'I saw eye-mark girl.. weeks ago'

'I saw eye-mark girl.. weeks ago'
Secrets of the Madeleine dossier
The Sunday Mirror
10 August 2008
Lori Campbell

A little girl with Madeleine's unique eye blemish was seen in the Caribbean just 12 weeks ago.

The sighting is being treated as "high priority" by Kate and Gerry's private investigators as it is the first to mention the distinctive mark in her right eye.

Briton Trevor Francis, captain of a charter yacht, is convinced he saw Maddy on the island of Margarita where he was moored.

The marina is on a direct shipping route from Portugal - where she was snatched. He saw three women in a restaurant on May 16 with a girl he is "85 per cent certain" was Madeleine.

Mr Francis has told British police: "I noticed that the little girl was white with fair hair.

"There are sometimes white children in Venezuela but not as fair as this child.

"She really stood out. She was the absolute image of the missing Madeleine McCann. She was very sullen-looking and refused to eat. She looked unhappy and out of place."

He added: "I shuffled in my seat so I could see 'Madeleine' clearly.

"I was about four or five feet away from the little girl. Her eyes met mine as I walked past and that's when I saw the little blemish in her right eye - it was like a little fleck."

British police advised Portuguese police to treat the sighting as "very high priority", but the files do not say what, if any, action was taken. The McCanns' spokesman Clarence Mitchell said: "It is very encouraging that Mr Francis got close enough to see the mark, which we believe is unique to Madeleine.

"Our investigators will be speaking to him."

In another new sighting, Angolan Marco Ventura claimed he saw a girl identical to Madeleine in Portugal, in a Dutch-registered BMW, five weeks after she disappeared.

Two other witnesses have said they saw her in Holland.

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