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The 'Victoria Beckham lookalike' in the hunt for Madeleine McCann asked if tourist had her 'new daughter'

Original Source: MAIL: SATURDAY 08 AUGUST 2009
By Tom Kelly and Claire Ellicott
Last updated at 9:51 AM on 08th August 2009

The woman detectives are hunting in the search for Madeleine McCann asked a

Lead: An e-fit of the woman police are hunting in the search for Madeleine

 British tourist if he was about to deliver her 'new daughter'.

The woman, who had an Australian accent, spoke to a British businessman in Spain just three days after the youngster disappeared.

She had been acting in an 'agitated' manner outside a bar in Barcelona and, when approached, asked the man: 'Are you here to deliver my new daughter?', a source close to the investigation said last night.

The tourist, who was chaperoning his brother on a stag party, was too shocked to reply and the woman repeated the question twice more. A second member of the party also spoke to the woman before she left.

It is believed that the woman mistook the witness for a man she had arranged to meet.

Investigators yesterday issued an urgent appeal for information about the woman, described as a 'glamorous and well turned out' Victoria Beckham lookalike.

Dave Edgar, the retired detective hired by Kate and Gerry McCann to lead a private inquiry, said it was very possible the youngster was smuggled into Barcelona by yacht from the Portuguese resort of Praia da Luz where she disappeared in May 2007.

Missing: Madeleine on May 2, 2007, the day before she disappeared


Yesterday he revealed an image of the woman, thought to be Australian, at a press conference in London, appealing for help in finding her.

Mr Edgar, 52, said the two Britons, who were part of a larger group on a trip to

Victoria Beckham in New York this year. The woman police are hunting is said to be a 'bit of a Victoria Beckham lookalike'

 Spain, saw the woman acting suspiciously in the early hours of May 7, 2007 during a night out at the city's Port Olimpic Marina.

The men said she appeared anxious as she paced up and down outside the El Rey de la Gamba bar as if she was waiting to meet somebody.

After watching the woman for ten minutes, one of the Britons approached her and they had a short conversation.

'She said something that was potentially significant to the investigation,' Mr Edgar said.

He described it as a 'strong lead,' but refused to give any more details.

The woman then went into an adjacent bar where she had a heated conversation with a local man in what appeared to be fluent Spanish.

She was last seen walking towards a hospital and more distant ferry and cruise ship terminals. The man she talked to described her as between 30 and 35, slim, about 5ft 2in and with short brown hair.

She was wearing expensive looking blue jeans and a jersey top, possibly pastel-coloured.

The man said she spoke with what he believed was an Australian accent.

Mr Edgar said: 'Madeleine most definitely could have got from the area to Barcelona by yacht. This woman is a significant individual, though I wouldn't describe her as a suspect.'


He said the witness, a married 41-year-old professional without children, only contacted the McCanns' investigation team six weeks ago.

Mr Edgar said that the delay was for 'personal reasons' and that he had insisted on remaining anonymous.

The Barcelona marina where the woman was last seen

An aerial view of Port Olimpic marina in Barcelona, popular with tourists, where the British witnesses encountered the woman that investigators now believe knew something 'significant' about Madeleine's disappearance

'We are satisfied that he is a very credible witness and the account he's given is clear and concise,' Mr Edgar said.


The man had been drinking but was not drunk, while the woman was sober.

The McCanns' private detectives travelled to Barcelona in search of extra information, but the CCTV footage of the area had already been wiped.

Madeleine's parents Gerry and Kate have maintained their efforts to trace her

The Ocean Club in Praia da Luz where the McCanns were holidaying when Madeleine was abducted while her parents dined nearby

They have informed Portuguese detectives about the new lead and plan to talk with the Australian Federal Police and the Spanish authorities.

The e-fit of the woman by a British police artist was described by the witness as 80 per cent accurate.

The McCanns, from Rothley, Leicestershire, have been kept informed. Their spokesman Clarence Mitchell said: 'They've learned through bitter experience not to get their hopes up.'

But he said they had 'drawn strength' from the new momentum in the investigation.

The many photo-fits in the Madeleine McCann case:

These e-fits portray two men who were seen hanging around Praia da Luz
before Madeleine went missing

This couple were  described by Dutch shop assistant Anna Stam following an alleged sighting in Amsterdam

Holiday maker Gail Cooper described this man spotted hanging around
 Madeleine's apartment

A Belgian Federal Police portrait (left) of a man who was behaving suspiciously with a woman and child in a tavern on the Maastrichtersteenweg, Belgium, and another e-fit of a pock-marked and 'very ugly' man who appeared to be
watching the apartment in the days before the disappearance

Friend of the McCanns, Jane Tanner, described this image on the left,  and Gail Cooper, a British holidaymaker, described the man on the right


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