Police were last night investigating whether Madeleine McCann
was watched by her abductors three days before she was snatched.
Detectives have discovered that the McCann family went to the
town of Sagres, on the southern
tip of the
Algarve, on April 30.
A witness has told police that on the same day he saw a
suspicious man following families and photographing children,
including his daughter, a blonde girl "strikingly similar" to
As the footballer David Beckham last night added to the appeals
for help to find Madeleine, missing for eight days, the police
More than a week into their ordeal, Gerry and Kate McCann are
today painfully celebrating Madeleine's fourth birthday in her
absence. A church service is planned and locals will tie yellow
ribbons to trees as a symbol of hope to bring Madeleine back.
Detectives are working on the theory that the abductors may have
seen Madeleine in Sagres and tracked her back to the family
apartment in Praia da Luz, 18 miles away.
Nuno Lorenco, said he saw a man following his family
down the beach and taking "discreet" photographs. He said he
challenged the man, who fled with
a blonde woman in a Renault Clio.
Police have asked the McCanns for all the photographs from the
trip to Sagres, and the rest of their holiday, looking for
suspects in the background.
Among other leads being followed are reports that a blonde woman
was seen acting suspiciously near Madeleine's apartment hours
before she disappeared. Mr and Mrs McCann have been reviewing
their evidence with police in the past 48 hours.
Having spent the week issuing their own appeals, it is the first
time police have informed them of their progress. Mr McCann
spent 10 hours at the police station in Portimao, leaving at 3am
In a statement on behalf of the family, he said yesterday: "We
have now seen at first hand how hard the police are working in
the search for Madeleine and their strong desire to find her.
"We are doing absolutely everything to assist the police with
their investigation and we will leave no stone unturned in the
search for our daughter, Madeleine."
In the past two days police have been reviewing statements and
They are following more than 350 "suspicious sightings". These
include three suspects in a car with British number plates,
captured on CCTV at a nearby petrol station on the night
One witness said he saw them with a girl matching her
Police have now discovered that two of them had earlier been
staying at an apartment in Burgau, the neighbouring resort to
Praia da Luz.
They are described as being in their 40s. The woman had long
blonde hair while the man was said to be tanned.
Both were claimed to have been "discreetly" wandering around in
the area and are believed to have spoken English in a foreign
David Beckham, the Real Madrid footballer, made a television
asking for information.
He held up a missing person poster of Madeleine as he delivered
the appeal. He said: "We need to do everything possible to help