detectives are hunting in the search for Madeleine McCann
e-fit of the woman police are hunting in the search for
British tourist if he was about to deliver her 'new
who had an Australian accent, spoke to a British businessman in
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
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
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
in New York this year. The woman police are
hunting is said to be a 'bit of a Victoria
saw the woman acting suspiciously in the early hours of May
7, 2007 during a night out at the city's Port Olimpic
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
watching the woman for ten minutes, one of the Britons
approached her and they had a short conversation.
something that was potentially significant to the
investigation,' Mr Edgar said.
described it as a 'strong lead,' but refused to give any
then went into an adjacent bar where she had a heated
conversation with a local man in what appeared to be
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.
wearing expensive looking blue jeans and a jersey top,
said she spoke with what he believed was an Australian
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
the witness, a married 41-year-old professional without
children, only contacted the McCanns' investigation team
six weeks ago.
said that the delay was for 'personal reasons' and that
he had insisted on remaining anonymous.
marina where the woman was last seen
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
'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
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
Ocean Club in Praia da Luz where the
McCanns were holidaying when
Madeleine was abducted while her
parents dined nearby
informed Portuguese detectives about the new lead and
plan to talk with the Australian Federal Police and the
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