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PostPosted: Tue Sep 01, 2009 1:37 pm 
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I SAW MADELEINE WITH MURAT’S GIRL IN MOROCCO

IDENTIFIED: 'Walczuch was seen in Morocco'

Wednesday November 21,2007
By Nick Fagge in Praia da Luz


ROBERT Murat’s lover was seen in Morocco minutes after Madeleine McCann was spotted nearby, it was claimed yesterday.

A tourist who saw a little blonde girl being dragged across the street there by an Arab woman on June 15 says she also saw Michaela Walczuch in the same town that day.


Isabel Gonzalez, 60, who made the alleged sightings in the north-eastern town of Zaio, insisted yesterday: “I have always been convinced the girl I saw in Morocco was Madeleine.


“Now I am equally sure the blonde woman I saw that day in the town was Murat’s girlfriend.”


Walczuch, whose lover Murat was the first suspect named over Madeleine’s disappearance, has been identified as the woman seen passing a little blonde girl to a man in Portugal two days after she vanished on May 3.


Mrs Gonzalez and her husband scoured the town after they thought they saw Madeleine.

The Spanish mother of six said: “It was then that I saw the European-looking couple. It was a blonde woman and a very pale-skinned man with dark hair. They seemed completely out of place as the town is very remote and everyone else there was Moroccan.”


She identified the woman as German-born Walczuch after seeing television news reports linking Murat’s lover to the youngster’s disappearance earlier this week.


She added: “After seeing the news reports I am convinced the woman was Murat’s girlfriend.


“I never saw the blonde woman with Madeleine but I have always connected the two events.”


Mrs Gonzalez told the McCanns’ private detective agency, Metodo 3, of her suspicions on Monday.


Mother-of-one Walczuch, 34, vigorously denies any involvement in Madeleine’s disappearance and has described such claims as “ridiculous”. Murat also insists he is innocent.


Mrs Gonzalez said: “I saw a little blonde girl being dragged across the street by a north African woman wearing a headscarf. I immediately thought, ‘That is Madeleine’.


“But by the time we stopped the car and jumped out, the woman and girl had disappeared.


“My husband and I began searching the streets.” She then spotted the European couple, who she claims vanished after the man saw her.


A source at Metodo 3 said yesterday: “We are looking into the claims. It may be that Walczuch can prove she was in Portugal at the time but we must examine every lead.” Metodo 3 chief Francisco Marco thinks Madeleine is in Morocco. Agents are continuing to look for her in the remote villages of the Rif Mountains.


Last night the McCanns’ spokesman said: “We are keeping an open mind about this.”


Moroccan police have told the Daily Express they think Madeleine was brought into the country by a gang of people-smugglers.


Police chief Abdelkada Chouhou said: “We believe the woman involved is a known Spanish smuggler who has links with Zaio.


“This woman holds the key and we continue to look for her.”


There have been four reported sightings of Madeleine in Morocco.


One near the town of Zinat turned out to be Bushra Binhisa, the three-year-old daughter of a farmer. Another was next to a petrol station in Marrakesh days after Madeleine went missing from Praia da Luz.


A British tourist also reported seeing a youngster with a strong likeness the same day outside the Ibis Hotel next to a petrol station. The girl involved has never been found.


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 01, 2009 1:38 pm 
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GANG SMUGGLED MADELEINE

SIGHTING: Witness claims to have seen Madeleine being handed over

Wednesday November 21,2007
By Nick Fagge in Silves


A NEW witness saw Madeleine McCann being handed over to a professional gang who smuggled her out of Portugal to Morocco, police believe.

The witness called a detective agency to tell them he saw a woman “deliver” a little blonde girl who looked just like Madeleine.


The handover took place in the town of Silves 48 hours after Madeleine vanished. The woman gave the child to a man, who put her in his car.


A source at the detective agency said: “The witness later identified the woman as Michaela Walczuch after he was shown some pictures. He phoned us with his report about two to three weeks ago.” Walczuch is the lover of police suspect Robert Murat.


The detectives believe that the caller, a Portuguese lorry driver, was witnessing the handover of Madeleine to a Moroccan paedophile gang.


And they are working on the theory that the youngster was taken to the north African country either directly on a boat from Portugal or via Spain on the ferry to Tangier.

Silves is 25 miles from Praia da Luz, where Madeleine was snatched from the McCanns’ apartment.


But it is close to Portimao, where dozens of ocean-faring boats are moored. There is also a mountain road from there to Spain.


The source at the Metodo 3 private detective agency told the Daily Express: “We received a call from someone who said they had seen Madeleine two days after she went missing.


“The caller said they saw Madeleine in the inland town of Silves. We think it could have been the moment Madeleine was handed over by the original kidnappers.


“We are working on the theory that Madeleine was spotted as an easy target on the demands of a local gang and stolen to order.


“But because of all the publicity she became too hot to handle and she was either passed on or they sold her.”


The events in Silves took place down a small country road on the outskirts of the town on May 5. The trucker made contact with the detective agency to say he was struck by the fact that the child was wrapped in a blanket on such a hot day.


The witness said he saw a fair-haired and fair-skinned woman handing over the child in a blanket or a shawl.


He described the woman as northern European and driving an “extremely distinctive” car.


Detectives have described the vehicle, a hire car, as very unusual in Portugal in terms of its make, model and colour.


Last night a spokesman for the McCanns said the Find Madeleine Campaign was treating the new sighting seriously, but added that this was just one line of inquiry.


But a source close to the detective agency claims police are set to make arrests within weeks.


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 01, 2009 1:38 pm 
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GANG SMUGGLED MADELEINE

SIGHTING: Witness claims to have seen Madeleine being handed over

Wednesday November 21,2007
By Nick Fagge in Silves


A NEW witness saw Madeleine McCann being handed over to a professional gang who smuggled her out of Portugal to Morocco, police believe.

The witness called a detective agency to tell them he saw a woman “deliver” a little blonde girl who looked just like Madeleine.


The handover took place in the town of Silves 48 hours after Madeleine vanished. The woman gave the child to a man, who put her in his car.


A source at the detective agency said: “The witness later identified the woman as Michaela Walczuch after he was shown some pictures. He phoned us with his report about two to three weeks ago.” Walczuch is the lover of police suspect Robert Murat.


The detectives believe that the caller, a Portuguese lorry driver, was witnessing the handover of Madeleine to a Moroccan paedophile gang.


And they are working on the theory that the youngster was taken to the north African country either directly on a boat from Portugal or via Spain on the ferry to Tangier.

Silves is 25 miles from Praia da Luz, where Madeleine was snatched from the McCanns’ apartment.


But it is close to Portimao, where dozens of ocean-faring boats are moored. There is also a mountain road from there to Spain.


The source at the Metodo 3 private detective agency told the Daily Express: “We received a call from someone who said they had seen Madeleine two days after she went missing.


“The caller said they saw Madeleine in the inland town of Silves. We think it could have been the moment Madeleine was handed over by the original kidnappers.


“We are working on the theory that Madeleine was spotted as an easy target on the demands of a local gang and stolen to order.


“But because of all the publicity she became too hot to handle and she was either passed on or they sold her.”


The events in Silves took place down a small country road on the outskirts of the town on May 5. The trucker made contact with the detective agency to say he was struck by the fact that the child was wrapped in a blanket on such a hot day.


The witness said he saw a fair-haired and fair-skinned woman handing over the child in a blanket or a shawl.


He described the woman as northern European and driving an “extremely distinctive” car.


Detectives have described the vehicle, a hire car, as very unusual in Portugal in terms of its make, model and colour.


Last night a spokesman for the McCanns said the Find Madeleine Campaign was treating the new sighting seriously, but added that this was just one line of inquiry.


But a source close to the detective agency claims police are set to make arrests within weeks.


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 01, 2009 1:39 pm 
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LOVER DENIES ABDUCTION

Thursday November 22,2007
By Nick Fagge in Praia da Luz


THE lover of official suspect Robert Murat yesterday hit back at claims she was involved in the abduction of Madeleine McCann.

Michaela Walczuch has twice been interviewed by police who also searched her house following the disappearance of the four-year-old on 3 May.

The 34-year-old was identified by two fresh witnesses in recent days who claimed to have seen her with a child resembling Madeleine.

The first, a Portuguese lorry driver, came forward to claim he saw Ms Walczuch hand over the missing youngster two days after she vanished. He has told private investigators hired by Kate and Gerry McCann that he saw a woman resembling Ms Walczuch with a child he believed was Madeleine on a road outside Silves, about 25 miles from the apartment in Praia da Luz where she vanished.

A Spanish tourist also claims she spotted the German-born mother-of-one in remote Moroccan town on the day she is convinced she saw Madeleine there. Isabel Gonzalez, 60, says said she is “sure” a blonde woman she encountered in Zaio on June 15 was Walczuch.

But yesterday Ms Walczuch said she had an alibi that proves she is “absolutely not involved” in Madeleine’s disappearance. The 34-year-old from Lagos is prevented under Portuguese law from talking to the press as she is considered a witness in the police investigation.

But yesterday a friend claimed she was miles away at a Jehovah’s Witness meeting on 3 May, the night that Madeleine vanished. He said: “Yes she was at a church meeting in Lagos on the night Madeleine went missing.

“She told police this when she was questioned (on May 14) and they have confirmed her story.” He added: “She is absolutely not involved in Madeleine’s disappearance and has proved it to police.”

Ms Walczuch has described the two sightings as “ridiculous” and is now threatening legal action over allegations linking her to Madeleine’s disappearance. Her friend Francisco Pagarete says Ms Walczuch could not be the person identified in Silves as her car was at the mechanics that day following problems with the gear box.

Mr Pagarete, who is Robert Murat’s lawyer said: “On the day they say she was seen, Michaela was probably in Lagos, because at that time her vehicle was in the garage.”

He added: “That is a fact known to the police. “She does not know for sure what she did that day because her diary, which she keeps religiously every day, is one of the objects taken by the Policia Judiciaria-which has still not been returned.”

However agents from Metodo 3 claim the woman seen on 5 May was driving a hire car. The detectives have described the vehicle as very unusual in Portugal in terms of its make, model and colour. They claim these details will allow them to identify the user quite easily.

British expat Murat, 34, has remained a suspect for more than six months but Portuguese police do not believe there is enough evidence to charge him.

Walczuch lives five miles from Praia da Luz in Lagos with her estranged husband Portuguese husband pool-cleaner Luis Antonio, 47, and their eight year-old daughter.

She set up a property business called Romigen with Murat. In a bizarre living arrangement Murat lived at the flat for six months to conduct an affair with Walczuch while Antonio was still there.

The relationship was blamed by friends for the breakdown of the British expat’s 11-year marriage to wife Dawn, 41. She was first interviewed by police about Madeleine’s disappearance on May 14, along with her lover Murat, 33, and Antonio.

Murat was named as an arguido or formal suspect in the case that day. Last night a Jehovah’s Witness said Michaela Walczuch had been an active member of the one-hundred-strong congregation but had since stopped coming to church.

Joaquim Silva said: “Michaela used to come to the church but she stopped attending meetings about three months ago.” Mr Silva confirmed that the religious group hold mid-week meetings on a Thursday night between 8.30pm and 10.15pm as well as on Sundays. Madeleine McCann disappeared from her parents’ holiday apartment on a Thursday night.

Located in the ground floor of a high-rise apartment the church is situated in a run-down area part of Lagos close to the ancient walls of the old town. A sign on the outside of the building is the only indication that premises is a church.

An aluminium door with darken windows leads into the single-story worshipping hall. ends Silves was the scene of the attempted child abduction last year. Three-year-old Carolina Santos, who is blonde with blue eyes, was found being led away from the family cafe near the town of Silves by a man last year.

Her parents described how they had left Carolina playing at the front of the roadside cafe when she was approached by a Moroccan-looking man who tried to entice her away.

Father Abel Santos, 40, said: “We were busy working in the kitchen and came out to find out she wasn’t there. “I searched around for her and saw her some way away on the road with a man I took to be Moroccan.

“We started towards them shouting and Carolina stopped and turned towards us. He disappeared around the bend.” His wife Lina, 28, added: “It was very strange because Carolina is very shy and doesn’t go with strangers. “When I asked her what happened she said he told her that he had another little girl for her to play with.

“There was no other girl. I was so scared. If we hadn’t come out at that moment I don’t know what would have happened.” The couple reported the incident to the police but they were told they could not make a formal complaint as no crime had been committed.


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 01, 2009 1:40 pm 
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KATE MCCANN 'AGREED TO DRUG TESTS


Kate McCann voluntarily underwent drug tests, her lawyer said

Friday November 23,2007


Madeleine McCann's mother had herself tested for drugs to counter accusations that she was on medication when her daughter vanished, her lawyer said.

Kate McCann agreed to the tests to refute claims that she was mentally unstable and taking anti-depressants around the time of the child's apparent abduction in Portugal on May 3, said Edward Smethurst.

One line of inquiry reportedly pursued by Portuguese police was that the qualified GP had killed Madeleine, now four, because she was struggling to cope.

Results of toxicology tests on Mrs McCann's hair, taken in September, show no evidence of drugs in the mother-of-three's body over the past eight months, said Mr Smethurst.

"There were various stories circulating that Kate might somehow be unstable and might be depressed and whatever, but the tests demonstrated that the kind of drugs she might be on did not show up," he said.

Other independent tests have proven that Madeleine's younger brother and sister, twins Sean and Amelie, have not been given sedatives, the McCanns' legal team previously said.

One accusation levelled at the couple, both named by Portuguese police as suspects in their oldest child's disappearance, is that they tried to conceal her death after an accidental overdose of a sedative drug.

The tests form part of a dossier of evidence compiled by the McCanns and their advisers, which they claim demolishes the police case against them.

DNA checks on a car hired by the couple in Portugal and research on the use of cadaver dogs in police investigations further bolster their defence case, their lawyers say.

Mr and Mrs McCann, from Rothley in Leicestershire, strongly deny any involvement in their daughter's disappearance from their holiday apartment in Praia da Luz.


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 01, 2009 1:40 pm 
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KATE MCCANN 'AGREED TO DRUG TESTS


Kate McCann voluntarily underwent drug tests, her lawyer said

Friday November 23,2007


Madeleine McCann's mother had herself tested for drugs to counter accusations that she was on medication when her daughter vanished, her lawyer said.

Kate McCann agreed to the tests to refute claims that she was mentally unstable and taking anti-depressants around the time of the child's apparent abduction in Portugal on May 3, said Edward Smethurst.

One line of inquiry reportedly pursued by Portuguese police was that the qualified GP had killed Madeleine, now four, because she was struggling to cope.

Results of toxicology tests on Mrs McCann's hair, taken in September, show no evidence of drugs in the mother-of-three's body over the past eight months, said Mr Smethurst.

"There were various stories circulating that Kate might somehow be unstable and might be depressed and whatever, but the tests demonstrated that the kind of drugs she might be on did not show up," he said.

Other independent tests have proven that Madeleine's younger brother and sister, twins Sean and Amelie, have not been given sedatives, the McCanns' legal team previously said.

One accusation levelled at the couple, both named by Portuguese police as suspects in their oldest child's disappearance, is that they tried to conceal her death after an accidental overdose of a sedative drug.

The tests form part of a dossier of evidence compiled by the McCanns and their advisers, which they claim demolishes the police case against them.

DNA checks on a car hired by the couple in Portugal and research on the use of cadaver dogs in police investigations further bolster their defence case, their lawyers say.

Mr and Mrs McCann, from Rothley in Leicestershire, strongly deny any involvement in their daughter's disappearance from their holiday apartment in Praia da Luz.


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 01, 2009 1:41 pm 
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WHY MADELEINE IS PROBABLY DEAD BY TOP LAW OFFICER


Madeleine McCann

Friday November 23,2007
By Nick Fagge


The parents of Madeleine McCann suffered fresh heartache yesterday when Portugal’s most senior law officer said she was almost certainly dead.

The Attorney General claimed it would have been “natural” for an abductor to kill her.

He delivered his verdict as part of a brutal assessment of the missing four-year-old’s chances of survival.


Police have already admitted they think Madeleine was most likely killed by accident by Kate and Gerry McCann, who later hid the body with the help of their friends.


ì
There’s a greater possibility of the girl being dead than alive
î

Fernando Jose Pinto Monteiro

But in a thinly-veiled attack on the publicity created by the McCanns after Madeleine vanished, law chief Fernando Jose Pinto Monteiro said it would have turned her into a liability if she had been abducted.


The Attorney General said: “There’s a greater possibility of the girl being dead than alive. If it is an abduction it would be normal for the abductor to have killed her.

“Would an abductor with all this publicity and with the whole world having Maddie’s photo still demand a ransom?”


Reinforcing the belief among police that the case may never be solved, he said: “If you asked me at this moment in time if I was going to discover anything, I’d have to say ‘I don’t know’. This sort of crime is extremely difficult to solve.”


Mr Pinto Monteiro’s comments were seen as the clearest sign yet that the authorities fear Madeleine will never be found alive and those behind her disappearance will escape justice.


Detectives have admitted that the chances of finding her alive are slim but they have never been so openly pessimistic as the Attorney General.


Last night the McCanns’ spokesman, Clarence Mitchell, said: “We still firmly believe that Madeleine is alive. Making these comments is entirely unhelpful.


“From our point of view, in the absence of any evidence to the contrary, the possibility that Madeleine is alive and being held somewhere is still valid.”


He added: “Our investigators are working on that basis. They, too, have stated that they are confident they will find her alive soon.”


The family have called in a team of private detectives, Spanish agency Metodo 3, whose boss says he believes Madeleine is alive and most likely being held in Morocco.


Mr Pinto Monteiro insisted that the police investigation was not directed at proving Madeleine died by accident at the hands of her parents, who then recruited their friends to help hide the body.


This is believed to be the main theory being followed by detectives after a thorough review of the work carried out by the head of the original investigation. But Mr Pinto Monteiro said: “I analysed the case and all leads are to be followed. All lines of inquiry are being pursued.


There’s not one that excludes the others.”


The Attorney General also refuted claims by police that the inquiry is being hampered by lack of money.


He insisted: “More resources have been spent on this case than any other. In 40 years as a magistrate I have never seen such a high-profile case.


“It’s a great pity we are a country with a few of these cases, about a dozen, and in this one we have done everything.” Meanwhile, staff at the Ocean Club resort where the family were staying at Praia da Luz are being re-interviewed by police in an attempt to discover the truth about the hours before Madeleine disappeared.


Detectives are “discreetly” questioning employees at the complex where Madeleine vanished on May 3.


Investigators want the answers for “100 questions” they have drawn up following alleged inconsistencies in statements made by Kate and Gerry McCann and their friends.


In particular, they remain intrigued about who Kate McCann was referring to when she screamed “they’ve taken her, they’ve taken her” when she first discovered Madeleine was missing.


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 01, 2009 1:41 pm 
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MADDY: MUM FACES TEN YEARS IN JAIL


ANGUISH: Stress shows on Kate McCann's face

Saturday November 24,2007
By Nick Fagge in Praia da Luz


THE mother of Madeleine McCann could be jailed for up to 10 years for abandoning her children, it emerged last night.

Kate and her husband Gerry face being put behind bars even if they are cleared of any involvement in Madeleine’s disappearance.


A lawyer yesterday accused the couple of committing the crime of child abandonment simply by leaving their three children alone in their holiday apartment in Praia da Luz.


Under Portuguese law, the maximum penalty is 10 years in prison if the victim is a dependant and dies as a result of being abandoned. Lawyer Jose Olimpio, aged 42, said: “The fact the McCanns were made arguidos means that there are justified suspicions against them of committing a crime.”

Mr Olimpio claimed the Portuguese penal code states that placing a person’s life in danger by abandoning them is punishable with a jail sentence of between one and five years.


But the sentence rises to between three and 10 years if the victim is a child and the crime is committed by a parent or guardian.


The McCanns have admitted regularly leaving their children – Madeleine, Sean and Amelie – alone in their apartment at the Ocean Club while they went for dinner with friends.


But last night their official spokesman, Clarence Mitchell, said: “They have committed no offence under Portuguese, British or any country’s laws.”


News of the possible charges came as the couple faced a further setback in the fight to clear their names over accusations that they were involved in Madeleine’s disappearance.


Reports in Portugal claimed it could be a further six months before they are re-interviewed by police, although the 39-year-old doctors from Rothley, Leicestershire, say they are ready to be quizzed again about Madeleine’s disappearance on May 3.


But the official process to allow detectives to interrogate them is progressing at “a snail’s pace” because of red tape.


Madeleine’s parents refused to answer up to 40 questions in a gruelling set of interviews with police in Portugal when they were named as arguidos or formal suspects in September.


The couple faced accusations that Madeleine died as a result of an accident and they disposed of her body with the help of their friends. Police believe re-interviewing the couple and their seven holiday friends could provide the key to unlocking the Madeleine mystery.


Detectives have prepared a legal letter outlining 100 questions for the McCanns, their friends and relatives. But it must now pass through a complicated chain of officials before the questions can be put to them in fresh interviews in Britain.


The local state prosecutor is at the moment waiting for forensic test results from a Birmingham laboratory before sending the letter on to a judge.


The judge will in turn send it to the Attorney General in Lisbon. It will then pass through the Justice Ministry to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, who will pass it on to the British Foreign Office.


But the complicated process does not stop there. The Foreign Office will send it to the Ministry of Justice, who will pass it on to the Lord Chancellor’s office before British police are asked to carry out the interview.


The scale of the convoluted legal process became clear a day after Portugal’s Attorney General said Madeleine was almost certainly dead.


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 01, 2009 1:41 pm 
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NOW MURAT LOVER'S ALIBI IS TRASHED BY CHURCH

FRESH DOUBTS: Walczuch's version of events is in dispute

Saturday November 24,2007
By Nick Fagge in Praia da Luz


ROBERT Murat’s lover has been accused of inventing her alibi for the night Madeleine McCann went missing.

Michaela Walczuch has said she was “miles away” at a Jehovah’s Witnesses meeting.

But the Daily Express can reveal she had been barred from the meetings months before and kicked out of the church because of her adulterous relationship with British expatriate Murat.

Church elder Teofilo Castela said Walczuch, 34, was “cast aside” after falling foul of their strict rules.

But he also revealed how Portuguese detectives had not bothered to test her alibi by talking to any of the Jehovah’s Witnesses in Lagos, near Praia da Luz where Madeleine was kidnapped.

Brother Teofilo said: “There was some problem with the rules and Michaela was cast aside.

“She used to come to our church but it was before this year. The church has certain rules and they must not be broken.”

Speaking before the weekly Thursday night meeting in Lagos, he added: “I haven’t been interviewed by the police. They haven’t been here.”

Brother Teofilo’s revelations were backed up by members of the 100-strong congregation. One woman said: “I haven’t seen Michaela all year. She’s been thrown out.”

The spotlight fell on German-born Walczuch after numerous sightings linked her to the case.

A Portuguese truck driver said he saw a woman passing a child fitting Madeleine’s description to a man on a country road two days after she vanished.

Private detectives believe he was witnessing the handover of Madeleine from her kidnapper to a paedophile gang in Silves, 25 miles from Praia da Luz, where she was snatched from the McCanns’ apartment.

Agents are working on the theory that she was taken to Morocco by boat from Portugal or via Spain on the ferry to Tangier. A Spanish tourist has claimed she saw Walczuch in the remote Moroccan town of Zaio the day she spotted Madeleine there.

And British tourist Graham Desuys said he saw her staring at his four-year-old niece in Praia da Luz a month before Madeleine disappeared.

Walczuch, who has dismissed these claims as “ridiculous”, was unavailable for comment yesterday when asked by the Daily Express about discrepancies in her alibi.

Murat’s lawyer Francisco Pagarate yesterday repeated Walczuch’s alibi when confronted by the information from the Jehovah’s Witnesses.

He said: “Michaela says she was at the Portuguese congregation in Lagos on May 3, then started attending the British congregation in Portimao.”

Portuguese police kept Walczuch under surveillance for a week before she was questioned about Madeleine on May 14.

Investigators were interested in the bizarre love triangle of Murat, Walczuch and her estranged husband Luis Antonio.

Murat started a relationship with the property saleswoman after they embarked on a business venture.
He even moved into the marital home for six months while Luis Antonio, a 47-year-old pool-cleaner, continued to live with their eight-year-old daughter. The affair was blamed for the breakdown of Murat’s 11-year marriage.

Walczuch and Antonio were hauled back for questioning a second time on May 24, but released without charge.
They still live together in Lagos with their daughter.


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 01, 2009 1:42 pm 
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MADELEINE: NANNY NAMES MURAT AS 'PROWLER'

Sunday November 25,2007
By Matt Drake


A MAN who looks like Robert Murat tried to climb into the apartment where Madeleine McCann went missing at a time when another child was alone inside, it was claimed last night.

A new witness, who worked as a nanny at the Ocean Club in Praia da Luz, has given a sworn statement about the incident to detectives in the UK and Spain.

The British girl claims she disturbed a prowler, described as looking identical to official suspect Murat, trying to climb in through the ground-floor window of apartment 5A six months before Madeleine disappeared.

The babysitter immediately reported the incident to management at the Mark Warner resort, who passed the information to Portuguese police.

The woman, who has asked not to be named, said she left a baby sleeping in the apartment while she went to get something to eat. On her return she startled the man, who saw her coming and fled shouting, “No, no”.

Details of the sighting have been given to detectives at Metodo 3, the Barcelona-based agency hired by the McCanns three months ago. Investigators are now working on the description of a man in his 30s with dark hair.

They are understood to have shown the nanny photos of 34-year-old British expat Murat and are now certain it is the same man.

The woman has been interviewed by police in the UK where she is also thought to have given a statement under oath.

Last night a spokesman for Metodo 3 declined to comment on the latest development despite speculation they are now close to forcing an arrest.

A source close to the investigation said: “A babysitter has given detectives a statement in which she claims she caught a man trying to climb in through a window of apartment 5A – the apartment later occupied by the McCanns.

“He was trying to get in through the exact same window which police believe Madeleine’s abductors may have used. It happened six months before Madeleine disappeared and she did report it to her bosses at the club.

“She later gave detectives a detailed description of the man who the detectives say is identical to Robert Murat.

“The information has been passed on to police in Britain and Portugal.”

Madeleine’s parents Kate and Gerry McCann, both 39, have always believed they were stalked by a lone predator or gang who targeted the blonde youngster.

Murat was named as a suspect on May 15 following 12 hours of interrogation. He has always vehemently denied any part in Madeleine’s disappearance.


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