open and Maddie was missing.
"She came screaming back to
the group crying, 'They've taken her, they've taken her'. Gerry was crying and roaring like a bull.
"Obviously someone has been watching them, watching the children, seeing where they stayed and seeing they were left
alone. It just doesn't bear thinking about."
Maddie's brother and sister - two-year-old IVF twins
Sean and Amelie - were left safely in their cots.
Trish, who plans to jet out to help with the search, went on:
"Kate ran and told my brother. He was distraught on the phone to me, breaking his heart.
said, 'Maddie's been abducted, she's been abducted'. Nothing else was touched in the apartment, no valuables
taken, no passports." Describing Maddie, Trish added: "She's an absolutely beautiful wee blonde girl, with
"One distinguishing feature is that the pupil of her right eye runs down into the iris."
Cops yesterday cordoned off the apartment and officers with sniffer dogs were leading the search.
has offered a £10,000 reward for information that may lead to the youngster being found.
Maddie - also an
IVF baby - was reportedly wearing pink, short-sleeved pyjamas with a cartoon Eeyore on the top.
Last night local
reports claimed dogs tracked her scent to a supermarket before the trail ran cold. The store's CCTV cameras were so basic
they did not make recordings.
Meanwhile British tourist George Burke claimed he had seen a couple carrying a young
child early yesterday morning. Mr Burke, from Liverpool, was driving back from Lagos, just a few miles from Praia de Luz.
He said: "I couldn't see them clearly as it was dark and windy - but I thought it was odd. They scurried down a side
"Kate and Gerry, from Rothley, Leics, are believed to have been on holiday with a group of other medical
workers. The party comprised nine adults and eight children. It is understood Maddie, who turns four next Saturday, is due
to start school in September.
Distraught Kate rang long-time friends Jon and Michelle Corner, the twins' godparents,
at their Merseyside home to break the news.
Jon, whose wife grew up with GP Kate in their home city of Liverpool,
said: "She phoned at about 3am. She just blurted out that Maddie had been abducted.
"She said, 'They've
broken the shutter on the window and taken my little girl'. She's still devastated. She's very upset that the
police don't seem to be doing anything.
"The McCanns were staying at the Ocean Club in Praia da Luz, western
Algarve - a popular spot with Brits. They booked the break with holiday firm Mark Warner.
The complex consists
of individual villa-style accommodation mixed with small bars, restaurants, cafes, boutiques and shops.
boss John Hill said 70 staff and guests searched until 4.30am after the family raised the alarm, while border police, Spanish
cops and airports were notified. He said: "It was a very emotional and frantic night."
But he insisted
there was NO physical evidence Maddie had been abducted from the apartment. He said: "We are still hoping Madeleine is
asleep under a bush and we'll find her soon."
He said the family's apartment was surrounded by others
- all with "sophisticated" door locks.
Guests were quizzed to check if they saw anyone acting suspiciously.
Mr Hill said Mark Warner offers families a babysitting service where they can leave children for the night.
added: "Those facilities were available but were not being used." Counsellors were being flown out from Britain
to assist the stricken parents, he added.
John Buck, the British Ambassador in Portugal, drove in from the capital
Lisbon to be with the family after they begged him for help.
Among those who joined Thursday night's search
for the tot were British expats, holidaymakers and off-duty police officers.
Paul Moyes, 47, from Cheshire, owns
a holiday apartment with wife Susan in the McCanns' block.
He said: "There
was a knock on our door at about 11.30pm from a hotel guest telling us a girl was missing and asking us to help.
"Family pal Gill Renwick revealed how panicking Kate sent her a text saying: "I need help."
said: "Kate was at the police station in hysterics. When we spoke she said the police weren't doing enough."
Speaking about the £1,500 family holiday, pal Gill went on: "It's the first time they have done this.
"They are very careful parents. They chose Mark Warner because it is a family-friendly resort."
Cameron added: "In hindsight, yes, Gerry and Kate wish they hadn't left the children alone, but it's hard when
you're on holiday. They're excellent parents and very protective of their children.
worried grandparents have flown to Portugal to join the search. Brian and Susan Healy said as they headed for the airport:
"We're worried sick."
The couple had earlier been comforted by friends at their smart semi in Mossley
Family friend Pat Perkins, 61, said: "Susan can barely speak. We're just trying to stay
"Kate and Gerry are such good parents. It's a very loving family, they didn't leave their
children in any danger. You just don't expect something so awful to happen.
"I recommended Portugal as
a holiday destination. They love children over there."
Sun team: John Scott, Guy Patrick, Antonella Lazzeri,
Alastair Taylor, John Coles, Gary O'Shea, Emma Cox, David Goodwin, Tom Worden, John Clarke and Doug Seeburg
Sky News broadcast (extract), 05 May
Sky News broadcast (extract)
05 May 2007
Woods: The police are checking out one possible sighting about eight hours after Madeleine disappeared. Just before
dawn a motorist said that his car headlights picked out a couple on the road; they had a child with them and, according to
him, it looked as if they were trying to avoid being seen.
Hunt at Black Rock, 06 May 2007
Hunt at Black Rock News
of the World (article no longer online)
Hall & Carole Aye Maung in Praia da Luz, Portugal 6 May 2007
POLICE hunting for missing Maddie
McCann have dramatically widened their search to an extinct VOLCANO, the News of the World can exclusively reveal.
Teams of officers with sniffer dogs were last night scouring what one called a "sinister" area called Black Rock
near sea cliffs just over a mile from the resort where the youngster was snatched on Thursday.
The search was widened
as the detective leading the hunt claimed they had a good idea who the kidnapper was - and that he believes Maddie may still
A source close to the Portuguese investigation also told the News of the World that the abductor is believed
to have spent days watching Maddie and staking out the McCann family's apartment at the Ocean Club resort in the seaside
village of Praia da Luz.
Meanwhile more than 500 British tourists, expats and locals have joined in the ongoing
search for the blonde youngster along a six-mile stretch of the coastline.
Last night - 48 hours after Maddie was
snatched - that search shifted to Rocha Negra - a remote area feared by the local community and an ideal hideout.
Furriel Louis Costa, one of the policemen involved in the search, told us: "You would call it Black Rock. It is a very
scary and chilling place. The local Portuguese people do not like to go up there. They are too frightened.
"It is very big and extends high up above the sea which makes it seem very threatening. You can go up there.
But no one ever does. It's not a nice place. It is sinister."
He spoke as hopes rose that Maddie might
be alive and held captive following a statement earlier in the day from the head of the investigation, Director of the Judicial
Police Guilhermino Encarnacao who hinted that they KNOW the kidnapper's identity.
He said: "There is a
prime suspect and we have a portrait sketch of the suspect.
But I am not going to reveal it because it may put
the girl's life in danger. We believe that she is still alive and still in Portugal."
More than 150 police
officers have been drafted into the area-and yesterday British detectives from the McCann's home county of Leicestershire
flew in to join the hunt which also took in the Boavista golf course, again a mile from where she was abducted.
ports, airports and borders have been put on high alert for any sign of the missing tot.
Maddie disappeared from
the Ocean Club in the Praia da Luz resort of Portugal as her doctor parents Gerry and Kate McCann, both 38, ate in a restaurant
50 yards away.
They had chosen not to use the babysitting service provided by holiday company Mark Warner and instead
were checking on her every half hour as she slept between her two-year-old twin brother and sister, Shaun and Amelie. A police
source last night told us the kidnapper must have KNOWN there was no babysitter in the apartment-and could have been watching
the family's movements for days.
He said: "It wasn't just coincidence that this person took her while
her parents were out. They would have been watching and waiting and picked the ideal time to take her without disturbing anyone
or raising any attention.
"They were only yards away and could see the balcony to the apartment but whoever
took Maddie went through the front window which would have been out of sight."
Some sources in the area suggested
last night that Maddie may have been snatched by a Russian or Eastern European gang to be sold for up to Pounds 250,000. Police
are also investigating a British businessman's revelation that he spotted a couple carrying a young child just hours after
Liverpool-born George Burke told cops he saw a couple carrying a young child at around 6am,
seven hours after the abduction, as he drove home from nearby Lagos.
When his headlights lit them, he said they
"scurried down a side road and out of sight".
Yesterday the News of the World joined the search for Maddie
by putting up and handing out large posters calling for help in tracing the youngster to the masses of volunteers turning
up to join the hunt.
Manchester man Dave Shelton, 38, who lives in the village and is co-ordinating the local searchers,
said: "People have just been coming and coming. The response has been fantastic." Last night Maddie's distraught
extended family gave us a series of loving pictures of the happy tot - who was conceived with the help of IVF treatment -
at her home in Rothley, Leicestershire, as they prayed for her safe return.
Her aunt Philomena McCann, 54, said:
"It's great to have some hope from the police-but we need something to happen. We want her back. We need to keep
strong, for everybody's sake."
Maddie's great uncle Brian Kennedy (pictured left), who lives in the
same village as the family, told how Gerry and Kate had already planned her fourth birthday party next Saturday before leaving
"We asked a friend to make her a Dr Who cake. We've told her to carry on making it. We have
to think for the best."
Wasted days in hunt for Maddy, 07 May
Wasted days in hunt for Maddy Daily Mail (print edition, different version online)
Sears in Praia da Luz 07 May 2007
A series of blunders by Portuguese police could have allowed whoever
kidnapped Maddy McCann to get away unhindered.
Sources close to the investigation have admitted that they were
too slow to react, giving the abductor up to 48 hours to escape.
A picture emerged yesterday of a confused, error-laden
inquiry far below what would be expected if a youngster went missing in similar circumstances in Britain.
hopes that the little girl was still alive after more than three days away from her family, police did not have any specific
information to confirm this. Nor were they thought to have a name of a prime suspect.
As the desperate hunt by
150 police and 650 volunteers continued, questions were being raised over the nature of the response and whether it has played
into the kidnapper's hands. The Daily Mail has discovered that:
Portuguese border controls were not
alerted until late on Friday morning - 15 hours after Maddy went missing.
It was not until Saturday that
officers admitted she could have been abducted even though it was almost inconceivable that a child of three could have wandered
off and remained missing for so long. Only then did they start searching hundreds of apartments in the busy resort of Praia
A full list of guests and staff at the Mark Warner holiday complex was being compiled only yesterday
and had yet to be handed over to detectives.
The apartment from where Maddy was taken has not been properly
sealed off. Police lines have regularly been crossed by curious passersby who have been able to touch the shutters forced
open by her abductor, destroying any possible forensic evidence.
The police 'sketch' of the suspect
has a blank where the face is supposed to be.
Growing pessimism last night about the chances of finding Maddy alive
was in sharp contrast to the apparent hope expressed on Saturday morning when the Judicial Police the Portuguese equivalent
of CID - appeared to suggest that they knew who Madeleine's kidnapper was and expressed hope that she was still alive.
Officers also hinted that they had a description - or sketch - of the suspect. But the Daily Mail has been told that
this is simply a hastily-compiled drawing based on the often contradictory accounts of no fewer than 30 witnesses.
One key 'suspect' is a man with thick, dark, side-parted hair, wearing a black padded shirt or jacket and pale trousers.
One report claimed that he was based just a 'couple of miles' from the resort.
Other sources close to the
inquiry, however, admit they have no real idea who he is and that the descriptions are of a 'number' of suspects.
Similarly, the police's confidence that the toddler is still alive seems to be based simply on hope.
Officers are working on three theories. One is that the suspect is a local paedophile. The other two possibilities are that
Maddy was taken either by a childless couple or by human traffickers.
If either of the latter theories is true,
then the youngster is likely to be a long way from the resort.
In any event, it is more than likely that she was
watched by her captor - or captors - as she played with her parents in the sunshine.
At first the local rural police
took little interest in witnesses' reports of suspicious characters seen nearby, because they initially believed Madeleine
had simply wandered off.
They took hours to be convinced that an intruder had forced open the heavy shutters at
the side of the flat.
Last night an expatriate British businessman described how he saw a couple carrying a young
child eight hours after Madeleine went missing.
George Burke, originally from Liverpool, was driving home at 6am
on Friday after dropping his son at a station when the man and woman were caught in his headlights and immediately scurried
out of sight. He said he thought nothing more about the incident until he heard about Madeleine's disappearance, after
which he contacted police.
Mr McCann's sister, Philomena McCann, said: 'The police were doing very little
after Madeleine vanished. Mark Warner staff had to organise the searches. The police did nothing for hours.
have just played this down from the minute they were approached.'
By Saturday afternoon a chief inspector from
Lisbon, belatedly summoned south to beef up the inquiry, was knocking on doors.
He and other officers used master
keys to let themselves in when doors were not opened, then questioned occupants.
One British resident, shocked
at the delays in the Portuguese response, said he had told the inspector: 'We've been waiting for you - it's taken
two days. The inspector said, "I know" and rolled his eyes.'
Courage, Courage, Courage, 07 May 2007
Courage, Courage, Courage Daily
Mirror (article no longer online)
Hunt for Maddy, 3 - Comfort for parents
at Mother's Day service
Vanessa Allen and Martin Fricker in Praia da Luz 07 May 2007
FOR Kate McCann it could not have been more poignant - a Mother's Day church service celebrating
the bond between mothers and daughters.
Tears streamed down her face as she watched Portuguese children giving
flowers to their mums and thanking them for their loving care.
A local girl presented her with a posy of five roses
- flowers which under happier circumstances would have come from missing Madeleine.
Brave Kate, 38, choked back
her tears and whispered: "Thank you."
She was warned before attending yesterday's service at the
Church of Our Lady of the Light that it would celebrate Mother's Day in Portugal. She insisted it should go ahead as planned.
But the strain was etched on her face as she clutched at Madeleine's toy pink cat and prayed for her daughter's
She kissed the threadbare toy repeatedly as she prayed. It was believed to have been left behind when
the little girl was snatched.
Husband Gerry, also 38, put a comforting arm around her as Father Jose Manuel Pacheco
led the prayers for Madeleine, her family and the police hunting for her. He said: "We pray that Madeleine will be brought
home safe to the heart of the family. We are with you - courage, courage, courage."
Altar girl Emily Seromenho,
14, presented Kate with the roses and told her to walk with the Portuguese mothers and lay them at the feet of the Virgin
Mary by the altar.
GP Kate paused by the statue - seemingly lost in silent prayer - and was embraced by the village
mothers as the service ended.
She and husband Gerry were engulfed by almost 40 people as they left. Pensioners,
mothers and their children swarmed round the Catholic couple and kissed, hugged and shook hands with them in an extraordinary
gesture of support.
Many were in tears as they left the tiny white-painted church in Praia da Luz - including Emily.
The teenager, whose English mother Sarah lived in Ascot, Berks, before moving to the Algarve with her husband Francisco,
said: "I felt she was very sad. I felt sad too.
"I told her she should give the flowers to the Virgin
Mary. She just said 'Thank you'. It is a special service for us. It is nice but it was sad because of what is happening
with Madeleine. We are all shocked by what has happened."
Kate and Gerry were accompanied at the service by
eight relatives, including Madeleine's grandparents Susan and Brian Healy.
Holidaymakers passed by the church
on their way to the beach, clutching their kid's hands tightly.
Expat Peggy Brown, 83, said: "Luz has
always been a little oasis away from the bad things that have been happening in the world.
"What has happened
is devastating, you can feel it. There is a sort of veil of sadness in the place."
Madeleine disappeared from
the family's apartment at the Mark Warner Ocean Club while Kate and Gerry were at a restaurant on the complex just 120ft
They decided not to use a creche service and instead left Madeleine and their two-year-old twins Sean and
Amelie sleeping. They had been taking turns to return to the block to check on the children.
Kate found the shutter
and window to Madeleine's room had been opened and her daughter missing shortly before 10pm.
A photograph of
Madeleine taken during the holiday in Portugal last week was released by the family yesterday. In the holiday snap, she poses
for the camera on a tennis court at the Algarve resort.
A family friend said Madeleine is a "very confident"
girl who would "talk to anyone".
Portuguese police now have a detailed description of the man they believe
took Madeleine - but do not know his identity. The Daily Mirror has been given the description but has agreed not to publish
it at the request of police.
They are worried releasing too much information could possibly "spook" the
Officers have also created an artist's impression of the suspect - but bizarrely it is only of the
back of his head.
Earlier yesterday, Kate and heart specialist Gerry, from Rothley, Leicestershire, were escorted
through the resort by three family liaison officers from Leicestershire Police.
One of Kate's colleagues has
offered a £100,000 reward for the youngster's safe return.
Police are also investigating reports that
a "suspicious" couple were spotted with a blonde child in nearby Lagos on Friday morning.
George Burke, who has lived near the resort for 16 years after moving from Liverpool, said they "scurried" down
a road towards a railway station. He added: "It was 6am and pitch black I couldn't be certain it was her."
Last night holiday firm Mark Warner, which owns the Ocean Club complex, said several British families had cancelled
Meanwhile relatives defended Kate and Gerry for leaving their three youngsters while they went
with friends to have a meal.
Great uncle Brian Kennedy, from Liverpool, said: "The children were only left
in the sense that when you put your children to bed, you don't stay in their room all night.
Gerry are absolutely devoted to their children."
I saw suspects with a girl like her, 07 May
I saw suspects with a girl like her Daily
Express (article no longer online)
and David Pilditch Monday 7 May, 2007
A British expat told yesterday how he saw a "suspicious"
couple with a child like Maddy rushing towards a railway station not long after the little girl disappeared.
owner George Burke, from Liverpool, said that a "vicious looking" man and woman were carrying the child, eight miles
from where she was abducted.
The sighting was about eight hours after Maddy had vanished from her bed at the Ocean
Club resort as she slept beside her two-year-old twin brother and sister.
Father-of-two Mr Burke said he was driving
home just before 6am on Friday when he caught the couple in his headlights.
"It was very, very dark, "
he said. "It was hard to make out exactly what the couple looked like, but through the gloom I could definitely see a
very suspicious-looking man and woman, carrying a child who fitted Madeleine's description.
was nobody else on the road, they were hurrying across a dual carriageway that leads straight to the train station and marina
"The woman was in her thirties, darkhaired and slim. The man, also in his thirties, was less than
six feet tall and slightly stocky.
He had shoulder-length hair and looked quite tanned. They did not look like
tourists and they certainly didn't seem to be British.
"You could tell from their posture that they were
trying to carry the child without anyone seeing it and they were extremely disturbed when I caught them in my headlights.
"It was only after I returned home to my house in Burgau, along the coast from Praia da Luz, that I realised
the importance of what I had seen. I quickly rang the police."
Portuguese police alerted airports, ports and
border controls several hours after the alarm was raised, before cordoning the area.
Helped by Mr Burke's description,
they have built a profile of the man they believe is their prime suspect. Mr Burke said they told him not to tell the media
what he had seen but he decided to break his silence to help to track down the kidnapper.
"I'm the father
of two teenagers myself, " he added, "but you can't begin to understand the agony and the distress that the
child's parents are going through."
Please... don't stop praying for
my Maddy, 07 May 2007
Please... don't stop praying for my Maddy Daily Star (article no longer online)
girl's distraught mum in tearful plea...
By Jerry Lawton 07 May 2007
Missing three-year-old Maddy McCann's mum wept yesterday as she prayed for her to be freed by the sex fiend
police fear is holding her captive.
Distraught GP Kate McCann, 38, kissed her little daughter's stuffed pink
kitten during a church service on Portugal's Mother's Day.
She lined up with other mums to lay flowers
at the feet of the Virgin Mary at a Catholic mass in the resort of Praia da Luz, where Maddy was abducted four days ago.
Kate and her heart surgeon husband Gerry were hugged by locals devastated by the kidnap in their low-crime Algarve
Devastated Kate urged: "Please continue to pray for Madeleine. She's lovely."
family friend - a fellow GP - has offered a £100,000 reward for her safe return.
A British expat yesterday
described seeing a "suspicious" couple with a child fitting Maddy's description eight hours after the toddler
George Burke said he saw a "vicious" looking man and woman carrying the child towards a
railway station eight miles from where she was abducted.
Maddy vanished from the couple's holiday apartment
at the Mark Warner Ocean Club on Thursday while they ate at a tapas bar just 40 yards away.
When Kate went to check
on Maddy - and two-year-old twins Sean and Amelie - at 10pm she discovered a window open, shutters damaged and her daughter
Detectives fear the tot was snatched by a known sex beast who lived nearby and they have been unable to
Judicial police director Guilhermino Encarnacao confirmed they were hunting a "known suspect".
But he refused to give more details in case it endangered the tot's life.
A senior police source said:
"A situation like this becomes a game of cat and mouse. We do not want to make a false move."
were last night following up 30 possible sightings of the youngster.
More than 150 officers were yesterday scouring
beaches, abandoned holiday homes and volcanic caves near the resort.
Airports and police on the nearby Spanish
border were placed on alert, and British police have flown out to join the hunt.
Maddy's parents, from Rothley,
Leics, joined 150 worshippers in the resort's tiny 16th Century church.
Pictures of Maddy were attached to
copies of church notices distributed to the congregation, and a large photograph of her was pinned to the front of the building.
The family released the last photo taken of her - smiling in a pink hat as she played on tennis courts yards from where she
After the service Gerry, 38, said: "We're going to take strength and courage and hope from
this. We continue to hope for the best possible outcome."
Back at home Maddy's great-uncle Bryan Kennedy
said: "Gerry has no more news, but he did say the amount of support they are getting out there is considerable.
"If the reward helps bring a happy ending then so much the better."
In Rothley the Catholic Chuch of
the Sacred Heart was packed for a mass dedicated to the family.
Desperate parents of missing girl take
initiative and make direct appeal to her abductor, 08 May 2007
Desperate parents of missing girl take initiative and
make direct appeal to her abductor The Guardian (print edition, different version online)
reflects impatience over police response · Description of clothing when girl went missing
Steven Morris Praia da Luz, Portugal Tuesday 8 May 2007
mother of Madeleine McCann yesterday made a direct appeal to the person who snatched her "beautiful" daughter during
a family holiday in Portugal.
Kate McCann begged the abductor: "Please, please do not hurt her. Please don't
scare her. Please let us know where to find Madeleine, or put her in a place of safety and tell somebody where."
It is understood the family is becoming impatient with the response of the police in the Algarve to the disappearance of
three-year-old Madeleine, who vanished from her bed on Thursday evening.
The decision to make the direct appeal
was the idea of Mrs McCann and her husband Gerry, rather than the Portuguese police.
They also decided to release
a full description of the pyjamas the little girl was wearing when she was taken as the parents dined in a nearby tapas bar.
The police had failed to issue a description of what Madeleine was wearing, one of the first things a British force would
have done if a child went missing.
Speaking in an apartment a few doors from where the family were staying when
Madeleine vanished, Mrs McCann, a GP, said: "We would like to say a few words to the person who is with our Madeleine
or has been with Madeleine.
"Madeleine is a beautiful, bright, funny and caring little girl. She is so special.
We beg you to let Madeleine come home.
"We need our Madeleine. Sean and Amelie [the girl's twin two-year-old
brother and sister] need Madeleine and she needs us. Please give us our little girl back."
Mrs McCann, 39,
still clutching Madeleine's cuddly toy that was left in her bed when she was taken, repeated the final plea in Portuguese:
"Por favor, devolva a nossa menina."
As she made the plea Mr McCann, 38, a cardiac surgeon, leaned his
head into his wife's neck, tears in his eyes. Afterwards Alex Woolfall, a spokesman for the Mark Warner complex in the
seaside village of Praia da Luz from which Madeleine was snatched, confirmed that the idea to make the direct plea had come
from the McCanns, though they had informed the police they were doing it.
He said: "They wanted to make a
very direct appeal. Every day they are trying to do whatever they can."
The family, who are from Rothley,
Leicestershire, said that the pyjamas she was wearing had white bottoms with a floral design on them and a pink, short-sleeved
top with a picture of the Winnie the Pooh character Eeyore on them. They were bought from Marks & Spencer last year.
Meanwhile, the police investigation included patrols of a marina at the nearby town of Lagos and volunteers took part
in searches on foot of the scrubby countryside a few miles inland from the resort.
There have been reports that
a bald man was seen dragging a girl towards the marina. Police have checked the departure records of the pleasure boats that
left the marine in the hours after Madeleine's disappearance.
At least two yachts left the harbour for other
Portuguese ports the morning after the child was taken. A police launch was patrolling the marina yesterday.
Pereira, a maritime police captain at Lagos, also became the first public official to admit that the Madeleine might be dead.
He said that they were searching for clothes, shoes or a body. One of the sites they have been looking at are caves, which
can only be accessed by canoe.
There was a swirl of other possible sightings of suspect and theories. One man from
Liverpool, George Burke, said that he had seen a couple with a girl who fitted Madeleine's description eight hours after
her disappearance, again close to the marina and the railway station at Lagos, which is a 10-minute drive from Praia da Luz.
There were reports of yet another suspect handing out sweets to children near the marina.
Barra da Costa, a former
inspector in the Judicial Police, PJ, claimed that his sources within the force believed that Madeleine's abductor could
be from Britain.
Ex-pat and Portuguese volunteers continued to help with the search. A party of around 20 people
searched forests and rough ground around the village of Espiche, just north of Praia da Luz.
Dave Felton, a Manchester
man who lives in the village said: "I think people are still hoping that we don't actually find her and that she
is safe and sound somewhere."
Madeleine 'seen at marina',
28 November 2007
Madeleine 'seen at marina' Daily
Express (article no longer online)
Fagge Wednesday 28 November, 2007
A British expat says he saw Madeleine McCann being dragged towards
a marina by a "very suspicious" couple, just hours after she vanished, it was reported last night.
George Burke says he saw a small girl resembling Madeleine being hauled along by a "vicious looking" man and woman,
as he drove past Lagos marina in the early morning of May 4, just eight hours after she vanished.
He said: "It
was dark and they were hurrying towards the marina. There was no one else around at the time and they looked very suspicious."
Mr Burke, who is from Liverpool but lives in Portugal, reported the sighting to Portuguese police but said they did
not take him seriously. He is now being quizzed by the McCanns' private detectives who say the sighting may be crucial.
The claims came as it was revealed that police in Portugal have carried out fresh searches for Madeleine's body
– or a place she could have been hidden – in countryside surrounding Praia da Luz.
The Policia Judiciaria
has refused to reveal the exact locations, and inquiries continue.
Detectives are believed to have identified a
number of locations several miles away from the Algarve resort, in countryside between the towns of Lagos and Portimao.
Sources said the theory that Madeleine was killed by an intruder at the villa, who then disposed of her body elsewhere,
was gaining strength at the centre of the investigation.
I saw Maddy dragged away by vicious
man, 28 November 2007
EXCLUSIVE: Expat's sighting at marina Detectives probe crucial lead
Martin Fricker 28/11/2007
A british businessman's sighting of Madeleine McCann near a marina eight
hours after she vanished has convinced private detectives she WAS smuggled out of Portugal by sea.
insists he saw a vicious-looking man and a woman dragging a Madeleine lookalike along a road that leads to Lagos marina.
But investigators believe Portuguese police who interviewed the dad-of-two failed to take the sighting seriously.
A source said: "The private investigators are now concentrating on Lagos and the marina.
Mr Burke saw could be incredibly valuable.
"He was concerned enough to call the police and they eventually
followed up on his information.
"Now the investigators want to talk to Mr Burke. There is a strong chance
Madeleine was taken by boat from the marina and is still alive somewhere."
George, who is from Liverpool but
now lives in Portugal, saw the couple with the girl as he drove past the marina at about 6am on May 4. He said: "It was
very, very dark and it was hard to make out exactly what the couple looked like. But through the gloom I could see a very
suspicious-looking man and woman, with a child who fitted Madeleine's description.
"Though there was nobody
else on the road, they were hurrying across a road that leads straight to the train station and marina."
and Gerry McCann have always believed the four-year-old was probably taken out of Portugal by sea to North Africa.
George contacted police as soon as he got home but border and port authorities were not alerted for another 12 hours.
Madeleine: 'Someone's holding
back the truth', 29 November 2007
Madeleine: 'Someone's holding back the truth'
Daily Express (article no longer online)
By Nick Fagge Thursday 29 November, 2007
Kate and Gerry McCann are
behind a deliberate campaign of misinformation about the disappearance of their daughter, it was claimed yesterday.
In a thinly veiled attack on the couple and their private investigators, a high-ranking police source in Portugal rubbished
recent "sightings" of Madeleine and accused them of trying to suppress the truth about events on May 3.
"Someone is trying to deviate attention about what really happened that night, " says the source in Portuguese
daily newspaper 24 Horas yesterday.
It is claimed that detectives have spent weeks pouring over media reports of
worldwide sightings, including Morocco and Bosnia.
And the report says the authorities now believe details of the
sightings have been leaked to the British press by agents working on behalf of the McCanns to discredit the official police
The source told 24 Horas: "We have analysed all the information reaching the public.
"None of the reports indicating sightings of the McCanns' daughter have been confirmed.
also someone who wants to bring down an investigation that has been carried out honestly and rigorously."
source close to the Policia Judiciaria (PJ) investigation countered claims that the Portuguese police are determined to "nail"
the McCanns for their daughter's disappearance.
He said: "The PJ doesn't want an innocent person to
be taken prisoner. It's just trying to find out the truth. And that's the direction it will continue working in."
The latest "sighting" is from a British expat who says he saw Madeleine being dragged towards a marina by
a "very suspicious" couple eight hours after she vanished.
Businessman George Burke says he saw a small
girl resembling Madeleine being hauled along by a "vicious-looking" man and woman as he drove past Lagos marina
– five miles from Praia da Luz – in the early morning of May 4.
Last week it emerged that a Portuguese
lorry driver told police he saw a girl being handed over by a blonde woman to a man in the town of Silves on May 5.
Private investigators believe this was the moment the four year old was passed from her original kidnapper to a paedophile
gang who whisked her to Morocco.
The trucker is said to have identified Michaela Walczuch, the lover of official
suspect Robert Murat, as the blonde woman handing over the youngster on the country road.
Spanish tourist Isabel
Gonzalez has claimed she saw Jehovah's Witness Walczuch, 32, in Morocco in June, just moments after she noticed a little
blonde girl whom she is convinced was Madeleine.
And a British nanny has identified expat property developer Murat,
34, as the man she saw trying to snatch a baby from the same holiday apartment that the McCanns booked six months later.
Murat and Walczuch both deny any involvement in Madeleine's disappearance. And Francisco Pagarete, Murat's
lawyer, has accused the McCanns of trying to frame his client and his friends.
The official Portuguese police investigation
continues to focus on the theory that Madeleine died in the apartment as the result of an accident, and that the McCanns hid
the body and recruited friends into covering their tracks.
Kate and Gerry McCann, both 39, from Rothley, Leicestershire,
vigorously deny being involved in their daughter's disappearance.
Portuguese police ignored 'kidnapper
in the shadows' outside Madeleine's bedroom, 11 August 2008
Portuguese police ignored 'kidnapper in the shadows'
outside Madeleine's bedroom Daily Mail
By Vanessa Allen and Nicola Boden Last
updated at 9:44 AM on 11th August 2008
Police failed to investigate a previous suspected abduction attempt
from Kate and Gerry McCann's holiday apartment, it was disclosed yesterday.
A babysitter spotted a man lurking
in the shadows outside apartment 5A while she was looking after a young girl inside.
But Portuguese police searching
for missing Madeleine McCann dismissed her account as 'irrelevant' and refused to investigate.
one of a host of missed opportunities, was revealed in the mammoth files released last week.
It emerged as police
in Belgium continued to trawl through CCTV footage from a bank in Brussels where a security guard reported seeing a girl resembling
Madeleine last week.
The McCanns' private detectives are working on a theory that Madeleine was abducted and
taken to Belgium on the orders of a paedophile gang who had seen a photograph of her taken by a 'spotter' in Portugal.
Family spokesman Clarence Mitchell said their detectives were working on all the missed clues in the police files.
He said: 'Kate and Gerry hoped from the outset that the police were following up every lead in the most thorough
and professional manner possible. Where any information is found not to have been followed up, our investigators are working
on it, all of it.'
The case files showed that Margaret Hall, a babysitter at the Mark Warner resort, was interviewed
by detectives working for the McCanns from the Spanish-based agency Metodo 3 last year.
They handed their report,
marked 'Very Confidential', to the Portuguese police.
It said Miss Hall had been in apartment 5A with a
young girl in September 2006 - eight months before Madeleine's disappearance - when she heard
a noise outside.
She went to investigate, the statement said, adding: 'In a dark area she noticed something
was moving and thought it was a rat.
'She was shocked when, on closer examination, she saw it was the brown
shoe of a man. She shouted and the man came out of the darkness, activating movement-sensitive lights. He walked towards her,
saying "No, no".'
The incident happened on a Thursday night - the same night Madeleine
But an internal Portuguese police memo said the report 'seems to us to be out-dated and of no relevance
to the material under investigation'.
Detectives also failed to question George Brooks, 61, from Liverpool,
who reported seeing a couple carrying a child near the local marina only hours after Madeleine vanished.
of the McCanns, of Rothley, Leicestershire, said last night: 'The way the Policia Judiciaria dismissed a lot of the leads
is astonishing. At the moment Kate and Gerry are concentrating on the Belgium sighting, as it was the most recent.'
A guard at the KBC bank in Brussels says he saw a blonde, blue-eyed girl with a Moroccan-looking woman last Monday.
The McCanns now have detectives working around the world at a reported cost of £166,000 a month.
the possible sightings they are following up, also apparently ignored by the Portuguese, is one by a British yachtsman on
the Caribbean island of Margarita last May.
Trevor Francis, 64, of Worthing, West Sussex, said: 'I saw the
little blemish in her right eye. She was the absolute image of Madeleine.'
He said the girl was in a restaurant
with three women who looked Spanish. She seemed 'sullen' and refused to eat.
Portuguese police ignored tip off about abductor in Maddy case, 11
Portuguese police ignored tip off about abductor in Maddy case Daily Mirror
By Victoria Ward in Praia da Luz 11/08/2008
evidence reveals a man tried to abduct a child at McCanns' flat 8 months before Maddy was taken..
suspected abductor was spotted spying on Madeleine McCann's flat before she vanished - but Portuguese police ignored the
tip-off, it emerged yesterday.
British babysitter Margaret Hall was caring for a girl aged six in the same apartment
when she saw the prowler lurking in the dark and peering inside.
A statement and his description were passed to
officers - who dismissed it as irrelevant, their files on the bungled probe reveal.
Last night a friend of Madeleine's
parents Kate and Gerry branded the police reaction "astonishing".
The couple's private Metodo 3 detectives
will now urgently pursue the potentially vital lead.
Family spokesman Clarence Mitchell said: "Kate and Gerry
hoped from the outset that police were following up every lead in the most thorough and professional manner possible.
"Where any information is found to not have been followed up, our private investigators are working on it, all of it."
Their zeal is in marked contrast to that of local cops, who shrugged off the report as "of no relation to the...investigation"
and never bothered to contact Margaret.
British police intelligence has suggested Madeleine may have been snatched
on May 3 last year days after being snapped by a spotter for Belgian paedophiles.
Margaret had reported her autumn
2006 sighting to Metodo 3 in November 2007 and they informed police. Parents of the youngster she was looking after were out
for the night and had warned her about rodents in Apartment 5A at Praia da Luz's Ocean Club complex.
encountered the prowler as she went to check for rats at about 12.30am.
The Metodo 3 statement given to official
detectives reveals: "She left by the main entrance and, in a dark area, with movement sensitive lights, she noticed something
moving and thought it was a rat.
"She was shocked when on closer examination she saw it was the brown shoe
of a man who was peeping in the dark area outside the apartment.
"She shouted and the man came out of the
darkness, activating the lights. He walked towards her and said, 'No, no'."
The prowler was said to
be aged 23-25, of Mediterranean appearance and with long, black curly hair. He wore light trousers and a checked blue shirt.
Margaret is convinced he had a Portuguese accent.
Kate and Gerry's pal Jane Tanner has told police
that on the night Madeleine vanished she saw a dark-haired man in beige trousers carrying a child and hurrying from the direction
of the flat.
Margaret reported her sighting to her boss but he was more bothered about a rat infestation.
The babysitter - who spent six months working for the Ocean Club complex until November 2006 - contacted Metodo 3 via their
The Spanish private sleuths met Portuguese police on November 14 last year and passed on the tip-off.
But Portuguese officers dismissed it out of hand because the sighting came around eight months before Madeleine vanished.
Their 30,000 pages of case notes reveal: "The director of M3 (Metodo 3) handed us a small notepad with information
relating to Madeleine's disappearance.
"They said the information had come from their Spanish Madeleine
"We notice that it reports facts which took place in August/Sept of 2006, which seems to us outdated
and of no relation to the material under investigation."
British nanny Charlotte Pennington worked at the
resort last year and said she had heard reports of a suspicious man lurking around apartments.
Meanwhile, it has
emerged police failed to quiz Liverpool man George Brooks, 61, who saw a suspicious couple carrying a child in Praia da Luz
hours after Madeleine vanished.
By the time police finally visited the restaurant where he worked, he had left
and they made no further effort to contact him.
Several holidaymakers also told police about a man behaving strangely
near Praia da Luz. Metodo 3
Spanish private investigators, based in Barcelona, are
said to be being paid £50,000 a day to hunt for Madeleine.
Since taking on the case it has received 16,000
calls from potential witnesses.
PORTUGUESE cops failed to probe a possible sighting of Maddie's abductor near her family's
holiday apartment, police case files reveal.
Babysitter Margaret Hall was looking after a little girl in the flat
eight months before the McCanns arrived.
When she investigated a noise outside, she saw a shoe in the shadows.
She cried out and a man stepped out shouting, "No, no". Margaret said he was almost certainly Portuguese.
She told detectives she returned to the apartment "in a state of shock".
police regarded the incident as "outdated" as it occurred so long before Maddie went missing, their 20,000-page
Police also failed to interview pizza worker George Brooks, 61, of Liverpool, who saw a suspicious
couple carrying a child near the local marina hours after Maddie vanished.
Mr Brooks spoke to the McCanns'
private detectives. But by the time Portuguese police visited his restaurant they were told he had left.
possible lead, Ernesto Mochacho, 23, told police of a "tall, thin Englishman in his 40s" who was taking photos of
kids on a beach where the McCanns took Maddie.
They asked him to get in touch if he saw him again. But Ernesto
added: "I never saw him after that."
The McCanns' spokesman Clarence Mitchell said last night: "Kate
and Gerry hoped from the outset that the police were following up every lead."
of Lagos marina
Map of Lagos marina
Map above: No.9 is the site of the Pizza
Hut restaurant. The 'Shearwater' boat (see below for 'vision') was moored at mooring post B40
(click image to enlarge)
Maddy's mother photographed boat she believes snatched girl, 09 August 2009
Maddy's mother photographed boat she believes snatched girl Sunday Express
Kate McCann took her friend's vision seriously
By James Murray
Saturday August 8, 2009
KATE McCANN went to see a boat she believes was used in the abduction of their daughter,
the Sunday Express can reveal today. Just a few days after Madeleine was snatched from the family's holiday apartment, a family
friend had a "strong vision" that the child was on a boat moored in a nearby marina.
Kate went to Lagos marina, a few miles along the coast from Praia da Luz where her daughter vanished on May 3, 2007,
and photographed the boat and the man on board, a hand-written note in police files reveals.
The note, headed "information from the family" and apparently from an officer with the Leicestershire Police as it was
written on the force's notepaper, reads: "I spoke to Kate McCann on Tuesday 8th May 2007.
"She told me that a friend of her aunt and uncle had a friend that had a strong vision that Madeleine was on a boat with
a man in the marina in Lagos."
It reveals that the "person" arrived in Portugal and spoke to Kate, adding: "They have visited the marina and identified
The officer spoke to a colleague who made some enquiries about the cruiser, which was registered to a Canadian national.
Enquiries were also made on the police national computer.
The note goes on: "I spoke with Kate today and she has given me photographs of the boat.
"She has also given me photograph of a man who had been on the boat.
"This is not the man that the woman saw in her vision. This matter is very important to her and she is very pleased that
we are making enqs (enquiries) into the matter."
In the Portugese police file there are pictures of the marina and the cruiser along with a letter from the marina to
the registered owner saying that the six months' mooring contract would run out on April 8 of that year.
Whether the astonishing enquiries made by Kate herself led anywhere is not clear but the episode shows how seriously
she took the suggestion that her daughter was abducted by sea.
In the early days of Madeleine's disappearance Portugese detectives investigated the ownership and movements
of many boats on the local coast, but don't appear to have come up with strong suspect.
However, with the feverish speculation that a woman with an Australian accent was apparently waiting for the delivery
of a child in Barcelona 72 hours after Madeleine vanished has turned the spotlight back on the movement of boats in May 2007.
Private detectives working for Kate and Gerry McCann are working on the theory that Madeleine was smuggled on to a boat,
then spirited 800 miles along the coast to Barcelona for collection by the woman, who is said to bear a resemblance to Victoria
A British man had a conversation with the woman outside a restaurant 72 hours after Maddie, then three, was taken.
Tragically for Madeleine, these sporadic bouts of excitement have in the past failed to produce a direct lead to who
actually took her and where she is now, dead or alive.
Unfortunately, the whole investigation was also compromised in the early days by the sheer incompetence of the Portugese
From the outset officers allowed people to trample over the crime scene at the McCann’s apartment.
And though Jane Tanner, one of the McCann's holiday companions, dubbed the Tapas Seven, said she saw a man carrying a
child in his arms around the time Madeleine disappeared, it was left to the McCanns to get an artist to do a drawing months
later instead of a professional, Scotland Yard e-fit.
Another key area woefully handled by the Portugese was the vital accounting for all the known paedophiles in the area
at the crucial time.
Retired detectives David Edgar and Arthur Cowley are doing the extremely difficult job of trying to track the
alibis of these people more than two years after the kidnap.
The last time there was such concentrated interest was when a newspaper discovered that British paedophile Raymond
Hewlett had been in Portugal at the relevant time. Now dying from cancer, he has consistently denied any involvement.
Now the Madeleine hare is up and running in Australia.
Television programmes have been urging millions of residents to track down the woman who allegedly had a snatched
conversation with a British man who waited more than two years to contact the Madeleine investigators, apparently unaware
that he may possess vital information.
Right from the beginning allegations have been bandied about to the detriment of the inquiry.
The innocent and well meaning Robert Murat suffered months of suspicion when fingers were wrongly pointed at
him and both Kate and Gerry McCann suffered when Portugese police wrongly made them arguidos for a time.
As the searchlight turns on boat-owners, those conducting the inquiry should be aware of the damage they could cause
to people they regard as "persons of interest" to the inquiry.
In all likelihood the Australian woman seen at the bar in Barcelona will be tracked down, named, spoken to and then eliminated
from the inquiry.
Everyone can understand the despair felt by the McCanns, but their honourable and understandable quest for answers must
be expertly focused to avoid another media frenzy which fails to provide what we all want: the discovery of Madeleine alive
so she can return to her tormented family.
A Tense Situation, 20 January 2012
A Tense Situation
EXCLUSIVE to mccannfiles.com
By Dr Martin Roberts
20 January 2012
A TENSE SITUATION
Time is of the essence. It is so important to each of us in our daily lives that, in the
course of mankind's cultural history, every effort has been made to quantify it - pictorially, mechanically, electronically;
What did the McCanns do with their precious time in the immediate aftermath of Madeleine's
disappearance, first announced on Thursday night, 3 May 2007? Kate McCann has told us (parentheses mine).
4: Virtually the entire day was spent at PJ headquarters in Portimao. They travelled there with police at 10.00 a.m. (p.88)
returning to Praia da Luz 'some time after 8.30 p.m.' (p.92).
Saturday 5: 'Alan Pike (trauma psychologist)...
was at the door of our apartment by 6.00 a.m... we talked... for several hours... it turned out to be a bewilderingly busy
day for Gerry and me...' (p.99-101). 'Three family liaison officers (FLOs) from Leicestershire force... came to introduce
themselves.' (p.102). 'We had so many meetings that day...' (p.103). 'Neither Gerry nor I was functioning
remotely properly... At lunchtime, over by the Tapas area, Gerry saw a crowd of departing guests... With a new batch of incoming
holidaymakers, more of our relatives appeared.' (p.104) 'I remember slumping on one of the dining chairs in the apartment
(4G)... I also felt a compulsion to run up to the top of the Rocha Negra... the sun set on another day and there was still
no news.' (p.105).
Sunday 6: '...despite my fragility I was determined to go to Mass... We all, family
and friends, went to mass at the local church.' (p.106). That first Sunday saw two further arrivals in Luz: my childhood
friends Michelle and Nicky. Both wanted to be with me... Alan (Pike) planted in our minds the idea of reducing the size of
our support group... Listening to Alan it all seemed so obvious... after giving the matter some thought' (p.109)... 'we
ended up getting down to the nitty-gritty... that Sunday evening.' (p.110).
Monday 7: British expatriates living
permanently in Praia da Luz organized a search of the area. The volunteers were joined by most of our family and friends...
while Gerry and I were tied up with Andy Bowes and Alex Woolfall... When lunchtime came, Gerry and I were in the middle of
another meeting... we had to go to the Toddler Club ourselves... Once we were left with our leaner support group, we allocated
general roles... It had been suggested that I should record a televised appeal aimed at Madeleine's abductor, and this
is what we had been discussing that morning with Andy and Alex... (p.111) Andy Bowes had proposed delivering part of my appeal
in Portuguese, which I did. Gerry sat beside me...' (p.112). 'I was hugely relieved when it was over... Around teatime,
Father Ze turned up...' (p.113). 'We were seeing the Leicestershire FLOs every day. That Monday evening... we lost
it with the liaison officers.' (p.113-4).
Tuesday 8: '...we said an emotional goodbye to the family and
friends who were leaving us... Later I went down to sit on the beach for a while with Fiona... We talked and cried and held
on to each other... As we were walking up from the beach at about 5pm, I had a call from Cherie Blair...'
that about takes care of the McCann itinerary during the first five days immediately following Madeleine's reported disappearance.
I should apologize at this point for what next may seem to some like an overly complex version of an old trick, where,
after being invited to count the passengers boarding and leaving a bus en route, the unsuspecting listener is suddenly
invited to answer the question: 'How many bus-stops were there?' Because now I should like to ask when, in the course
of all the activity Kate McCann has dutifully outlined for us, did she personally find the time for sight-seeing; in particular
her visit to Lagos Marina, which she has previously described to D.C. 975 Markley of Leicestershire Constabulary? It was he
who wrote, on a spare sheet of LC paper headed 'LEICESTERSHIRE CONSTABULARY Continuation WITNESS STATEMENT,' the following:
INFORMATION FROM THE FAMILY
I spoke to Kate McCann
on Tuesday 8th of May 07. She told me that a friend of her Aunt & Uncle from Leicester had a friend that
had a strong vision that Madeleine was on a boat with a man in the Marina in Lagos.
This person arrived
in Portugal and has spoke to Kate. They have visited the Marina and identified the boat as "SHEARWATER". They
saw a man on the boat but this was not the same man that she had in her vision. This is very important
to Kate. I spoke to Glen Pounder if he could make some enqs with regards to the boat.
He has done this and
the boat is registered to a Canadian National called Bruce Cook. Glen has told me that George Reyes at the police stn is now
dealing with the matter with regards to doing PNC checks etc. I spoke with Kate today and she has
given me photographs of the boat. She has also given me a photograph of a man who had been on the boat. This is not the
man that the woman had in her vision. This matter is very important to her and she is very pleased that
we are making enqs into the matter.
Once the enqs have been completed can we please let her know the result.
This correspondence, concerning information provided by Kate McCann don't forget,
has to be read very carefully. Although the page is undated, 'I spoke to Kate McCann on Tuesday 8th of May 07'
is clearly a reference to a past action. Furthermore, the conversation to which it refers describes past activity itself,
placing the vision, certainly, at a time prior to Tuesday 8 May (some time between May 4th and May 8th, no doubt).
But what about that person's arrival in Portugal and their visit to the Marina?
DC Markley, writing whenever,
does not say 'This person has since arrived in Portugal and spoken to Kate,' i.e. placing these
actions at a time after his and Kate's 8 May conversation, although they may be misconstrued as having occurred
later. Rather, these activities are referred to much as might be the subject matter in continuation of that very first conversation.
DC Markley goes on to explain that he has 'spoke with Kate today' (i.e. the day of the memo) and that his colleague,
Glen Pounder, had by that time already completed certain enquiries regarding a particular yacht. Completion (not
commencement) at the time of writing necessarily implies that these enquiries must have been stimulated by an earlier
Hence, by Tuesday 8 May, Kate McCann is in a position to inform DC Markley of a specific
vessel moored at Lagos Marina. The visit which identified it must already have taken place, as DC Markley makes no reference
whatsoever to any exchange of information in the interim, i.e. in-between the 'conversation' that occurred on Tuesday
8 May and the tete-a-tete meeting on the day he wrote his memo, when Kate 'gave him photographs of the boat.'
Ah yes, but it was Kate's anonymous informant who visited the Marina alone, took the photographs and passed them
onto Kate ('This person arrived in Portugal and has spoke to Kate. They have visited the Marina'), 'They'
in this instance being an impersonal reference to the individual in question.
Oh no it is not.
sentence reads: 'They saw a man on the boat but this was not the same man that she had in her vision.'
The change of pronoun clearly distinguishes between the visionary (she) and her companion(s), 'They' being
the third person plural.
Thus Kate McCann took advantage of a gap in her busy schedule to visit Lagos
Marina, some time between 4 and 8 May; an event directly associated with a matter of considerable importance to her (DC Markley
points this out twice); so important in fact that she fails to describe it in her book at all, whilst what she does
mention specifically precludes its having happened, in that period of time at any rate. The nearest she comes to the subject
is this: "There were a couple of 'visionary' experiences in particular I took very seriously. One of them had
come through prayer which, at the time, gave it even greater credibility in my eyes. I begged the police to look into these."
She does not elaborate further.
Kate McCann of course knows 'what happened.' She was there. Her book, 'Madeleine'
is an account of the truth. How ironic then that the Leveson enquiry should vilify representatives of the UK press for implicitly
trusting the presumed source of much of their information, in the form of the Portuguese police, when a serving UK Detective
Constable has apparently made the very same mistake in trusting information provided to him by the missing child's own
parent. If what Kate tells us in her book is true, then what she told DC Markley on 8 May, 2007, whether by telephone, e-mail
or carrier pigeon, cannot be.
But we're not done yet.
On an indeterminate date, Kate McCann personally
handed DC Markley a set of photographs taken during a visit to Lagos Marina; a visit that took place before 8 May. Kate's
'friend' may have had the vision, but did she take the photographs? In light of Kate McCann's self-confessed photophobia,
she could well have done.
During an interview published on 27 May, 2007, Kate told Olga Craig (Sunday Telegraph):
"I haven't been able to use the camera since I took that last photograph of her." ('her' being Madeleine).
James Murray (Sunday Express, 9.8.09) interprets the situation a little differently however: "Kate went to Lagos
Marina, a few miles along the coast from Praia da Luz where her daughter vanished on May 3, 2007, and photographed
the boat and the man on board."
It's anybody's guess perhaps, but if Kate McCann is herself a reliable
source of information, then identification of this photographer, an anonymous friend of an anonymous friend, is long overdue.
Someone who has a 'vision' over the weekend (she couldn't have had a premonition before Madeleine was taken, surely?)
flies out to Portugal immediately, then makes straight for Lagos Marina to photograph the vessels moored there, must have
had an extraordinarily strong sense of purpose. Otherwise we are left with evidentially valid (if not exactly solid) statements
by Kate McCann, which appear to suggest that this maritime photography was accomplished during her own free time, before
4 May even. Make no mistake, when it comes to anticipation Kate McCann has already demonstrated some 'previous form'
in that regard:
"From the moment Madeleine had gone, I'd turned instinctively to God and to Mary, feeling
a deep need to pray, and to get as many other people as possible to pray, too. I believed it would make a difference. Although
in the early days I struggled to comprehend what had happened to Madeleine, and to us, I've never believed it was God's
fault, or that He 'allowed' it to happen. I was just confused that He had apparently not heeded the prayer I'd
offered every night for my family: 'Thank you God for bringing Gerry, Madeleine, Sean and Amelie into my life. Please
keep them all safe, healthy and happy. Amen.' Please keep them all safe. It must be said that when I'd prayed
for their safety I'd been thinking: please don't let them fall off something and bang their heads, or please don't
let them be involved in a car accident. I'd never considered anything as horrific as my child being stolen. But
I had kind of assumed my prayer would cover every eventuality." (p.106).
As an adjunct to the present discussion,
it is interesting, albeit for unwelcome reasons, that Kate McCann should consider a child's being involved in a car accident
and suffering trauma at least, serious, possibly fatal injury at worst, nothing like as horrific as she herself suffering
the consequences of theft.
But back to the matter in hand - Kate's sense of timing.
ritual quoted above is prefaced by the phrase, 'From the moment Madeleine had gone,' giving the impression that the
tendency to enhanced spirituality, and the prayers that went with it, was consequent upon the events of 3 May, i.e. the 'abduction.'
But Kate had clearly been genuflecting nightly long before. As she says, 'I was just confused that He had apparently
not heeded the prayer I'd offered every night for my family.' (God had not been listening even before 3 May, never
mind afterwards). Included in Kate's prayer was the exhortation to 'keep them all safe' which, as Kate goes on
to explain, embraced various categories of danger, as she'd actually been thinking: 'please don't let them fall
off something and bang their heads, or please don't let them be involved in a car accident,' although she'd never
considered anything as horrific as her child being stolen.
God stands exonerated therefore. Since 'abduction'
per se was not itemised among the supplications, He cannot be blamed for overlooking it. The omission was Kate's
entirely. So if God did not heed her prayer it must have been another detail of Kate's appeal he ignored. And these were?
Well nothing like as generally relevant to well protected pre-school infants as 'keep them from head-lice, chicken-pox,
cuts, bruises, respiratory problems etc.' or, with their developing independence, the myriad other misfortunes that might
attend them. No, none of that. Gerry, Madeleine, Sean and Amelie were religiously insured against car accidents and falling
off things. Madeleine was not driving when she was taken. So what risk, exactly, did God's agency not cover?