The purpose of this site is for information and a record of Gerry McCann's Blog Archives. As most people will appreciate GM deleted all past blogs from the official website. Hopefully this Archive will be helpful to anyone who is interested in Justice for Madeleine Beth McCann. Many Thanks, Pamalam

Note: This site does not belong to the McCanns. It belongs to Pamalam. If you wish to contact the McCanns directly, please use the contact/email details    

Robert Murat (2) 01 July 2007 - 31 December 2007 *

Continuing press reports on Robert Murat, from July 2007 to December 2007
Robert Murat pages
Period covered
03 May 2007 - 30 June 2007, with timeline
01 July 2007 - 31 December 2007
01 January 2008 - Date
17 July 2008 / 14 November 2008

Sky News report - Murat questioned by police, 10 July 2007


July 10, 2007
Murat's ordeal not over, says Sky crime man
Sky News Crime Correspondent Martin Brunt has recently spoken to Robert Murat who has returned to the police station in Portugal for questioning over missing Madeleine McCann. Brunt tells Julie Etchingham he thinks the suspect's ordeal is far from over.

Suspect Feels 'Caged In', Sky News 10 July 2007

Suspect Feels 'Caged In' Sky News


By Sky News crime correspondent Martin Brunt

July 10, 2007


Trying to work out the significance of Portuguese cops re-interviewing suspect Robert Murat in the search for Madeleine McCann.


Gut instinct tells me it's a routine procedure to clarify possible inconsistencies - as they see them - in what he told them when he became a suspect two months ago. Or they need to ask him about stuff they've been told by others since then.


He hopes he'll be told he's no longer an 'arguido', an official suspect, but I think that's unlikely.


There was no dramatic dawn raid on Casa Liliana. The cops called a few days ago and made an appointment with the lawyer friend who is advising him. All very gentlemanly.


Since police last questioned him they've spent a long time testing his alibi, which I think is still water-tight. He insists he was at home with his mother the night Madeleine disappeared from the appartment 150 yards up the road from his villa.


Detectives believe he's lying. They think he helped in the initial search that night, but have failed to find any other searchers who will corroborate that.


When Mr. Murat was first interrogated he told me they suspected him not of abduction, but of "passing information" about Madeleine to others.


I spoke to him last week and he was more fed up than ever, chatty but still worried about being seen to be talking about the case when the judicial secrecy law says he shouldn't.


He fears it will drag on for ever and the longer it does, the more difficult it will be for him to retrieve his reputation. One of his relatives just told me: "Robert is caged in."


He says police have given him back his mobile telephone and passport. He wants to visit his daughter in the UK, but he feels any trip to the UK will be interpreted as a bid to flee.


None of this brings us any closer to knowing what happened to Madeleine. She still appears to have vanished into thin air.


Written by Martin, July 10, 2007

Murat is re-questioned, BBC News 10 July 2008
Madeleine suspect is re-questioned BBC News
Last Updated: Tuesday, 10 July 2007, 19:36 GMT 20:36 UK
The only official suspect in the case of the missing four-year-old Madeleine McCann has been freed by Portuguese police after a day of questioning.
Robert Murat, who denies involvement in Madeleine's disappearance, was quizzed at a police station in the Algarve.
The 33-year-old British expatriate also faced interrogation two months ago - when his mother's villa was searched.
Madeleine, from Rothley in Leicestershire, was taken from an apartment in Praia da Luz on 3 May.
On Tuesday morning, Mr Murat attended the police station in Portimao, accompanied by his lawyer.
Detectives questioned him throughout the day and he left the station in the early evening.
Earlier, his spokesman Tuck Price said Mr Murat had told him the police were "going through everything again".
"But he sounds well and I'm sure it's just a routine thing that they have to do."
Mr Price added that Mr Murat hoped the questioning would mark the beginning of the end of police classification of him as a suspect and he could soon be reunited with his daughter.
The BBC's Alison Roberts said police had told her officers were cross-checking people's statements.
Extensive searches
Mr Murat was first questioned by police in May, after which officers said they did not have the evidence to formally arrest or charge anybody.
Until several years ago, the former property developer had been living in Hockering, Norfolk, with his then-wife Dawn and their young daughter.
But he moved back to Portugal, where he grew up, to live with his mother, Jenny, 71, at her villa, close to where Madeleine was last seen.
After Madeleine went missing, her home was searched extensively and several items were removed for examination.
Mr Murat claims he helped police with translation work during the early stages of the hunt for Madeleine.
Justine McGuinness, spokeswoman for the McCanns, said it was a matter for Portuguese detectives and Madeleine's parents, Gerry and Kate McCann, did not wish to comment.
They have travelled to the Vatican, Spain, Germany, the Netherlands and Morocco to urge people to help in the search for their daughter.
There have been a number of reported sightings of Madeleine, but none so far have yielded any more information on her whereabouts.
Note: The following is the first version of this report, published Tuesday July 10 at 12:00:03pm:
A suspect in the case of the missing four-year-old Madeleine McCann is being re-questioned by Portuguese police.
Robert Murat, 33, is at a police station in the Algarve where he is being questioned by detectives, a spokeswoman for the McCann family said.
The British expatriate was previously questioned for 12 hours and his mother's villa was searched.
Madeleine, from Rothley in Leicestershire, was taken from an apartment in Praia da Luz on 3 May.
After police initially questioned Mr Murat in May, officers said they did not have the evidence to formally arrest or charge anybody.
Mr Murat, who previously lived in Hockering, Norfolk, had been living with his mother Jenny, 71, at her villa, Casa Liliana.
Justine McGuinness, spokeswoman for the McCanns, said it was a matter for Portuguese detectives and Madeleine's parents, Gerry and Kate McCann, did not wish to comment.
What is interesting from this original version is that it makes it clear that it was Justine McGuiness who broke the news to the BBC - in her capacity as spokeswoman for the McCanns.
Yet, she is then quoted as saying 'it was a matter for Portuguese detectives' and that Kate and Gerry McCann 'did not wish to comment'.
That being the case, why did she break the news to the BBC?
The only conclusion to be drawn is that she wanted to ensure Robert Murat's re-questioning was widely publicised. Possibly for three reasons:
1) To keep Murat's name in the frame, and public consciousness, with the implication that if further questioning was needed then he must have further questions to answer,
2) To isolate Robert Murat, who, in a series of updates to this article turned from 'A suspect' into 'The only official suspect', a very subtle but significant change, and
3) To ensure people understood the distance between Murat and themselves. By being seen to publicly support the detectives who were now re-questioning him, the McCanns were, by association, supporting the case against him. Note how the reference to 'detectives' implies a level of closer intimacy than simply referring to the 'police inquiry'. 

Sky News report, 11 July 2007


July 11, 2007
Questioning of Madeleine suspect
The only suspect in the search for Madeleine has returned to the police station to be questioned for the second day. In Portimao, Sky's Amanda Walker has the latest.
McCann Friends 'Will Do All They Can' Sky News
Updated:23:40, Wednesday July 11, 2007
Close friends of Madeleine McCanns' parents have pledged to do "anything" they can to help find her as they were called back in for interview by police in Portugal.
Three members of the party who were on holiday with the McCanns in May when Madeleine was snatched returned to a police station in the Algarve as detectives carried out a major review of evidence in the case.
Detectives from the Policia Judiciaria (PJ) have been speaking to Rachael Oldfield, Russell O'Brien and Fiona Payne to go over their accounts of events on May 3.
It was the day Madeleine disappeared from her parents' holiday apartment in Praia Da Luz village.
The McCanns were having dinner with a group of friends from the UK, in a tapas restaurant opposite the flat when the four-year-old was snatched.
Police have already interviewed the party in detail including one woman - who has not been named - who saw a girl being carried away by a man in Praia Da Luz and now believes it was Madeleine.
Speaking as the three arrived to be reinterviewed Mrs Oldfield said: "We are more than happy to help the police with their ongoing investigation.
"All of us want to do anything we can to help find Madeleine and reunite her with her loving parents."
Meanwhile, Robert Murat, the only official "arguido" or suspect in the case, has been questioned for a second day.
Sky News crime correspondent Martin Brunt said: "Gut instinct tells me it's a routine procedure to clarify possible inconsistencies - as they see them - in what he told them when he became a suspect two months ago."
It is thought that among things Mr Murat has been interviewed about is an email which reportedly mentions "the missing English girl".
However, his interest in Madeleine's disappearance is well known.
He lives just a short walk from where she disappeared, has a daughter the same age and volunteered his services to help police investigating the case with translation.
Mr Murat, 33, was thrown into the spotlight on May 14, 11 days after the four-year-old from Rothley, Leicestershire, was snatched.
Martin Brunt says:
"One of the crucial aspects is that police believe he was involved in the search, but he told me he was nowhere near the McCann apartment until the next morning.
"When I left Portugal after the initial investigation, police were desperately going back to the night of the search when Madeleine disappeared, asking people if Mr Murat was involved in the searches.
"But they couldn't find anybody who could confirm he was there."

Maddy? I don't care, 15 July 2007
Maddy? I don't care Sunday Express (article no longer available online)
By Matt Drake
Sunday July 15, 2007
THE prime suspect in the abduction of Madeleine McCann last night revealed he has no sympathy for her parents.
As expatriate Robert Murat challenged detectives to charge him or clear his name, he defiantly declared: "All I am bothered about is myself."
He said his life has been destroyed by allegations that he kidnapped the four-year-old and is terrified his nightmare will continue for years unless Madeleine is found alive soon.
Murat, 33, even astonishingly claimed that he believes more people are now praying for police to admit he is innocent than for Madeleine's safe return.
Last week the Briton underwent four days of intense interrogation by Portuguese police over contradictions in the alibi he gave for the night Madeleine vanished from the family's holiday complex at Praia da Luz on the Algarve.
Murat is now preparing for further interrogation next week following the return of vital DNA evidence.
Speaking at his villa, Casa Liliana, 100 yards from where the toddler was snatched on May 3, the former estate agent admitted he has considered running away but has decided to see his ordeal through for the sake of his family.
He said: "I have not thought about Gerry and Kate McCann or what they are going through because all I am bothered about is myself and what is going to happen to me, not them.
"I can't carry on living like this, no human being could. I am an innocent man. I am not a paedophile or any of the other things I have been called. I have done nothing wrong.
"I wake up with this nightmare every morning and I go to bed with it every night. This has had a terrible effect on my family both here in Portugal and back in Britain.
"I am the only suspect and it could take years for them to release me from the investigation. I was questioned all last week but it's still far from certain what is going to happen.
"They have to find enough evidence to present a judge with a case, and it appears they do not have enough information to do that.
"If they let me go it will look like they have no idea and they do not want to do that. There is a huge difference in the mentality of the Portuguese police and detectives in the UK.
"When anything bad happens in Portugal people disappear, they run and they hide and now I understand why they do it.
"I have thought about it but it would not be fair on my family. The law here dates back to the days of fascism and it shows. I am putting my life at risk just by speaking like this.
"At the start of this, people were praying for the little girl to be found but now those same people are wanting me to be cleared. They are thinking about me and my nightmare. The attention is on me.
"I have a four-year-old daughter but I have not been able to see her while all this has been going on.
"My ex-wife Dawn also has a son who I have brought up like my own. Last year his lung collapsed and this year he needs to have another operation. It hurts me that I cannot be there for him.
"The police are just going over the same ground over and over again and I am not even allowed to tell my side of the story. It makes me so angry I want to punch something. Certain people think I should be in prison but the police obviously cannot find enough evidence to do that, so why should I be made to live like this? I am in a corner and I cannot defend myself."
Looking gaunt and pale, Murat said he has tried to lead a normal life but found it almost impossible because he is under constant police surveillance.
He added: "I refuse to hide myself away from the world but my fate is in the hands of the police. I can see no light at the end of the tunnel."
Yesterday Madeleine's mother, Kate, 38, returned to Britain for the first time since her daughter vanished 73 days ago.
She flew back to join her husband, Gerry, who is in the UK meeting child abduction experts.

McCann pals accuse Robert Murat, Daily Mirror 27 July 2007
McCann pals accuse Robert Murat Daily Mirror
Martin Fricker in Praia da Luz 27/07/2007
MADELEINE McCann suspect Robert Murat was branded a liar and accused of "peeking" into her holiday apartment by furious family friends.
Fiona Payne, Russell O'Brien and Rachael Oldfield insisted they saw him outside Kate and Gerry McCann's flat on the night Madeleine, four, was snatched - despite his denials.
And according to newspaper reports, Dr Payne told police that Murat "seemed to be peeking into the appartment".
Details of the angry confrontation between the friends and Murat, 33, at a police station in Portimao, emerged yesterday.
One of them pointed an accusing finger at him and shouted: "I know you were there. I would recognise you anywhere."
In separate interviews, all three referred to Murat's "lazy" right eye caused by a detached retina.
Sources said the property developer was left badly shaken by the heated exchange and police were shocked by the hostility towards him. Murat's friend Tuck Price said: "Robert found it traumatic. He couldn't understand how these people could sit there and accuse him of lying."
The extraordinary face-to-face meeting on July 11 was organised by officers trying to discover who is telling the truth in the 85-day long case in which Murat is the only formal suspect.
He claims he was at home with his mother - an albi she backs up - and says he did not know about Madeleine's disappearance until the following day.
Portugese newspaper Sol said Dr O'Brien had seen Murat at 1am on the night Madeleine went missing and Murat had told him he had a daughter same age.
Murat was first held by police 11 days after she vanished as she slept in the same room as her younger brother and sister.
Forensic teams searched the home he shares with his mother just 100 yards from the McCanns' apartment. They seized his computer and quizzed friends and business associates.
Police re-interviewed him earlier this month after finding an email on his computer referring to a missing "English child".
They also quizzed Murat about late-night phone calls he made to a local computer expert on the night Madeleine was snatched.

Murat alleged to have changed alibi, The Sun 28 July 2007
Maddie suspect 'changed alibi' The Sun

Chief Foreign Correspondent
in Praia da Luz

Published: 28 Jul 2007

MADELEINE McCann suspect Robert Murat changed his alibi when grilled by police, it was alleged yesterday.

The Brit initially told cops he was with his German girlfriend when Maddie was snatched from her parents’ holiday apartment, it was said.

But when officially declared a suspect 11 days later he changed his story, police sources disclosed.

This is the full original report that has now been deleted from the online version:

Madeleine McCann suspect Robert Murat changed his alibi when grilled by police, it was alleged yesterday.

The Brit initially told cops he was with his German girlfriend when Maddie was snatched from her parents' holiday apartment, it was said.

But when officially declared a suspect 11 days later he changed his story, police sources disclosed.

In his statement he said he was with his mother Jenny, 71, all night at their apartment 50 yards from the snatch scene in Praia da Luz, Portugal.

The alleged inconsistency is one of several about which Murat has been quizzed by cops — and he remains the only named suspect in the 12-week probe.

A source in Portugal claimed: "When people started asking questions, he said he was with his girlfriend, Michaela Walczuch, when Madeleine was taken. He also said the same thing to his friends.

But when he was taken to the police station, he told them he was with his mother. He's stuck to this version since. Nobody knows why he changed his story.

Murat's girlfriend was questioned, but police have not disclosed what she told them. Murat, who has always denied any involvement in the abduction, has been interviewed twice since Maddie, four, was taken.

It is thought Murat will be questioned again soon. Police sources, meanwhile, also confirmed suspicion fell on the oddball after he allegedly asked several people to supply him with an alibi.

New search at Murat's home, BBC News 04 August 2007
New search at McCann suspect home BBC News
Last Updated: Saturday, 4 August 2007, 21:43 GMT 22:43 UK
Police in Portugal investigating the disappearance of Madeleine McCann have renewed their search of the home of 33-year-old Briton Robert Murat.
Up to 10 officers returned to the home of the only official suspect in the case, in Praia da Luz, in the Algarve.
Four-year-old Madeleine was abducted in May, while she slept in her family's holiday apartment.
Mr Murat's house - about 100m (330 ft) from the apartment - was initially searched days after she vanished.
Police, including two British detectives, arrived at the house at 0700 (0600GMT) on Saturday.
Officers cordoned off several areas in the grounds of the property, which is thick with vegetation, and used rakes and hedge trimmers to clear them.
Their search is expected to last four days.
Mr Murat was not arrested or questioned. He was on the premises with his lawyer as the search was conducted.
Vegetation was cleared from the site. Later a British sniffer dog searched the site.
The next phase would be for the police to bring in some type of scanning machinery to detect, for example, something buried underground.
Potentially, phase three would be for the police to decide whether or not to dig on the premises.
The property is owned by Mr Murat's mother.
A friend says he has remained upbeat about the search, and believes that it could finally prove his innocence.
Mr Murat was declared a suspect 10 days after Madeleine was last seen, on 3 May, but has strenuously denied any involvement in her disappearance. The property was searched then too.

Casa Liliana - The concealed vault
Casa Liliana vault
Casa Liliana vault

It should be noted that, although this graphic appears to show a 'secret chamber' into which a body could be stored, in order to enter this chamber Murat would have had to remove the kitchen floor tiles and heavy slabs underneath to gain access to it.


Casa Liliana has been searched twice and it has been reported that the Policia Judiciaria, and dogs, found nothing incriminating.


The graphic is reproduced here for interest rather than suggesting that it has any significant part to play in the investigation.

The forgotten victim in the McCann case, 25 August 2007
The forgotten victim in the McCann case Timesonline
Our columnist on the disgraceful hounding of Robert Murat
Matthew Parris
August 25, 2007
Do you have a mother? Have you ever shared a house with her? Might you have dealt with anyone a couple of years past his teens who (for all you know) could have boasted to someone else about seducing an underage girl? Might you be separated from a spouse and conduct another affair? Might you love your daughter? Might you have a cellar in your house? Might you assist local efforts to trace a missing child?
Well watch out, because if any toddler should go missing anywhere near you, and you were to be (not unreasonably) questioned by police, the British press could have had you hanged, drawn and quartered by Monday.
A life has been destroyed after the abduction of Madeleine McCann. Perhaps two, for we do not yet know Madeleine's fate, and perhaps we never will. But for Robert Murat, the one-time suspect whom much of the British newspaper industry and parts of the Portuguese media casually decided to convict, a life lies in ruins. There is no redemption for Mr Murat now, not if the Angel Gabriel should appear on television to exonerate him. The name alone brings a shudder.
But nobody closely involved with this case believes any longer that Mr Murat is anything but an innocent man. For the rest of the world, however, glancing in passing at headlines and skimming news reports over its coffee, the name Murat is now synonymous with "creepy oddball and obvious suspect".
His reputation will not now be rescued even by the arrest and conviction of anyone else. Imagine today giving your name at a hotel reception as Robert Murat — or Colin Stagg, or Sally Clark. Linkages between a crime and a name are set up in the public imagination and persist even after the story has changed direction. "Robert Murat — wasn't he the one suspected of taking Maddie? Or cleared of it? Whatever. Mixed up in it anyway."
For the record, Robert Murat is an Anglo-Portuguese man in his early thirties who has separated from his English wife, has a girlfriend estranged from her own husband, and is sharing a house with his mother, not far from where Madeleine McCann disappeared. After her disappearance he volunteered to help. He hired a car for a few days. His house has a cellar. He has a friendly business connection with a 22-year-old Russian IT operative, Sergey Malinka, who was (it was reported) claimed by a workmate once to have boasted about underage sex. Mr Murat and Mr Malinka have spoken to each other on mobile phones. And Mr Murat has a four-year-old daughter who (somebody says) looks like Madeleine. Oh — and he's blind in one eye.
Allegations have swirled around about computers on which pornographic websites have been accessed; but as a large proportion of computers worldwide would answer to that description and the claims have been neither confirmed nor elucidated, I shall not pursue these.
Now watch the British media at work. Exercising a courtesy not extended to Mr Murat, I shall name neither papers nor reporters. Let the headlines (in italics) and reports that follow provide a handy journalists' guide to assassination-by-innuendo.
"MADDIE SUSPECT BEHAVED JUST LIKE HUNTLEY: Kidnapping has weird echoes of Soham case. The prime suspect in the kidnap of Madeleine McCann interfered in the investigation as soon as the search for her began, it emerged yesterday. Briton Robert Murat, 33, even tried to comfort Madeleine's distraught parents, Kate and Gerry, in the hours after she was snatched . . . One holidaymaker said: 'There was a feeling that his behaviour was similar to that displayed by Huntley.' Murat was said to have volunteered to act as a translator . . ."
"Maddie: Russian 'pervert' quizzed by cops. A Russian computer ace linked to suspect Robert Murat was being quizzed last night . . . Sergey Malinka, 22 . . . who helped Murat, 33, set up a website – was picked up in a police swoop . . .
"HUNT FOR MADDIE: POLICE IN NEW VILLA SWOOP COMPUTER RAID. . . Malinka, 22, said he . . . worked on a computer owned by the one-eyed Briton . . . Meanwhile it emerged there is an underfloor chamber at [Murat's] home, 100 yards from where Maddie, four, was snatched as she slept in a holiday apartment in Praia da Luz a fortnight ago . . ."
"Revealed: The cellar in suspect's villa. . .'There is a hole in the floor that we used as access when we were putting all the pipes in, so it's big enough for a man to get down inside.'" "His girl is the spitting image of Madeleine. Robert Murat has been pining for his four-year-old daughter Sofia, a 'spitting image' of missing Madeleine, friends revealed yesterday . . ."
"Sex secret of Madeleine suspect: Briton 'shared' the wife of pool cleaner at villa. While friends and relatives portrayed suspect Robert Murat as a devoted family man, a darker picture emerged of an irritating oddball who loves to be the centre of attention. A one-eyed estate agent, former car salesman and turkey farm worker . . . it also emerged that Murat was caught up in a bizarre love triangle . . ."
"One minute the Murats were happy with their new life in Portugal, the next their marriage was in tatters . . . his wife never said why it ended FAMILY FRIEND: Friends of Robert Murat's ex-wife told last night how she suddenly walked out on him — but she would not say why."
"A PHONEY ALIBI? 11.40pm call on the night she went missing. Murat told police he was at home in bed" . . . Detectives are said to be concerned that though Murat and Malinka claim to be only business acquaintances they were captured on CCTV speaking animatedly . . . Murat also rented a hire car for three days after the abduction, possibly after he realised he was under police surveillance."
"The police haven't told the family what is on Murat's computer. They want to shield them. . ." . . . And so it went on for about a week: a week in which Mr Murat saw his good name torn apart. The damage done, a cautionary note then crept in . . .
"Despite the discoveries, nothing was found to connect Briton Murat to Madeleine . . ."
And, months later, nothing has been. There is speculation that the Portuguese police will formally exonerate Mr Murat soon. I don't even know he is innocent. But I do know that, though "innocent until proved guilty" is a counsel of perfection, and though it is sometimes impossible to write useful reports without fingering guilty and innocent alike, there are still limits — cloudy though they must necessarily be. Reporting in this case has smashed right through them.
The whole disgusting business, the whole media-driven infatuation with this little girl and her parents, the whole sick, morbid, sentimental campaign of news generation and news manipulation, has been a disgrace to the British media.

Clarence Mitchell compares Murat to Ian Huntley, 29 September 2007
Excerpt from interview with Clarence Mitchell Expresso (no online link)
Maria Barbosa
29 September 2007

Q: Whilst you were a journalist following the case of Jessica and Holly in Soham. The children were found dead 2 weeks later. Did you predict the same ending to this case?

A: I thought that by this time she would have been found dead or alive, but an ending similar to the case of Jessica and Holly is possible, I don't want to and can't speak about Robert Murat but some of the journalists that worked with me in Soham, and that were recently in Portugal, saw similarities between the case and Robert Murat, more than this I will not say.

Video clips from RTP1 documentary 'Anatomy of a Mystery'


Very brief clip of Lori Campbell talking about why she reported Robert Murat to the authorities.


Interviewer asks: "Did you know Robert Murat?"
Gerry McCann replies: "I'm not going to comment on that."


Robert Murat speaks briefly about his position.

Tapas Nine 'told police that Murat was man who fled apartment with child in his arms', Daily Mail 16 November 2007
Tapas Nine 'told police that Murat was man who fled apartment with child in his arms' Daily Mail
Last updated at 14:26 16 November 2007
Two friends of the McCanns told police they saw British expatriate Robert Murat carrying a child away from the couple's apartment the night Madeleine vanished, it was claimed yesterday.
Russell O'Brien and Jane Tanner allegedly identified Mr Murat, 33, during a face-to-face meeting between him, the McCanns and the rest of the so-called Tapas Nine in May, before he was named as an official suspect, Portuguese daily 24 horas claimed.
The McCanns' spokesman dismissed the report as "laughable".
The couple have said they do not remember ever meeting Mr Murat, who denies any involvement in Madeleine's disappearance.
Miss Tanner, 37, has told police she saw a man carrying a child away from the apartment, but never saw his face. Her partner Dr O'Brien, 36, has never claimed he saw a man carrying a child that night.
But an insider told the paper: "They were all placed in the same room and two people that left the restaurant pointed to Robert Murat.
"They said he was the person they saw next to the apartment where Madeleine was sleeping around the time the alarm was raised about her disappearance."
The tabloid added: "24 horas has learnt that the friends who accused Murat are Jane Tanner and Russell O'Brien.
"They clearly stated, during the face-to-face meeting, they thought it was him who was carrying a child in his arms.
"This is the same couple said to have indicated to Portuguese public prosecutors they intend altering their statements after it was made public that they could become official suspects."
Quoting a separate source, 24 horas added: "We know that Robert Murat was next to the apartment, he was pointed out by two witnesses and he is a friend of the McCanns."
Last night Francisco Pagarete, Murat's lawyer dismissed the claims as rubbish.
He said: "They are lies. "My client doesn't know the McCanns and the day Madeleine disappeared, he was at home with his mum.
"We are going to prove this is the case." Criticising Portuguese authorities over their decision not to clear Murat immediately and making him wait until next May to see the case files against him, he added:
"We're unhappy that we'll only be able to see the files next May and be in a position to defend ourselves."
Mystery has surrounded the identity of the two McCann holiday pals alleged to want to change statements they gave police soon after Madeleine disappeared.
Respected Spanish newspaper El Mundo, which made the initial claims, carried quotes from an unnamed lawyer for one of the Tapas Nine this week complaining his client was terrified about speaking out because of the political support for the McCanns.
Portuguese police believe the McCanns and their friends are hiding the truth and fear they may never solve the case if they do not break an alleged pact of silence.
The claim Jane Tanner and her partner fingered Murat early on in the investigation - and now want to change their statements - will fuel further speculation he is being made a scapegoat.
Jane Tanner helped police produce an E-fit of a man she claimed to have seen runhing away from their Ocean Club holiday complex with a child in a blanket.
Today's claim that she identified Murat as that man comes amid reports police are preparing to make her and three other members of the Tapas Nine official suspects because of inconsistencies in their original statements.
Murat has always protested his innocence and police have found no DNA evidence linking him to Madeleine's disappearance despite searching the home in the Algarve resort of Praia da Luz he shares with mum Jennifer and digging up their garden.
The McCanns have rubbished suggestions they are pressuring their friends into lying and claims any of the Tapas Nine want to change their statements.
They insist Madeleine was kidnapped by an intruder and possibly taken across the border into Spain by someone working to the orders of a paedophile gang.
Police allegedly failed to send blankets, pillows and mattresses from the McCanns' apartment in Praia da Luz for forensic testing.
A source at Portugal's National Institute of Legal Medicine said: "We were only sent a few forensic traces for DNA testing.
"It would have been good if they had sent us the blankets, pillows and even the mattress where the girl was sleeping.
"We might have found some important clues on them and not just hairs, which was what was sent to the institute.
"Speaking hypothetically, there could have been fibres belonging to an abductor, or even a fingerprint." Several items in the apartment are thought to have been cleaned by staff at the Ocean Club days after Maddie's disappearance.
The McCanns and their friends are also believed to have damaged vital evidence when they were walking round the crime scene before police arrived.
A police source said: "When we returned to the apartment more than 24 hours after the girl vanished, half of the evidence had already disappeared."

Charlotte Pennington claims sighting of Murat, 03 December 2007
I saw Murat at Maddie flat The Sun

in Praia da Luz

Published: 03 Dec 2007

A NANNY at the holiday complex where Madeleine McCann vanished claims she saw suspect Robert Murat there on the fateful night, it emerged yesterday.

Charlotte Pennington, 20, is one of three witnesses who could blow apart the oddball’s alibi that he was home with his mum.

They have told private detectives hired by Maddie's parents they saw a man just like Murat walking on the road outside the McCann apartment on the night she disappeared.

Charlotte — a childminder at the Ocean Club in Praia da Luz, Portugal — challenged expat Murat, 34, the next day. He denied being near the scene. Charlotte said he clammed up when she tried to grill him further.

Days later she and five fellow nannies saw Murat again in a supermarket. He was talking to a mystery man who bore an uncanny likeness to a sketch of a suspect cops were seeking.

Charlotte is said to have told private investigators from Spain's Metodo 3 agency the man was "between 27 and 35, with medium build, very dark eyes and a Portuguese or Spanish look".

The other two witnesses, both tourists, gave detailed, independent statements. A Portuguese newspaper said: "The mystery man was seen by the babysitters in Faro airport on May 13 when they returned to England. As soon as she arrived in the UK, Charlotte reported it to cops, who passed the information to the Policia judiciaria."

Murat has always maintained that when Maddie, four, disappeared on May 3, he was at home with his mother Jenny, 71.

Charlotte said she saw him near the McCanns' holiday flat at around midnight. Yesterday it was claimed police used Murat as a translator — giving him access to the crime scene — as he was a long-time informant.

Murat present during PJ questioning, Sky News 17 December 2007
Madeleine Suspect Police Interview Claim Sky News
Updated: 11:11, Monday December 17, 2007
Portuguese police allowed Madeleine McCann suspect Robert Murat to sit in on interviews with members of the so-called Tapas Seven, it has been claimed.
Newspaper reports suggest detectives let Mr Murat act as a translator during interviews with friends of Kate and Gerry McCann who were dining with the couple on the night their daughter disappeared.
Days later the 33-year-old was named as an "arguido", or official suspect.
The Daily Mirror said Mr Murat was allegedly present during the interviews of Rachael Oldfield and Dianne Webster.
However, a source close to the McCanns said it was understood that although Mr Murat did attend Ms Webster's questioning, he was not present when Mrs Oldfield was with police.
The McCanns' spokesman Clarence Mitchell said: "We can't comment on anything that's contained within the police file and clearly records of interviews and who attended them make up part of that file.
"Any serious questions to be answered about the way the original interviews were conducted or who attended them will be central to our own private investigation, and the detectives who have been employed on our behalf will be looking into that."

Maddie Suspect 'Helped Cops Quiz McCann Pals', 17 December 2007
Maddie Suspect 'Helped Cops Quiz McCann Pals' Daily Record
Dec 17 2007
MADELEINE McCann kidnap suspect Robert Murat is said to have helped police interview two of the so-called Tapas Seven.
Murat, 33, was allegedly present as official translator when Portuguese detectives quizzed Rachael Oldfield and Dianne Webster.
The two were among the friends who dined with Kate and Gerry McCann on the night Madeleine vanished.
Just days after the interviews, British expat Murat was made an arguido or official suspect.
A friend of the McCanns said yesterday it "beggared belief" that police let him sit in on interviews.
The friend added: "It's yet another example of the ridiculous way things were handled early in the investigation.
"At that stage, Murat was not an arguido and was apparently part of the police process, albeit on the fringes as an interpreter.
"With hindsight, it almost beggars belief for a man who a couple of days later was declared an arguido to be able to listen to witnesses discussing the case in minute detail."
The McCanns' spokesman Clarence Mitchell said: "It is a matter that our investigators are working to get to the bottom of."
Sources say Murat translated for Mrs Oldfield, 36, when she was questioned at Portimao police station.
His lawyer Francisco Pagarete yesterday denied this but said Murat had translated for Mrs Webster in police interviews.
He added: "He helped the police translate for one person only - the elderly lady. He was not involved any more."
Note: This article has since been removed by the Daily Mirror but still appears on the Daily Record site.
We now know that Robert Murat did not translate any of the Tapas Seven's first interviews on 04 May 2007.

Murat recommended as translator by diplomatic staff, 18 December 2007

Murat recommended as translator by British diplomatic staff Gazeta Digital


Staff from Bill Henderson's office suggested the name of Robert Murat as a reliable translator who could be used in the police inquiry, the days following Madeleine McCann disappearance.

Murat was already known among diplomatic staff, as he had recommendation letters from Norfolk Police, where he worked for Bernard Matthews, one of the largest poultry farm companies in UK, which employs hundreds of Portuguese workers.

The fact that Robert Murat has acted, before, as translator for Norfolk Police, and the recommendation issued by Bill Henderson's office, at the time the British consul in Algarve, took police to accept the suggestion, according to PJ sources.

After Murat was named a formal suspect, Police went through all translations he has done, checking its accuracy, but no problem was found, according to the same sources.

Bill Henderson retired from his diplomatic post and went back to UK in August.

Murat's alibi 'blown apart' claims The Sun, 28 December 2007
Murat alibi blown apart The Sun
From Veronica Lorraine in Praia da Luz
Published: 28 Dec 2007
TWO new witnesses have emerged to blow apart suspect Robert Murat's alibi on the night Maddie went missing.
Sisters Annie Catherine Wiltshire and Jayne Jensen, both from Kent, claim to have seen the one-eyed oddball lurking outside apartment 5A on May 3.
This brings the total of people who believe they saw the 34-year-old on the tragic night to EIGHT - despite his claims he spent the evening at home with his mum Jenny.
Murat denies any involvement in Maddie's disappearance.
Portuguese newspaper Diario De Noticias reported today that the English sisters' suspicions were aroused when they saw Murat walk past them the day after the four-year-old disappeared.
They had remembered seeing him by the Ocean Club apartment the night before, when a search for the vanished tot was launched just after 10pm.
The paper claims that as he passed them on May 4, they asked him for a drink and Jayne reported his behaviour as 'strange'.
Murat, who was wearing a blue t-shirt and jeans, told them he needed to go home to change out of his clothes as he had been wearing them all day.
But Jayne, 54, claimed she distinctly remembers him wearing a totally different outfit - 'a different shirt and gray trousers, just moments before.'
The sisters, who travelled out to Portugal on April 21, and were staying nearby, had passed on the information they had to Leicestershire police when they returned to the UK from holiday.
But after several publicity appeals by Kate and Gerry, they decided to get in direct contact with the McCann's Spanish detective agency Metodo 3.
A source close to the investigation said: "We are extremely grateful for them for getting the information to us.
"They did make attempts early on to pass this information on through the official system, but in the end they got frustrated and contacted us directly.
"They had made efforts to get their story into the official chain. But they felt nothing was being done."
The source said the pair were not interviewed in Portugal by police because they had not stayed in the same Ocean Club complex as the McCanns.
They added: "They were staying independently near the Ocean Club so were not on any police list of residents there.
"They are amongst some of the new information that has come out in recent weeks, after our new push for just this sort of person, this sort of independent traveller, to come forward.
"More significantly from the investigation's point of view, they put Murat in the area on the night."
The new evidence comes just days after Kate and Gerry, both 39, launched an emotional Christmas television appeal - pleading for fresh information on their missing daughter.
And it comes on the back of seven other independent witness sightings of ex-pat Murat.
Earlier this month, The Sun revealed how Metodo 3 had interviewed Ocean Club nanny Charlotte Pennington, 20, who claimed she saw Murat near the Praia da Luz apartment at midnight on the night Maddie disappeared.
The nanny, from Leatherhead, Surrey, was so convinced it was him, she challenged him twice, but he 'clammed up.'
The next time she saw Murat, who was made an official suspect on May 14, he was helping Portuguese cops with translations.
She told detectives that when she and two colleagues were interviewed, the policeman spoke perfect English, but Murat stayed in the interview anyway.
And at the end of the questioning, she said Murat handed over his mobile phone number to another nanny Kirsty Mayran and told them: "When you see something strange, call me."
Two other independent holiday-makers have also told the detectives they saw Murat near the scene of the crime on the night.
Their accounts directly contradict his alibi that he was inside villa Casa Liliana, that he shares with his 71-year-old mother, who has corroborated his story, and that he did not learn of the disappearance until the next morning.
Three of the couple's friends who were dining with them that night, Fiona Payne, Rachael Oldfield and Russell O'Brien, also claim to have seen Murat in the hours after the four-year-old vanished.
And in the last few weeks, angry members of the Tapas Nine have condemned Portuguese cops for letting Murat "infiltrate" the hunt for Maddie.
He sat in on police interviews with vital witnesses including the Tapas 7, and recruitment consultant Rachael Oldfield, 36, is said to be outraged cops used Murat as interpreter for her interview.
The interview gave Murat access to details of the crime and an early warning of what was said.

With thanks to Nigel at McCann Files


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