Kicking sailor 'clue' to body

Kicking sailor 'clue' to body
Exclusive Missing Madeleine Day 164
The Sunday Mirror
14 October 2007
Lori Campbell

Portuguese police are becoming increasingly convinced Madeleine McCann's body was dumped at sea.

Officers drafted in to revitalise the investigation will reinterview a key witness who saw a sailor acting suspiciously after the tot disappeared.

Nanny Charlotte Pennington told last night how the man was kicking at something in the hull of his vessel in Praia da Luz, where the family had been staying, two days after Madeleine vanished.

Charlotte, who was working at the Mark Warner holiday complex where their apartment was, ran to get a friend to see what was happening but by the time they returned the boat - and the sailor in yellow fluorescent jacket - had gone.

The next day Charlotte spotted the man, wearing what she thought was the same jacket, and contacted police.

Charlotte, 20, said at her home in Leatherhead, Surrey: "I'm really pleased they are taking this seriously because it means they aren't just looking at the McCanns as suspects."

Her sighting of the sailor - and his possible involvement - was described by a police source as "credible".

Local council leader Manuel Borba reckoned the chances of finding Madeleine in the area were now virtually nil.

Mr Borba, who spent two weeks searching, said: "I personally looked in 40 wells. I'm not going to say that it's impossible the body has been hidden here but I don't believe that it has."

Police will finally receive results from DNA samples taken from the McCanns' hire car and their apartment in the next few days.

The Portuguese hope they will provide a breakthrough - and possibly back their theory that Madeleine's parents helped dispose of her body after she died accidentally.

In a sign of increasing desperation, detectives are studying a map sketched by Chilean mystic Isabel Avila of an area where she claims Madeleine can be found. It suggests she is near a bridge and masts.


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