I saw Madeleine McCann playing outside Costa del Sol beach restaurant

LAST UPDATED: 3 May, 2012 @ 09:36
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I saw Madeleine McCann playing outside Costa del Sol beach restaurant

EXCLUSIVE by Eloise Horsfield

A BRITISH expat has come forward believing to have seen Maddie McCann in Nerja – exactly five years since her disappearance.

Rose Johnson, 70, reckons she saw the missing girl playing on Penoncillo beach – between Torrox and Nerja – last summer.

The Frigiliana-based pensioner hopes her sighting will help Portuguese police who sensationally sent a request to their Spanish counterparts to investigate other sightings in Nerja just a fortnight ago.

The former cleaner, who has lived in the area for a decade, has spoken out after reading an article in the Olive Press, last issue.

She revealed how she had made the sighting while eating at Merendero restaurant with her partner in August last year.

“We were quite taken aback when we saw this Maddie look-a-like walk off the beach and join a table of what we could only describe as a party of Spanish people or similar,” said Johnson.

“They were completely different to her. The whole family was dark skinned, whereas she had fair hair and pale skin and obviously was northern European.

“It was very, very strange. She was about eight and seemed really airy-fairy, and in a world of her own.

“She hardly spent any time with the family and didn’t sit with the people she was with at all.”

Johnson later saw something equally startling.

“As we crossed the road to our car, just up the road was a dark blue or grey car, a people carrier or similar – possibly a Citroen Picasso or Renault Scenic – with a Portuguese number plate,” said Johnson, originally from Buckinghamshire.

“We, like a lot of people, and especially her parents, want her found and any information we can give we would like to think it could help.”

Regretting that she did not take a picture with her mobile phone, she added: “We hope people don’t think we are jumping on the bandwagon, looking for publicity. This is simply about Maddie and trying to find her.”

Her sighting is remarkably similar to another Olive Press reader Yvonne Tunnicliffe who insisted she was ‘100 per cent sure’ she saw Maddie while out on a shopping trip in Alhaurin two years ago.

She described seeing a blonde girl who looked just like her dad Gerry McCann with a man, who appeared to be ‘a gypsy’, in 2009.

It has been confirmed that Spain’s Specialist and Violent Crime Unit (UDEV) is investigating the Nerja connection.

Last night, the Olive Press passed over Rose Johnson’s contact details to police to help in their search.

Meanwhile Portuguese police have refused to reopen the case after British police revealed there were 195 new leads, despite Detective Chief Inspector Andy Redwood saying he ‘genuinely’ believes she could be alive.

In addition, a former senior Met officer has said Maddie was ‘most likely abducted by a couple’ who ‘wanted her as part of a family’.

Having spent a week on the Algarve, Ian Horrocks, is convinced a paedophile would have found many easier places to snatch a child.

He also believes the original investigation was flawed because police were looking for a dead person and got it into their minds that the parents were to blame.

Meanwhile the Met Police have issued a photofit of how Maddie might look today.

 

80 COMMENTS

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  1. Yes the McCann’s may have made a mistake leaving their children but this is something they will have to live with for the rest off their life;s We must remember the real EVIL here are the people who stole Madeleine and are still keeping from her loving family. We must keep praying she will be returned soon. xx God bless

  2. The only credible sighting of Madeleine ever made I believe was by Anna Stam in Amsterdam shortly after Madeleine disappeared in 2007. She produced two sketches of the people she had seen with the girl. She also mentioned that the woman said that they owned a small circus in France. Last week I was looking through websites for French circuses when I came across one with a video on the homepage. I took a look at the video and a woman in that video looks almost exactly like the woman seen by Anna Stam with Madeleine. I have emailed a link to the website to Scotland Yard however I am not sure if anything will come of it.

  3. I REALLY THINK THAT YOU DONT REALLY WANT HER FOUND.
    HOW CAN PEOPLE SEE HER IN PLACES AND THE POLICE HAVE NOT DONE ANYTHING YET?
    AND WHY THE PEOPLE THAT SAW MADDIE DID NOT FOLLOW THE CAR TO SEE WHERE IT WAS GOING AND THEN CALL THE POLICE?
    REALLY WE CANT JUST SIT AND SAY I SAW HER HERE AND I SAW HER THERE AND THEN ALL THIS PUBLISHED.
    LIKE WE READ ALL ABOUT THIS …. SURELY THE PEOPLE THAT HAVE MADDIE DO ALSO. SURELY THEY ARE NOT STUPID . THEY HAVE KEPT HER AWAY FROM EVERYONE AND NOT YET FOUND FOR SO MANY YEARS…..
    SO JUST GO ON INFORMING THEM FOER ALL THE MOVES YOU ARE DOING….

  4. WHEN DO YOU THINK ALL THIS IS GOING TO BE OVER?
    I THINK THAT ALL THE MISSING CHILDREN SHOULD BE SHOWN AT LEAST ONCE A WEEK ON TV WORLDWIDE SO THAT PEOPLE CAN SEE THEIR FACES AND MIGHT RECOGNISE THEM. IN ALL ALL ALL THE COUNTRIES

  5. What doesn’t really make any sense is that people is claiming to have seen her with a strange family, a couple, or even a man. But yet no once decided to ask the girl if she was okay. How can you claim to see someone and not have some sort of interaction with that person to make sure. Its been five years already and the girl is still missing. Theres some who want to believe she is alive, but chances are now 50/50, since its more common for abductors to kill their victims then let them live. If still missing for extended periods of time its unknown whether she would be declared legally dead, due to the young age.

    • Very cogent post. How many of these people are attention-seeking, self-dramatizing fantasists? I live near a Bulgarian couple. Their son is very dark haired and is definitely eastern European. The little girl is very fair-haired, although her skin is olive. Just why is it “astonishing” to see a Portuguese car in Spain? I travel to France, Belgium and Luxembourg three times a year. Cars from most European countries can be seen on the roads.

  6. i was just wondering if there is any information on her size in comparison to most her age…. No where i can see if she would be small or tall for her age?
    I was also wondering with her eye marking, would it be possible to cover it with contact lenses etc….
    As a parent I cant imagine my life if i had a child taken from us. Blessings to the Mcann’s and all her family.

  7. The problem I have is that Why would they not Want to Re~ open a case of a girl who went missing in there country. it Seems odd to me Like they are trying to hide the fact it ever happened.

    I dose not give the country a good outlook on them.
    and I would Find it very ” worrying as a holiday maker to ever take my children near that place knowing if something ever happened that they would just “forget about my child”

    If I was the “person” who Saw Maddie and was 100% sure its was her I would do everything in my power in order to get hold of her in order to get her back to her parents even if that meant “steeling her back” from the people who took her

    If she is distant From the people She is with Who have stolen her for a family life that is really distressing that She Seems so Sad

    If your Really think its Her you should Really try and reach out to her as much as you can and try and get her back.

    And yes I know her parent should have never of left her alone but its not them who is the victim in this its maddie and She deserve’s to know her brother and sister.

  8. judgement day comes to us all in the end of our lives –the person or persons responsable for maddie must confess now because peace must be brought to the nations heart felt worries of what the world is becoming to when children are not safe anymore

  9. i believe if someone took maddie they would surly hide her away from the public eye for sure–why would anyone take a child from a bed with 2 other children there– abit risky– how would they have known the children were alone? how can anyone have 3 children all asleep at the same time ? children wake up through the night for the tiolet or for feeling sick something is adrift here all parents know this so why leave children 3 of them alone? why do the public always think its a bad man? it could be a woman it could be anyone or anything but believe me the truth will come out police are not stupid they will find who is responsable

  10. I cant imagine what the parents have been going through.

    I am praying for her safe return.

    I just hope that the person or people are caring for her.

    When she is returned, her loving parents will get her back and they will get her help.

    I don’t think that I would ever stop looking for her.

    I certainly would not.

    Hope some great news will allow them to lead a full life.

    Most people who loses a child get divorced, and the parents have lovingly taken care of one another.

    Hope and faith.

    I hope that the lord is looking out for her.

    God bless.

  11. We have just come back from Portugal after a weeks holiday, we took our nearly 3 year old daughter, I felt very tense the whole time there with my daughter attached to the buggy with her back pack. I thought about madeline a lot whilst on holiday and met another family with a little girl who was a lot like maddeline she was nearly 4. We talked about her a lot its really touched my heart and goes out to the family I only prey they get her back. The last day of my holiday we went to the beach for one last breakfast it was quite there that morning but I noticed a man sat near us wearing jeans and shirt in the hot weather he clearly was not a tourist and I noticed he never ordered a drink, his mobile ke[t ringing and he was talking in another language, I could see his head moving through his dark sun glasses everytime my daughter moved around our table, he got up when we did and he walked ahead but then turned around and was starring. I felt very uneasy we put my daughter on the bacj pack and he then disappeared. Not sure if I was paranoid but my boyfriend said he thought he was dodgy looking and he was looking at my daughter but not in a way where people smile and say hello .

  12. Becky I don’t mean to be rude but if you felt so uncomfortable why did you not confront him? Or grab your little girl and go somewhere eles? Common sense really! There is like a million different places you could of taken your nearly 3 year old daughter on holiday this year why did you choose Portugal since maddie went missing in 07 its a known fact that there is a fair few pedophiles around Portugal but then again there are many around the world. Many people look at children while out & about without there being anything behind it I smile at little ones all the time when out and about doing my own thing some people especially men worry about making the wrong impression so try and avoid making an issue where parents feel uncomfortable so won’t speak to parents with young children

  13. Is it possible that the other language the man was speaking in was Portugese? If he was weraing jeans and shirt he may have been a local who did not find the weather in October as warm as a Northern European would. Maybe he was staring because you were following him.

  14. all these people who say the have seen maddie with different people am i missing something here if i saw maddie and i was 100% or even 70% it was her i would make sure id grab her and hope it was her id prombley be in trouble if is wasnt her but i would have tried ??????

  15. This is such a sad case
    I don’t know why the police hasn’t re-open this case, after all these leads have come up Karen thank you for having the courage to come forward you’d think after all the resent case’s of children being returned to their parents after being kidnapped they would think anything is possible. Until they find Maddie’s body then they should look at the case as she is alive and keep the case open and look at every led

  16. Is there any new developments on this case? I have always prayed for Madeleines safe return, as for leaving the children alone, as a child my family went to areas of Spain and Portugal, whilst there, there is a feeling of security and peace, they (my parents) and the family we traveled with left us(the children) alone asleep in the apartment whilst they went to the poolside, granted this was in the 90s and on the occasion I remember most in Lisbon, but the point it at the time it felt safe, Iwas around 6 but iIremember being in the room with the fan going, iIjust think people are a bit harsh about this, Regardless iI pray Madeleine is OKand with people who ‘look after her’. I hope she is found soon 7 years on

  17. What makes me angry about these sightings is why not take a picture of the girl so that they can confirm if it is madelaine. Or approach the girl. But I suppose its easier said than done. Its just so frustrating.

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