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 Thanks, Pamalam

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 campaign@findmadeleine.com    

Gail Cooper's 'Creepy Man' - Media Reports *

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News of the World, 20 January 2008
News of the World, 20 January 2008

 

A look at the 'creepy man' reportedly seen by Paul Gordon and Gail Cooper, a week before the McCanns arrived, which resulted in the infamous 'George Harrison' sketch and the 'police-style' press conference in London.

Portuguese police dismissed the sketch as having "no credibility" and officers accused the McCanns of diverting attention away from themselves. Carlos Anjos, president of the Judicial Police Inspectors Union, said: "All sense has been completely lost."

Another police source said the picture was based on information "without any consistency", which shows a man who could be one of "hundreds of people" and is "another diversionary manoeuvre".

New witness was worried by the creeps lurking near apartment.. just 5 days later Maddie had vanished, 06 January 2008
New witness was worried by the creeps lurking near apartment.. just 5 days later Maddie had vanished The People

By David Jeffs And Rene Butler
January 6 2008


EXCLUSIVE BRIT STAYED IN McCANN FLAT

A brit who stayed in the same holiday flat as Madeleine McCann has told how he spotted creepy strangers lurking nearby BEFORE she vanished.

Paul Gordon said he was worried the dodgy-looking people had no business to be at the Portuguese complex.

His shock evidence could mean child-snatchers had been staking out the complex before four-year-old Maddie's family even arrived there.

Brewery executive Paul, 34, and his family rented the Ocean Club flat in Praia da Luz for a fortnight last April.

The McCanns took it over from them and Maddie went missing five days later on May 3 - sparking a global hunt.

Dad-of-two Paul confided his kidnap fears to Scotland Yard after returning home to Fareham, Hants.

The sales executive, whose kids are one and three, also revealed his concerns to pals.

One said: "Paul is very safety-conscious when it comes to his children.

"He saw people loitering who he thought had no business to be in the complex.

"He's talked to the police but wants to keep the details confidential. He doesn't want to be seen to be pointing the finger at anyone."

The friend added: "Being a father himself Paul just wants Madeleine found and is willing to help the police in any way possible.

"He believes potential childsnatchers may have been watching for days. If he can identify any faces it could be a massive breakthrough."

Paul later agreed he had spoken to police but refused to discuss details.

Meanwhile, Portuguese cops claim they are close to charging Maddie's 39-year-old parents Kate and Gerry.

They believe the couple, from Rothley, Leics, accidentally killed their daughter then moved her body in a hire car 25 days later.

Gp Kate and cardiologist Gerry deny any involvement.

Their spokesman Clarence Mitchell last night confirmed Paul had spoken to police.

He added said: "We have talked to him but that's all we can say at the moment."

But a Yard spokesman said: "We're not prepared to discuss the matter."

Madeleine: New witness confronted man lurking near apartment days before she disappeared, 06 January 2008
Madeleine: New witness confronted man lurking near apartment days before she disappeared Daily Mail

By VANESSA ALLEN
Last updated at 16:11 07 January 2008 (first published approx 18:00 06 January 2008)


A father confronted a man lurking outside the McCanns' holiday apartment just days before Madeleine vanished, it was revealed yesterday.

British holiday-maker Paul Gordon told police he spotted the man outside the two-bedroom flat's patio doors while his own two children were sleeping inside.

Kate and Gerry McCann believe their daughter's abductor crept into the apartment through the same patio doors, which they left unlocked so they and their friends could check on their sleeping children during their now infamous dinner at a nearby tapas restaurant.

Mr Gordon, 34, contacted British police about his suspicions in May, as soon as he heard that Madeleine had gone missing. He and his family stayed in the apartment immediately before the McCanns.

He told how he confronted the man when he saw him outside the glass patio doors, which are at the back of the apartment, away from the front door and concealed from the main road by a high hedge.

The man claimed to be collecting money for an orphanage in the mountains and Mr Gordon told detectives he left him alone near the doors while he went to find money to give him.

In those few minutes the stranger could have studied the lay-out of the apartment and even checked on locks and security arrangements inside, police fear.

The private detectives hired by the McCanns, Metodo 3, have investigated a series of sightings of people hanging around the apartment, including a report of two people claiming to be Jehovah's Witnesses who tried to get inside, and now Mr Gordon's sighting of the suspicious charity collector.

Metodo 3 believe some of the people could have been 'spotters' who identified Madeleine as a potential victim for a paedophile network, then monitored her family's movements and struck when the McCanns, of Rothley, Leicestershire, left their three children alone to go and have dinner.

Mr Gordon was interviewed by Scotland Yard detectives and Metodo 3, and was asked if he believed the charity collector could have been trying to target his own children, aged one and two.

He said his family rented the Ocean Club flat in Praia da Luz for a fortnight last April, and left only hours before the McCanns arrived on April 28.

Mr Gordon, a sales executive for Scottish and Newcastle Breweries, yesterday refused to comment about his statement to the police.

Speaking outside his house in Fareham, Hampshire, he said: "I've given a statement and want it to remain private. I hope the information may help in the search for Madeleine."

McCann family spokesman Clarence Mitchell denied claims that Mr Gordon had warned Mr and Mrs McCann, both 39, about the sighting.

He said: "Mr Gordon has spoken to the police about his time in the apartment and our investigative team has also spoken with him.

"He said somebody came round to the apartment 5A asking for a charity donation and said it was suspicious. Gerry and Kate have never met Mr Gordon himself."

Mr Gordon is the latest in a series of witnesses who have come forward since Madeleine's disappearance to say they saw suspicious characters lurking around the apartment.

A baby-sitter told how she saw a man hiding in bushes outside the flat in late 2006, and a British nanny said she saw a man 'identical' to suspect Robert Murat trying to lift the shutters on the ground floor window of the apartment in December, while she was looking after a six-year-old boy inside.

Then last March, only six weeks before the McCanns arrived in Praia da Luz, British mother Karen Sixsmith said a woman who looked like Mr Murat's girlfriend Michaela Walczuch, 34, came to the door with a man, saying they were Jehovah's Witnesses.

Mrs Sixsmith, of Bowden, Cheshire, said the man seemed anxious to get inside the flat, where she was staying with her husband and young daughter, who is blonde with blue eyes, like Madeleine, and was so concerned she called police immediately.

Then an Ocean Club worker said he saw a British tourist "hiding" in a stairwell outside the apartment at 6pm on the night Madeleine vanished, just 12 metres from the flat.

I saw 'stalker' by Maddy apartment, 07 January 2008
I saw 'stalker' by Maddy apartment Daily Mirror

Ryan Parry in Praia da Luz
7/01/2008


Tourist raises paedo fears

A suspicious stalker was seen lurking outside Madeleine McCann's holiday flat just five days before she vanished, it was confirmed yesterday.

British holidaymaker Paul Gordon has told detectives he spotted a "dodgy looking" male at the patio doors.

When confronted, the "non British"- looking man claimed he was collecting money for charity before vanishing.

The new information renews fears that paedophiles may have stalked the McCanns for days at the Ocean Club complex, in Praia da Luz on the Portuguese Algarve.

Yesterday, speaking publicly for the first time, brewery executive Paul said: "I've given a statement and hope the information may help find Madeleine.

"I told police all I know. I was in the apartment before the McCanns but I've never met them."

Paul, 34, arrived at his home in Fareham, Hants, concealing his face with a hoodie and walked with his back facing the street at all times.

He and his family rented the Praia flat for a fortnight at the end of April before Kate and Gerry McCann, both 39, took it over.

After Madeleine disappeared on May 3, Paul contacted Scotland Yard.

He told detectives how he spotted the mystery man outside the flat's patio doors as his own children, aged one and two, slept inside.

The stranger claimed he was collecting donations for an orphanage.

But he roused suspicions as the patio doors are at the rear of the house and concealed by a high hedge.

Paul went inside to get some money and the man abruptly left.

At first, Paul feared he was casing the flat to plan a burglary. Then Madeleine disappeared and he realised the incidents may be linked.

Paul said the man did not look British and was outside the apartment long enough to work out its layout.

The patio doors were unlocked the night Madeleine, four, vanished.

Paul was interviewed several times and has given a sworn statement.

He has also volunteered to give DNA and fingerprint samples.

One of his friends said earlier: "He's very safety-conscious when it comes to his children." McCann spokesman Clarence Mitchell confirmed Paul had come forward.

He said: "Mr Gordon has spoken to police and to our investigators. Gerry and Kate have never met him."

A friend of suspect Robert Murat, 34, falsely told police the Brit expat was drunk in a cafe the night Madeleine vanished.

Murat insists he was at home with his mother Jenny, 71. A source told newspaper 24 Horas: "The friend guaranteed Murat was in a coffee shop about five kilometres from the Ocean Club. He said he left drunk."

Murat's lawyer Francisco Pagarete, said: "He tried to defend Robert and ended up prejudicing him. We can prove Murat was with his mother."

Portuguese police claim they have enough evidence to prosecute the McCanns who are also official suspects.

Detectives still plan to travel to the UK to interview the couple and the seven holiday friends they were dining with when Madeleine went missing.

GP Kate and cardiologist Gerry have always denied any involvement.

New lead on Madeleine, 08 January 2008
New lead on Madeleine Daily Mirror

By Will Payne and Ryan Parry in Praia da Luz
8/01/2008


EXCLUSIVE

A second British tourist has reported seeing a mystery man hanging around Madeleine McCann's holiday flat just days before she vanished.

Gail Cooper, 50, said she was confronted by the "creepy" stranger at her holiday villa in Portugal.

He claimed he was collecting for an orphanage in the next village of Espiche.

She spotted him again two days later on Praia Da Luz beach. Gail, from Newark, Notts, said yesterday: "He was a horrible-looking man, really creepy, unkempt and dirty.

"He definitely wasn't Portuguese. He scared me."

Gail's sighting came after the Mirror revealed yesterday that tourist Paul Gordon also spotted a mystery stalker skulking around the holiday complex. Brewery executive Paul confronted the man and was told the same story about the orphanage.

Gail reported the man to police after she arrived home and read about Madeleine's disappearance.

They took a statement from her but Gail added: "I didn't hear anything back, but I'm so sure this man had something to do with Madeleine's disappearance."

Last night, the McCanns' spokesman Clarence Mitchell said both reports were being investigated.

Maddie - 'Face of kidnap beast to be revealed'
News of the World, online banner, 19 January 2008

Witness reveals chilling clues about Maddie suspect, 20 January 2008

The 'Abductor' and the 'Creepy' prowler

Witness reveals chilling clues about Maddie suspect News of the World
 
By Sara Nuwar
20/01/2008 (although currently shows 05/08/2008 online)
 
This is the man suspected of snatching four-year-old Maddie McCann.
 
It is the FIRST detailed likeness of a stalker thought to have kidnapped the toddler. And it's based on sensational new clues unearthed by the News of the World.
 
If you have any information about the man in this new picture contact the confidential phone line 0034 902 300 213 based in Spain now
 
As a massive new manhunt began last night a McCann family source said: "This is a stunning breakthrough.
 
A British woman who came face to face with the suspected Maddie McCann kidnapper revealed last night: "He made my blood run cold and gave me the creeps."
 
Granny Gail Cooper, 50, was staying just 600 YARDS from the McCann family's Portuguese holiday flat when she had THREE separate chilling encounters with the moustachioed mystery man.
 
After the News of the World probed her evidence further, McCann investigators analysed her detailed description.
 
It tied in uncannily with descriptions by family friend Jane Tanner of a man seen carrying a child in pink pyjamas from the resort of Praia da Luz the night Maddie vanished.
 
Based on Mrs Cooper's evidence an FBI-trained police artist produced the the FIRST detailed likenesses of the stalker—pictured above.
 
And last night, armed with the new pictures, detectives in Portugal and Britain were joined by Interpol in a desperate race to trace the suspect.
 
The man is 38 to 45, with sallow skin, lank dark hair, distinctive droopy moustache, large teeth and speaks broken English.
 
As the dramatic development raised the McCann family's hopes a source at the heart of the probe admitted: "This is a stunning breakthrough. We now have a manhunt. Where is this man now? We need to find him as soon as possible."
 
Over the last seven days Spanish private eyes Metodo 3 and the Find Madeleine campaign worked round the clock after the News of the World conducted a detailed review of the case. We studied all material in the public domain homing in on witness reports we felt had been overlooked.
 
When we spoke to Mrs Cooper at length it soon became clear vital clues were buried in her account of a "creepy man" loitering at the resort.
 
Two of her sightings were also witnessed by her husband. And we can also reveal that a NEW witness, a 12-year-old girl, has come forward to back up her story.
 
Mrs Cooper first spotted the man on the beach at Praia da Luz on April 20 at about 1pm when she went for lunch with friends at the Paraiso Restaurant.
 
She said: "He was wandering about on the beach alone even though it was pouring down with rain. There wasn't another soul about. I watched him for a few minutes before I went back to chatting to my friends."
 
Later that day, at around 4pm, Mrs Cooper was startled to find the stranger knocking on the front door of her holiday villa.
 
She said: "He must have seen my husband leaving because the bell rang only seconds later.
 
"He flashed what he said was an identity card but it could have been anything.
 
"He seemed really strange. It was a warm afternoon but he was wearing khaki trousers or joggers, a T-shirt and a bomber jacket. He said he was collecting for an orphanage in nearby Espiche that was caring for three children whose parents had recently been killed in an accident on the main coast road.
 
"It just didn't add up. Everyone would have known if there had been a tragedy like that.
 
"The man was rambling and becoming agitated. He really unnerved me even though my two grown-up daughters and two grandchildren were with me.
 
"I thought he was a conman trying to pull a fast one."
 
Mrs Cooper also said her eight-year-old grand-daughter had been playing on her own in the pool near the villa and was clearly visible from the road.
 
She added: "This man was very unpleasant and creepy. I'd put his age at 38 to 45. He was very scruffy and had a 70s-style black Mexican moustache.
 
"He wasn't Portuguese—I think he was North African, either Tunisian or Moroccan."
 
Mrs Cooper, a community healthcare co-ordinator from Newark, Notts, added: "In my job I have to assess people and make a judgement.
 
"My judgement is that this man was very suspicious and could have been the kidnapper everyone is searching for.
 
"I'd recognise him immediately if I saw him. His appearance has really stuck in my mind."
 
We can confirm the orphanage does NOT exist and that there is no evidence of the fatal car crash. Mrs Cooper saw the man a third time, two days later on April 22, as she lunched with her husband Jonathan at Bar Habana on the beach.
 
There was a children's outing there from the Mark Warner Ocean Club at the same time. The man was again alone and standing near the group of youngsters. Mrs Cooper said: "He looked odd and out of place."
 
When Madeleine arrived at the resort just a week later, the youngster went to the beach three days in a row with the children's club, including May 3, the day of her disappearance.
 
Although Mrs Cooper rang police on May 7 and gave a statement at her home on May 21 she heard no more. But it is now clear how important her account—and the facial likeness built from it—may be. On the night Madeleine vanished from the apartment while parents Kate and Gerry—both Leicestershire doctors—were dining at a nearby tapas restaurant, family friend Jane Tanner saw a man carrying a child away from the apartment on foot at 9.10pm.
 
Jane has now told the McCanns: "The man in the new suspect picture strongly resembles the person I saw on May 3rd."
 
The sketch by qualified police artist Melissa Little, bears an uncanny resemblance to an earlier picture, based on Jane Tanner's story.
 
Last night the McCanns' spokesman Clarence Mitchell said the new image had been passed to officers from the Leicestershire Constabulary, Portuguese police and Interpol. They hope the hunt will also be joined by forces in Spain and Morocco.
 
Metodo 3 believe the kidnapper may have had accomplices in Praia da Luz who helped spirit Madeleine away to the Moroccan hills.
 
If you have any information about the man in the new picture contact the confidential phone line 0034 902 300 213 based in Spain now. A specially-trained team will take your call in any language.
 
Mr Mitchell said: "We urgently need to know who this man is and where he is.
 
"For Madeleine's sake, we urge anyone with any information about him to come forward right away."

Map showing sightings of the 'creepy' prowler

Clarence Mitchell's press conference in London, 20 January 2008

The artist impression's of Gail Cooper's 'Creepy man'

The 'Creepy' Prowler

The 'Creepy' Prowler

More like the police than the police - new tactics in hunt for Madeleine, 21 January 2008
More like the police than the police - new tactics in hunt for Madeleine Scotsman
 
  • Published Date: 21 January 2008
  • Source: The Scotsman
  • Location: Scotland
  • By MARTYN McLAUGHLIN
  •  
    McCanns employ rhetoric and methodology of authorities as they unveil drawing of suspect, writes Martyn McLaughlin
     
    It had all the features of an official police press conference: a solemn appeal for sightings, delivered with detective-speak phrases such as "eliminating suspects in the investigation".

    However, the man standing behind the lectern was not a senior policeman but a PR consultant hired by a family determined to find answers even if it means going it alone.

    Eight months on from the disappearance of Madeleine McCann, the private-investigation team sanctioned by her parents is increasingly employing the rhetoric and methodology of the police.

    Yesterday, in what Kate and Gerry McCann hope will spark a breakthrough, the couple's official spokesman released, for the first time, an image of a suspect to the media and public.

    The distribution of the artist's impression, created by Melissa Little, an FBI-accredited police artist hired by the McCann team, spoke volumes not only about the family's resolve, but their frustration with the official investigation.

    The language of Clarence Mitchell, the McCanns' public face, was unequivocal as he addressed the media from a lectern in a London hotel. "Who is he? Where is he? What, if any, is his connection to Madeleine's disappearance?" he said. "If he is innocent, we want him to come forward for his own sake so he can be ruled out. We believe this man could be linked to Madeleine's disappearance."

    One former senior officer with Strathclyde Police suggested the family's approach was designed to keep public interest in the case buoyant, but said they may still have to rely on the resources of the police.

    He said: "The language and the presentation that are being used imitate the police thanks to their PR people. They know that's a good way to catch the public's eye. It's an authoritative approach and it captures people's attention. I don't think there's any real policing expertise, though.

    "I'd say it's highly unlikely they have anywhere near the resources of an active policing force. The parents don't know how to conduct an investigation and they're dependent on people they are hiring, who, in some cases, may not be best suited for the job. I think, as time goes on, it's unlikely they will find any new information on their own, outside of the chance someone will respond to this kind of public appeal."

    In any case, it appears Mr Mitchell's tactics yesterday were borne largely out of dissatisfaction at the apparent impotency and silence of the Portuguese police, though he was careful not to cast aspersions: "We're not going to criticise the police in any form – they have got a difficult enough job. It seems drawings of this sort are not done as a matter of course in Portugal."

    Nonetheless, the private investigation now appears to be regarded by the McCanns as their best hope of tracing their daughter. Having secured the image of the suspect, their team has now drawn up an action plan for how they want the investigation to proceed.

    Firstly, they want a worldwide search, co-ordinated by a central phone number manned by their private-detective agency to identify and locate the man in the sketches. All information would be passed on to the Portuguese police.

    Secondly, they want a full review of all police records and witness statements, including one taken from a 12-year-old girl who reported sightings of a strange man in the Portuguese resort in May last year.

    Thirdly, Mr Mitchell called for complete cooperation between the Portuguese police, Interpol and the authorities in Spain, Morocco and Britain.

    With tension between the McCanns and the Portuguese police still evident, the latter demand may not be straightforward. Worse still, they appear to be getting little return on the 50,000 a month being paid out to Metodo 3, the Barcelona-based private-detective agency.
     
    'Disturbing' man is new suspect
     
    The new suspect in the case of Madeleine McCann's disappearance was spotted by a holidaymaker three times walking around the complex where the four-year-old was last seen.

    The sketch was based on an interview with Gail Cooper, a grandmother from Nottinghamshire, who originally gave a statement to police in May last year.

    Mrs Cooper described seeing an olive-skinned man with collar-length scraggly hair acting suspiciously on a number of occasions.

    On 20 April, Mrs Cooper said, she saw the man walking by himself in heavy rain on the deserted beach at Praia da Luz. Later the same afternoon, Mrs Cooper said she received a visit from the same man, whom she described as "disturbing".

    Two days later, Mrs Cooper saw the same man hanging around a children's outing to the beach organised by the Mark Warner resort.
     
    The full article contains 805 words and appears in The Scotsman newspaper.
     
    Last Updated: 21 January 2008 12:03 AM

    Madeleine: Four witnesses say they saw suspect pictured in new poster campaign, 22 January 2008
    Madeleine: Four witnesses say they saw suspect pictured in new poster campaign Daily Mail

    By VANESSA ALLEN in Praia da Luz
    Last updated at 10:26 22 January 2008


    Four key witnesses in the Madeleine McCann investigation could have seen the man shown in a new sketch of a potential suspect, it emerged yesterday.

    Portuguese police have dismissed the portrait of the long-haired man as "a diversion tactic" by Kate and Gerry McCann.

    But four witnesses may have seen the unidentified man - first on the night the three-year-old went missing, then later with named suspect Robert Murat, and finally in Morocco.

    Jane Tanner, who told police she saw a man carrying a child away from the McCanns' apartment, said she was "80 per cent sure" he was the one depicted in the artist's impression.

    Isabel Gonzalez, who said she saw Madeleine with a Berber woman in Morocco, said the sketch looked "very similar" to a man she saw immediately after the sighting.

    Amanda Mills, 34, from Basildon, Essex, claimed to have spotted a man trying to break into a bedroom window at the Ocean Club in Praia da Luz a week before Madeleine disappeared from the complex.

    Last night she said there are "strong similarities" between the man she saw and the new sketch.

    Nanny Charlotte Pennington's description of a person she saw with Mr Murat also matches the man shown in the artist's impression.

    The sketch - released on Sunday - is based on a description given by British tourist Gail Cooper, 50.

    She saw the man lurking around Praia da Luz three times in the days before Madeleine went missing last May 3.

    An FBI-trained forensic artist sketched her description and a million posters of it are now being distributed around Portugal, Spain and North Africa.

    Comment: 'Four witnesses say they saw suspect pictured in new poster campaign'
    Comment: 'Four witnesses say they saw suspect pictured in new poster campaign'

    The headline to the Daily Mail's report of 22 January, reproduced above, is unequivocal: Four people say they saw the 'suspect' described by Gail Cooper. But did they?

    If we read further we find nothing to substantiate such a headline:

    'Four key witnesses in the Madeleine McCann investigation could have seen the man shown in a new sketch of a potential suspect, it emerged yesterday.' and,

    '...four witnesses may have seen the unidentified man - first on the night the three-year-old went missing, then later with named suspect Robert Murat, and finally in Morocco.'

    So, rather less convincing than the headline suggests. But what do these four witnesses actually say?

    1) Jane Tanner is quoted as saying that she was "80 per cent sure" that the man depicted in this new artist's impression was the same man she saw carrying a child away from the McCanns' apartment.

    "80 per cent" is a rather surprising figure to conjure up when we look back at the artist's impression of the man Tanner claims to have seen, who doesn't even have a face.

    In November 2007, she admitted: "I simply don't know if I could identify again the man I saw that night." and "He had his face turned away from me, sort of sideways and it was very dark. I just didn't see it properly, I wish to God I had."

    So, what are we left with? The clothes and the height of the man.

    Tanner's man was smartly dressed and has been variously described as between 5' 7" and 5' 10". Gail Cooper's man 'very scruffy' and 6' tall.

    Maybe Tanner meant the sketches were "80 per cent" alike, which, given they were both drawn by the same artist, Melissa Little, is perhaps unsurprising.

    2) Isabel Gonzalez said she saw Madeleine with a Berber woman in Morocco, and the sketch looked "very similar" to a man she saw immediately after the sighting.

    Ms Gonzalez has never previously mentioned anyone resembling this description. She has detailed "an older woman in a Muslim headscarf" and a "European-looking" couple, who looked "completely out of place" in a small Portuguese town (later attempts were made to imply this was Murat and his girlfriend). But absolutely no description anywhere of a long haired, swarthy looking man with a very distinctive moustache.

    3) Amanda Mills, 34, from Basildon, Essex, claims to have spotted a man trying to break into a bedroom window at the Ocean Club in Praia da Luz a week before Madeleine disappeared from the complex. She is reported to have said there are "strong similarities" between the man she saw and the new sketch.

    And, like Isabel Gonzalez, those "strong similarities" remain a mystery.

    It is worth recording that, on 08 May 2007, Amanda Mills's account to the UK press was rather less threatening, describing simply a man trying to steal a pushchair, who ran off when she shouted at him. It was not until November 2007, after the McCanns had been made arguidos, that her story gained an additional chapter: "He seemed interested in the windows. He was looking at and through them." To The Sun newspaper, this became 'tampering', although there is no evidence in Ms Mill's words that he ever physically approached a window.

    The fact that Ms Mills describes seeing a ''scruffy, unshaven'' man and Gail Cooper's man sports a considerable and distinctive moustache would also appear to rule her sighting out.

    4) Charlotte Pennington - The report says 'Her description of a person she saw with Mr Murat also matches the man shown in the artist's impression.'

    No quote from Ms Pennington so we must asume the newspaper is making the connection for her. It should also be remembered that Pennington did not describe a scruffy or unkempt man, nor did she describe a distinctive moustache and she placed his age at 27-35 years, whereas Mrs Cooper ages her man at 38-45 years.

    What are the doubts that surround Gail Cooper's story?
    Mrs Gail Cooper
    1) The report claims that Gail Cooper spotted the man 3 times, which she apparently did, but 2 of those times were on the same day.

    2) The sightings took place on 20 and 22 April 2007 - six days before the McCanns arrived.

    3) Would a 'predator' announce himself in such a public way, by walking on the beach in the rain, knocking on doors and hanging around children on the beach?

    4) Would such a 'predator' book himself in at a small holiday resort for two weeks, knowing he would almost certainly be seen on a fairly regular basis?

    5) If this man was the 'predator', then why did he wait two weeks to abduct a child?

    6) In contrast to the News of the World headline - which indicated that Mrs Cooper's blood ran cold when she saw him: "He made my blood run cold and gave me the creeps."  - the Nottingham Evening Post quotes Mrs Cooper as saying that her "blood ran cold" when she realised the mystery man could have been involved in Maddie's disappearance.

    "It was quite a bit later. Even when I heard the news about a little girl going missing I still didn't draw the connection until I got talking to friends who had been with us," she told the Evening Post.

    "When the penny finally dropped my blood ran cold."

    So, are we to assume that the News of the World used the phrase to sensationalise and dramatise their story, when the man didn't actually make her blood run cold at the time - only when she thought he might be connected to Madeleine's disappearance?

    7) In a live, local news interview at the Rothley War Memorial, on 21 January 2008, the reporter asked Mrs Cooper what this man had done to make her so suspicious.

    She responded: 'Well, nothing really'.

    Police say Cooper's 'Creepyman' is a local pig farmer
    Joaquim Jose Marques/'Creepyman'
    Joaquim Jose Marques/'Creepyman'

    Daily Mail, 24 January 2008
     
    Original text of article:
     
    The man in the new image released by Kate and Gerry McCann as a possible suspect in Madeleine's disappearance has been found and is a local pig farmer who has now been ruled out of the case.

    The man, who has been named as Joaquim Jose Marques, was discovered living five miles from the holiday resort in the Algarve but police say he is not connected to the case.

    The discovery rules out reports that there was also an accomplice involved.

    The farmer was originally contacted by Portugal's criminal investigation department 20 days after Madeleine vanished aged three. After the image was released this week, they got in touch with him again.

    He was interviewed yesterday by Portuguese police and was ruled out of the hunt for Madeleine McCann's abductor.

    The dishevelled looking worker lives close to a village called Pedragosa, which is about five miles from the resort of Praia da Luz.
     
    *
     
    Revised text following contact with Clarence Mitchell:
     
    Officers hunting for missing Madeleine McCann believe they have tracked down a straggly-haired man depicted in an artist's drawing as a possible suspect - and ruled him out of the inquiry.
     
    However the McCanns today claimed the pig farmer is NOT the man detectives are looking for and vowed the hunt would go on.
     
    The man, who was today named as Joaquim Jose Marques, was discovered living five miles from the holiday resort in the Algarve but police say he is not connected to the case.
     
    The discovery rules out reports that there was also an accomplice involved.
     
    The farmer was originally contacted by Portugal's criminal investigation department 20 days after Madeleine vanished.
     
    After the image was released this week, they got in touch with him again and he was interviewed by police and ruled out of the inquiry.
     
    The dishevelled looking worker lives close to a village called Pedragosa, which is about five miles from the resort of Praia da Luz.
     
    The McCanns' spokesman, Clarence Mitchell, said: "Our investigators have not been informed that the man we are seeking has been ruled out.
     
    "We have no reason to believe he has been ruled out and our search for the man in our image is very much continuing.
     
    "Our understanding is that the man reported to be linked to our image bears no resemblance. For instance, he has dreadlocks and Gail Cooper most definitely would have spotted those."
     
    *
     
    Note: The article was later re-written a third time to reveal that Marques had raped a British girl in Praia da Luz, in 1995:
     
    Revealed: 'Madeleine photofit man was jailed for raping British girl' Daily Mail
     
    Last updated at 15:34 25 January 2008
     
    The man in the sketch of Madeleine McCann's alleged abductor has been identified as a pig farmer who raped a British tourist in the town where the three-year-old disappeared.
     
    Joaquim Jose Marques raped his teenage victim while an accomplice targeted her friend, the Portuguese daily newspaper Diario de Noticias reported today.
     
    Marques, who has a daughter of Madeleine's age, was sentenced to five years in jail in 1996 after being found guilty of the 1995 attack in Praia da Luz.
     
    Just three weeks into the Madeleine investigation, which started in May last year, investigators ruled him out of any involvement in her disappearance.

    Joaquim Jose Marques/'Creepyman'

    Joaquim Jose Marques is the man in the sketch released by the McCanns - he was interviewed immediately after Maddy went missing and interviewed again yesterday before being ruled out of their enquiries

    His unnamed accomplice was also convicted of rape in 1995, the Portuguese paper added.

    The girls, both British and aged 17 and 18, were said to have been staying with a relative at the time.

    Dreadlocked Marques, nicknamed Quim Ze, was also a known gun-runner and drug trafficker, the paper claimed.

    He was linked to Madeleine's disappearance earlier this week after being identified from a new sketch of a man suspected of snatching her from her family's holiday flat in May last year.

    They interviewed him for a second time earlier this week after Kate and Gerry released an artist's sketch of the scruffy stranger seen by a British tourist in and around Praia da Luz in the days before the abduction.

    Portuguese police ruled him out of the abduction but the McCanns spokesman Clarence Mitchell said they did not believe the right man had been found and said the hunt for the man in the drawing continued.

    The Daily Mail yesterday tracked Mr Marques to his ramshackle farm in Pedragosa, four miles from the Algarve resort where Madeleine disappeared.

    He refused to speak about the international hunt for the man shown in the posters - which have been sent to Interpol and to Portugal, Spain and North Africa.

    He screamed obscenities at callers to the isolated farm and then returned brandishing an ancient-looking rifle.

    Standing among his pigs and surrounded by feral dogs, Mr Marques shouted: "Leave me alone, leave me alone... look at this face, is this the face in the picture?"

    Mr and Mrs McCann, both 39, believe the sketch could show the man who took their daughter from their holiday apartment in Praia da Luz.

    It was drawn by an FBI trained forensic artist based on descriptions by British tourist Gail Cooper, who told police how a "creepy man" came to her villa in Praia da Luz, asking for donations for a nearby orphanage, only days before Madeleine went missing.

    Mrs Cooper, 50, of Newark, Nottinghamshire, said she saw the man three times, once when he was hanging around a children's beach outing.

    Portuguese police have dismissed her sightings and the e-fit as having "no credibility" and say the McCanns are using them as a "diversion tactic".

    They remain convinced Madeleine died last May 3 and that her parents were involved in her disappearance. Mr and Mrs McCann, of Rothley, are still official suspects in the case.

    But the couple's private investigation agency Metodo 3 believe the sketch could show the abductor. Their hotline has received dozens of calls from those who think they have seen the man in the sketch.

    A police source told the Portuguese newspaper Correio da Manha the image "could apply to many, many people," and said Mr Marques was not a suspect.

    He said: "Contact with the individual was not in any shape or form an interrogation. It was just an informal contact to clear up any suspicions."

    Neighbours described Mr Marques as a reclusive character who had moved to the isolated farm last year to live quietly with his British-born girlfriend and their daughter, who is three or four.

    MADDIE: WE FIND WEIRDO SUSPECT – He comes out packing a gun, 25 January 2008
    Marques brandishes an air rifle to keep reporters off his land
    Marques brandishes an air rifle to keep reporters off his land

    MADDIE: WE FIND WEIRDO SUSPECT – He comes out packing a gun Daily Star (article no longer available online)

    EXCLUSIVE

    The weirdo whose image is on a million posters in the Madeleine McCann hunt was traced by the Daily Star – and threatened to shoot our man with his rifle

    The "creepy" prowler fingered in the hunt for Madeleine McCann was last night revealed as a penniless pig farmer ... with a gun.

    Police are certain Joaquim Jose Marques is the suspicious stranger spotted lurking in Praia da Luz a fortnight before Madeleine vanished.

    But when the Daily Star tracked him down yesterday at his crumbling farmhouse three miles from the Portuguese resort, he unleashed a pack of ferocious dogs.

    Then he emerged with a rifle, screaming threats that he would open fire.

    Marques became the centre of a global manhunt after Brit holidaymaker Gail Cooper  described the character that made her "blood run cold" to an ex-FBI sketch artist who produced a vivid drawing of the man.

    Maddie's parents Gerry and Kate, both 39, distributed a million posters of the image in a bid to trace him, so he could be quizzed over their daughter’s disappearance while they were on holiday at the resort.

    But yesterday it was revealed that detectives had tracked him down just 20 days after the four-year-old vanished last May and found he had an alibi.

    Police officers went back to see Marques this week after the McCanns issued their poster.

    They also quizzed his British hairdresser girlfriend – with whom he has a three-year-old daughter – to check out his story. When the Daily Star went to his tumbledown hillside farm, it was apparent why police were quick to include him in their first round-up of suspects.

    Marques flew into a rage at being linked to the Madeleine disappearance and set loose his dogs. Then, brandishing a garden hoe menacingly, he screamed abuse when asked to explain the police visit.

    "Leave me alone, leave me alone," he yelled. "You are destroying my life. I have had the police here and they know it is not me. I want you off my land right now."

    The swarthy farmer disappeared into an abandoned outbuilding and emerged toting a rifle above his head, screaming threats that he was about to shoot.

    While his long hair, facial colouring and age – in his 30s – match the man in the drawing, he does not share his moustache or prominent teeth.

    Holidaymaker Gail, 50, had told how she saw the mysterious man three times in Praia da Luz the week before the McCanns arrived, and he gave her the "creeps".

    Last night the McCanns' private detectives from the Barcelona-based Metodo 3 agency were still trying to track down Marques to question him about the poster.

    The couple's family spokesman Clarence Mitchell said: "As far as we are concerned the hunt for the man in the sketch continues.

    "We are very grateful to anyone who comes forward with information and, even if it is not the man we are looking for, it enables us to rule individuals out."

    But Portuguese police said Marques was not a suspect in the case, had not been arrested and has been eliminated from their inquiries.

    A police source said: "At the time of the disappearance an individual who had been fingered as a suspect by a tourist in Luz was contacted.

    "Immediately he was acquitted of any suspicions.

    "This week another English citizen pointed to the individual.

    "But after the man was once again contacted, it was quite clear he had no connection to the case."

    Portuguese worker resembling Madeleine poster photofit questioned by RGP officers, 26 January 2008

    Portuguese worker resembling Madeleine poster photofit questioned by RGP officers gibfocus

    gibfocus - 26th January 2008
    (2008-01-26 14:25:00 )

    A Portuguese construction worker in Gibraltar was questioned by Royal Gibraltar Police on Thursday after he was reported to resemble the photofit of a man seen in the area of Praia da Luz before Madeleine McCann disappeared last year.

    Local police have been in contact with Portuguese police according to local media reports.

    The man was not arrested and was released on the same day.

    Madeleine McCann suspect spotted 'spying on little boys', 26 January 2008
    Madeleine McCann suspect spotted 'spying on little boys' Daily Mirror
     
    Ryan Parry In Altura, Portugal
    26/01/2008
     
    A creepy stranger suspected of kidnapping Madeleine McCann was spotted speaking to two small boys on a beach days after stalking two women.
     
    Five women holidaymakers - three British and two German - have seen the "strange and disturbed" man in Altura, close to the Portuguese-Spanish border, in the past two weeks.
     
    One of the British witnesses noticed him on the beach on January 21 bending down to talk to the boys, aged about four or five.
     
    Clearly worried, one of the youngsters started shaking his head mid-conversation. Then a woman ran out of a nearby villa, shouting in alarm. She scooped the children up and hurried them away.
     
    Another of the British women told how she was followed round a supermarket by the prowler on January 16. The tourist, who is in her 30s and refused to be named, said: "I noticed he was following me.
     
    ''I thought I might be imagining it, so kept stopping. But he kept shadowing me. I was so nervous. It frightened the heck out of me.
     
    "Eventually an assistant saw what was happening and shooed him away.
     
    "But outside I saw him again, walking down towards the beach. I ran down a side street to avoid him but when I got to my hotel he was there again, hanging around. It made me really nervous."
     
    The holidaymaker was horrified when an apparent sketch of the man appeared on TV and in the press. She said: "The likeness between him and the drawing is amazing. I'm sure it's the same man."
     
    The following day the holidaymaker was walking with another British woman who opened a paper, saw the sketch and shouted: "I've seen him!
     
    He was following me." She claimed that days earlier the stranger stalked her as she strolled along the beach.
     
    Both women immediately told an English First Choice holiday rep about the sightings. The incident involving the boys then emerged.
     
    The first woman said: "I started speaking to other people about it and came across two German women who said they'd seen this man on the beach as well, and had spoken to him.
     
    "They said he spoke a bit of German and seemed very strange and disturbed."
     
    The sketch was drawn up after Gail Cooper, 50, of Newark, Notts, gave a description of a man she saw acting strangely in Praia da Luz shortly before Madeleine, then three, went missing on May 3.
     
    A Europe-wide hunt for the suspect was launched last week. The First Choice rep told police about the latest sightings when she returned to Britain.
     
    A pig farmer quizzed over the sketch is a convicted rapist who attacked a teenage British tourist in Praia da Luz, it emerged yesterday.
     
    Joaquim Marques was jailed for five years after the 1995 attack, the Portuguese newspaper Diario de Noticias reported.
     
    An accomplice raped the victim's friend. The girls were aged 17 and 18.
     
    Dreadlocked Marques - believed to be in his 30s - is also a gun-runner and drug trafficker, it was claimed.
     
    But, shown his picture, Gail Cooper said: "That's not the man I saw."

    Is this Maddie suspect?, 27 January 2008
    'Creepyman'/Joaquim Agostinho
    'Creepyman'/Joaquim Agostinho

    Is this Maddie suspect? News of the World

    Exclusive: Astonishing lookalike found in hunt for missing Maddie

    By Chris Tate & Neville Thurlbeck

    A mystery loner who admits he bears an uncanny resemblance to an artist's drawing of a "creepy" suspect in the Maddie McCann kidnap hunt said : "It's not me in the picture."

    But when eyewitness Gail Coop, who helped create the sketches, saw the scruffy man's photo she gasped: "Oh my God, that's so like him.

    "He's the spitting image of the man I saw three times at the resort where Madeleine vanished.

    "It's deeply shocking to see my drawing come to life. His cold, emotionless eyes sent a chill right through me."

    The 50-year-old granny added: "I thought there'd be no doubt in my mind if I saw him again."

    But when we tracked down the mystery man in our photo, Joaquim Agostinho, 42, who lives a 90-minute drive from the resort, said: "I did not kill Madeleine and I've never been to Praia da Luz.

    "I cannot even drive. I accept that the drawing looks like me. All my friends have been laughing about it during the week saying how much it looks like me."

    Astonishingly, despite the amazing resemblance, he revealed that police haven't bothered to question him.

    Impossible

    He said: "No, the police haven't spoken to me. But people have been following me and taking pictures of me today and I didn't know what it was all about.

    "As I say, I don't drive a car so I couldn't possibly have done what people think. I did own a motorbike once but I lost it couple of years ago."

    Agostinho lives alone in a small flat in Altura, 87 miles east of Praia, where Madeleine was kidnapped on May 3 last year.

    He added: "I have no money. I earn a little bit by delivering newspapers to people and for that they pay me with a drink of beer."

    As our snap of Agostinho shows, he has a droopy moustache, long, dark hair and prominent teeth, just like the man in the sketch.

    Heathcare worker Gail helped an FBI-trained illustrator make a detailed image of the suspicious man she saw in the resort where she was staying — close to the McCanns' holiday apartment and at the time Maddie disappeared.

    After the drawings sped around the globe, we photographed a man described as a "weird loner" in his home town, just an hour and a half's drive from Praia da Luz before talking to him.

    On Saturday we found Aghostinho touring around the bars of his hometown. Unkempt and unshaven in a brown leather jacket and camouflage trousers, the six-footer drank a lunchtime coffee in one bar before moving on to a succession of others.

    Later, laughing nervously and looking bewildered in front of Portuguese TV cameras, he held a press conference outside his favourite bar, the Snack Bar Aliha at 5pm.

    Our investigations in the small seaside town revealed the man, in his mid-fifties, is a college dropout and one-time fisherman who now drifts aimlessly around its narrow streets.

    One local told the News of the World: "He is single and lives alone somewhere in the warren of little streets near the church.

    Problems

    "At one time he was a very bright student, but had emotional problems and dropped out of education.

    "Now he just wanders from bar to bar. Most people know him, he's not known as being any trouble."

    The town is a popular tourist spot with Brits and Germans, just 20 minutes across an open border to the Spanish town of Heulva, where five-year-old girl Mari Luz Cortes vanished two weeks ago while on her way to buy crisps from a shop.

    Although there is no evidence that Aghostinho has any connection with either disappearance, Gail urged Portuguese cops to question him.

    Detectives have claimed pig farmer Joaquim Jose Marques, who wears his hair in dreadlocks, is the subject of her drawing and that he has already been eliminated from their search.

    But last night Gail insisted: "I know with all my heart that Marques definitely was NOT the guy I saw three times in Praia de Luz.

    "That man was not the guy in my drawing. But this new man is so much like him.

    "I'm amazed the man in the photo is so similar to him. I'm sure the one with the dreadlocks is NOT him. This new man must be interviewed, if only because they need to rule him out of inquiries—and he might even be a vital new witness."

    Gail saw the suspect she described three times wandering around the resort. He called at the villa where her grandchildren were playing in a pool, visible from the road, claiming he was collecting for an orphanage.

    She said: "He didn't do anything, but I felt intimidated by his manner.

    "I didn't give him any money and he went off on foot, but he must have had a vehicle somewhere."

    Meanwhile, there was a bizarre new "sighting" of Madeleine reported last night—in Chile, South America.

    An air-conditioning technician in Santiago told police he saw two adults with a young child at a museum in Vicuna five days ago.

    He told officers: "I saw a child with a pair of adults, one of whom closely resembles the police portrait of the possible kidnapper recently released by private detectives hired by the McCanns.''

    Joaquim Agostinho/'Creepyman'
    Joaquim Agostinho/'Creepyman'

    McCann cops to quiz lookalike, 28 January 2008
    Joaquim Agostinho
    McCann cops to quiz lookalike The Sun
     
    By GARY O’SHEA
    in Praia da Luz

    Published: 28 Jan 2008

    Detectives are to quiz a drifter who looks uncannily like a mystery suspect in Maddie McCann’s disappearance.

    Joaquim Agostinho, 42, denies he is the creepy man depicted in a sketch issued by parents Kate and Gerry McCann.

    But Metodo 3, the Spanish private investigators hired by the McCanns, are taking the possibility seriously.

    The artist's impression was based on a description by tourist Gail Cooper of a man she saw lurking near kids in Praia da Luz, Portugal, before Maddie, four, disappeared.

    A source close to Metodo 3 said: ''We are going to be talking to this man as a priority, to establish if he is the one Mrs Cooper saw.''

    When shown a photo of Agostinho, Gail, 50, of Newark, Notts, gasped: ''He’s the spitting image of the man I saw three times at the resort. It’s deeply shocking to see my drawing come to life.''

    Unkempt Agostinho lives on disability benefit in Altura, 87 miles east of Praia da Luz.

    He said: ''People will claim the crazy guy is me — but I don't even know where that Praia da Luz place is.

    ''I've never been there. I can't even drive. I accept the drawing looks like me. But I did not kill Madeleine and the police haven’t spoken to me.''

    I saw Maddie abductor - Donegal woman, 29 January 2008
    I saw Maddie abductor - Donegal woman Derry Journal
     
    Published Date: 29 January 2008
    Source: Journal Tuesday Derry Edit
    Location: Derry
    By Staff reporter
     
    A Donegal woman, who holidayed in Portugal last summer, says she saw the man believed to have abducted Maddie McCann.
     
    The woman, who did not want to be named, was struck by the haunting picture that has appeared in the international media over the past week.
     
    She says she recalls seeing a man matching the exact description while she was in the Club Alvorferias resort, in Alvor, close to Praia da Luz, where tot Maddie was snatched.
     
    The woman has contacted the McCann family with the latest information. She said: "I e-mailed the Madeleine family helpline. I just wanted to give whatever information I had relating to what I had seen. I am not sure if it will be relevant or not but I suppose every bit helps."
     
    The woman was on holiday with another adult and two children at the Club Alvorferias Apartments, Alvor, during the week from July 28 to August 4 last year.
     
    She said: "On the Monday or Tuesday of July 30 to 3 of our stay at around lunchtime a man knocked at our door claiming to be collecting for an Aids Orphanage in Portugal. He resembled the man in the photofit picture in colouring, height and build.
     
    Hair shorter
     
    ''However, his facial appearance was slightly different. His hair was a bit shorter and he did not have a heavy moustache. He had a goatee beard. His clothes were similar to that of the photofit and he was a bit dishevelled. He spoke good English with a heavy accent.''
     
    She added: ''He carried a clipboard. He showed me ID which was attached to the clipboard, but told me not to look too closely as 'God did not give him a beautiful face'.
     
    ''I would have to agree with the lady who initially reported the matter in saying that there was definitely something about him which made me feel very uncomfortable and I gave him some money and got rid of him as quickly as possible.
     
    ''I did not see him around the area again for the remainder of our stay. I hope this is of use to you.''
     
    Last Updated: 28 January 2008 3:33 PM

    And then, 2 years later...

    Madeleine McCann exclusive: No1 suspect is on video, 02 May 2010
    Madeleine McCann exclusive: No1 suspect is on video Sunday Express

    Sunday Express, 02 May 2010

    Madeleine McCann Exclusive: Gail Cooper heads to Praia da Luz Sunday Express

    Sunday May 2 2010

    THE prime suspect in the Madeleine McCann abduction was secretly filmed working at a market in Portugal.

    Moving images were covertly shot of the man and shown to key witness Gail Cooper by an investigator working for Kate and Gerry McCann two years ago.

    The man was filmed unloading what looked like linen from a clean white van at an "inland" travelling market.

    Mrs Cooper, 53, today tells the Sunday Express the man captured on film was the same person she saw three times in Praia da Luz on the Algarve, just days before Madeleine was snatched.

    Mrs Cooper is the key witness in the case because she had a tense 15-minute conversation with the suspect before Madeleine vanished from the Mark Warner Ocean Club in Luz on May 3, 2007.

    Today, Mrs Cooper calls on the McCanns to put the sensational footage on their website findmadeleine.com so he can be traced by detectives.

    "I believe the man I saw was the same person who abducted Madeleine McCann," said Mrs Cooper, who was flown back to Luz last week by the Sunday Express in an attempt to unlock the mystery.

    "More people need to see this footage to discover where he is."

    Mrs Cooper is the woman who created, with an FBI-trained police artist working for the McCanns, a haunting sketch of the man with a distinctive handlebar moustache and protruding front teeth.

    That powerful image was used in high-profile press campaigns by the McCanns in an effort to locate him.

    He bears an uncanny resemblance to the man the McCanns' friend Jane Tanner saw carrying a small child in his arms and walking away from the holiday apartment on the night Madeleine vanished.

    Mrs Cooper, from Newark, Notts, said in the summer of 2008 she was asked to look at footage of the suspect shot over several days in Portugal.

    "He was unloading his market stall from a white van," said Mrs Cooper.

    "His hair was lighter and he had shaved off the moustache but to my mind it was the same man. For me the giveaway was his protruding teeth, which were exactly the same as the man I had met in Luz.

    "I was shown the footage by a person working for the McCanns' investigators who took notes of everything I said and then left but I haven't heard anything since. I asked where the film was shot but he would only say it was shot 'inland' in Portugal."

    Last week the McCanns, from Rothley, Leics, appeared on GMTV calling for a review of all the evidence.

    Heart specialist Mr McCann, 41, said: "I don't think it's right that, as parents, we have to drive the search."

    ------------------

    I'll never forget Maddie snatcher's dead eyes
    Sunday Express

    Sunday May 2 2010

    GAIL COOPER will never forget the day she stared into the "dead eyes" of the man she believes abducted Madeleine McCann three years ago tomorrow.

    "There was just nothing in his eyes, no soul, no life, nothing," she said, drawing on a cigarette to calm her nerves as she relives the close encounter she had in Praia da Luz.

    Home care coordinator Gail had hired a £2million villa in April 2007 to celebrate her 50th birthday with friends and family.

    The party of 14 flew to Portugal on April 18 and Gail had a lovely first four days enjoying time with her two grandchildren in the villa's pool and at the nearby beach.

    As the villa slept only nine, two couples and a boy of two stayed in the nearby Mark Warner complex – directly above apartment 5A where the McCanns stayed the next week.

    On April 20 the group went to the Paraiso cafe on the beach for lunch. As they enjoyed their meal it began to rain and they noticed a scruffy man standing on the beach getting drenched in the downpour.

    Missing Madeleine McCann
    Missing Madeleine McCann

    They drove back to the villa, where the children played in the pool and the sun shone again.

    Between 4 and 5pm there was a ring on the door at the villa, which is situated in a quiet street some 20 minutes walk from the beach.

    To Gail's astonishment it was the man she had seen a few hours earlier getting soaked on the beach. He was aged between 40 and 45 and about six feet tall with an olive complexion. He appeared Mediterranean but not Portuguese and spoke fairly good English, and was clean shaven apart from his moustache.

    He wore a heavy cotton khaki jacket and a green or blue t-shirt and khaki combat trousers. Around his waist was a black leather bum bag.

    He told Gail that he was collecting money for an orphanage in the nearby village of Espiche.

    Moving from foot to foot and waving what appeared to be ID documents, he said an English couple had been killed in a motorway smash nearby and their three children were being looked after at the orphanage.

    "He was very pushy and intimidating," said Gail. "He was waving his hands and came out with this story, which I didn't believe, to get me to hand over some cash. He kept staring right at me, virtually imploring me to give money, but I wouldn't.

    "He spoke good English but it wasn't really with a Portuguese accent. My grandchildren were in the pool and my husband had gone out and I just wanted him to go away.

    "I've been to Portugal many times and I've never had anyone come to the door asking for money before. His clothing and hair still looked wet from the rain. The whole situation was odd and made me uncomfortable. After 10 minutes or so he suddenly stopped talking and just walked off."

    Gail believes the man may have followed the group from the beach and could have been looking over the villa wall at her grandchildren in the pool.

    Two days later on April 22, Gail and the group saw the man again, standing near a group of children who were being taken to the beach by Mark Warner childminders.

    She said: "At first it looked like he was with the children and I remember thinking maybe he was raising money for an orphanage. Then my daughter pointed out that the children weren't orphans, they were from the Mark Warner complex.

    "Although he was walking near the children it was clear that he wasn't with them and I recall thinking that it all seemed a little bit odd. But I thought nothing much more of it and we carried on enjoying our holiday."

    After returning home and hearing of Madeleine's abduction a week later, Gail contacted the police.

    On May 21 she gave a statement to a detective from the Leicestershire force which was liaising with Portuguese officers.

    In January 2008 she was contacted by the McCanns' investigators and agreed to sit for 10 hours with an artist to create the first full facial image of the suspect. "I was happy to do anything I could to help," she said.

    In July she was shown film of the man working at a market and later an investigator working for the McCanns flew over to show her images of five men, none of whom she recognised.

    "I have a very clear image in my mind of the man I saw and I think it will stay with me for the rest of my life," she said. "At first I just thought he was a conman but now I believe he could be much more dangerous. I will never forget his dark, dead eyes and the way he threw his arms about in a very jerky way.

    "He was very agitated at the front door of the villa and he looked quite disturbed when he was wandering around on the beach in the rain. The sooner he is found the better."

    Gail said her memories of what was a fantastic 50th birthday celebration have been marred by the kidnapping of Madeline.

    Seldom a day passes when she doesn't think of the mysterious man.

    She said: "In the early days after hearing about the kidnapping, I just had this horrible empty feeling in the pit of my stomach.

    "I couldn't get the image of the man out of my head and I was racking my brains trying to remember everything he said and every detail about him.

    "Had he followed the members of our group, including a boy of two, who was staying at the ocean club?

    "I am left with a strong sense of frustration because this is still unresolved."

    -----------------

    Transcript

    By Nigel Moore 

    James Murray (voice over): The Sunday Express has brought Gail Cooper back to Praia da Luz to tell her story of her strange encounter with a man she believes went on to kidnap Madeleine McCann three years ago.

    JM (to Gail Cooper): Gail, it was on April the 20th 2007, you were down here with members of your family.

    Gail Cooper: That's right, yeah.

    JM: It was raining.

    GC: Yes.

    JM: You were having afternoon tea in that restaurant over there.

    GC: Yes, we were, yeah.

    JM: Tell me what you saw then.

    GC: There was this guy, corner of our eye, sort of crossing our vision, walking out towards the sea. Just stood, looking out across the beach. It was absolutely sheeting down with rain, really sheeting down. Then he just turned, headed off in that direction towards the [unable to hear where due to poor quality recording]

    JM: And was he absolutely drenched?

    GC: Absolutely.

    JM (voice over): Gail and her friends were staying at this luxury, two million pound villa twenty minutes walk away from the beach. It was in the afternoon and there was a knock at the door, three hours after they had left the beach.

    GC: We came back to the villa. Late afternoon my husband and son-in-law went out and grandchildren were in the pool. I was sat by the pool with my eldest daughter. Door bell rang. I answered the door thinking it was my husband had left his wallet behind as he tends to do. Opened the door to find a complete stranger there and he ran into a spiel about collecting for an orphanage in the next village and in Portugal he was only allowed to collect one day of the year which was April the 20th and it was the same day every year, which I doubted at the time because I always come out in April.

    JM (voice over): Just a few minutes walk away from the apartment where they were staying other members of the group were staying at the Mark Warner complex.

    GC: Five members of our group were staying at the Ocean Club including a two-year-old boy. We called in at the apartment once to, errm... make arrangements for the evening and I must say whilst we were there we didn't see any sign of the man I'd seen at the villa.

    JM (voice over): Two days after the first sightings the group went back to the beach.

    JM (to Gail Cooper):
    And this is the image here, isn't it, of the man that you saw twice on the beach here and once at your holiday villa?

    GC: That is right, yes.

    JM (voice over): Just a few days before Madeleine disappeared. On the third sighting down at the beach the man seemed to be shadowing a group of children coming down to the beach from the Mark Warner complex. Again, he was acting oddly.

    GC: It's been three years since Madeleine went missing. There needs to be renewed police action to bring this case to conclusion. Please read the full story in the Sunday Express.

    Madeleine suspect 'on beach snap', 09 May 2010
    Madeleine suspect 'on beach snap' Sunday Express

    Gail Cooper with artist's impression of man on the beach

    By James Murray
    Sunday May 9, 2010

    DETECTIVES have been handed a photograph showing a man behaving oddly in the days before Madeleine McCann was kidnapped.

    A British holidaymaker accidentally captured him in the background of a family snap taken at the Portuguese resort of Praia da Luz in April 2007, days before Madeleine, then three, disappeared.

    It was passed to detectives from Leicestershire who are assisting the police in Portugal. Last week we published Gail Cooper's account of her encounter with the strange man when he later came to her holiday villa in the resort, asking for money for an orphanage.

    Today we reveal that one of Mrs Cooper's friends, Leanda Hodson-Mackey, took a snap of her husband Stephen, 34, and son, then aged two, and the man appeared in the background, walking along the beach during a downpour.

    Although his features cannot be clearly made out, there is a rough image which could be enhanced with FBI picture improvement techniques.

    Mrs Cooper, 53, from Newark, Nottinghamshire, told the Sunday Express last week she believes the same man went on to kidnap Madeleine McCann.

    She had flown to Luz with a party of 13 family and friends in the week before Madeleine was taken, to celebrate her 50th birthday. Mrs Hodson-Mackey, 34, and her family spent four days at an apartment in the Mark Warner complex with Leanda's mother Trudy Dawkins, 49, and her husband Lee, 40.

    The apartment was directly above apartment 5a, where the McCanns would stay the following week.

    Last night Mrs Dawkins, also from Newark, said: "When we were back home it was on the news that Madeleine had disappeared and we all racked our brains to see if there was anything we could remember which would help the investigation.

    "We all remembered this man walking along the beach in the rain, then Gail recalled he later went to her villa.

    "Leanda had a throwaway camera. She went through the pictures she had taken and realised the man was in the background in one. Detectives took a statement from her and took away the picture, but we don't know what happened after that.

    Tomorrow Madeleine's mother Kate, 42, from Rothley, Leicestershire, will meet Prince Charles at Westminster Abbey during a service to remember young victims of violence. She will be among 1,000 guests marking the anniversary of teenager Jimmy Mizen's murder in 2008, during a fight in a bakery shop in Lee, south-east London.

    The families of Damilola Taylor and Ben Kinsella will also be at the "Building a Legacy of Peace" service.

    Did this man take Maddie?, 16 May 2010
    Did this man take Maddie? Sunday Express

    Sunday Express, 16 May 2010

    Sunday Express, 16 May 2010

    Madeleine McCann: Is this the man who snatched her? Sunday Express

    The man Jane Tanner saw and, right, stranger on the beach

    By James Murray
    Sunday May 16, 2010


    THIS is the sensational picture of a suspicious man on the beach which could lead to a breakthrough in the disappearance of Madeleine McCann.

    Snapped inadvertently in the background of a holiday photo, the mysterious man strolls along after a rain shower, staring out to sea at Praia da Luz.

    The picture was taken at the Portuguese resort days before Madeleine, then three, vanished during the evening of May 3, 2007.

    Briton Gail Cooper was having lunch with family and friends in a beachside cafe and taking photos when she saw him wandering along the beach, apparently in a world of his own.

    "It was odd to see him walking around the beach alone in showery, cold weather." she said.

    Mrs Cooper, 53, added that a few hours after the snap was taken, the same man visited her at her rented villa 20 minutes' walk from the beach. The £2million holiday property was in a quiet road near the Mark Warner complex where Madeleine and her family were staying.

    During a tense conversation on the doorstep, the man sought cash with what she called "an obviously made-up story" that he was collecting money for an orphanage in a nearby town, where the children of Britons killed in a car crash were being cared for.

    Just under a week after the unnerving encounter, when Mrs Cooper had returned home to Britain, Madeleine was taken from her holiday apartment.

    Alarmed, Mrs Cooper contacted British detectives because of her ­concerns about the man on the beach and handed over the photograph, taken by a ­member of her holiday party.

    Months later private investigators working for Madeleine's parents Kate and Gerry McCann asked Mrs Cooper to work with an FBI-trained artist to create a drawing of the man she had seen at the beach and villa.

    She described him as having protruding teeth, a handlebar moustache and wind-blown dark hair. In the photo the man is ­turning slightly towards the sea, so it is not possible to tell whether he has a moustache.

    However, he does appear to bear a resemblance to a man the McCanns' friend, Jane Tanner, saw walking with a child in his arms at about the time Madeleine disappeared.

    Ms Tanner saw him crossing a road yards from the McCanns' apartment and it is widely believed that he was the man who abducted Madeleine.

    She also worked with an artist to ­create a drawing of the man she saw. It did not include facial features as she did not see his face.

    The man Ms Tanner saw, ­walking in the glare of an orange street light, was wearing light coloured trousers and a dark top and appears to have slightly hunched shoulders.

    The man in the photo was also wearing light coloured trousers, a dark top and appears to have slightly rounded shoulders.

    Mrs Cooper, of Newark, Nottinghamshire, said last night: "I am 98 per cent certain the man in the photo was the same man who made the strange visit to our ­holiday villa. His hair looks neater in the photo, but he is quite far in the background." The picture was given to detectives in Leicestershire who are liaising with detectives in ­Portugal, but Mrs Cooper said she was never told whether the man had been identified.

    "I believe it would be useful for the investigation if he was to come forward," she added. Kate and Gerry McCann, of Rothley, Leicestershire, are hoping that new Tory Home Secretary Theresa May will call for a review of all the evidence in the case.

    If you can identify the man in the photograph please call the Sunday Express on 0208 612 7073 or contact the website ­Findmadeleine.com.

    A closer look at the Sunday Express image
    A closer look at the Sunday Express image

    tannercoopercomp.jpg

    By Nigel Moore
    With thanks to Reggie Dunlop from The Maddie Case Files for adjusted image

    The montage above shows the Jane Tanner sketch beside the photograph that Gail Cooper has provided - as evidence of the 'creepy man' she claims to have seen - and a straightened version of the same photograph.

    It appears clear that the photographic image supplied by Mrs Cooper has been manipulated by the Sunday Express in order to provide a mirror image of the Jane Tanner inspired sketch. By mimicking the gait of the alleged 'abductor' a subliminal message is being sent that the two are connected, when, in reality, there is nothing to connect them.

    The image that appears on the front page of the Sunday Express, paper edition, does not exhibit such an unnatural walking position - suggesting that is the original image before manipulation.

    Behind the man in the photograph we can see the stacked sun loungers and parasol poles, which can be seen clearer in the photographs below.

    Praia da Luz beach, with the Paraiso on the left and sun loungers on the right

    Praia da Luz beach, with close up of sun loungers

    Many thanks to Jeanne from unterdenteppichgekehrt.blogspot.com for images above

    The "Creepy Man" that time forgot... but never The Sun, 18 November 2013
    The "Creepy Man" that time forgot... but never The Sun McCann Files

    "Creepy Man" by Melissa Little
    "Creepy Man" by Melissa Little

     

    Guy, Guy, Guy,
    Stick him up on high.
    Hang him on a lamp post
    And leave him there to die.

    By Nigel Moore
    18 November 2013


    The Sun newspaper, never ones to let sleeping corpses lie, especially when there's a subscription bob in it, turned their spades once again at the weekend to an old favourite in the Madeleine McCann case: "Creepy Man".

    Last week it was reported that a Brit woman, who doesn't wish to be named, was harassed by a 'drugged up Portuguese man' in Vilamoura - 30 miles from Praia da Luz - a month before Madeleine disappeared. The man was described as being 'scruffy and long-haired'.

    Cue an accompanying sketch of scruffy, long-haired "Creepy Man" and it's off to print we go.

    Yesterday, it was the turn of 'Irish ma', Shauna Duncan, to describe how a man on a motorbike tried to snatch her daughter in Praia da Luz weeks before Madeleine disappeared. He looked like the suspect who The Sun 'revealed' last week.

    Cue the same accompanying sketch of scruffy, long-haired "Creepy Man" and it's off to print we go.

    Is there anymore to say?

    Well, actually, there is, because the story of "Creepy Man" needs to be told in its entirety. For those unfamiliar with the background, it's a story that may surprise and even shock you.

    "Creepy Man"

    News of the World, 20 January 2008
    News of the World, 20 January 2008

    Known more affectionately in some quarters as the "George Harrison lookalike" - but more profitably by the Wapping ghouls as 'Maddie's Kidnapper - Beast who took McCanns' little girl' - "Creepy Man" first shot to fame on 20 January 2008, when he was honoured with his very own press conference.

    At a London hotel, the McCanns' spokesperson Clarence Mitchell took to the lectern to deliver his infamous 'more like the police than the police' appeal for information to the gathered members of the press.

    "Who is he? Where is he? What, if any, is his connection to Madeleine's disappearance?" Mr Mitchell solemnly intoned.

    "If he is innocent, we want him to come forward for his own sake so he can be ruled out. We believe this man could be linked to Madeleine's disappearance."

    This at a time, remember, when the Portuguese investigation was still active and the McCanns were yet to be released from their arguido (suspects) status.

    Clarence Mitchell: 'more like the police than the police'
    Clarence Mitchell: 'more like the police than the police'

     

    During the press conference, two artists impressions of the man seen by Mrs Gail Cooper, a grandmother from Nottinghamshire, were released. These were not produced by the police, as stated in The Sun, but were created in conjunction with Mrs Cooper by an artist hired by the McCanns themselves.

    The accompanying PowerPoint presentation claimed Jane Tanner had viewed the sketches and was so taken with them that she believed there was 'an 80% likelihood' that this was the same man she saw 'carrying away the child, believed to be Madeleine'.

    This was an extraordinary claim, given Ms Tanner took part in a covert police operation, shortly after Madeleine's disappearance, and positively identified the man she claimed to have seen as Robert Murat - the first arguido in the case.

    "She identified him through his way of walking, and she was peremptory about it being Robert Murat," said Gonçalo Amaral, the former Portuguese Judiciary Police co-ordinator, speaking to the website www.mccannfiles.com in May 2011.

    And there was something strangely familiar about the full length sketch of "Creepy Man". Something about his gait that was very reminiscent of "Bundle Man", the man sketched from the description of Ms Tanner herself. But, of course, that was hardly surprising given that both sketches had been produced by the same artist, Melissa Little.

    In fact, for three days, the official Find Madeleine website ran the two sketches of "Creepy Man" with the annotation: 'Drawings of the man described by Jane Tanner'. Not so much a subliminal association, more surgically joined at the dislocated hips.

     
    "Creepy Man" sketch attributed to Jane Tanner sighting

     

    Furthermore, during their traditional round of 'Missing Maddie' anniversary interviews, in 2008, the McCanns produced a flyer which placed the face of "Creepy Man" beside the full body sketch of "Bundle Man". The same image appeared in the Portuguese press.

    Although the difference between the two was explained during an interview with RTP, there remained no reason why the two sketches should appear side-by-side, and the McCanns assertion that there were similarities between the two could do nothing but muddy the waters further.

    The McCanns with "Creepy Man"/"Bundle Man" flyer, 02 May 2008
    The McCanns with "Creepy Man"/"Bundle Man" flyer, 02 May 2008

    RTP interview, 02 May 2008

    - Extract -

    Sandra Felgueiras: And you say that you regularly was checking her... were checking on the children every 15 minutes. So do you still maintain that, errr... this is the person that you believe has abducted Madeleine. [SF holds up a newspaper, with the 'Creepy Man' sketch beside the 'Bundle Man' sketch] Do you still believe that this is the man?

    Gerry McCann: We... we have never said that that is the man who abducted Madeleine. We said that it's someone, who multiple witnesses... had a description similar to this man. [GM holds up a flyer showing the same two sketches]

    Kate McCann: [points to 'Jane Tanner' sketch, on right] We believe this is the man...

    Sandra Felgueiras: The man that Jane Tanner saw?

    Kate McCann: Yeah.

    Gerry McCann: Yeah.

    Kate McCann: [points to 'Creepy Man' sketch, on left] Now, this is the man who has... who has obviously been flagged up by certain people acting strangely and he's not that dissimilar to this man but we don't know. Basically, it'll... we almost wanted to eliminate him.

     

    But why did "Creepy Man" warrant his very own press conference in the first place? And why did the McCanns consign him to the compost heap after their round of interviews in May 2008?

    The charity collector always knocks twice (at least)

    Gail Cooper made her first statement to Leicestershire police on 21 May 2007. In it, she described how, on the afternoon of April 20th, a man knocked on the door of her villa claiming that he was collecting donations for a local orphanage in Espiche.

    Mrs Cooper said the man was quite insistent and she described him as 'intimidating' but 'not threatening'. After 10-15 minutes he left empty handed as Mrs Cooper had no money in the villa.

    On Monday 7th January 2008, the Daily Mirror ran a report that British holidaymaker Paul Gordon had also seen a 'stranger (who) claimed he was collecting donations for an orphanage'. Mr Gordon and his family had stayed in Apartment 5A the week immediately prior to the McCanns.

    As a result of that article, Mrs Cooper's daughter contacted the Daily Mirror.

    Like looking in a cracked mirror

    E-fit of man seen by Paul Gordon
    E-fit of man seen by Paul Gordon

     

    Later that day the Mirror contacted Mrs Cooper and this led to an article, published the following day, in which she said: "He was a horrible-looking man, really creepy, unkempt and dirty.

    "He definitely wasn't Portuguese. He scared me."

    Mrs Cooper further described the man as 6ft 0in to 6ft 2in tall, with a distinctive 'Mexican looking moustache', who 'definitely wasn't Portuguese' and 'smelt of onions or garlic which appeared to be on his clothing'.

    Mr Gordon however, described the man as 5ft 7in to 5ft 10in tall, with 'no facial hair', 'Portuguese looking' and was 'quite presentable'.

    So, about as similar as Tweety Pie and Yosemite Sam.

    More sightings

    At the same time as the Mirror contacted Mrs Cooper, her mother reminded her of 'two further potential sightings' of the same man. This prompted Mrs Cooper to make a second police statement on 16th January 2008.

    In this further statement, details are given of those two other sightings: One on 22nd April, in which a man was walking on the beach 'not really doing anything' and previously on 20th April, 'just before the man came to the villa later on that day', when a man was observed walking alone on the beach in the rain – which Mrs Cooper observed was 'strange because of the weather'.

    Following Mrs Cooper's further statement to the police, and the press conference four days later, a further sighting was reported by a Donegal woman, who did not wish to be named.

    She said she saw a man fitting the description given by Mrs Cooper, around the end of July 2007, who claimed to be collecting for an Aids orphanage in Portugal. "I e-mailed the Madeleine family helpline," she said.

    "I just wanted to give whatever information I had relating to what I had seen. I am not sure if it will be relevant or not but I suppose every bit helps."

    A shock breakthrough in the hunt, errr… 'two years ago'

    However, the shock breakthrough in the hunt was to come in May 2010 when the Sunday Express exclusively revealed that "Creepy Man" had been covertly filmed by an investigator working for Kate and Gerry McCann 'two years ago'. i.e. in 2008.

    Mrs Cooper told the Sunday Express that the man, who was captured on film unloading goods from a white van, was the same person she saw three times in Praia da Luz in the days before Madeleine disappeared.

    "I believe the man I saw was the same person who abducted Madeleine McCann," stated Mrs Cooper unequivocally. "I was shown the footage by a person working for the McCanns' investigators who took notes of everything I said and then left but I haven't heard anything since."

    She called on the McCanns to put the 'sensational footage' on their website findmadeleine.com so that he could be traced by detectives. "More people need to see this footage to discover where he is," she said.

    The following week, the Sunday Express further revealed that at the time the holidaying group were on the beach, on 22nd April 2007, one of Mrs Cooper's friends, Leanda Hodson-Mackey, had taken a photograph of her husband.

    Remarkably she had captured "Creepy Man" in the background as he walked alone on the beach during a downpour. The image was said to have been passed to Leicestershire police.

    The following week the Express published the image of the man.

    "Bundle Man" and "Creepy Man" together again - Express manipulated image and straightened version
    "Bundle Man" and "Creepy Man" together again - Express image (l) and straightened version (r)

    Mrs Cooper, said: "I am 98 per cent certain the man in the photo was the same man who made the strange visit to our ­holiday villa. His hair looks neater in the photo, but he is quite far in the background."

    The picture was given to detectives in Leicestershire who were reported to have liaised with detectives in ­Portugal, but Mrs Cooper said she was never told whether the man had been identified.

    The Silence of the McCanns

    So, as far back as 2008, the McCanns, through their private detectives, were in receipt of video footage showing the man - who had been positively identified by Mrs Cooper. Yet no effort was made then, or since, to place the footage, or stills from it, on their official website - the sole purpose of which is to 'Find Madeleine'.

    Again, in May 2010, the McCanns were urged by Mrs Cooper to place the video footage on their website in order that detectives trace the man. The plea fell on deaf ears.

    If there had been an initial reluctance, in 2008, to jeopardise a possible investigation, that must have evaporated by 2010.

    "Creepy Man" does not appear in the list of suspects that appendix Kate McCann's book madeleine, nor does he appear as a person of interest on the official website.

    So, we are left with two conclusions:

    1) The man was identified and eliminated from the inquiry in 2008, after the public appeal - either by the McCanns private detectives or by those from Leicestershire Police or the PJ.

    In which case, why were the press never informed and why has the information never been made public on the McCanns' £37,000pa 'Find Madeleine' website (figure as at 2008)? Not to mention informing Mrs Cooper, both out of common courtesy and to prevent the release of further misleading articles which can only damage the search for Madeleine.

    or

    2) The man has never been identified and, for reasons we can only guess at, the McCanns have no interest in pursuing identification of him.

    A week after Madeleine's disappearance Gerry McCann pleaded that "we will leave no stone unturned in the search for our daughter, Madeleine". When taken in conjunction with the behaviour of the McCanns over the Smith family e-fits, which were suppressed for five years, neutral observers may conclude that the stones of which Gerry spoke were multi-purpose - equally adept at concealing as they ever were at revealing.

    And so, "Creepy Man" continues to get wheeled out, like some sad and dishevelled Guy Fawkes dummy.

    If you spend £1 you can get access to all The Sun online reports but, personally, I wouldn't give you a penny for this guy.

    Nor, it would seem, would the McCanns.

    With thanks to Nigel at McCann Files

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