viernes, 7 de agosto de 2009

Caso Madeleine McCann - La búsqueda de Madeleine da un giro hacia una mujer que se parece a Victoria Beckham y que tiene acento australiano

The Australian

Pendiente de traducción

Peter Wilson, Europe correspondent | August 06, 2009

A WOMAN with an Australian or New Zealand accent is being sought over the disappearance of Madeleine McCann in a surprise twist just over two years after the English girl went missing.

The woman is described as "a bit of a Victoria Beckham look-alike" and was in the Spanish city of Barcelona in May 2007, three days after Madeleine disappeared during a family holiday in Portugal.

Investigators hired by Madeleine's parents say the woman said something to two British men which suggested that she knew about the fate of the then three-year-old.

A police artist's portrait based on descriptions by the witnesses shows the woman, who is estimated at 30 to 35 years old and was short, slim and had short brown hair.

One of the British men has told investigators that the woman had an Australian or New Zealand accent, while the second witness said it was Australian.

Family spokesman Clarence Mitchell told The Australian that Gerry and Kate McCann still believed they might find their daughter alive and they viewed the new hunt for this woman as one of the strongest leads uncovered during the entire investigation.

Dave Edgar, a retired British police detective who has been hired by the family to lead the search for the missing girl, said a recent tip-off from the two British men, who did not wish to be publicly identified, had convinced him that the woman in Barcelona may know what happened to Madeleine.

Interest in Madeleine's disappearance is still strong in Britain and Edgar is to release the artist's portrait and details of the new lead at a London press conference attended by journalists from Spain, Portugal and the UK.

The woman is described as being about 157.5 cm (5 foot 2 inches), with a slim build and was wearing expensive-looking blue jeans and a jersey top, possibly in a pastel color.

She is believed to speak excellent Spanish, possibly Catalan.

The two English witnesses say they noticed her when they were drinking in bars at a popular Barcelona marina at about 2am on May 7, 2007, just over 72 hours after Madeleine went missing from her family's holiday apartment in the seaside resort of Praia da Luz, about 13 hours drive away.

The men had been moving between bars and restaurants in the Port Olimpic Marina, a Barcelona area popular with both tourists and locals, when one of the witnesses noticed the well-dressed woman, who he says appeared agitated.

She was walking up and down outside the El Ray de la Gamba restaurant bar for about 10 minutes and appeared to be waiting for somebody.

The first witness, a 41-year-old British man, approached her and they had a short conversation in which she apparently thought he was the person she was waiting to meet.

It was what she said before realising that he was not the person she expected that has convinced the investigators that she may have information about Madeleine.

The woman then sat down in another bar nearby, where the second witness from the group of British men also noticed her.

At one point the woman had a brief angry conversation with somebody else, who may have bumped her, and the witnesses said she seemed to speak fluent Spanish. She was last seen walking away towards a local hospital and the more distant ferry and cruise ship terminals.

The investigators have conducted their own inquiries at the marina and are working with local police to see if anybody there recognises the British police artist's drawing.

The family's continuing hunt for Madeleine has been funded by public donations and large defamation settlements paid by the UK's Express newspaper group after publishing several reports suggesting that the McCanns and the friends they were holidaying with in Portugal may have been responsible for Madeleine's disappearance.

The investigators have asked anyone who may know the woman to contact them by emailing or calling +44 845 838 4699.

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