consular officials in Guatemala were forced to apologise to a leading
local lawyer after they stopped his daughter in the street, thinking she
unidentified man was furious and accused the British Government of
trying to effectively kidnap his daughter.
anger emerged in the vast dossier of evidence compiled by the
investigating Madeleine's disappearance.
error occurred after British officials were given a tip-off in June last
year and alerted authorities who stopped the girl who was accompanied by
a man in Mires shopping mall in Guatemala City.
were led to believe that she "bore a striking resemblance to Madeleine".
transpired that she was the daughter of a lawyer and the man with her
a bodyguard who had been looking after her while her mother went shopping.
British Consul apologised for the mix-up but the child's family demanded
a formal written apology from the British Embassy in
from the embassy sent to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in London
on June 14 discussed the fall-out from the incident.
Consul has already given a verbal apology to the bodyguard and father
following the incident," it said.
family actually acknowledged the close resemblance of the girl to
they are naturally unhappy with what happened and have called asking for
a written and oral apology from the Embassy.
have since by telephone inferred that the British Government intended to
kidnap the girl.
have requested a meeting tomorrow with the Consul. The girl's father (a
lawyer) is coming back from El Salvador tomorrow as a result of what
officials decided that there was no "need for a written apology at this
stage" and added that the local press should be dealt with on a
"strictly defensive basis".
message was passed onto the Portuguese authorities as a potential
sighting of Madeleine that could be ruled out.