THE main suspect at the centre of the
Madeleine McCann investigation asked a
number of people to give him an alibi
for the night she was snatched, it
And questions were raised after reports
that Robert Murat, above, had telephone
conversations with Russian Sergey
Malinka soon after the child went
missing – despite saying they hadn’t
spoken for months.
News of 33-year-old Murat’s shocking
attempts to cover his tracks led a
police source to say yesterday: “This
was one more incident which led to
suspicions falling on him.”
The new development came as a woman
claimed to have seen the four-year-old
with a suspicious-looking man in
Marrakech six days after her abduction.
She is said to have looked sad and asked
the man: “Can I see mummy now?”
Portuguese police are now working on the
theory that she may have been smuggled
to Africa and sold to child traffickers.
When quizzed over the girl’s
disappearance, Murat said he was dining
with his mother Jenny at their villa at
But yesterday more details emerged of
alleged telephone calls between Murat
and Malinka, who has also been
questioned over the abduction.
It was reported Murat was called by the
IT expert 30 minutes after Madeleine was
taken from her family’s apartment in
Praia da Luz on May 3. It was the first
of a series of lengthy chats between the
pair over two hours. One call by Murat
was said to have been made at 11.40pm.
The conversations were made despite
telling police they hardly knew each
other and had not spoken for months, it
One local newspaper reported yesterday:
“Murat made and received calls on his
mother’s mobile. Calls were also made
from the landline at the Englishman’s
house. The Russian couldn’t explain the
The pair were also said to have been
seen on CCTV having animated
conversations days after the kidnapping.
Despite police suspicions, Murat’s
estranged wife Dawn yesterday said she
“sincerely” believes her husband is
Malinka, 22, could face further
questions after it was claimed he may be
in Portugal illegally.
The Russian Embassy in Lisbon said it
had no record of him registering to live
in the country. He has been linked to a
firm in nearby Lagos offering boat trips
to north Africa.
After Madeleine disappeared a British
witness said she saw a couple dragging a
young girl with blonde hair towards the
marina the morning after Madeleine was
But maritime police were not told of the
search until four hours later.
News of the tot’s possible appearance in
Morocco came from Norwegian-born Mari
Pollard, 45. She said the girl looked
sad and confused while near the Ibis
Palmeraie Hotel outside Marrakech.
She said the man with her was white,
aged 35-40, of average height and had
dark brown hair. The child was “a sweet,
blonde-haired girl with a very cute
face. She was wearing blue pyjamas with
a little pink and white pattern on her
Mrs Pollard said it was only when she
returned home to southern Spain that she
found out a search was on for Madeleine.
She told the Daily Express: “When I saw
her picture I knew the girl I had seen
was Madeleine. I feel I should have done
something. She looked so sad and so
Mrs Pollard and her British husband Ray,
56, immediately contacted police in
Portugal, Spain and Britain. But she
said none of the agencies has taken a
Last Tuesday Madeleine’s parents Kate
and Gerry insisted they would not leave
Portugal until Madeleine had been found.
But now the family has admitted for the
first time they fear she is no longer in
the country. Appeal posters have been
translated into Arabic for use in north
Meanwhile, Portuguese police say they
are clueless as to where Murat
disappeared to in a hire car for 38
hours last weekend