In the UK, Operation Grange is an investigation review which is supposedly looking at the case of the four-year-old girl that disappeared in Portugal in May 2007.
Recently, if you haven't heard, they've released new photo-fits of a man they want to question. The new sketches are based on the 2007 testimony of the Smith family.
"New images show the man an Irish family insist they saw carrying a girl like Madeleine McCann in the resort of Praia da Luz around the time she vanished. The two computer e-fits of the prime suspect were composed from statements and descriptions given by two members of the Smith family.
Martin Smith — holidaying with wife Mary, daughter Aoife, son Peter plus other family members — said the girl was three or four and in a deep sleep. The man was carrying her along the middle of a deserted side street in an uncomfortable position with her head slumped against him.
She had pale “typically British” skin, blonde shoulder-length hair and wore light coloured or pink pyjamas — like those Madeleine was wearing that night. Mr Smith, Aoife and Peter gave descriptions to Portuguese police two days later but no e-fits or sketches were produced."
But what does the official Portuguese Police file on the case actually state? Below is another section of the original witness statement of this sighting:
16-Processos, Volume XVI, pg 4134 to 4139
"In an additional statement from Mr Smith as requested. His wife does not want to make another statement. I showed him the video clip and he stated that it was not the clip that alerted him but the BBC news at 10 PM on 9th September 2007."
"I hereby declare that this statement is true to the best of my knowledge and belief and that I make it knowing that if it is tendered in evidence I will be liable to prosecution if I state in it anything which I know to be false or do not believe to be true.
I would like to state that the statement I made on 26th May 2007 in Portugal is correct. The description of the individual that I saw on 3rd May 2007 carrying a child is as follows.
He was average build, 5 foot 10” in height, brown hair cut short, aged 40 years approximately. Wearing beige trousers and darkish top maybe a jacket or blazer. He had a full head of hair with a tight cut. This individual was alone.
I saw Gerard McCann (sic) going down the plane stairs carrying one of his children on 9th September 2007 BBC news at 10 PM, I have been shown the video clip by Sergeant Hogan which I recognise. A clip I have seen before on the Internet. In relation to the video clips of Gerard McCann and the person I saw on 3rd May 2007 when I saw the BBC news at 10 PM on 9th September 2007 something struck me that it could have been the same person.
It was the way Gerard McCann turned his head down which was similar to what the individual did on 3rd May 2007 when we met him. It may have been the way he was carrying the child either. I would be 60-80% sure that it was Gerard McCann that I met that night carrying a child. I am basing that on his mannerism in the way he carried the child off the plane.
After seeing the BBC news at 10 PM, footage on the 9th September 2007 I contacted Leicestershire police with this information. During that time I spoke to all my family members who were with me on the night of 3rd May 2007 about this and the only one who felt the same way as me was my wife. She had seen the video clip of Gerard McCann walking down the stairs of the plane earlier that day. We did not discuss this until some days later. This statement has been read over to me and is correct."
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