Monday 5 December 2016

Investigators ignored new Maddy sighting in New Zealand

McCanns demand files with CCTV footage of girl 'just like' their daughter

Sam Marsden in London

Published 04/03/2010 | 05:00

Portuguese detectives failed to ask for any follow-up investigation after a young girl resembling Madeleine McCann was caught on CCTV in New Zealand, it emerged yesterday.

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And last night the missing girl's parents demanded full access to all the files.

A spokesman for Maddy's parents last night said that investigators must have access to the unseen files.

The documents reportedly comprise hundreds of pages of information, including CCTV images that show a young girl who looks like Madeleine being led into a New Zealand supermarket in 2007. New Zealand police said their file remained open following the possible sighting of the missing child in Dunedin in December 2007.

Details of the incident are included among 2,000 pages of previously secret case documents held by Portuguese police which were released to British newspapers yesterday.

They detail dozens of possible sightings of Madeleine after she disappeared from her family's holiday flat in Praia da Luz, southern Portugal, in May 2007, just before her fourth birthday.

New Zealand police confirmed yesterday they investigated a report that a woman saw a little girl who looked like her in a Dunedin shop. Officers obtained CCTV footage of the child hand-in-hand with a stout man wearing a white T-shirt and black shorts.

Inspector David Campbell, acting southern district commander, said: "Police were unable to obtain any further information or ongoing lines of inquiry.



Procedure

"The file was forwarded to Interpol and this is correct procedure under international agreements. The lead jurisdiction, in this case Portugal, directs how the case progresses and has not asked NZ police for any follow-up to date."

The woman who reported the possible sighting in New Zealand said she "absolutely believes" it was Madeleine. Taryn Dryfhout was working on the tills at the Warehouse discount store in Dunedin when she saw the girl with a man, a woman and a boy.

She said the girl "looked just like" Madeleine and spoke with an English accent. Ms Dryfhout told TVNZ news: "She told me that her name was Hayley and was quite apprehensive. . . and sort of stammered over her words when she was trying to think of her name. She was just very shy and afraid."

The shop worker said the adults with the children were "a little bit suspicious" and added that the woman seemed to be in a hurry to leave when she spoke to her.

Ms Dryfhout said it was disappointing that her possible sighting was not followed up: "I absolutely believe it was her. I have no doubt in my mind."

Several British newspapers published the image yesterday, along with details of other possible sightings from the files.

One report mentions a British man called George who saw a small, distressed, blonde girl being dragged along a road to Faro airport in Portugal on the night she went missing.

McCann family spokesman Clarence Mitchell said: "All the information in these files must go to the private investigators as they are the only people still looking for Madeleine."

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