Experts from Britain are attempting to trace the abductor of Madeleine McCann
by following a trail left by mobile telephone signals.
A team of British telecommunications specialists has arrived in the Algarve to
attempt to pinpoint the movements of telephones around the resort complex where
Madeleine was abducted 26 days ago.
Their arrival came as Madeleine's parents released the final mobile telephone
images of the child before her abduction. They show her excitedly starting the
week's holiday in Portugal.
The mobile telephone tracing technique was used to collect evidence that helped
to convict Ian Huntley for the murders of Holly Wells and Jessica Chapman in
Soham, Cambridgeshire, in 2002.
Trails are created by silent transmissions sent out by every mobile phone even
when not in use. Each signal is picked up by masts, which create a timed
computer log of the handset's movements. By measuring the strength of the
signal, the location of the handset can often be narrowed to an area as small
as a few square yards.
Detectives will use the information to verify statements provided by guests and
staff at the Ocean Club complex, where Madeleine was taken from her bed.
Portuguese police appear to have made little progress in the investigation
since searching the home of Robert Murat, the only official suspect in the
Murat, 33, who lives less than 100 yards from Madeleine's apartment,
strenuously denies any wrongdoing. Detectives have become increasingly
interested in yachts at the marina in Lagos,
a town about 5 miles from where Madeleine disappeared. They have questioned
four boat owners, three of them English.
Officers are also reported to be attempting to trace a British man who left the
harbor on his yacht about three weeks ago, after mooring there for about two
years. A witness reported seeing a man walking with a child in his arms down to
the marina hours after 4-year-old Madeleine was kidnapped.
Kate McCann will leave Portugal
tonight for the first time since her daughter's disappearance for a visit to
with her husband, Gerry, to see the Pope tomorrow morning.
The trip will be the first in a series of visits to promote the search for
their daughter across Europe and North Africa.
The couple are expected to travel to Spain
on Friday or Saturday and Berlin
on Monday. They also want to visit Amsterdam and
Kate McCann is particularly keen to visit Morocco
to raise awareness of Madeleine's abduction because of its closeness to Portugal and
easy access by boat.
A suspected sighting in Marrakesh
has been ruled out by Interpol after they re-interviewed the woman who claimed
to have seen a little girl similar to Madeleine at a petrol station. But a
small contingent of officers from Leicestershire police are still in the North
The family is considering recording a version of Bryan Adams's "Everything
I Do" to promote the search and raise funds for the Madeleine Fund.
The first line of the song, "Look into my eyes," is particularly
relevant because of Madeleine's distinctive iris in her right eye. The couple,
both 38, visited the beach at Praia da Luz yesterday to look at an
800-square-foot inflatable billboard with Madeleine's face on it which was set
up by two volunteers who had driven from Glasgow
to help with the search.
The parents also released the latest mobile telephone images, which show
Madeleine clasping her pink Barbie rucksack as she clambers up the steps to the
aircraft at East Midlands airport.
Holding hands with another little girl, she loses her footing and slips,
grazing her shin on the third step. But although she cut herself quite badly,
she stops crying after only seconds.
Gerry McCann, holding the pink rucksack, said: "She was really
On arrival in Portugal
the family were filmed sitting on the shuttle bus at Faro airport.
Gerry McCann said: "She was dead excited about going away with the rest of