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A 2,000-page Portuguese police dossier, containing over 50 alleged sightings of Madeleine, is released
to the UK media
Was this Madeleine? Revealed, the photo files Portuguese police kept secret...
to the fury of the distraught McCanns, 02 March 2010
Was this Madeleine? Revealed, the photo files Portuguese police kept secret... to the fury of
the distraught McCanns Daily Mail
By Arthur Martin Last updated at 10:44 PM on 02nd March 2010
Secret files released yesterday show that Portuguese police dismissed dozens of potential sightings of Madeleine McCann.
Leads from around the world - including CCTV footage from New Zealand of a child looking strikingly like the missing
girl - were filed away under the heading 'not relevant'.
Information that police forces in the United States,
Europe and North Africa considered important was also discarded.
Lead: This CCTV image of a girl strongly resembling Madeleine in a supermarket
in New Zealand was among the leads deemed 'not relevant' by Portugese police None of the files was handed to private investigators working for Madeleine's parents, Gerry and Kate.
Mrs McCann, 41, last night said the disclosure of the secret files was heartbreaking and shocking.
Their existence came to light in a legal action brought by the McCanns against Goncalo Amaral, the disgraced
detective who was in charge of the case.
No follow up: Another CCTV image showing the girl resembling Maddie in the
New Zealand supermarket They had wanted to stop him airing the slur that they had been involved
in their daughter's disappearance.
The leads were all received and archived after Algarve police closed the
case in July 2008.
Madeleine was four when she vanished from the family's holiday apartment in Praia da Luz
in May 2007. Her parents were at a restaurant 80 yards away.
They now have a copy of the 2,000-page dossier which
was published yesterday on the order of a court in Portugal after an application by newspapers including the Daily Mail.
The McCanns are incensed that their private investigators were given no access to the sightings at the time.
Mrs McCann said: 'There are instances where information which we think is very credible and worthy of information has
not been actioned.
'We're gutted, it's absolutely shocking and difficult. Some of the information handed
in was very credible. It's heartbreaking to know that it seems to end there.'
Mr McCann, also 41, was particularly
angered at Inspector Ricardo Paiva, who was responsible for collating any information about Madeleine after the formal investigation
He said: 'Inspector Paiva believes Madeleine is dead. How can he investigate thoroughly if he believes
that? We know now there is a lot of information just filed away - and that is not acceptable. Once the file has been closed,
what has actually been done? Next to nothing.'
The file contains a series of sightings which the McCanns would
have expected to be fully investigated.
The astonishing CCTV footage from New Zealand shows a girl very like Madeleine
being led into a supermarket by a portly man in shorts - seven months after her disappearance.
The man's behaviour
aroused the suspicions of a female security guard in the shop in Dunedin on the South Island and she approached the girl to
establish she was British.
Although the girl said her name was 'Hailey', the security guard was convinced
the girl was Madeleine and reported the incident to police.
Interpol in Wellington then sent the images to police
in Portugal who promptly deemed it 'not relevant'.
Other discarded leads
• A British ex-pat saying he saw a girl being dragged
along a road toward the airport on the night Madeleine disappeared. He had not approached the authorities earlier because
he was wanted for fraud. • A
girl like Madeleine was seen with an unkempt Spanish-looking man in his 30s at a shop near Murcia. The woman witness followed
the girl but the pair vanished. She failed to tell Spanish police until June 2008. •
Another lookalike wearing only a dirty yellow jumper was seen being held at gunpoint
on a French motorway by a half-naked man in August 2008. French lorry driver Michel Guidard walked toward them only to be
threatened with a gun. • Photos
from the internet uncovered by a female French detective were found to show images of sexual abuse which involved a girl resembling
Madeleine. • An account by
a Scottish mother of two who saw a girl who looked like Madeleine with a group of gipsies in Albufeira, Portugal, in July
2008. A woman who was with the girl ran off down the hill with her when two police officers turned up. • Details of a sighting of a girl on October 9, 2008,
with a Portuguese man living in the U.S. He allegedly ran a child trafficking operation smuggling in children from his homeland,
Mexico and Greece.
Clarence Mitchell, spokesman for the McCanns, said: 'They are incredibly frustrated that
this was sitting there and being disregarded by the Portuguese police.
'They were shocked when they saw the
scale of the information that had come in and the lack of action taken.
'There are potential leads in the file
that are now being followed up by our investigators.
'It's more than a pity that the file has just sat
there for so long and simply marked "not relevant" by the Portuguese.
'There are also images in the
file that are strikingly similar to Madeleine and are being looked into.'
McCann could be 12,000 miles away in New Zealand, it was revealed last night.
Police files kept
secret for nearly two years were obtained yesterday by the Daily Star.
They include grainy footage from a supermarket's
CCTV cameras that could show the missing youngster Down Under.
A security guard at the store in Dunedin on New
Zealand’s South Island was convinced the child was Madeleine.
She asked the girl her name and she replied
in a British accent: "Hailey." Then she was led away by a portly man in shorts who grabbed her hand.
security guard was so suspicious she contacted Interpol who sent the images to Portuguese police in July 2008.
because detectives archived the case nearly two years ago, the photos were never released and have been gathering dust in
a 2,000-page case file locked away inside a police HQ in the Algarve resort of Portimao.
The evidence includes
hundreds of sightings, photographs and leads from the US to Hong Kong collected since the investigation was shelved.
Shock revelations include an eyewitness account by a French trucker threatened at gunpoint when he tried to approach a girl
he thought was Madeleine.
There is also a police report about a white Mercedes van that travelled from Portugal
to Morocco by ferry and claims Madeleine was snatched by a US-based Portuguese child trafficker. Some informants suggested
names for those responsible for snatching the child who vanished from her parents' holiday apartment in the Algarve resort
of Praia da Luz on May 3 2007.
The Daily Star has obtained the file by applying to the state prosecutor.
Madeleine's doctor parents Kate and Gerry, both 41, have asked Home Secretary Alan Johnson, 59, to order the case to
be re-opened by a joint team of Portuguese and British detectives.
Last night the McCanns were "extremely
angry" that the file had remained hidden.
Their spokesman Clarence Mitchell said: "They were shocked
when they became aware of the scale of the information that had come in and the lack of action taken.
are potential leads in the file that are now being followed up by our investigators.
"It's more than a
pity that the file has just sat there for so long and simply been marked 'not relevant' by the Portuguese."
Last month the McCanns won a legal action banning future publication of a controversial book about the case by the
former head of the investigation Goncalo Amaral, 49.
They plan to sue him for £1million for defamation.
But they insist the real damage his claims caused was to stop people looking for Madeleine in the belief she might
Daily Star: Maddie sighting was kept secret (paper edition), 03 March 2010
Daily Star, 03 March 2010 (click image to enlarge)
Madeleine McCann: 50 sightings in hunt dismissed, 03 March 2010
DRAMATIC new leads in the hunt for
Madeleine McCann can be made public for the first time today.
More than 50 sightings stretching
from Europe to the US, Hong Kong and New Zealand are contained in a disturbing 2,000-page police document in Portugal.
Much of the information – witness statements, photographs and tip- offs – has not been investigated by
Portuguese authorities who have branded it "irrelevant." Instead the files have been gathering dust in police archives
The file includes astonishing CCTV footage from New Zealand showing a girl identical to Madeleine
and highlighted by a security guard.
The previously unseen images were sent to the Portuguese police by Interpol
in Wellington in July 2008, just as they closed their investigation. A female security guard at a supermarket in Dunedin,
on South Island, thought she saw Madeleine on December 6, 2007.
When she approached the group with her, the youngster
who had a British accent was led away by the hand by a portly man. Attempts to identify the people in the images failed and
the information was passed to the Portuguese. However a hand-written note on the file said: "This has been checked by
PJ and has no relevance to this investigation."
A Leicestershire Police report also told of a British national
named George seen dragging a young girl along a road towards Faro airport on the night Madeleine disappeared. The Briton was
tracked to an address in Praia da Luz but was not interviewed by police.
And the dossier also contains information
about a British van that crossed to Morocco from Spain in the days after the child vanished.
Police traced every
British and Portuguese vehicle that travelled on the ferry between Tarifa to Tangiers between May 1 and 10 2007.
They found one – a white Mercedes box van driven by a British man – had false plates. The route is commonly
used by smugglers trafficking drugs, weapons and people from Africa to Europe and back again. Parents Kate and Gerry McCann
were not told about the potentially crucial information until years after the possible sightings.
The couple, both
41, from Rothley, Leics, were horrified when they learned last month that Portuguese police had not acted on the new information.
The secret dossier was only released following an official request to the state prosecutor in the regional police HQ in Portimao.
A source close to the McCanns said: "They are extremely angry that this file has been sitting in an office collecting
dust. Quite frankly it's an outrage and a disgrace." Their spokesman Clarence Mitchell added: "They are incredibly
frustrated that this was sitting there and being disregarded by the Portuguese police."
"They were shocked
when they saw the scale of the information that had come in and the lack of action taken. There are potential leads in the
file that are now being followed up by our investigators."
"It's more than a pity that the file has
just sat there for so long and simply marked 'not relevant' by the Portuguese. There are also images in the file that
are strikingly similar to Madeleine and are being looked into."
Other sightings in the files include a dramatic
account of a distressed blonde girl being held at gunpoint by a half-naked man in France.
French lorry driver Michel
Guidard told how he saw a youngster like Madeleine wearing a dirty yellow jumper but naked from the waist down at a toll on
the A20 motorway near Paris in August 2008. When the driver went to confront him the man pulled out a handgun and threatened
Other new leads include a sighting in Marrakesh, Morocco, two weeks after Madeleine went missing. Witnesses
contacted police with reports from Gibraltar, Madeira, Turkey, Italy and France in the weeks and months after she vanished.
A girl wearing pyjamas similar to hers was spotted near the Spanish city of Murcia in May 2007. She was with an unkempt
Spanish man at a run-down house, the files show. And holidaymakers in Albufeira, Portugal, told how they saw a girl like Madeleine
with a group of gypsies in July 2008. When approached by police the black-haired woman holding the girl ran off.
Madeleine was almost four when she vanished from the family's holiday apartment in Praia da Luz, Algarve, on May 3,
2007, while her parents were having dinner with friends at a restaurant nearby.
A 2,000 page file has emerged providing evidence that suggests shocking Portuguese police failings in the hunt for Madeleine
Child Protection Expert, Mark Williams-Thomas
picks through the document that contains CCTV photos of Maddie and more than 50 sightings.
By Nigel Moore
Jon Gaunt: Next question I've got for you is this; it's the, errr... Maddie
McCann case. I don't know if you've seen this: 'Unchecked'; 'Unsolved'; 'Portugal cops ignored
clues'. Several sightings of a young girl, especially this one in Mu... errr... this one in New Zealand, looks very much
like her; they ignored it! They ignored it! We'll be talking to a top paedophile expert about this later
in the show, as well. The Portuguese police don't come very... come out very well in this latest report about the
Maddie investigation and no matter what you think about the McCanns, and whether or not they should have left Maddie and the
kids alone in that house that night, you've got to feel for them, haven't you? Two years on, when evidence like this
is coming out. It looks like it was never investigated. I want your views on that, as well. 020 3364 7000.
Jon Gaunt: ...you may want to talk about our next story, as well, which is about
the Madeleine McCann files. If you've seen the paper this morning and, of course, it's all over the news, as well...
the TV news; there's been secret sightings of the lost girl. A 2,000-page file has been buried away, at a police headquarters,
and it's providing real stark evidence of shocking Portuguese failings in the hunt for Madeleine McCann. It includes
CCTV photos of little girls who look like Maddie and hundreds of leads including more than 50 possible sightings. It would
appear the Portuguese didn't actually investigate any of these. Errr... Are we, errr... having a go at a Portuguese
police unnecessary or, you know, is this something they should have done? Let's have a chat with an expert about this,
errr... Mark Williams-Thomas, a ex-paedophile detective, of course, and now a expert in child protection; he joins us now
on the line. Hiya Mark.
Mark Williams-Thomas: Good morning, Jon.
Now, to me, somebody who's not a policeman with no police experience, I look at this story this morning and I go crazy.
I think: 'Hang on, they didn't follow up these leads?'. What do you do as an ex-copper, an ex-investigator, when
you read a story like this?
MWT: Well, Gerry and Kate haven't spoken today but they must be
pulling their hair out, you know, now finding out about this information and we were aware of a certain amount of information
hasn't been followed up but the stark reality of what was being printed in... obviously, in the paper today, just goes
to show the incompetence and, you know, I've used that word before when I've talked about, errr... the Portuguese
and I was obviously out there from the very, very early days and I showed, you know, the fact that they failed to preserve
the crime scene. But the reality is that each and every one of these lines of inquiry is potentially a lead that may enable
you to find what happened to Madeleine, and where she is now. It is... and I refer to this as being the jigsaw puzzle; different
people have different parts of this jigsaw puzzle and what we need to do is pull it together and I'm absolutely shocked,
errm... that the Portuguese police, and the criminal justice system, have discarded some of this information, which might
be quite crucial to the investigation but, if nothing else, certainly should have been followed up on.
Should have been followed up on? Even if they thought she was dead?
MWT: Absolutely. And what
what we've got here is; we've got a centred approach by the investigator and we know that, errr... Goncalo Amaral
has got his focus and line of the inquiry and, errr... the criminal justice system... lets not just focus on him because,
in fact, he's got senior officers, and through the criminal justice system, to say: 'What are the lines of inquiries
we should have been following?'. They've had their line of inquiry and any other information which has come in, outside
of that, they have ignored. Now if... should this... if this inquiry was to take place in the UK, through the senior investigators,
you know, policy book, there would have been a clear policy as to the line of inquiry they were going to be following and
why they were ignoring other lines of inquiry. It is a long time ago...
JG: But that would be
written down, would it, Mark?
MWT: It would be in a policy book in the UK; the senior investigating
officers make a very clear decision process as to the lines of inquiry they're following and why they're following
those lines of inquiries, and the other lines of inquiries that they've chosen not to follow, because at any stage they
could revisit that and certainly, if it comes to a criminal case, when you're in court, the defence might turn round and
say: 'Why didn't you follow this line of inquiry?' and very often the policy book is used to show why they didn't.
JG: So, explain to me then, so you've got a policy book, and they might have had a policy book,
and then if something new comes up, you say: 'Ahh, we'd better have a look at it anyway, even though it goes against
where we're going with the investigation at this point'.
MWT: Well, I think you... one
would put them into different categories, obviously sightings is a slightly different element; what's the likelihood of
her being found in New Zealand, in the open, errm... that period of time afterwards. And I, certainly... walking through the
High Street, errr... you know, in Guildford in the period of time afterwards and I've seen... certainly saw one girl,
who I thought looked like Madeleine, you know; she's fairly common in sight.
JG: Yeah, probably
lots of us felt like that, didn't we? Because we were all looking at one point.
So you put them into one category. But the other category, and the significant ones for me, is certainly in and around that
area in the days or certainly on the... of the day itself, those are significant lines of inquiry. You know, the person with
the gun and as far as the half-shirt top...
JG: Yeah, on the road, yeah...
...you know, because, if nothing else... and what ends up happening in major investigations - and it's always the case
- is you end up detecting other criminal offences that occurred along the way because there are other offences that occurred
that you start to investigate, simply because it might connect with the investigation you've got and you end up then dealing
with those matters or passing them on to somebody else to deal with. But let's get back to the crux of this...
MWT: ...for many, many months now we've been talking about Gerry
and Kate and the focus and line of inquiry has been drifted away. I want to see the line of inquiry focus back on Madeleine.
Madeleine is what is important here. We've got to strike a relationship with the Portuguese. Now sadly, some of the investigators,
errr... that Gerry and Kate have hired haven't formed that relationship and I know that, certainly at one stage, when
I spoke them and said: 'Why are you not dialoguing with the Portuguese police?' and they said: 'Well, they won't
talk to us, you know, we're not bothered to do that'. I think that's very sad and I think what we need to go back
to is through the criminal justice system, through the Ministry in Portugal, and say to them, you know: 'Let's work
together to try and find out where Madeleine is' because somebody out there - even though it's years on - somebody
out there has a piece of that jigsaw and we need to pull it together because Madeleine is... Madeleine was abducted by somebody
and somebody out there has that clue. We've got to find it and the inquiries, such as The Sun, you know, good on them
to... to, errm... uncover this and find this information out. Let's keep the pressure on and say: 'Come on, somebody
JG: So, do we assume from this then, the Portuguese had just made their
minds up very early on that they weren't going to find her?
MWT: Yeah, I mean... I think...
I don't think it was quite that early on because I think in the early stages I do think they thought she ran off. Then
I think they got a point where they thought there could possibly be an abduction and then obviously the line of inquiry focused
towards Gerry and Kate and that was after, you know, a couple of weeks. But... but, as soon as they focused that line of inquiry,
it's very clear - and we know that from the court case recently - is that that is where they focused their line
of inquiry. Any other investigation, any other element, which distract... detracts away from that has been ignored, and that
is not keeping an open mind to an investigation.
JG: Okay, good talking to you, thank you very
MWT: Thanks, Jon.
JG: ...Mark Williams-Thomas, child
protection expert and ex-Scotland Yard detective. What do you make of this? Just how incompetent have the Portuguese police
been? Pick up the phone and give us a call. And you've got to feel, haven't you, this morning, for Kate and Gerry.
Maddie sighting reported to NZ police, 03 March 2010
Wellington - New Zealand police confirmed on Wednesday that they had investigated a report that the missing
British child Madeleine McCann was seen in the South Island city of Dunedin in December 2007.
They said the file
on a young girl seen with a man leaving a retail store, seven months after McCann vanished from her family's holiday apartment
in Portugal, remained open.
The file was sent to Interpol, but Portuguese police in charge of the investigation
had not asked their New Zealand counterparts to follow it up, Inspector David Campbell said.
images showed a child who was said to have "had the appearance" of Madeleine McCann. But police had been "unable
to obtain any further information or ongoing lines of inquiry", Campbell said.
According to the British newspaper
the Daily Mail, the man's behaviour aroused the suspicions of a female security guard in the Dunedin shop and she approached
the girl to inquire about her identity.
The girl said her name was Hailey, but the security guard believed she
was actually Madeleine and reported the incident to police.
The report was deemed "not relevant" in a
file of a series of sightings from around the world made public by Portugese police, according to the Daily Mail.
It said the leads were all received and archived after police in Algarve, Portugal, closed the case in July 2008. - Sapa-dpa
New Zealand Police: Media Statement, 03 March 2010
Dunedin Police say that they did
receive information from a member of the public who believed she saw Madeleine McCann in a Dunedin retail outlet in December
Acting Southern District Commander, Inspector David Campbell, said police spoke with the informant to establish
what had been seen and sought pictures from the retailer involved.
A report was filed by an attending officer and
police worked closely with the retailer to start an inquiry and obtained security footage of the child, who had the appearance
of Madeleine McCann, and the family with her.
Hard copies of the security pictures were given to police. Police
then requested electronic copies but these were not available.
Police were unable to obtain any further information
or ongoing lines of inquiry.
The file was forwarded to Interpol and this is correct procedure under international
agreements. The lead jurisdiction, in this case, Portugal, directs how the case progresses and has not asked NZ Police for
any follow-up to date.
The file has remained open ever since, Inspector Campbell said.
Woman talks about possible McCann sighting, 03 March 2010
Published: 10:35PM Wednesday March 03, 2010 Source: ONE News
The woman who made a sighting
in New Zealand of what she believes was missing British girl Madeleine McCann, has spoken exclusively to ONE News.
Taryn Dryfhout was working as a checkout operator at Warehouse store in south Dunedin in late 2007 when a family of
a man, a woman and a boy and girl came to the checkout.
"I was stricken by the wee girl who looked just like
Madeleine McCann," she says.
Dryfhout spoke with the woman who had an English accent, and then spoke to the
"She had an English accent as well and she told me that her name was Hayley and was quite apprehensive...and
sort've stammered over her words when she was trying to think of her name," says Dryfhout.
just very shy and afraid."
Madeleine vanished from her room at the Portuguese resort of Praia da Luz on May
3, 2007, just days before her fourth birthday.
Despite a global search effort, she has not been found.
Dryfhout described the man and woman with the child as "a little bit suspicious".
"I spoke to
the woman only, not the man, and she seemed like she would rather I that I wasn't speaking to her. She sort've tried
to keep ending the conversation...she was just in a little bit of a hurry to get out I think."
the woman as being "bigger" with short blond hair. She cannot remember the details of the man very well, and says
the boy was older than the girl, perhaps 12 years old.
A short time after approaching the girl and her parents,
Dryfhout contacted her manager and the police.
She says after the store handed over security camera footage she
never heard anything more, until Wednesday.
Information just released by a Portuguese court shows Dryfhout's
possible sighting and dozens of others were filed away by Portuguese police and not investigated.
Daily Mail reports the McCann family is shocked and angry to hear for the first time of the now possible sighting dating back
two years, and has labelled the footage of the child as "striking".
Dunedin police say they followed
correct procedure and said in a statement it was "unable to obtain any further information or ongoing lines of inquiry",
and that the file remains open.
Now, two years after the footage was handed over, police have once again spoken
to Dryfhout, asking her to remember details about the sighting of the girl she believes was Madeleine.
started asking me questions I should have been asked at the time. They asked me things like 'how had the family paid for
their purchase?'...and they wanted quite detailed descriptions of the people."
Dryfhout says she often
thinks about the sighting, especially when it resurfaces in the news, and wonders if things would have been different if it
had been handled differently.
She says it did not occur to her at the time to go to the media with what she had
"I guess I thought that the police would take a long time with the inquiry because it's an
overseas issue, and it was quite a few weeks before I realised that I wasn't going to hear anything at all."
Dryfhourt says her own attempts to find Madeleine McCann's parents were unsuccessful, though she did leave a message
through a website that appeared to be connected to the family.
She says it is disappointing that her possible sighting
was not followed through.
"I absolutely believe it was her. I have no doubt in my mind."
ONE NEWS Exclusive... the woman who believes she sighted missing girl Madeleine McCann in a Dunedin supermarket
NZ police defend inaction on McCann sighting, 03 March 2010
New Zealand police have defended their lack of action over a possible
sighting of missing British girl Madeleine McCann, saying they were never asked to do anything.
David Campbell said all details of the December 2007 sighting were passed to Interpol and no instructions came back for a
A girl matching the description of the then four-year-old Madeleine was seen entering
a supermarket in the southern New Zealand city of Dunedin five months after Madeleine disappeared from her family's holiday
apartment in Portugal.
Details of the incident emerged Wednesday when British newspapers reported that a dossier
from Portuguese police, containing a series of sightings from around the world that were never investigated, had been released
to the media following an application to a Portuguese court.
The files included security camera footage of a girl
"very like" Madeleine being led into the supermarket by a "portly man in shorts".
behaviour aroused the suspicions of a security guard who approached the girl to establish whether she was British.
Although the girl said her name was Hailey, the security guard was convinced she was Madeleine and informed the police.
Inspector Campbell, the regional police commander, said police took the footage of the child - who had the appearance
of Madeleine - and the family with her and forwarded it to Interpol.
"The lead jurisdiction, in this case
Portugal, directs how the case progresses and it has not asked NZ police for any follow-up to date," Inspector Campbell
said, adding that the NZ file remained open.
The dossier released to British newspapers showed information which
police in the United States, Europe and North Africa considered important was also discarded.
Gerry and Kate were reported to be "gutted" and "incensed" that their private investigators were not given
access to the information, The Daily Mail reported.
"There are instances where information which we think
is very credible and worthy of information has not been actioned," Kate McCann said.