Daily Express (link whooshed)
Madeleine: British Odd-Job Man Quizzed
Sat 12 January 2008
By Nick Fagge in Praia da Luz
A British gardener and odd-job man has been questioned by police
investigating Madeleine McCann’s disappearance after a tip-off
named him as a suspect. An anonymous email sent to Portuguese
detectives claimed that Daniel Groom was spotted lurking in an
alley close to the McCanns’ apartment on the night Madeleine
vanished. It said Groom bears a striking resemblance to the
person seen carrying a child away from the Ocean Club holiday
complex in Praia da Luz that night.
Groom, 30, does have access to the complex because of his
gardening duties. But he told the Daily Express yesterday that
he was being set up. Speaking at his home just outside Praia da
Luz, Groom, originally from Horsham, West Sussex, said: "I think
I am being framed. I am the victim of a smear campaign by
someone with a grudge against me. I’m just a gardener and can
easily account for my movements that day. I wasn’t anywhere near
the Ocean Club complex."
Groom was questioned informally by two Portuguese detectives on
Thursday. He said: "On Tuesday I was followed by two uniformed
police as I drove from my home to meet friends for drinks.
During the week two detectives had arrived in town and begun
asking friends about my whereabouts. I rang them after they left
a message with a friend. I met them in a car park in Praia da
Luz. Their English wasn’t perfect and neither is my Portuguese
so I brought along a mate who can speak both."
"They were two detectives from the Lisbon area, a good cop and a
bad cop. One guy was quite small and smoked a cigar. The other
guy was really fat, wore girly sunglasses and kept looking
around him all the time. The small guy told me to take off my
cap and sunglasses and took a photo of me."
Groom, who moved to Portugal 11 years ago, was questioned for
about an hour. He was shown a copy of the email linking him to
Madeleine’s disappearance on May 3 last year.
The message read:
'Is it a coincidence that this man started working as a gardener
in the area and a child went missing' Maybe he walked through
the car park at the front of the McCanns’ apartment and a little
way down the dark alley between the two buildings where he could
see and probably hear that the McCanns were there. After that
maybe he listened at the window of the McCanns’ apartment for
any sign that someone such as a babysitter was there. No
television…nothing. Did this man initially see the McCanns and
Madeleine whilst working on an empty apartment/villa and note
that the children were left alone' Did he then come back to
watch the McCanns when it was dark and not during daylight
Groom said he was shocked by the email. "I told the police it
was all complete rubbish. After speaking in the car park we
drove to the Ocean Club. The detectives pointed out a place
where I was supposed to have been seen. Hand on my heart, I have
never been in that back corridor. After a few minutes they said
they thought it was all bullsh*t. They said if they needed to
talk to me again they would, but they thought they were barking
up the wrong tree."