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Madeleine: British Odd-Job Man Quizzed

Original Source:  EXPRESS: SATURDAY 12 JANUARY 2008
Sat 12 January 2008
By Nick Fagge in Praia da Luz

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 hours''

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."


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