Retailer 'glad' about McCann DNA test fail

BROOKE GARDINER
Last updated 05:00 14/02/2013

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The Queenstown retailer who contacted police after spotting a Madeleine McCann lookalike was delighted to hear DNA tests had ruled the little girl out as being the missing British youngster.

Madeleine was last seen at the Ocean Club complex in Praia da Luz, Portugal, in May 2007 just before her fourth birthday.

Scotland Yard confirmed the little girl, who provided a DNA sample after being spotted in Queenstown on New Year's Eve, was not the missing youngster, in a statement issued by New Zealand police yesterday afternoon.

"I'm absolutely very glad that everybody can get on with their lives now," the Queenstown woman said.

The woman said she would never have been able to forget about the issue had the child not been DNA tested.

"I think it was absolutely necessary to rule her out as she has been misidentified so often. It was necessary for the sake of her poor family in New Zealand and the McCanns."

The DNA test was obtained by the New Zealand police at the request of Scotland Yard.

The family of the girl agreed to give the DNA sample voluntarily but it did not provide a match to that of the missing child.

Southern District crime services manager Detective Inspector Steve McGregor said at the time of the sighting police made thorough inquiries and were completely satisfied the girl was not Madeleine McCann.

Queenstown police issued a statement to that effect, four days after the sighting.

The DNA test result, requested by the British police's Operation Grange which is investigating Madeleine McCann's disappearance, supports and confirms the original New Zealand Police investigation into the matter, Mr McGregor said.

The New Year's Eve sighting was the second time the same child had been reported to police. The first sighting of her was made in March 2012.

"At that time Operation Grange did not exist and therefore there was no follow-up request for a DNA test by British authorities."

The family asked that their privacy continued to be respected and said they did not want any contact from media.

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