Abductors could have spied on girl for days
By Richard Edwards and Fiona Govan in Praia da Luz
Last Updated: 2:10AM BST 12 May 2007
Police were last night investigating whether Madeleine McCann was watched by her abductors three days before she was snatched.
Detectives have discovered that the McCann family went to the town of Sagres, on the southern tip of the Algarve, on April 30.
A witness has told police that on the same day he saw a suspicious man following families and photographing children, including his daughter, a blonde girl "strikingly similar" to Madeleine.
A witness, Nuno Lorenco, said he saw a man following his family down the beach and taking "discreet" photographs. He said he challenged the man, who fled with a blonde woman in a Renault Clio.
Did Madeleine's abductor target her after family's visit to remote village?
By SAM GREENHILL and NEIL SEARS
Last updated at 23:00 11 May 2007
Madeleine McCann and her family visited the same remote village where a suspected paedophile was chased away for photographing young girls, it has emerged.
It may have been the moment her abductor first laid eyes on the three-year-old, who was snatched from her bed three days later.
Madeleine McCann and her family visited the same remote village where a suspected paedophile was chased away for photographing young girls
The McCanns' day trip to pretty Sagres, 16 miles along the coast from Praia da Luz, coincided with reports of a balding man and a blonde woman taking sneaky pictures of youngsters.
The sinister couple have become prime suspects in the hunt for missing Madeleine.
A holidaymaker grew suspicious of them after the man began secretly snapping youngsters on the beach. When challenged, he fled in a car with the woman.
Officers have now officially ended the ground search for missing Madeleine and are concentrating on evidence from witnesses.
The McCanns are believed to have visited Sagres -which is on the country's southwest tip and effectively the "Land's End" of mainland Europe -on Monday, April 30.
A shopkeeper in the town said she remembered them well. She said: "On the road into the town, Kate was holding Madeleine's hand. On the other side of the road was Gerry with a baby buggy. "I remember thinking it odd to see him with a baby buggy because I thought the little girl was too old to need one." She said it was the same day as the stranger taking photographs, although other witnesses said that happened two days later.
Either way, it seems possible that Madeleine's abductor was watching the beach at Sagres for some time.
Holidaymaker Nuno Lourenco, who is from Sagres but now lives in Germany, was sitting at a cafe with his German wife and their two children when he noticed a man taking pictures of his four-year-old blonde daughter and other children. He became so concerned at his behaviour that he took his own picture of the man - who was balding with long hair at the back - on his mobile phone.
Questions: Who were these balding man (with long hair at the back) and a blonde woman taking sneaky pictures of youngsters?