Has this woman the answer to what happened to Madeleine?

Aug 7, 2009
Daily Mail
Tom Kelly

This is the woman private detectives want to speak in the latest part of their twoyear search for Madeleine McCann.  She was seen by two men outside a bar in Barcelona looking agitated three days after the youngster disappeared.  'Glamorous and well turned out' and described by the two British men as a 'bit of a Victoria Beckham lookalike', she spoke to one of the men, telling him something that investigators believe indicates she may know what happened to Madeleine.

Dave Edgar, the retired detective hired by Kate and Gerry McCann to lead a private inquiry, said it was very possible the youngster was smuggled into Barcelona by yacht from the Portuguese resort of Praia da Luz, where she disappeared in May 2007.  Yesterday he revealed an image of the woman, thought to be Australian, at a press conference in London, appealing for help in finding her.  Mr Edgar, 52, said the two men, who were part of a larger group on a trip to Spain, saw the woman acting suspiciously in the early hours of May 7, 2007, during a night out at the city's Port Olimpic Marina.

The men said she appeared anxious as she paced up and down outside the El Rey de la Gamba bar as if she was waiting to meet somebody.  After watching the woman for ten minutes, one of the men approached her and they had a short conversation.  'She said something that was potentially significant to the investigation,' Mr Edgar said.  He described it as a 'strong lead', but refused to give any more details.  The woman then went into an adjacent bar where she had a heated conversation with a local man in what appeared to be fluent Spanish.  She was last seen walking towards a hospital and more distant ferry and cruise ship terminals.

The man she talked to described her as between 30 and 35, slim, about 5ft2in and with short brown hair. She was wearing expensive-looking blue jeans and a jersey top, possibly pastel-coloured.  The man said she spoke with what he believed was an Australian accent.

Mr Edgar said: 'Madeleine most definitely could have got from the area to Barcelona by yacht. This woman is a significant individual, though I wouldn't describe her as a suspect.' He said the witness, a married 41-year-old professional without children, only contacted the McCanns' investigation team six weeks ago.  Mr Edgar said that the delay was for 'personal reasons' and that he had insisted on remaining anonymous.  'We are satisfied that he is a very credible witness and the account he's given is clear and concise,' Mr Edgar said.  The man had been drinking but was not drunk, while the woman was sober. The McCanns' private detectives travelled to Barcelona in search of extra information, but the CCTV footage of the area had already been wiped.

They have informed Portuguese detectives about the new lead and plan to talk with the Australian police and the Spanish authorities.  The e-fit of the woman by a British police artist was described by the witness as 80 per cent accurate.  The McCanns, from Leicestershire, have been kept informed.  Their spokesman Clarence Mitchell said: 'They've learned through bitter experience not to get their hopes up.'

In June, Mr Edgar travelled to Germany in a bid to interview convicted British paedophile Raymond Hewlett about missing Madeleine. However, negotiations broke down between Mr Edgar and Hewlett.  Hewlett later insisted to reporters that he had never seen Madeleine McCann, other than on posters and on television after her disappearance.  He said: 'I'd take a lie-detector test. The only time I've seen Madeleine McCann is on missing posters. And I saw her on TV in a bar once.'

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