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New hole blown in cops' case

Original Source: SUN: FRIDAY 21 SEPTEMBER 2007
From NICK PARKER Chief Foreign Correspondent in Praia da Luz
September 21, 2007
THE exact words Kate McCann yelled moments after Madeleine vanished were revealed for the first time yesterday.

A witness told how the frantic mum ran back to the tapas bar where she had been dining with pals shouting: “Madeleine’s gone, Madeleine’s gone!”

The account blows yet another hole in the crumbling police case against embattled Kate and husband Gerry.

Portuguese cops claim she screamed: “They’ve taken her, they’ve taken her!”

Their version suggests Kate cunningly implied from the outset that the three-year-old had been abducted from the family’s holiday apartment in Praia da Luz.

Detectives in the Algarve are still pursuing the theory that Kate accidentally killed her daughter with an overdose of sedatives and Gerry helped hide the body.

And they believe GP Kate’s first words signalled the start of a clever cover-up.

But the British witness yesterday insisted Kate used entirely different words as she ran from Maddie’s empty bed in a blind panic.

The 36-year-old woman — who asked not to be identified — insisted Kate looked so distraught it would have been impossible for her to have killed the tot just a few hours earlier.

Other witnesses have already described how the McCanns looked perfectly relaxed and normal when dining at the Ocean Club tapas bar. They laughed and joked with friends — at a time when police suggest they had just killed Madeleine.

The source also provided crucial new information which could switch the focus of the Maddie hunt back to original suspect Robert Murat.

She revealed for the first time that the man spotted carrying a child by the McCanns’ holiday pal Jane Tanner was heading in the direction of the home Murat, 33, shares with mother Jenny, 71.

Previous reports had said Tanner had seen the man heading towards the seafront. Murat has always denied any involvement in Maddie’s disappearance.

Police were reported to have reached an “impasse” in the case yesterday.

Portuguese newspaper Diario de Noticias said sources suggested detectives may now be returning to the theory that Madeleine was abducted.

Prosecutor Luis Bilro Verao announced on Wednesday that no new evidence had emerged to justify questioning the McCanns again.

Gerry and Kate, both 39, were said to be “encouraged” by the news after months of torment since Madeleine went missing on May 3.

The couple, who held six hours of talks with their lawyers in London yesterday, were allowed to go home to Rothley, Leics, almost two weeks ago.

But they remain formal suspects — or “arguidos” — and could be grilled again if significant fresh evidence is found. Sources in Portugal, however, were yesterday still leaking damaging new claims.

One rubbished theories that DNA linked to Maddie found in the McCanns’ Renault Scenic hire car could have come from the dirty nappies of the couple’s two-year-old twins Sean and Amelie.

Forensics expert Antonio Amorim said: “A person’s DNA has great diversity. It’s completely different even between siblings.”

And in a bizarre twist, a Dutch criminal who runs a pet cremation service using a furnace behind his mountain home was yesterday quizzed over the case.

Ex-terrorist Eef Hoos, 61, who was jailed for planting bombs in Holland but now lives in the Algarve, said cops swooped on his remote villa and asked if he had met the McCanns.

The oddball said: “Three men were taking pictures. They asked me three times if I had spoken to the parents. I said I had not. They asked about the furnace.”

Cops have also questioned the Catholic priest who befriended the McCanns in Portugal after Maddie vanished. Father Jose Pacheco was asked why he gave them the keys to his church — and is thought to have been asked if they made a confession.

But a friend of the priest said last night: “He would never violate the secret of confession.”

A Portuguese police source yesterday accused the McCanns of stoking up a political furore over the case to create a smokescreen.

THIRTY travel agents are being treated to an all-expenses paid trip to the Mark Warner resort where Maddie went missing to boost bookings. Mark Warner boss Justin Coles said: “We felt we could begin to move forward and help travel agents sell the resort once more.


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