NZ police keep Madeleine McCann file open

BY GREER MCDONALD
Last updated 16:59 03/03/2010
BEFORE SHE WENT MISSING: Madeleine McCann in 2006, aged 3.
Reuters
BEFORE SHE WENT MISSING: Madeleine McCann, aged 3.

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Dunedin police have confirmed a file created after a possible sighting of missing British girl Madeleine McCann in a Dunedin supermarket remains open.

The admission from New Zealand police comes after it was revealed the sighting was deemed 'not relevant' in a secret file made public in the by Portuguese police.

The 2000-page dossier contained a series of sightings from around the world - including CCTV footage from a Dunedin supermarket of a child resembling Madeleine - which were never investigated, the Daily Mail reported today.

The leads were all received and archived after police in Algarve, Portugal closed the case in July 2008.
Madeleine was four when she vanished from the family's holiday apartment in Praia da Luz in May 2007. Her parents were at a restaurant around 75 metres away.

The CCTV footage from New Zealand showed a girl "very like" Madeleine being led into a supermarket by a "portly man in shorts" - seven months after her disappearance.

The man's behaviour aroused the suspicions of a female security guard in the Dunedin shop and she approached the girl to establish whether or not she was British.

Although the girl said her name was Hailey, the security guard was convinced the girl was Madeleine and reported the incident to police.

Interpol in Wellington then sent the images to police in Portugal who deemed it 'not relevant'.

Acting Southern District Commander, Inspector David Campbell, said police spoke with the security guard to establish what had been seen and gained pictures from the retailer involved.

"The lead jurisdiction, in this case, Portugal, directs how the case progresses and has not asked NZ Police for any follow-up to date," said Inspector Campell.

"The file has remained open ever since."

Madeleine's parents Gerry and Kate were reported to be "gutted" and "incensed" that their private investigators were not given access to the information

"There are instances where information which we think is very credible and worthy of information has not been actioned," Mrs McCann said

"We're gutted, it's absolutely shocking and difficult. Some of the information handed in was very credible. It's heartbreaking to know that it seems to end there.'"

Information that police forces in the United States, Europe and North Africa considered important was also discarded, the dossier revealed.

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