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    Express - Is this the moment of Madeleine's kidnapping?

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    Sykes

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    Express - Is this the moment of Madeleine's kidnapping?

    Post  Sykes on Sun Oct 20, 2013 9:16 am


    http://www.express.co.uk/news/world/437948/Is-this-the-moment-of-Madeleine-McCann-s-kidnapping

    Is this the moment of Madeleine McCann's kidnapping?

    THE man who has emerged as key to the Madeleine McCann inquiry assumed a man he saw carrying a blonde girl the night she disappeared was a father with his child.

    By: James MurrayPublished: Sun, October 20, 2013

    Today, for the first time, the Sunday Express publishes extracts from the witness statement retired Irish businessman Martin Smith gave to detectives in Portugal.

    As the hunt for the kidnappers moves shortly to Ireland for a new Scotland Yard appeal, we reveal how this crucial piece of the jigsaw was nearly lost because Mr Smith thought it was not important.

    He owns an apartment in Praia da Luz on the Algarve coast, and was staying there with a large family group on May 3, 2007, when Madeleine was taken from an apartment at the Ocean Club.

    First they went to the Dolphin restaurant and then to Kelly’s bar, near the beach.

    Mr Smith’s statement, written out by a Portuguese detective, says: “After leaving the bar he (Mr Smith) travelled in the opposite direction and reached a set of stairs which gave access to Rua 25 de Abril (25th of April Street), parallel to Rua 1 de Maio (1st of May street).

    “As he reached this artery, he crossed an individual holding a child. He is not aware where this person was headed. He assumed it was a father and daughter and thought nothing more of it.

    “When he passed this individual, it must have been around 22.00. He did not know at the time that a child had disappeared. He only became aware of the disappearance...the next morning.

    “Regarding the individual, he states that he was Caucasian, 175-180cm in height. He appeared to be 35/40 years old. He had a normal complexion, a bit on the thin side.

    “His hair was short, brown in colour. He states that the child was female, about four years of age. The child has blonde...without being very light. Her skin was very white, typical of a Brit. She was asleep.

    “She was wearing light-coloured pyjamas. The individual did not appear to be a tourist. He cannot explain this further. It was simply his perception.

    “He states that the individual carried the child in his arms. Having already seen various photographs of Madeleine...he states that she may have been the child he saw. He cannot state this as fact but is convinced that it could have been Madeleine.”

    Mr Smith’s wife Mary said: “We saw a man carrying a blonde child. It was just such a normal thing to see in a holiday resort – we didn’t think anything of it at the time.”

    In 2008 Mr Smith worked on e-fit images, which were released on the BBC’s Crimewatch programme last week. Detectives from Scotland Yard’s Operation Grange have had over 2,400 calls and emails since the programme last Monday.
    From another forum with thanks.  Thanks also for the comment below.

    I'd like to know what Mr Smith actually said, as opposed to a translation of his statement 'paraphrased' by a Portuguese detective.


    And anyone who imagines Gerry McCann had the physics-defying ability to be in two places at one time should seek help from a mental health professional. Either they've lost the little grip they had on reality or they're trolling for their own amusement.


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    MORE FROM THE EXPRESS

    Post  Sykes on Sun Oct 20, 2013 10:53 am



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    STORY IN FULL FROM EXPRESS

    Post  Sykes on Sun Oct 20, 2013 11:00 am

    Maddie Police quiz convicted murderers as Kate McCann gives chilling account of moment she found daughter missing

    By Ian Gallagher
    UPDATED: 13:38 GMT, 8 May 2011

    Two convicted paedophiles have been questioned by British police over the disappearance of Madeleine McCann.

    Charles O’Neill, 48, and William Lauchlan, 34, were jailed last year over sex attacks on children and the murder of a mother who had threatened to expose them.

    The Mail on Sunday has learned they were interviewed in prison by detectives after inquiries revealed they were touring Spain, and possibly Portugal, on false passports when Madeleine vanished in May 2007.
     

    Jailed: Charles O'Neill, left, and William Lauchlan have now been questioned over the disappearance of Madeleine McCann

    It is the first time that it has become known publicly that British police have interviewed anyone in connection with the case. Both men are described as highly dangerous.

    Police interest in O’Neill, in particular, was heightened because of his resemblance to a thin, spotty suspect seen hanging around the holiday complex in Praia da Luz on the Algarve shortly before three-year-old Madeleine vanished.

    A senior officer involved in the investigation said: ‘Lauchlan and O’Neill have been interviewed in prison but the whole Madeleine McCann inquiry is being kept extremely tight at the very highest level.

    ‘Basically nobody outside Leicestershire Constabulary knows exactly what is going on with the McCann inquiry.’

    Leicestershire Police said they could not comment because the inquiry is being led by the Policia Judiciaria in Lisbon.

    The development came as, for the first time, Madeleine’s mother Kate described in chilling detail the moment she discovered her daughter was missing from her bed at their holiday apartment.
    Missing: Madeleine McCann disappeared on a family holiday to Portugal - and now two prisoners are being questioned with regards to her disappearance

    Madeleine disappeared from her room at the Ocean Club resort in Praia da Luz on May 3, 2007. Mrs McCann and her husband Gerry, on holiday with seven friends, had been dining less than 100 yards away in a tapas restaurant on the Mark Warner complex.

    The adults had taken it in turns to check on the sleeping children. In a book to be published this week, Mrs McCann, 43, relives the moment she returned to the apartment, where she had left Madeleine beside twins Amelie and Sean, then aged two.

    She tells how she realised something was wrong when she noticed that the door to the children’s bedroom was wide open – not as she and her husband had left it. She glanced at Madeleine’s bed but couldn’t make her out in the dark.

    When she was sure Madeleine wasn’t there, she went to check her own room. When she could not see her daughter there either, she panicked and ran back to the children’s room.

    ‘My heart lurched as I saw now that, behind them, the window was wide open and the shutters on the outside raised all the way up. Nausea, terror, disbelief, fear. Icy fear. Dear God, no! Please, no!’

    Mrs McCann, a former GP, said she went automatically into what she calls a ‘well-practised medical emergency mode’, scouring the apartment to exclude all other possibilities, ‘mentally ticking boxes I knew, deep down, were already ticked’.

    She then ran back to her husband and their friends in the restaurant. ‘As soon as our table was in sight

    I started screaming, “Madeleine’s gone! Someone’s taken her!” ’

    The group returned to the apartment to widen the search and raise the alarm.

    Mrs McCann said: ‘I vividly recall sobbing, “Not Madeleine, not Madeleine.” I was trying so hard to suppress the negative voice in my head tormenting me with the words, “She’s gone. She’s gone.”

    ‘Even now, when the dark clouds close in on me, I find myself shaking my head manically and repeating over and over again, “Not Madeleine, not Madeleine. Please God, not my Madeleine.”’

    The book, Madeleine, took Mrs McCann nine months to complete. It is based on diaries she has written for her daughter to read if she is found. It will be published on May 12 – Madeleine’s eighth birthday. The McCanns say all proceeds will go to the fund that was set up to cover the costs of the worldwide search for their child.

    That search has now focused on Lauchlan and O’Neill, who are childhood friends originally from Largs, near Glasgow. They were jailed for a total of 56 years last June for a catalogue of abuse both in Britain and abroad.
    Nightmare: Kate McCann, pictured with husband Gerry, has revealed her pain in a new book titled 'Madeleine'

    A source said: ‘It cannot be overestimated how violent these two are. They are known to have strong links to other paedophiles. Without doubt they are among the worst serial paedophiles in Britain.’

    At the High Court in Glasgow last year, Lauchlan and O’Neill were convicted of murdering mother-of-three Allison McGarrigle at their Largs home in 1997 and dumping her body at sea after she threatened to expose their abuse.

    Following their conviction, officers throughout Britain and Europe were alerted after it was revealed that the pair had left the country on fake passports in October 2006, weeks after being released from an earlier sentence for sickening child abuse crimes.

    Masquerading as cleaners, the pair were given easy access to holiday villas and apartments by unsuspecting clients.

    They were living in Vecindario, an industrial town in Gran Canaria, when seven-year-old schoolboy Yeremi Vargas vanished while playing near his home. The youngster is still missing but his mother remains convinced that the Scottish killers are responsible.

    Detectives involved in both the Madeleine McCann and Yeremi Vargas inquiries have worked closely together.

    The two men were arrested by Spanish police near Alicante on the Costa Blanca after abducting a 14-year-old boy to abuse during a camping trip

    Lauchlan and O’Neill are known to have toured extensively and some reports suggested they were in the Algarve at the time Madeleine disappeared. A spokesman for the McCann family said it was ‘encouraging’ that information was still being sought by police.

    Many of O’Neill and Lauchlan’s crimes are thought to have gone unreported because their terrified young victims were too scared to come forward.

    Masquerading as cousins, the gay lovers were first jailed in 1998 at the High Court in Glasgow after admitting a five-year catalogue of abuse involving youngsters in Scotland.

    During his sentence, O’Neill was said to have told fellow prisoners at Glasgow’s Barlinnie jail that he had killed Rothesay mother-of-three Mrs McGarrigle, who had disappeared a year earlier, and thrown her body in the sea to stop her exposing his sex crimes.

    Both men served four years before being released in 2002. Lauchlan was released on licence but broke his parole conditions and fled to Spain after being told he would be returned to prison.

    O’Neill remained in Scotland but fled to join Lauchlan in Spain in 2003 after abusing a 14-year-old in Irvine, Ayrshire.

    In 2004, the two men were arrested by Spanish police near Alicante on the Costa Blanca after abducting a 14-year-old boy to abuse during a camping trip. They were deported to Britain and while in prison for breaking their parole conditions, were charged in April 2005 with the murder of Mrs McGarrigle.

    But prosecutors decided there was insufficient evidence and both men were released.
    It was at this point, late in 2006, that Lauchlan and O’Neill evaded the British authorities and fled to Spain to prey on new victims.

    After their true identities were exposed in the summer of 2007, they returned to Britain and a homeless hostel in Blackpool. Within weeks they were again grooming youngsters for sex.

    Then an associate came forward with fresh information about the death of Mrs McGarrigle. Lauchlan and O’Neill were arrested, going on trial early in 2010.

    They were convicted of grooming a six-year-old boy in Falkirk, an earlier sex attack on a 14-year-old in Benidorm and of the murder of Mrs McGarrigle.

    O’Neill was sentenced to a minimum 30 years behind bars and Lauchlan to 26 years.

    Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1384705/Madeleine-McCann-Police-quiz-convicted-murderers-Kate-McCann-gives-chilling-account-moment-daughter-missing.html#ixzz2iFqY8Sn4
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