24 Feb, 2012 @ 10:00
1 min read

I saw Maddie in a supermarket on the Costa del Sol

EXCLUSIVE by James Bryce

A BRITISH expat based in Spain is ‘100 per cent sure’ she saw missing Madeleine McCann in a supermarket on the Costa del Sol.

The former M&S sales assistant, 63, is adamant the young girl is the missing Briton after seeing her with a man she describes as looking like ‘a gypsy’.

Yvonne Tunnicliffe, who has lived in Spain for six years, made the sighting while shopping at a Mercadona store in Alhaurin el Grande in 2009.

The grandmother has only now come forward, after reading about increasing suggestions that the toddler might have been snatched by a gypsy gang while on holiday in Portugal in 2007.

“My whole body shook when I saw her, she looked just like her daddy (Gerry),” Tunnicliffe told the Olive Press newspaper.

“I’m certain it was Madeleine, I wouldn’t even say I’m 99 per cent sure, I’m 100 per cent sure.

“She had mousy blonde hair in scruffy plaits, very fair skin and looked about seven or eight, which is how old she would have been now.”

Tunnicliffe contacted police a week after the sighting and was visited by detectives who immediately took her back to the store to view CCTV footage.

But police were informed by the store’s manager that footage was only stored for one week and had subsequently been destroyed.

So convinced was she of the sighting, she was unable to sleep for much of the week and finally drew a number of sketches of both the girl and man for police.

Fighting back tears, she told the Olive Press: “It really upset me and I couldn’t stop thinking about it and why I hadn’t gone to the police straight away.

“It was Christmas and we had friends over. I kept getting sidetracked.”

On the sighting she said: “The girl’s demeanour bothered me. I don’t think she belonged to the man because she didn’t look anything like him.

“He had dark, curly hair down to his neck and was wearing a distinctive bullring-type earring.

“He sounded Portuguese and was certainly not from Alhaurin.”

Tunnicliffe claims the girl – who was wearing a pale blue top and trousers – did not look Spanish.

“It disturbed me for a long time and still upsets me thinking about it now,” an emotional Tunnicliffe added.

When contacted by the Olive Press, a Scotland Yard spokesman confirmed: “It’s an open investigation and any information received will be reviewed and considered by detectives.”

The McCanns’ spokesman was unavailable for comment as we went to press.

Eloise Horsfield

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  1. Im with sam and ben ….. she saw her in 2009 oooooh it realy upset me …and i couldnt sleep ….oh……. and it took me 3 years to find a police station!!!!!!! HELLO .

  2. Let us read the article carefully. “Has only now come forward” but a bit later “contacted the police a week after the sighting”. Which ? “the girl did not look Spanish” – they are in Alhaurin !!! “she looked about seven or eight, which is how old she would have been now.” But this sighting was in 2009, when Madeleine, even if alive, would have been FIVE. I do not know who is coming out of this worse, Olive Press or this woman. either way it is probably to cover up the fact that the McCanns are trying to get Tony Bennett committed to prison for suggesting that their story (stories !) might not be entirely correct.

  3. If it is “EXCLUSIVE by James Bryce”, why did the Daily Star publish this story, using exactly the same words, on 23rd Feb, – the day BEFORE the date on this article- under the name of Ross Kuniak ? Who are we supposed to believe ? Who has copied from whom ?

  4. The woman should be absolutely ashamed of herself. She cannot be serious, 3 years on and she comes up with this.
    I feel so embarrased as a UK resident that we are blessed with such stupidity within our group.

  5. “Tunnicliffe contacted police a week after the sighting”.

    So, Tunnicliffe believes she is looking at Maddie but does not try to warn someone around to try and stop the gypsy looking man…

    Then Tunnicliffe takes a week to sleep on it…

    Finally Tunnicliffe goes to the police.

    Sorry but I’m having a hard time to swallow this tuna sandwich, I mean, this story.

  6. Jon Clarke (Publisher) says:…
    Read the story David… she went to the police the week it happened… Talk about stupidity.” *** So why do you say she has ONLY NOW come forward ? I can see no reason for you to be offensive to David. This article is full of holes.

  7. Peter not being rude, just picking up David on his rudeness towards a local pensioner whose only motivation was to try and help, having read about the credible gypsy connection in the olive press.
    And FYI in journalistic parlance you can also say ‘coming forward’ when revealing something to the media!

  8. so does she came forward now mean she contacted the olive press after all this time? why? what is the purpose of the article, the tapes were wiped, nothing can come of this back then and now

  9. Jon, The main issue is one of our trust in the media. Readers of the OP are told the article was written, and researched by James Bryce. Readers of the Daily Star are told it was written and researched by Ross Kaniuk. There is no acknowledgement on either, so other than your assurance that it is an “exclusive”, which it now clearly isn’t, we are no nearer knowing who did what. And within the article we have to choose which statement to believe, even if you have your own private journalistic conventions about the use of English.

  10. Peter, except that the Star actually credit Yvonne as having spoken to “expat news website the olive press” in their story… Which is always nice…
    That all clear now?

  11. Jon “.. except that the Star actually credit Yvonne as having spoken to “expat news website the olive press” in their story…”- – – Is that really enough for a journalist to claim the story as his own ? She may have spoken to OP, but the story is credited to their own journalist, as if he himself had written it, and had not simply copied and pasted it. He only changes the last paragraph to imply that he managed to speak to Mitchell, when OP had not. The world of journalism is a truly murky one when we cannot take anything on face value.

  12. hey guys …. lets get back to the point of the story
    i saw madeline macann in alhaurin and waited a week ? month? year ?( until I ran out of money ?) to report it to the police .

    Why ???????????????????????

  13. Sam Roberts. You ask “Why ??”. I think the answer is fairly simple. This story, the invented ‘sightings’ in Morocco, the Barcelona dock episode reported 2 years late, the bloke in Huelva who had been told by someone else that she ‘might’ be in the USA, and so on, are all published for a particular reason. And is the timing which is the important point, not the story. Each of these has been used to draw attention away from something actually happening, like a conjuror, “Look over here, not over there”. There are currently four important developments in this case, but you will not find any of them in the press. Clarence Mitchell and Carter-Ruck make sure of that, but they have to plant other things, so that the public believe they are being given information.

  14. yes i got in touch with the police just after she went missing did not want to know so i go out there 5 times come back with a video of girl i say is madeline she even spoke to me asked me if i had come to take her home ,yes its a ? how do you handle the event at the time even the mccanns do not want to know still say i am the best bet of getting her back

  15. who am i a man 68 now been seeing things before they happen for the last 32 years tryed to explain it away but it cannot all be coincidence the government police have been informed before hand,even had tests done 31 years ago waste of my time all they say is coincidence,of about 15 children who went missing & what i told them before hand & after they even thought i had done it as i was getting to close to finding them if the system had listened about 300,0000people could be alive today on different events over the years.

  16. ok .. so a physic I cant say its fake as I know they have had successes in other cases but dont think you would ever get the spanish police to belive anything like that.

    I heard Physics where used in the amy fitzpatrick case but dont think it helped

  17. I see a lot of people are confusing Physics and Psychics…

    I’m sure physics are always considered, in all investigations, for example to determine how far away you can throw a body or, how much time you need to go from A to B, etc.

    As for psychics, it’s more (how can I put it?) a question of faith in people that believe they can “see” what happened in a certain place at a certain time, when at the same time they were at the local pub having a pint.

  18. 35 article should have read i saw madeleine 4 days before she went missing even got her name ,even told a friend it was going to happen .
    the different is i put my money where my mouth is & went out to luz .if i found out what i did while i was there why did the police plus the private detectives not ,they cannot even check the car reg number out .
    ? what happens if i am right it is her what will you say then sorry we let it go on for 4 years because we do not understand things like this,33 years ago i did not but i do today ,that another story ,derek

  19. derek why dont you take this info to operation grange now they have re opened the case and tell them about the video and the car registration number if i sent u my email would u forward the video on to me this girls face is implanted on my mind its as if i have known her forever i understand not making things too public in case it jepordises things but i think this could be valuble information and you need to show the MET

  20. Underwater searches in Barragem da Bravura were done but they were not thorough enough.
    The PJ should request the help of the GNR or the Marinha Portuguesa divers and repeat the searches.
    I’m convinced that this is were the body is located.

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