Dave Edgar, the lead investigator, had appealed for help in finding the ‘Victoria Beckham lookalike’ who a British tourist approached as she looked agitated near a marina in Barcelona three days after the disappearance of Madeleine. The team then released an e-fit of the woman they believed would now be in Australia.
The Mail revealed that before doing the press conference they had failed to speak to anyone working at the restaurant near where the Australian woman was seen.
Neither had they asked whether there was CCTV footage of the woman. It was also claimed that they were not aware of the Australian yacht that was docked in the marina that night and only found out when British journalists informed them of the development.
The investigators were hired by Kate and Gerry McCann after Portuguese authorities closed the investigation last year.
The McCanns’ spokesman, Clarence Mitchell, said: “The private investigation into Madeleine’s disappearance is being conducted entirely professionally and thoroughly under the direction of Dave Edgar.
“Upon receipt of the new witness information, two members of the investigation team travelled to Barcelona to conduct preliminary inquiries during a brief initial visit.”
Meanwhile, British police have revealed that they have spent nearly £750,000 looking into the disappearance of Madeleine.
This follows the revelation that from 2007 to 2008 Leicestershire police spent £548,477 on their part of the search. In February, the Home Office said if any local police had extra costs for a government event, its authority can ask for ‘special grant support’ from the Home Office*.
Some of the cost has been reimbursed by the Home Office with a grant of £525,069.
Also this week, Kate and Gerry McCann were said to be devastated after leaflets suggesting they are responsible for their daughter’s disappearance were distributed in their hometown.
Around 10,000 copies of the publication, Ten Reasons to suggest Madeleine McCann was not abducted, were posted in Rothley, Leicestershire and the surrounding area.
The leaflet said that the McCanns’ version of events of the night Madeleine disappeared is a ‘sheer impossibility’ and that it is more likely Madeleine died in the apartment and the parents then covered up the death.
The leaflets have been posted around the village by an organisation called The Madeleine Foundation, whose members are calling for the case of the missing girl to be reopened.
The leaflet was delivered to homes in the street where Kate and Gerry McCann live with their two young children Sean and Amelie but not to their house.
Clarence Mitchell said: “We do not wish to dignify the actions of the so-called Madeleine Foundation with any response. We do feel it is important, however, to make the general public aware that the foundation has no connection whatsoever with our family or those helping us find Madeleine or any law enforcement agencies.”
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*Leicestershire HMIC Major Crime Inspection Report July 2008 | Download PDF file (303 K )
More info at Home Office (Press releases and Documents)