Image of Madeleine suspect released

Tuesday 22 January 2008 09.10
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Suspect - Image of man released
Suspect - Image of man released
Madeline McCann - Disappeared on 3 May 2007
Madeline McCann - Disappeared on 3 May 2007

Investigators hunting for missing toddler Madeleine McCann received dozens of calls from the public tonight after releasing images of the man who may have abducted her.

A police artist drew two sketches of the man based on a statement given by a British holidaymaker who stayed in the same resort as the McCann family last year.

The man was seen acting suspiciously near the apartment complex in the Portuguese resort of Praia da Luz where Madeleine vanished in May last year.

One of the new images bears a resemblance to an earlier drawing of a man seen carrying a child through the complex on the night of Madeleine's disappearance.

Madeleine McCann vanished from her parents' holiday apartment in Praia da Luz on 3 May last year.

The new images are based on an interview with Gail Cooper, a holidaymaker who originally told police about the man in May last year.

Mrs Cooper described seeing an olive-skinned man with straggly collar-length hair acting suspiciously on a number of occasions in the weeks before Madeleine's disappearance.

She said she saw the man walking by himself in heavy rain on the deserted beach at Praia da Luz on 20 April.

Later the same afternoon, Mrs Cooper said, she received a visit from the same man, whom she described as 'disturbing.'

The man was nervous and agitated and claimed to be collecting for a local orphanage, she said.

This is the first time in the hunt for the four-year-old that images of a suspect's face have been released.

The McCann's spokesperson said developments such as this gave Mr and Mrs McCann renewed hope.