Maddy: Did Belgian Paedophile Ring Have Her Stolen? Tip-Off: Madeleine McCann Disappeared Three Days after the Yard's Email Warning

The Evening Standard (London, England), August 7, 2008 | Go to article overview

Maddy: Did Belgian Paedophile Ring Have Her Stolen? Tip-Off: Madeleine McCann Disappeared Three Days after the Yard's Email Warning


Byline: ROBERT MENDICK

A YOUNG girl who looked "very much" like Madeleine McCann was spotted in Brussels in the days after she vanished, fuelling the theory the little girl may have been abducted by a Belgium paedophile ring.

The possible sighting follows the emergence of Scotland Yard intelligence suggesting Madeleine was snatched to order for a paedophile gang operating in Belgium.

The Belgian connection is contained in a 30,000-page Portuguese police file made public this week.

Line Compere, 31, told local police she saw the blonde-haired, blue-eyed child on the number 18 tram heading towards the main Midi railway station in Brussels at about 8.45am on 15 May last year. Madeleine disappeared from her parents' holiday apartment in Praia da Luz in the Algarve 12 days before.

Ms Compere's suspicions were raised because the man and woman with the little girl did not look like her, appeared to be speaking a different language from her and did not seem to know her well.

At that point she had never seen a picture of Madeleine but later that day she was shown a photograph. Ms Compere told police on 1 June last year: "When I saw the photo, it immediately jumped out to me that there was a big resemblance to the little girl on the tram." The report was passed on to the Portuguese police but it is unclear what action was taken to follow it up.

Ten months later, the Metropolitan Police passed on a report from an informant who said a photograph of Madeleine on holiday in Portugal was taken and passed to a "purchaser" in Belgium days before she vanished.

The information was in an email from the Metropolitan Police's CO14 clubs and vice intelligence unit included in a massive dossier of evidence made public this week. …

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