significant witness in the hunt for Maddie McCann has withdrawn her statement according to Portuguese newspaper reports.
Jane Tanner, 37, who had said
she saw the man who took Maddie on the night of her disappearance has
withdrawn her statement, 24 Horas claims.
She has told Portuguese
authorities she can no longer be sure the man she saw was carrying
According the the respected
newspaper 'Jane Tanner saw a man but cannot say with precision what he was
Jane, one of the so-called
Tapas Nine, had given detectives a detailed description of a man she saw,
close to the ground floor corner apartment where the McCanns were staying on
the night of her disappearance. She told them he was carrying a child
wearing pink pyjamas -- the same thing Maddie was wearing that night.
Based on her account, the
McCanns produced an artist's impression of the man, in the hope that it
might jog the memory of other holidaymakers.
The information was also used
by police and private detectives employed by the McCann's in the search for
The leaked story will be a
massive blow to Kate and Gerry McCann as they try to renew the search for
their daughter nearly a year after her disappearance.
The pair were already
considering pulling out of plans to return to Portugal to help
the events around their daughter Madeleine's disappearance amid a furious
row over leaked interviews.
The McCanns believe transcripts
of statements they gave to detectives in the hours after their daughter went
missing on May 3 last year were deliberately slipped to the media by the
The excerpts include the
disclosure that Madeleine and her brother Sean apparently woke up crying the
night before the three-year-old's disappearance, but her parents did not
hear her as they were in a nearby restaurant.
The interviews disclosed that
Madeleine asked Kate, 39, at breakfast on May 3: "Mummy, why didn't you come
when we were crying last night?"
The couple are demanding a full
internal investigation from the Portuguese Ministry of Justice into whether
the detail was deliberately passed to a Spanish journalist to "smear" them
on the day they launched a campaign in Brussels for a new Europe-wide child alert
Their local MP Stephen Dorrell
has pledged to raise the matter with the Foreign Office and it is understood
the McCanns' Portuguese lawyers will be protesting to the relevant
Their spokesman Clarence
Mitchell called for the Portuguese government to "get a grip" of the leaks.
It emerged yesterday that Paulo
Rebelo, the detective leading the case, has already flown back to Portugal from the UK - a day earlier than expected.
Mr Mitchell said he hoped this
meant Mr Rebelo had gone back "to crack some skulls".
His team of Portuguese police
has been in the UK
all week sitting in on interviews with the McCanns' friends who were dining
with them at the time of Madeleine's disappearance.