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Original Source:  Express: 23 September 2012
Sunday September 23,2012  By James Murray

Original Headline


Madeleine McCann vanished from her apartment in Portugal five years ago

A KEY witness with potentially vital ­evidence about the disappearance of Madeleine McCann has just been interviewed by a Scotland Yard detective on the cold case review team. 


Recruitment company boss Graham MacKenzie thinks he knows the spot from which the McCanns’ holiday apartment could have been kept under surveillance. 

He identified a first-floor stairway balcony opposite the apartment to Portuguese police hours after Madeleine disappeared and even asked officers to pick up four ­cigarette butts that could have been left by someone watching the apartment.


However, the officers let cleaners sweep away the butts, which could have held ­crucial samples of DNA from saliva.

Scotland Yard has scrutinised Mr ­MacKenzie’s original police statement and has just interviewed him again.


Father of two Mr MacKenzie, 40, said last night: “I worry that the trail has gone cold after all this time. The stairwell was the perfect vantage point as it was opposite the McCanns’ apartment and, I believe, there was a clear view of the tapas bar where the group was eating, and the side entrance to the apartment. 


“When I noticed the butts on the floor of the little balcony I became suspicious. Clearly someone had been there for some time smoking. I didn’t touch them but I spoke to Portuguese officers and asked them to take them for forensic analysis.


“No attempt was made to seal off the area and then I couldn’t believe it when the police let cleaners sweep them up. I was so angry at the time and I am still angry about it now. It was sheer police incompetence.


“Those butts could have provided the breakthrough in the case but I couldn’t get the police to listen to me. If the same situation happened abroad again I would sweep the butts up into a bag myself and insist they are kept for analysis.” 


Mr MacKenzie was staying at the Ocean Club resort at Praia da Luz on the Algarve in May 2007 with his then pregnant wife Corinne and their young son and had seen the McCann family, who were at the same resort, in passing.


On the night of May 3, 2007, when Madeleine disappeared from apartment 5A, Mr MacKenzie heard shouting and went out to help look for the three year old, who was thought to have wandered off.


Back in the UK, he contacted Crimestoppers after reading a story in the Sunday Express and gave a statement to Leicestershire Police in December 2007.


In it, he said that he noticed the balcony the day after Madeleine disappeared when he and his family were moved to an apartment opposite 5A for a few hours to wait for their flight home to East Sussex.


“I don’t think anybody had thought to look in that stairway and balcony,” he said.


“Anyone walking past could have access to the stairwell. The apartments there had lovely bay balconies at the front, so if you wanted to smoke that is where you go, not in the stairwell.


“I would urge anyone who may have seen someone acting suspiciously to contact the police, especially if they saw someone in a stairway balcony.” The Home Office is spending several million pounds on the Operation Grange review.


On their findmadeleine website last week Kate and Gerry McCann said they were still hoping for a vital breakthrough in finding their daughter and were “really encouraged” by the Met review.


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