Madeleine McCann: six or eight British cleaners in a ‘mysterious’ white van
MADELEINE McCCAN: Police are ‘hunting’ for 6 British cleaners. The Sun leads with :
“Maddie: hunt for 6 Brit cleaners”
These cleaners were working in Portugal around the time the child vanished. And, erm, that’s pretty much it.
Although, these six cleaners could be as many as eight.
The Met’s Operation Grange is investigating the child’s vanishing. They sent one resident in Praia da Liz a letter. He tells the paper:
“The officer said it had been drawn to their attention there were British people that cleaned the apartments who they needed to speak to. They said, ‘Who are the British cleaners that are cleaning the apartments in a white van’? They wanted to know if I knew anybody that does cleaning out there. They asked about it four times. Mostly the cleaners that do the Ocean Club apartments where the McCanns were staying are Portuguese. But they were keen to know if I knew anybody that worked for a cleaning firm out there. They were very interested in who’d have access to those apartments.”
“The apartments where the McCanns were staying have their own cleaners provided by the Ocean Club. But some don’t want to pay their prices and get others to come in.”
The Sun then headlines a section “Mystery vehicle” and recalls the words of Carlos Moreira:
Carlos Moreira, 65, said he saw her lying in the back of a van near the spot where she vanished. He told investigators he had seen a couple who looked like gypsies near the vehicle.
That was back in May 2010, around the time of the anniversary of the child’s vanishing. The Sun told us about Mr Moreira, who had been driving. He was 160 miles from Praia da Luz when he spotted the child in the pyjamas:
A man has reported seeing a girl he is now sure was Maddie lying in the back of a van. She was wearing pyjamas identical to the pair Maddie had on when she was abducted.
I saw a white van with the back door open. I saw a girl, lying on a pile of clothes in the back. She was wearing a two-piece pyjama set, pink and white, or yellow. I saw her back, I could see her hands and feet.
So. We are not sure the pyjamas were identical to the ones the Madeleine had been wearing to bed the night she vanished. The Sun added that for dramatic effect.
The witness must have been pretty close to see her lying in the back of a white van – close enough to see the pattern on her pyjamas. New witness Carlos Moreira, 65, has told investigators the little girl he saw was with a man and woman who looked like gipsies.
A source close to Maddie’s parents Kate and Gerry said last night the sighting was “highly significant” and added: “It could be a key breakthrough.”
In May 2012 – around the time of an anniversary marking the child’s vanishing – we met Antonio Castela. He told us:
“Only when I heard about Madeleine going missing and seeing her picture on the TV did I contact the police as the little girl in the back of my taxi had that same distinct mark in her eye as Madeleine does.”
The Evening Standard added:
Mr Castela, who has been a taxi driver for 23 years, said the girl, who was dressed in pink pyjamas, was awake, but did not speak and was just “staring ahead” as though she had been doped.
Now, about those cleaners in the white van – the cleaners we’ve never heard of before now. In 2008, Portuguese newspaper Sol reported, according to this site:
“Everything is the same, there is no difference in the number of tourists at the moment, when compared with last year”, we are told, in an almost hushed voice, by a cleaning employee at the Ocean Club, the tourist resort where the McCann family was staying on the 3rd of May, the day that their daughter Madeleine disappeared.
Soon driving away in a white van with half a dozen colleagues that go to deliver clean towels and sheets in the Ocean Club’s rented apartments, the cleaning employee only had time to add “I’m sorry, but I have to go to work”.
The Sun then adds:
Earlier there were reports to the original Portuguese police probe of a young dark-haired man acting suspiciously beside a white van just before Madeleine disappeared. The man, with deep-set eyes, was reportedly seen staring intently at the apartment where the McCann family were staying.
Jon Clements had thoughts about that in his Daily Mirror blog:
We were told that several “new” eye witnesses saw a man staring at the McCann’s apartment in Praia da Luz from the street in the days before Madeleine vanished, sometimes with a white van parked nearby.
Then we were told that an Irish family saw a man carrying a child through the streets 40 minutes after Jane Tanner, the McCanns friend, saw a man carrying a child in the street outside the apartment…
Is anybody seriously suggesting that a child snatcher would wander the streets with their victim for 40 minutes risking discovery at any second?…
If the man spotted outside the apartment with the van was involved in the kidnapping why would be be carrying the child half a mile away 40 minutes later in the street when he could be 30 miles away speeding down the road?
Both accounts could be correct but it is hard to see how both could be relevant to what happened to Madeleine.
Such are the facts.