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Maddie: Hunt for scarface

Original Source: SUN: THURSDAY 07 MAY 2009
Published: Today

THREE witnesses saw a scary weirdo who may have masterminded the abduction of Madeleine McCann, it was revealed last night.

The ugly suspect, who has a big nose and thin pock-marked face, was seen watching the holiday apartment from which Maddie was snatched.

The three witnesses

Witness 1: THE YOUNG MUM
She first saw the "unnerving2 suspect loitering outside the holiday complex on April 29

Three days later — the day before Maddie disappeared — she noticed him again near the McCanns’ apartment.

She said: “He appeared to be watching it. He was about 5ft 10in, slim build and casual clothes, probably jeans.”


THE 12-year-old local was on her way to school on April 30 when she spotted the mystery man gazing at the holiday flat.

She remembers seeing him again at lunchtime on May 2.

The youngster said: “He was standing on the road opposite the Ocean Club and he was staring at the apartment.”


Witness 3: THE TOURIST


A BRITISH holidaymaker recalls seeing the man standing beside a wall near the complex on the morning of May 2 or May 3. A white van was on the opposite side of the road.

She said: “As I walked past him, I looked at him and, for a split second, we had eye contact.

But then he just carried on staring at the apartment


The chilling artist’s impressions were pieced together from statements made by the three to Portuguese police.

The sightings, said by one witness to be “unnerving,” were never linked by the cops.

But Maddie’s parents Kate and Gerry realised the significance of them as they ploughed through the 30,000 pages of police files about their daughter’s disappearance.

They told their private investigation team, who re-interviewed the witnesses and came up with the image.

Last night the McCanns’ spokesman Clarence Mitchell said: “This man needs to be traced urgently.

“The witnesses did talk to the Portuguese police but it appears that nothing was done to find him. He is a vital part of the jigsaw.

Kate and Gerry believe the testimony is critically important but has not had the attention it deserves.”

The existence of the witnesses and the gawping weirdo will be highlighted in a Channel 4 documentary tonight entitled Cutting Edge: Madeleine Was Here.

It will also show for the first time a reconstruction of the night Maddie was taken from the apartment in Praia da Luz, Portugal, on May 3, 2007 — just before her fourth birthday.

And it features the moment when Jane Tanner — one of the Tapas Seven who dined with Kate and Gerry on the night Maddie vanished — saw a man hurrying away from the Ocean Club flat with a little girl in his arms.

He is NOT the same man as the one in the artist’s impression, suggesting a team of kidnappers may have

 been at work.

WITNESS ONE was a young mum on holiday in the resort, who twice saw the pock-marked suspect acting


The first time was around 8am on April 29 2007.

She said: “I was walking along the road with my daughter. I grabbed her hand and pulled her towards me because for some reason the man unnerved me.”

She next saw him the day before Maddie was snatched.

She said: “He was standing on the opposite side of the road to the apartment. I would describe him as very ugly, pitted skin with a large nose.”

WITNESS TWO was a 12-year-old girl who lives in Praia da Luz. She first saw the suspect on April 30 at 8.15am as she walked to a bus stop.

She said: “The man seemed to be looking at the balcony of the ground floor apartment. He was wearing a black jacket and leaning against the wall.”

She spotted him doing the same again at 12.25pm on May 2.

WITNESS THREE, a tourist from Cheshire, saw the suspect either on May 2 or May 3 at around 11.30am.

The woman, who was on holiday with her husband, said: “I paid particular attention to him because he appeared to be focused on watching the apartment block.”

The McCanns believe Portuguese cops made no effort to find him.

In the documentary former detective inspector David Edgar, the private investigation chief, tells Kate he believes tracing the suspect is vital.

He talks about the sightings and says: “It’s got to be the same person.” He adds he is convinced the family was being watched.

The programme also reveals a family group from Ireland may have seen the man carrying a girl 40 minutes after he was spotted by Jane Tanner.

Mr Edgar says: “When the man saw the family he appeared furtive, veered off to one side and carried on walking. We need to find out who this person was.”

A statement made to Portuguese cops by the head of the family, Martin Smith, said: “The girl was about four. She looked like my granddaughter — blonde hair, pale white skin, typically British.

“The man didn’t look like a tourist. I can’t explain why. It was probably from his clothes.”

The documentary opens with a tearful Kate, 41, explaining publicly for the first time how she found her daughter gone.


There is a poignant shot of Maddie’s bed, with her Cuddle Cat toy and pink “blankie” still on it.

Kate says: “I knew straight away that she’d been taken.”

The mum also tells how she could not bear to go back to Portugal with Gerry to film the reconstruction. She says: “I think it’s actually going through the scenario of that night, seeing Gerry that distraught really and sobbing and on the floor.”

Towards the end of the programme Kate and Gerry, 40, are shown in America at the National Centre for Missing and Exploited Children.

They are studying the recently-released image of how Maddie would look now aged six.

As they drive away from the centre Kate sobs and says: “It’s a very emotional thing really to see my daughter in a different way to how I can remember.”

Mr Mitchell last night revealed there had been 30 new possible sightings of Maddie since the McCanns appeared on Oprah Winfrey’s TV show in America on Monday.

The FindMadeleine hotline has been swamped by hundreds of calls and thousands have visited the website


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