McCann: New lead.
A GIRL who vanished just a few miles from where Madeleine McCann
disappeared was sold to child traffickers, a Portuguese court will be
told next week.
Joana Cipriano was just eight when she vanished on September 12,
2004, from the village of Figueira, near Portimao in the Algarve.
Her mother Leonor and uncle Joao Cipriano were jailed for 16
years for her murder. But Leonor, who is fighting to overturn her
conviction, will put her case to a Portuguese court this week
Her sensational allegations raise the possibility that a child
smuggling ring was active in the area and could have also snatched
Madeleine from her apartment in Praia da Luz on May 2007.
Leonor’s partner Antonio Silva says Joao Cipriano confessed in
May last year that he was solely responsible for Joana’s disappearance
because he wanted to sell her to raise money to fund his addiction to
Mr Silva’s statement, seen by the Sunday Express, says : “The
police always refused to investigate the many rumours in Figueira that
criminals would be tempted to buy the girl. ”
British criminologist and child protection expert Mark
Williams-Thomas called for Joana’s case to be reopened and for an
investigation to see if it was linked to Madeleine’s disappearance.