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Madeleine McCann was in my taxi, man claims

Original Source:  TELEGRAPH: FRIDAY 29 FEBRUARY 2007
By Natalie Paris
Last Updated: 2:29AM GMT 29 Feb 2008
Claims Madeleine was quiet and dressed in her pyjamas

Antonio Castela

A taxi driver has reportedly claimed to have taken Madeleine McCann and Robert Murat for a ride in his cab on the night the toddler vanished.

Antonio Cardoso, 67, alleges that Madeleine was with three men and a woman who were waiting at a taxi rank in Monte Gordo near the Spanish border.

The Sun newspaper reports that he took them on a short journey to a hotel where the group transferred to a jeep with foreign number plates.

Mr Cardoso claimed the girl in the back of his taxi at 8.10pm on May 3 was wearing pink pyjamas and had a distinctive mark in her eye.

He said he later recognised one of the men as Robert Murat after watching a television programme.

The claims have shocked Madeleine's parents, Kate and Gerry McCann, who have rejected them for being incompatible with the known chain of events that night.

Murat was made an official suspect, or arguido, two weeks after the little girl disappeared but has always denied any involvement in the case.

Mr Cardoso said he drove the group in silence for about two miles from the Hotel Apolo in Vila Real de Santo Antonio near Faro, with the man who he believed to be Murat sat beside him in the front passenger seat.

He claimed the girl he thought was Madeleine was awake but said nothing during the trip and stared straight ahead.

He told the Sun: "I noticed her eye because my son was born with a defect much the same. I saw her kind of twist her chin a few times in my rear-view mirror.

"I remember she was in pink pyjamas and wondered why they hadn't dressed her."

He described the adults as casually dressed and the woman as a slim blonde.

Mr Cardoso said he had informed the police of the apparent encounter but as well as Metodo 3, the private detective agency hired by the McCanns.

But the McCanns spokesman Clarence Mitchell told the newspaper: "We are dismissing this primarily because the timings are entirely wrong."


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