Irish couple provide new lead in hunt for Madeleine

An Irish couple have provided a new lead for police searching for missing girl Madeleine McCann. The three year old was snatched from her bedroom while her parents were having an evening meal at a restaurant during a family holiday in Portugal in 2007.

Madeleine in 2007 and computer image of how she may look now aged nine

Portuguese police carried out a year long investigation but were unable to find her or the person who kidnapped her. Now British police have re-opened the case after an Irish couple described seeing a man walking along carrying a small girl at around the time of the kidnapping.

Martin and Mary Smith of Drogheda were holidaying in the Algarve at the same time as the McCanns in 2007. The night Madeleine went missing, they saw a man carrying a young girl through a side street around 10pm.

They gave their descriptions to Portuguese police at the time but no images of the man were ever produced. Now British police have created E-fit images of the man based on the descriptions from the Smiths.

An E-fit is a modern way of getting an accurate image of a suspect. Police artists consult with eye witnesses to create an electronic image of a person.

The man in the e-fits is now the key figure in the police’s investigation into the disappearance of Madeleine.
Martin’s description of the girl he saw being carried by the unknown man, match that of Madeleine and the clothes she was wearing that night. ‘Typically British’ skin, blonde shoulder-length hair and light coloured or pink pyjamas.

‘I’d ask the public to look very carefully’

The Irish Sun points out that the two E-fits based on Mr and Mrs Smith’s individual descriptions, show subtle differences in the man’s appearance. One image shows the suspect square-jawed and chubby-faced. In the other he is leaner.

E-fit images created by British police
E-fit images created by British police

A Scotland Yard police spokesman said: “It’s two different people’s version of the same suspect.”

The pictures were broadcast on British BBC programme Crimewatch last night in the hope that a member of the public may recognise the suspect. Detective Chief Inspector Andy Redwood said: “The E-fits are clear and I’d ask the public to look very carefully at them.”

Madeleine McCann went missing in 2007 and as yet there has never been any significant progress made by the police in finding her. The McCanns have campaigned tirelessly to keep the story in the public eye, in the hope of one day being reunited with their daughter.

Please contact the British police by clicking here if you can help in any way with their investigation.