29/05/2007

Video footage released of missing Madeleine

The parents of missing British girl Madeleine McCann have released video footage of their daughter, taken before the four-year-old was abducted.

In the video footage, which was take on a mobile phone, Madeleine is seen dressed in pink and carrying a Barbie rucksack walking up to an aircraft at East Midlands airport. She is seen stumbling on the steps on the way up to the airplane, falling and grazing her leg.

There is also footage showing the child sitting on an airport shuttle bus at Faro airport in the Algarve.

Madeleine had travelled to the Mark Warner Ocean Club resort in Praia da Luz in Portugal on April 28 with her parents, Gerry and Kate McCann, her two-year-old twin siblings Sean and Amelie and a group of friends.

She disappeared from the family's holiday apartment on May 3.

The footage has been released as Gerry and Kate McCann travel to Italy to prepare for a meeting with Pope Benedict XVI, which is due to take place at the Vatican on Wednesday morning.

The couple are travelling to Italy on a private plane, reported to have been supplied by retail tycoon Philip Green.

The trip is the first of a series of visits to countries across Europe in order to highlight the campaign to find Madeleine.

An 800-sq-ft inflatable poster of Madeleine, designed by two Scottish advertising workers, has also been launched. It will be taken around the Algarve, Spain and other prominent places in order to highlight the case.

Meanwhile, phone experts are also assisting Portuguese police in the hunt for Madeleine, using a technique which will trace calls and movements of mobile phones used in the resort where the McCanns were on holiday.

The technique was used in the disappearance of Soham schoolgirls Holly Wells and Jessica Chapman in 2002 and helped to catch their killer, Ian Huntley.

It is also thought that the experts will also examine the movements of the mobile phone belonging to Briton Robert Murat, the only formal suspect in the case.

He has denied any involvement in Madeleine's disappearance and Portuguese police have admitted that they do not have sufficient evidence to arrest him.

(KMcA/JM)


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