By: CECÍLIA PIRES
JUST DAYS after seeing his status as arguido confirmed by the judicial authorities, Robert Murat has returned to the media spotlight through one of his friends, who is also witness in the Madeleine case.
Private detectives from Metodo 3, the Spanish agency hired by the McCann family, alleged this week that Michaela Walczuk, the German girlfriend of the British expatriate, was seen delivering Madeleine to a suspicious individual on a secondary road near Silves.
However, both the Polícia Judiciária and Robert Murat’s lawyer, Francisco Pagarete, are not taking this allegation or line of investigation seriously.
Quoted by a Portuguese daily newspaper, Mr. Pagarete said that on the day Michaela was said to have been seen by a Portuguese truck driver, “she was, probably, in Lagos, where her car was being fixed”.
Although investigators from the PJ are keeping a discreet silence about Metodo 3, sources say they are convinced that the agency is not adding new elements to the investigation because they “seem to be only checking all that was already investigated”.
The Judicial authorities are, however, keeping the Spanish team under surveillance to ensure they don’t talk with any witness connected with the case, which can be considered as obstruction of justice.
Clarence Mitchel, the spokesman for the McCann family, said that Francisco Marco, the detective who owns the private agency, “is very confident. He’s 100 per cent certain that Madeleine is alive and believes that they are ‘very, very close’ to finding the kidnapper”.
Meanwhile, TV stations in Portugal and the UK have screened major programmes with new footage from some of the people connected with the case, including Gerry and Kate McCann and Jane Turner, one of the McCann’s friends who was also staying at Praia da Luz in May.
Interviewed for the first time, Turner said she was absolutely convinced she saw the abductor taking Madeleine on the night she disappeared.
In a personal video, filmed by family friend Jon Corner in August and broadcasted on Monday as part of the BBC Panorama programme, Gerry McCann spoke about a “window of opportunity” taken by an abductor that he believes had been watching the family in the days before Madeleine’s disappearance.
In the same footage, Gerry reveals that before Madeleine disappeared, he and his wife became concerned by the security at the back of their Praia da Luz holiday apartment when “maybe the weak spots were at the front”.
Keeping a distance from the drama feeding the media, the Portuguese police continue to ensure that all lines of investigation are still being followed.
Some of the Portimão PJ investigators on the Madeleine case were seen this week at Praia da Luz, near the Nossa Senhora church and speaking with the catholic priest José Pacheco.
The Portuguese priest was severely criticised after letting Gerry and Kate McCann use his personal keys to attend the church after Madeleine went missing.
If you have any information on the whereabouts of Madeleine McCann, please contact the McCanns’ helpline on +34 902 300 213 or the Portuguese Police on +351 282 405 400.
Do you have a view on this story? Email: [email protected]