The father of Madeleine McCann has described the sighting
of a man seen on the night of her disappearance as being
"significant" to his daughter's case.
Gerry McCann said he and his wife Kate welcomed the release of the
information by the Portuguese police.
He said the sighting of a man "with what appeared to be a child in
his arms" was both "significant and relevant to Madeleine's
The man is said to be white, 5ft 10ins, medium build with short
He was seen on the night Madeleine was taken from the Praia da Luz
apartment in the Algarve, Portugal.
Portuguese police went public with the description of the man seen
on the night after pressure from the McCann family to move the
In a statement made to the press, Mr McCann said he and his wife
welcomed the release of the "important" information which had come
following an amicable and very constructive meeting with Portuguese
"We feel sure that this sighting of a man with what appeared to be a
child in his arms, is both significant and relevant to Madeleine's
abduction," he said.
The couple also appealed for more information about the man spotted
"Was this man seen anywhere else in or near the town with a child,
or what appeared to be a child? What direction was he headed in? Did
he have a vehicle?"
BBC correspondent Steve Kingstone in the Algarve said it was the first time
the police had given a detailed description of a man they wanted to
But it is not known how long detectives had known this information
or whether they believed the man abducted Madeleine, he added.
The BBC's correspondent said police were publicly playing down the
similarities between the man described and the only official suspect
in the case, Robert Murat.
Mr Murat denies any involvement in Madeleine's disappearance.
A family spokesman has also revealed Chancellor Gordon Brown has had
several telephone conversations with Mr McCann.
Mr Brown offered both parents "his full support" in their efforts to
find the four-year-old, who vanished on the night of 3 May.
The spokesman said: "Brown offered both Gerry and Kate his full
support in their efforts to find Madeleine, although details of the
conversations will remain private."
The Prince of
and Duchess of Cornwall also said on Saturday they had been
following the case "closely and with deep concern" and "fervently
hoped" Madeleine would be reunited with her family.
Madeleine, from Rothley, Leicestershire, was abducted from her bed
in the Algarve resort
as her parents ate dinner at a nearby tapas restaurant.