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Madeleine McCann dossier: Did this Dutch couple snatch Maddy?

HOMEPAGE NEWS REPORTS INDEX SIGHTINGS PHOTOS SPOKESMAN'S PHOTOS NEWS AUGUST 2008
Original Source:  DAILY MIRROR: FRIDAY 08-AUGUST 2008
By Ryan Parry 8/08/2008
 
Exclusive

 

This is the mystery couple believed to have been seen with Madeleine McCann three days after she vanished.

 

The sketches were drawn exclusively for the Mirror by a police artist on the evidence of witness Anna Stam, 41, who saw the trio in Amsterdam.

They show a dark-featured man aged 35-40 with a moustache, who was speaking in Portuguese, and a brown-haired woman in her 40s who was talking French.

 

Anna, who was flown to London by the Mirror to aid the hunt, said: "They fit the faces I remember. I just hope it's not too late."

The shop assistant claims a girl with the couple told her: "My name is Maddy", adding, "They took me from my holiday".

 

It emerged yesterday that there were three more sightings of Madeleine, then three, in nearby Belgium in the weeks after she disappeared.

Anna was praying last night she had given new hope to grieving Kate McCann.

Anna was stunned Kate and husband Gerry have still not received her statement about a suspected sighting of missing daughter Madeleine with a mystery couple three days after she vanished.

 

She said: "I hope something will come of this and Kate and Gerry will find their little girl. I want to help get her back to them.

 

"I can't believe they didn't know about this. Did these people take Madeleine? We may never know. I only hope it's not too late.

 

"But now I have a good feeling about this. This is the first time something will be done with the information I gave over a year ago."

Anna, 41, spoke out after arriving in London to meet a police artist and representatives of the McCanns.

 

Pledging to instruct investigators to make Anna's dramatic sighting a priority, family spokesman Clarence Mitchell said: "I'm grateful to the Mirror for bringing her to us.

"Her evidence could be very significant. Our investigators will interview her in the next few days."

 

Anna saw the couple with the Madeleine lookalike in her party shop in Amsterdam on May 6 last year.

The drawings based on her recollection show a dark-featured man of average height, aged 35-40 with small eyes and wearing a moustache. He was speaking Portuguese.

 

The woman was in her 40s with light brown hair. She was speaking French.

Anna, who claims she has a photographic memory, said the images are far better than a computer e-fit by Dutch police a year ago.

"They're much clearer and more lifelike. They fit the faces I remember.

"I'll never forget the girl. She had her hair in a ponytail, huge green-brown eyes and a pale face which showed no emotion.

 

"I didn't like the man, he didn't look like a nice person.

"I work in a party shop so most people smile when they come in to buy things.

"But he didn't smile back at me when I smiled at him. He had no sparkle in his eyes.

"He was short with me and seemed angry. I got the feeling he didn't want me to interfere with him and the others."

 

The woman, she said, seemed "stressed and uncomfortable".

Anna said: "She tried to smile at me but it was out of obligation not from the heart.

"The whole way they reacted made a big impression on me. The man spoke in Portuguese. I know because I have Brazilian friends.

 

"The woman spoke in French while the little girl spoke English. It didn't seem like a real family."

 

Anna's sighting emerged in Portuguese police files this week in which she disclosed that the girl told her: "My name is Maddy."

The child said of the woman: "She is not my mummy. They took me from my holiday."

 

It strengthened fears that Madeleine was snatched to order from her Algarve holiday home in Praia da Luz by a Belgian paedophile gang.

Anna said: "Because this woman spoke French, I immediately thought they would go to Belgium or France.

 

"The woman told me she was in a station wagon, a larger car. Maybe they were going on a long journey.

 

"Looking at the artist's drawings make me feel uncomfortable.

 

"Maybe I could have done something more.

"Maybe the police could have taken it more seriously."

Anna told Dutch police a month later when she saw reports of Madeleine's disappearance.

 

A full report was sent to Portugal on June 18 last year. It is not known what action was taken.

 

But the sighting was never made public and Kate and Gerry, both 40, of Rothley, Leics, were never told.

Before meeting a McCann representative at a hotel in East London, Anna said: "When I told police about this, I presumed the McCanns would be told.

"I still can't believe they weren't."

 

Yesterday Mr Mitchell said McCann investigators would quiz Anna in Dutch.

He said: "The principal is always to speak to a witness in their mother tongue so there's absolutely no confusion over what they saw or heard."

Mr Mitchell again blasted the Portuguese police for not passing Anna's statement to the McCanns.

 

He said: "Anna did the right thing in contacting the Dutch police. But I find it shocking that the Portuguese police weren't even in touch, either with her or with us.

 

"If they ruled her sighting out then fine, we'll rule it out as well. But we just don't know at this stage."

DO YOU KNOW SKETCH PAIR? If you recognise the people in Anna's sketches, go to www.findmadeleine.com or ring 0845 838 4699.

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