Madeleine: Man from Algarve identified as the 3rd photo-fit suspect
"I don't even know where Luz is"
Joaquim José Nóia Agostinho, 43 years old, unemployed and living for many years of an invalidity pension, swears he never left his town Altura, Castro Marim. Nevertheless in the last two days he has been the protagonist of several episodes, all because two British, on holiday in that beach think they recognized him as the man shown in photo-fit of a suspect of the abduction of the small Madeleine in Praia da Luz
The CM knows that Gail Cooper, the British tourist who gave her testimony from which the sketch of the latest photo-fit was made, saw yesterday a photo of Joaquim. She said to be convinced that he is the man she described.
Asked yesterday by the CM, in the bar he usually attends in Altura, Joaquim said he has no relation to the case and that he was not sought by the PJ. "And they say that I am the crazy one. I don't even know where Faro is, let alone Praia da Luz. "
The man, a cockle picker, says that he does not understand what the "two weird" guys that chased him and took his photo wanted.
FRIENDS AMUSE THEMSELVES
The friends can not bear the laughter. João Samúdio, owner of the snack bar Alia, where Joaquim Nóia passes the free time, was suspicious when he saw two individuals,with an English newspaper under the arm around his establishment.
"They showed a photo of Quim and asked if we knew him." He couldn't stop laughing when he realized that they accused his friend of being the man of the photo-fit. "If Quim never left this place in his life, how could he have kidnapped a child 150 kilometres away," asks João Samúdio.
THE BRITISH WOMEN GAVE THE ALERT
Pauline Douglas, pensioner of 73 years old, a native of Manchester, triggered the alert.
"Last Sunday, I was walking in the sidewalk by the beach, when I realised that a man followed me,"she told the CM yesterday.She says that she saw the individual trying to talk "with two children" and that he went away when the adults arrived. Tuesday when I was reading a British newspaper I saw the photo-fit. "It seemed the same man," she guarantees. A couple, who already left the hotel, told her that they had seen the same man. "One of my friends phoned to the Portuguese police and to an English newspaper," says Pauline. Confronted yesterday with a photo of Joaquim, the British woman confessed that the man in the beach "seemed to have a longer face."
News of the World Go a bit Further from yesterdays "beast" to today's oddball
A MYSTERY loner who admits he bears an uncanny resemblance to an artist's drawing of a "creepy" suspect in the Maddie McCann kidnap hunt said : "It's not me in the picture."
But when eyewitness Gail Coop, who helped create the sketches, saw the scruffy man's photo she gasped: "Oh my God, that's so like him.
"He's the spitting image of the man I saw three times at the resort where Madeleine vanished.
"It's deeply shocking to see my drawing come to life. His cold, emotionless eyes sent a chill right through me."
But when we tracked down the mystery man in our photo, Joaquim Agostinho, 42, who lives a 90-minute drive from the resort, said: "I did not kill Madeleine and I've never been to Praia da Luz.
"I cannot even drive. I accept that the drawing looks like me. All my friends have been laughing about it during the week saying how much it looks like me."
Astonishingly, despite the amazing resemblance, he revealed that police haven't bothered to question him.
|GAIL: I'm deeply shocked|
He said: "No, the police haven't spoken to me. But people have been following me and taking pictures of me today and I didn't know what it was all about.
"As I say, I don't drive a car so I couldn't possibly have done what people think. I did own a motorbike once but I lost it couple of years ago."
Agostinho lives alone in a small flat in Altura, 87 miles east of Praia, where Madeleine was kidnapped on May 3 last year.
He added: "I have no money. I earn a little bit by delivering newspapers to people and for that they pay me with a drink of beer."
As our snap of Agostinho shows, he has a droopy moustache, long, dark hair and prominent teeth, just like the man in the sketch.
Heathcare worker Gail helped an FBI-trained illustrator make a detailed image of the suspicious man she saw in the resort where she was staying — close to the McCanns' holiday apartment and at the time Maddie disappeared.
After the drawings sped around the globe, we photographed a man described as a "weird loner" in his home town, just an hour and a half's drive from Praia da Luz before talking to him.
On Saturday we found Aghostinho (they don't know how to spell) touring around the bars of his hometown. Unkempt and unshaven in a brown leather jacket and camouflage trousers, the six-footer drank a lunchtime coffee in one bar before moving on to a succession of others.
Later, laughing nervously and looking bewildered in front of Portuguese TV cameras, he held a press conference outside his favourite bar, the Snack Bar Aliha at 5pm.
Our investigations in the small seaside town revealed the man, in his mid-fifties, is a college dropout and one-time fisherman who now drifts aimlessly around its narrow streets.
One local told the News of the World: "He is single and lives alone somewhere in the warren of little streets near the church.
"At one time he was a very bright student, but had emotional problems and dropped out of education.
"Now he just wanders from bar to bar. Most people know him, he's not known as being any trouble."
The town is a popular tourist spot with Brits and Germans, just 20 minutes across an open border to the Spanish town of Heulva, where five-year-old girl Mari Luz Cortes vanished two weeks ago while on her way to buy crisps from a shop.
Although there is no evidence that Aghostinho has any connection with either disappearance, Gail urged Portuguese cops to question him.
Detectives have claimed pig farmer Joaquim Jose Marques, who wears his hair in dreadlocks, is the subject of her drawing and that he has already been eliminated from their search.
But last night Gail insisted: "I know with all my heart that Marques definitely was NOT the guy I saw three times in Praia de Luz.
"That man was not the guy in my drawing. But this new man is so much like him.
"I'm amazed the man in the photo is so similar to him. I'm sure the one with the dreadlocks is NOT him. This new man must be interviewed, if only because they need to rule him out of inquiries—and he might even be a vital new witness."
Gail saw the suspect she described three times wandering around the resort. He called at the villa where her grandchildren were playing in a pool, visible from the road, claiming he was collecting for an orphanage.
She said: "He didn't do anything, but I felt intimidated by his manner.
"I didn't give him any money and he went off on foot, but he must have had a vehicle somewhere."
Meanwhile, there was a bizarre new "sighting" of Madeleine reported last night—in Chile, South America.
An air-conditioning technician in Santiago told police he saw two adults with a young child at a museum in Vicuna five days ago.He told officers: "I saw a child with a pair of adults, one of whom closely resembles the police portrait of the possible kidnapper recently released by private detectives hired by the McCanns."
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