New Madeleine witness quizzed

New Madeleine witness quizzed
Exclusive Brit tourist rented McCann apartment
The Sunday Mirror
6 January 2008
Nick Owens and Lori Campbell in Praia da Luz

A British tourist who stayed in the flat Madeleine McCann vanished from last night emerged as a key witness in the search for the four-year-old.

Paul Gordon, 34, and his young family rented the apartment the fortnight before the McCanns stayed in it.

Businessman Paul, from Middlesex, has been quizzed by Scotland Yard officers about whether he ever had concerns his two children, aged one and three, had been in danger from "oddball characters" lurking nearby.

The father, who is not connected to Madeleine's disappearance, gave police a statement about his family's stay in Praia Da Luz, Portugal.

A Scotland Yard source said: "Officers are working on the assumption Madeleine was snatched from her bed and, because this man stayed in the apartment, his children could have been targets weeks before.

"The police wanted to see if he had noticed anything or anyone strange.

In particular they wanted to learn if there had ever been any oddball characters lurking around the apartments.

"They asked if he feared anyone had been hanging around at night when the children were in bed. They also wanted to find out if any other holidaymakers had raised concerns."

Last night Mr Gordon, a sales executive for Scottish and Newcastle Breweries, declined to comment on what he told police.

He said: "I've given a statement and want it to remain private. I hope the information may help in the search for Madeleine."

Metodo 3, the detective agency employed by Kate and Gerry McCann, both 39, are expected to contact Mr Gordon.

A source close to the McCanns - still regarded by Portuguese police as prime suspects - said last night:

"Anything which might help in the search for Madeleine will be welcomed by them."

DETECTIVES in Morocco have decided after checking repeated "sightings" that Madeleine - now missing for 248 days - is not in the country.

Interior Minister Chakib Benmoussa, who met the McCanns when they visited last June, said:

"There is absolutely no evidence that Madeleine is here."

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