3 May, 2012 @ 07:05
2 mins read

I saw Madeleine McCann playing outside Costa del Sol beach restaurant

rose johnson believes she saw maddie mccann on nerja beach last summer

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.


Eloise Horsfield

DO YOU HAVE NEWS FOR US at Spain’s most popular English newspaper - the Olive Press? Contact us now via email: [email protected] or call 951 273 575


  1. This has made me gasp as I reported seeing a girl like Madeleine 3 days after it happened in 2007 with a family in Cabopino Campsite,nr Marbella they also had a dark blue people carrier. She too was with them but apart and distant,I reported it several times but don’t know if it was investigated thoroughlly. It too was a very haunting image as she was not interacting with the family and looked very sad.

  2. Hi karen, we would love to talk to you about this…we have now had at least half a dozen very good ‘sightings’ of maddie on the costa del sol…I really hope somebody can produce the killer fact!
    Give our newsdesk a call on 951166060

  3. Dear Portuguese police,

    Please re-open this case and followup the leads you disregarded 5 years ago.

    Maddy is probably living in some kind of a sub-basement where she is confined, doesn’t remember who she is and they’re probably keeping her drugged up on anti-depressants.

    Please find her alive and return her asap to her parents. Please.

  4. This sounds like it was madeleine mccann, and the portuguese police needs to search for a Madeline mccann hwho is alive! And they must do everything they can to find this girl and bring her home to her parents, that she very much need, becuase of this artickle i am shore she must be miserable, and she could be sick (mentaly ill) so i cant see why this couple is not returning her back to her real family,cause she must be unhappy.

  5. For goodness sake why have all these clues not been chased up and investigated, this is a life we are talking about here, everything possible should be done to find this child and reunite her with her parents, I stayed in Portugal and I must say there were many gypsies in the area, that did make us feel a bit uncomfortable, can everyone today on the anniversary of her disappearence please please pray for her return, you cannot underestimate the power of prayer, just look at Patrice Muamba he is living proof of prayer

  6. please can everyone at some point today on the anniversary of maddie mccanns disappearance prayer for her safe return , the more people that do this the better the chance of it happening just look at what the power of prayer did for Patric Muamba he has been described as a miracle

  7. SUSAN WALKER says: For goodness sake why have all these clues not been chased up and investigated,” and at the same time ask why all these people ALWAYS wait a year before telling anyone. There is a pattern emerging.

  8. Incidentally why have you now changed the name of the person from “Rosalie Bray” in the 25/4 piece to “Rose Johnson”, the same name yo are using in today’s piece.

  9. When my son was about 6 I went to pick him up from a party in a ball park, he wasn’t there, and the host couldn’t remember when she last seen him, we immediately launched a search and within ten minutes found him playing under some balls. In those ten minutes my heart pounded like a hammer inside my rib cage, I felt an unbelievable pain, I don’t think I could of managed 20 minutes of that, and these people have lived that pain for 5 years. Yet people still like to be cruel to them.

  10. if it is maddie these witness had sightings off ,why would the people who took her let her be in a world of her own ,they went to the trouble of kidnapping her ,and if it is maddie draw attention the way they are supposed to be , it does not make sense .i just hope the next person to to get a sighting ,does more about it at the time ,

  11. Sinbad: Gresham, on this subject at least, is no dafter than all these would-be Sherlocks and Miss Marples. None of them have a clue, they just indulge in wild speculation. Get a life, for Gods sake.

  12. It’s horrible that I used to live around this area where she has continuously been sighted and not think to look out for her.
    Going out to Nerja in June this year, so will be keeping an eye out with my camera at the ready.
    Hope we can find Madeleine xo

  13. Amy. If you do see Madeleine you MUST play by the rules, and not report it until the next anniversary, or the launch of the next book. On no account must you stay close to the child, or speak to her, or speak to the people she is with, or look at her right eye, or note the registration number of the car they get into, or use your mobile phone to take a photo, or even to ring the police. The best thing to do is to walk away and wait until next spring, when you can have your 15 minutes of infamy.

  14. May, you are so wrong on all counts, just because details of registration numbers etc are not published in the press does not mean they were not gathered,just because reports were not published in the press earlier does not mean they have not been reported to the police,several times. You know how the enquiry was run, sightings and evidence have not been acted on efficiently by the police which is why it is no further on 5 yrs down the line. No-one wants to get famous out of this they just want to know that their evidence has been taken into account and eliminated so they can move on. The Mccanns asked for anyone who knew anything to come forward again in case it had been missed.

  15. Karen Sisson, did you not read the article here where a lady spotted Madeleine and was 100% sure it was her, but she had guests over at Xmas and couldn’t get away for a whole week to report it. You are having a laugh. Last time I checked, people in costa del sol have both landlines and mobiles.

  16. Karen Sisson … The Mccanns asked for anyone who knew anything to come forward again in case it had been missed.” *** – – But when Martin Grime took the best trained blood and cadaverine detection dogs in the world, they dismissed them as “notoriously unreliable”. If your child had gone missing and a dog indicted blood and cadaverine in your house, would your reaction be simply to say it was impossible, or would you fold up with grief and dread at what it actually implied ? And when you were asked about “Sightings” of your child, would you grin and laugh, or would you be on the phone to the police in that place, even if you did not go yourself ? And would you actually search for your child, or spend the first evening deleting calls and messages from your mobile phone ? And so on.

  17. They don’t. They could not see my comment No 11, which you have now taken down on this one too. The one about your changing the name of the witness on a previous article. Luckily we have screen shots and copies of the articles and the comments before and after ‘amendment’. We have learned to do this with anything associated with this case.

  18. PM, why are you posting such horrible lies and jokes about the search for a missing little girl? Why are you running back from here to that obnoxious little forum which is the mouthpiece of the arch stalker of the McCanns, Tony Bennett, and gloating about your posts here? The fact is that the PJ when co-ordinated by Amaral were incompetent. He stated that himself only a few days ago. They failed poor Madeleine McCann by their incompetent policing. They ignored lead after lead because it did not fit the theory about the parents which Amaral still has not managed to show any proof for. And now Scotland Yard are actually looking into all the evidence (not just that which fits one theory) and have stated that on balance it points to stranger abduction. Your mocking posts here and on that forum and your silly conspiracy nonsense is quite awful in this missing child case. You are an amateurish internet detective who thinks he knows better than real police officers who have access to all the information unlike you and Amaral. If it weren’t such a serious case it would be hilarious.

  19. Well done Karen for having the courage to come forward and say what you saw. I’m appalled that nobody contacted you after you reported your sighting.
    I wonder how many others came forward with similar sightings that were just ignored. I would urge you to contact Scotland Yard or Crimestoppers and tell them.
    Don’t let people like PM intimidate you (or anyone else) into not coming forward. All it takes is that one piece of the jigsaw to help this child.

  20. “PM says:
    It is not a question of conspiracy theories, it is a question of whether we can believe anything written in the Press.”

    But you’ve based your conspiracy theory on what was fed to the UK press by the leaks from the PJ in the early days. The Leveson Inquiry heard evidence that the press were fed lies.

  21. PM, I can assure you nobody is ‘placing’ these stories and there is no deliberate timing on anniversaries, book launches or anything else for that matter…people are just coming forward because they genuinely believe they may have seen maddie right or wrong…if we don’t put a comment up from you it might be because it breaks certain rules…

  22. Jon. I am not suggesting that YOU save up all these ‘sightings’ and place them at the correct moment, but after four long years we have had too many astonishing coincidences. We bear in mind however the presence in TM of Mitchell, who in his own words is there to ‘control what comes out in the media”.

    Just to continue, we are now approaching the holiday season, and the Costa is about to be invaded by several thousand families from Finland, Sweden, Norway and Denmark, many will have blonde children of about 8 years old.

    Can you advise the public on what to do if they see a blonde girl aged about 8, in the next five months, on a beach anywhere between Sotogrande and Nerja. Clearly waiting till the spring is not an option.

    Sadly this is not a frivolous point. I fear that many parents are going to be hassled and inconvenienced and have their holiday ruined for their ‘crime’ of having a blonde daughter and the coincdence of being seen by someone who believes in any one of the official scenarios.

  23. I don’t believe a word of it. Even assuming she is alive (I doubt it) why would anyone in their right mind take her to a beach resort? What people are seeing is a lookalike.

  24. Dave, you haven’t a clue what people are seeing. Only they do.

    PM: You accused Olive Press of changing names of witnesses and being part of a cover up. Now you are backtracking and accusing Clarence Mitchell of making up sightings?
    You need to sort your conspiracy theories out before you post?

    If someone sees Madeleine they should report it. Most decent, normal parents would understand if someone got it wrong.

    You seem to be a self-appointed guardian of all blonde girls, which is very odd.

  25. Dave says: “Sam: I believe people see what they WANT to see.”

    Really? They go out to lunch or dinner and think ‘I want to see Madeleine today?

    I think it takes them completely by surprise. I think it’s a bit arrogant to dismiss what people see based on what YOU think they are seeing.

  26. Unless you have her Dave, then you don’t know that.
    With people like you saying she’s dead, don’t look for her, they could take her anywhere they liked.
    It’s not wishful thinking. I can’t imagine why you’re so adamant that she can’t be found or people should just ignore her if they think they see her? There’s a cluster of sightings around Nerja, not just one or two. The abductor is relying on people like you to look away. I’m relying on people like the woman in the article to do the thing most decent people would do; tell someone you may have seen her.

  27. My goodness is there any wonder that the police struggled to investigate this case. Thousands upon thousands of sightings, whipped up media frenzy and hysterical holiday makers thinking every blonde child is Madeleine. Then they all wait weeks, months, years before reporting it, making it virtually impossible to follow up and eliminate. Of course they are all 100% sure it was her!!!

  28. Just reading back over the comments and realised there is another Dave posting, so just for clarification purposes my first post about this article is number 43, although I do fully agree with Dave’s sentiments in his number 41 post.

    However, in future to avoid any confusion I shall just call myself Dave2.

  29. “My goodness is there any wonder that the police struggled to investigate this case. Thousands upon thousands of sightings, whipped up media frenzy and hysterical holiday makers thinking every blonde child is Madeleine. Then they all wait weeks, months, years before reporting it, making it virtually impossible to follow up and eliminate. Of course they are all 100% sure it was her!!!”

    Why the hyperbole Dave? ‘Hysterical, frenzy, thousands?’

    There haven’t been thousands and thousands of sightings. And the woman in the report above is an expat not ‘an hysterical holiday maker’ – well used to seeing the type of people who come and go.

    And Karen, who commented above reported her sighting straightaway; days after Madeleine went missing. Nobody bothered to contact her again. Like many, many other witnesses.
    Why the insistence that you know better than the people who report sightings? Or better than Scotland Yard?

    There is hysteria Dave, but it seems to be coming from you?

  30. Of course there has been thousands of so called sightings around the world. The PJ have investigated many and recently they have been accused of ignoring hundreds more haven’t they? Now lets not forget the the 3 sightings a week on average the Spanish police say they get, that works out at around 750 over five years in Spain alone.

    Indeed lets also not forget the UK Crimewatch team that didn’t bother to hand over hundreds of possible leads to the UK police. Why did they do that you might ask, well it was something to do with being inundated with calls. So my friend I think you will find there has been thousands of calls about this case, most of them irrelevant but time consuming to deal with all the same and a distraction from the investigation.

    AS for this lady being an expat that has nothing to do with my post as many of these sightings have come from holiday makers, hysterical or otherwise.

    Just a final note, if this lady was sure it was Madeleine and the police didn’t contact her again, then why didn’t she contact the mccanns or their detectives?

  31. Dave, she came forward after she read that portugese police have been looking into links in the Nerja area.
    Thank god some people kept their eyes open and have open minds
    Pls contact us at the Olive Press with any more sightings… We have had around a dozen so far and have investigated all, with around half knocked down…
    as it happens we found Madeleine in An Axarquia village last week… Same age, looking similar, but NOT her!
    For a moment our hearts missed a beat

  32. I think you miss the point completely Jon, if she thought this was Madeleine when she saw her why wait a year to come forward? and only do so when she hears the police are looking at other local sightings. If you are that convinced it’s her you would have done something about it sooner.

    People have become hysterical about every blonde child who doesn’t seem to fit in with the family they are with.

    I’m not surprised the German family who have had their privacy wrongly invaded and their names splashed across the internet are extremely annoyed. All because someone got a little hysterical about a blonde child not looking as though they belong in the family.

  33. This claim by Karen Sisson has now, like all the others, been disproved, as reported here: “http://www.bild.de/news/ausland/maddie-mccann/urlauber-familie-spanien-fall-maddie-24049614.bild.html”

    and here: “http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2141774/German-speaking-Swiss-native-interviewed-police-spotted-driving-blonde-girl-identical-Madeleine-McCann-away-campsite.html”

    Perhaps these many claims of alleged ‘sightings’ of Madeleine should be treated with considerably more circumspection by the media in general and journalists in particular, so that innocent people are not harassed and alarmed unnecessarily by unwanted media attention. We all hope that Madeleine is found alive and well (unlikely as that may be in view of the indications that the Portuguese and British Police found in PdL back in 2007), but it would seem that the continual media obsession with this one missing child has generated a climate of where people are seeing things that they want to see. As a parent myself, I would be very concerned if a stranger started staring at either of my 2 daughters (both of whom are blond) and I’m sure that it won’t be too long before there is a serious incident, where a totally innocent child and their family are terrorised by someone trying to grab the child in the mistaken belief that it is Madeleine.

    Anyway, I am convinced that TOP would want to bring its reports up to date with the above information and, hopefully, will add a warning to its readers about the considerable dangers involved in misidentifying a child and thereby causing uncalled for trauma to a totally innocent family.

  34. Mr. and Mrs. McCann; What a mistake they made leaving the children. I am sorry for them and my heart goes out to Madeleine whatever happened to her. This is a dreadful business and I have studied quite a lot about it. However, I am not a detective and most people involved are not either; this in my lay and unqualified opinion. I read lots of statements from people who were present when Madeleine disappeared and I wonder who it was that took her away. Some of it does not add up very well. Then I read about Insp: Amarals findings and the two dogs, Eddie the Cadaver detecting dog and Keela the bloodhound. How can anyone possibly denigrate these expertly trained dogs?. I am of the opinion that their alerts are correct and I believe Insp: Amarals investigative findings are correct as well although this does not seem to prove much in connection with finding out what exactly happened to Madeleine or where she is. A cadaver must have been in that room at some time for the dogs to alert just like they alerted to the McCanns rented car. I do not know who this cadaver could be, or indeed if the cadaver and blood scent is the same scent both in the flat and the rented car. The dogs are unable to tell us. I do not think the McCanns deliberately harmed Madeleine though whatever happened. If someone can put this business to bed then now is the time to do it. Please God may Madeleine be found safe and sound, Although I am not sanguine in this area. MIKE.

    I do note that Mrs. McCann seemed to be very upset when she met the Pope no doube grieving about Madeleine.

  35. 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

  36. 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.




  40. 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.

  41. 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.

  42. 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.

  43. 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

  44. 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




  46. 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.

  47. 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 .

  48. 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

  49. 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.

  50. 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 ??????

  51. 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

  52. 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

  53. 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.

  54. Will this farce never end. She was probably dead within the first 24 hours. Another one in Australia today about a dead child in the bush….right so they smuggle her across the world to kill her. Grow up people.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Previous Story

Spanish chef is bigger than Obama

Next Story

Church supports ‘stolen babies’ nuns

Latest from Lead

Go toTop

More From The Olive Press