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Madeleine disappearance reconstructed as police change timeline

The Metropolitan Police said that they have revised the timeline in their investigation.

A RECONSTRUCTION OF the lead-up to the disappearance of Madeleine McCann was shown on BBC 1′s Crimewatch tonight as part of a renewed appeal.

The young girl’s parents, Kate and Gerry McCann, were interviewed and spoke about the night in question in 2007.

Earlier today, an e-fit was issued of a man police want for questioning.

New Scotland Yard

Speaking on Crimewatch, DCI Andy Redwood said that they had changed some of the direction of the investigation after a family came forward to say they believed one of them was seen by a friend of the McCann’s carrying their own child.

One of the people dining with the McCann’s near their Portugese apartment on the night Madeleine went missing, 3 May, had seen a man carrying a child in their pyjamas near the McCann’s apartment. It had been suspected this could have been a man kidnapping Madeleine.

The night Madeleine went missing

In the evenings, the McCanns and a number of their friends also staying at the Ocean Club in Praia da Luz in Portugal would dine in the resort’s tapas restaurant, 50m from the McCanns’ apartment.

Kate McCann told Crimewatch tonight that the evening before her daughter went missing, Madeleine had asked where her parents were when she and her brother “cried last night”. Kate said that this question threw her, and she “didn’t like to think they might wake up and be crying for us”.

Before the parents went out, Kate read a story to Madeleine. She was put to sleep in her bed and the twins were put in their travel cots.

They left their apartment at 8.30pm and met friends at the tapas restaurant. Throughout the evening, the various parents checked on their children.

At 9.05pm, Gerry went to check on the children and noticed that the bedroom door was open slightly wider than when he left it, but the children were there asleep.

When their friend and dining companion Jane Tanner went to check on her children, the route took her past the McCann’s apartment at about 9.20pm. She said later that she had seen a man carrying a child in pyjamas during this walk.

Original sketch (left) and police photo. This is the person police believe they have identified as the man who was seen by Jane Tanner carrying a child at about 21.15 near the apartment G5A. Pic: Metropolitan Police/PA Wire

At 10pm, Kate got up to do the next check. She saw that the door to the children’s room was open further than when they had left the house, and that while she was there it seemed like a draft caught the door, causing it to slam. She then looked into the room and saw Madeleine was missing.

When she could not find Madeleine in her parents’ room, she “knew straight away that Madeleine had been taken”.

Madeleine McCann. Pic: PA/PA Wire

DCI Redwood told Crimewatch that the Metropolitan Police looked at everything in the case from the beginning, reassessed everything and “accepting nothing”.

They re-examined thousands of documents and launched a full blown inquiry.

Redwood said the investigation had been focused on the hours between 8.30pm and 10pm due to Jane Tanner’s sighting of the man carrying  a child. The man was widely thought to be Madeleine’s abductor.

However, a family told police they believed they could be the ‘Tanner sighting’ as the father was bringing their two-year-old daughter home from the creche and walked near the McCann’s apartment at about the same time.

This meant that the police could move the clock and look at things which had not been seen as significant.


This includes the fact that an Irish family told detectives that at 10pm on 3 May they had seen another man carrying a child towards the beach from the Ocean Club area. He was described as a white man with brown hair, and the child was described as three – four years of age, with blond hair and wearing pyjamas.

Two witnesses helped create the e-fits of the man. DCI Redwood said there could be an innocent explanation for this man, so they are looking for people to come forward.

There were also sightings of men at and near the apartment block the McCanns stayed in on the days before and the day that Madeleine disappeared.

DCI Redwood said that one reading of the evidence shows “hallmarks of pre-planned abduction”. He appealed to people: “If you recognise yourself, please have the courage to come forward”.

The third strand of the investigation involves a four-fold spike in the number of burglaries in the area in the three weeks prior to the disappearance, and also charity collectors being seen in the area.

Windows were used to gain access during the burglaries. Redwood said that one possible scenario is of someone committing a burglary and being disturbed by Madeleine.

He said police “are making good progress” with their revision of timelines.


Kate and Gerry McCann appealed to the public, with Kate saying to anyone who was not sure if the information they had was of use: “Please, please have the courage and confidence to come forward now”.

Anyone with any information is asked to call the incident room on 0800 096 1011, if you are UK based. If based outside the UK please call +4420 7158 0126, or email operation.grange@met.police.uk

Madeleine disappearance reconstructed as police change timeline
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  • Madeleine McCann missing

    Source: PA Wire/Press Association Images
  • Madeleine McCann missing

    Source: PA Wire/Press Association Images
  • Madeleine McCann missing

    Source: PA Wire/Press Association Images
  • Madeleine McCann missing

    Source: PA Wire/Press Association Images

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