Express 27 May 2007 [Now removed from internet]
witness saw Madeleine McCann being
carried from her apartment
A woman who saw Madeleine McCann being
carried off in the arms of a mystery man
is wracked with guilt that she did
nothing to stop him, it has emerged.
A close friend of Kate and Gerry McCann,
she saw a young blonde girl wearing
"distinguishable" pyjamas and wrapped in
Described as the "principal witness" in
the case by police sources, the woman
has now returned to the UK and is
brooding over what she saw.
But the McCanns, from Rothley in
Leicestershire, are said not to blame
her and feel sorry for her torment.
Details of the sighting came as hundreds
of calls were made to police about the
description of a white man aged between
35 and 40 seen holding what was thought
to be a child on the night Madeleine
She was snatched from her bed on May 3
as she slept in the family's holiday
apartment while her parents enjoyed a
tapas meal yards away in the Algarve
resort town of Praia Da Luz.
The witness, who has been advised by
police not to discuss events of that
night, joined the McCanns at dinner at
about 9.30pm. As she walked past the
family's property, she saw a man with a
child wearing pink pyjamas in his arms.
"She thought it was odd, but thought it
was the man's own child," the police
source said. "He was walking urgently,
neither running or walking."
After the alarm was raised, the friend
"instantly" realised what she had seen
and gave a statement and description to
the authorities "within hours".
But sources said the significance was
missed: "The officers who took the
description did not seem interested,
they just seemed to have filed it away.
She went back to the UK and
Leicestershire police said she was the
principal witness to what happened," the
source said. "The view of the family is
that this was Madeleine being taken. As
a result they do not blame the woman,
but she feels dreadful guilt. They feel
sorry for her."