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Madeleine: A face in the crowd

Original Source: SCOTSMAN: 17 MAY 2007
Thu 17 May

DESAPARECIDA - disappeared. Over 50,000 Spanish fans were shown a moving video of Madeleine McCann at half time during the UEFA Cup final at Hampden Park last night.

The appeal came as Portuguese police confirmed they were investigating a Russian web designer linked to the key suspect in the investigation.

Detectives visited the home of Sergey Malinka, 22, who designed a website for Robert Murat, the man regarded as the chief suspect, in Praia da Luz.

Mr Malinka, whom neighbours said lived with his parents in the town for around seven years, was brought out by the detectives and driven off around 9.30pm.

Plain clothes officers emerged from the apartment carrying two hard drives, a laptop and a black bin bag full of items.

The search followed the announcement yesterday by Portugal's Policia Judiciaria (PJ) that they now had a suspect.

Although police say they do not have enough evidence to charge or even formally arrest Mr Murat, he is the first person they have formally cast as a arguido - suspect.

It is 14 days since Madeleine went missing, snatched from her bedroom only yards from where her parents, Kate and Gerry McCann, were enjoying a meal.

Meanwhile at last night's Hampden final between Sevilla and Espanyol a two-minute film, Find Madeleine, was screened in a bid to raise awareness of the case among fans of the two Spanish teams.

The sell-out crowd at the national stadium was asked in English "for your full attention", and there was respectful silence throughout the screening of the brief footage. With the Simple Minds song Don't You Forget About Me playing in the background, fans were shown a series of photographs of Madeleine

The relevant website address,, was displayed on the giant screens and then a request, translated into Spanish, appeared. It read: If you have information which could help find her, please contact Crimestoppers.

The screening ended with another request, this time in English: "Look For Maddie".

Meanwhile, Madeleine's family said they felt lifted by a "tidal wave of hope" after receivingbacking from the government in to find the four-year-old.

Relatives travelled from Glasgow to London to meet Gordon Brown, the Chancellor, and the Deputy Prime Minister, John Prescott.

In addition to offers of support from across the political spectrum, leading sportsmen joined the campaign. Former England rugby captain Martin Johnston helped launch a fund to finance efforts to find Madeleine.

Madeleine's aunt, Philomena McCann, her brother Gerry was overwhelmed by the support.

"Instead of a tidal wave of despair, he is facing a tidal wave of hope," she said. "Initially, he was completely floored by what had happened and found it very difficult to cope. That was turned around by the support of the nation of Portugal, the support of Glasgow, the whole of Scotland and England."

Ms McCann said that finding Madeleine was the "number one priority".

"There is nothing else as important as that to our entire family and people all over the country," she said.

"Madeleine is a beautiful, caring little girl. I can totally understand why someone might take her - but give her back, she is not yours."

Earlier, relatives met Mr Brown, whom Ms McCann said was deeply affected by the abduction.

"He was very distressed about our situation. I felt he was a genuine and caring person, I was touched by his sensitivity."

Several hundred miles away, Madeleine's uncle, John McCann, unveiled Madeleine's Fund at Leicester's Walkers Stadium which aims to "bring her abductors to justice".

In Portugal Tuck Price, a friend of suspect Murat insisted, he had been made a "scapegoat".


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