TAXI-DRIVER IS SURE THAT HE TOOK MADDIE IN HIS CAR
A taxi-driver from Vila Real de Santo Antonio, in the Algarve, believes he transported Maddie, Kate McCann and three men on the night of the disappearance of the English girl, in the 3rd of May of last year. António Castela Cardoso, 67 years, does not forget the hour or the details of the passengers.
Having been a taxi-driver for 17 years, António Castela has the habit of memorizing the face of his clients. That one particularly, “She was a girl with very pretty eyes and she called my attention because of the mark that she had in one eye and the twitch that she was doing with the chin”, he remembered.
The clients approached and asked him to transport them to the Hotel Apolo, in Vila Real de Santo Antonio. On his side a man seated who was wearing “fine glasses”. “He was similar with the one that appears on television, like the third suspect”, says António, concerning Robert Murat – who is arguido in the case. In the seat behind, a woman “like Kate” sat down, between two men. The girl that the taxi-driver says was Maddie sat on the lap of one of them.
“She was wearing pink pyjamas. The mother had the hair tied and a yellow coat”, he remembers, with exactness. It was a silent journey. The passengers did not exchange one word; they did not show any emotions. On the arrival to the journey destiny, António pulled out the baby's chair (pram) of the luggage car. “It was the same as what the couple usually uses”, he affirms. The customers asked him, in English, how much the cab journey was. “I said that there were 3, 25 euros and they gave me five and then I thanked them”, he says.
The taxi-driver saw three men, the woman and the child move towards a metallic-blue, top-of-the-line Jeep “ I do not know if it would be a BMW, but I remember that the license plate was yellow and therefore was not a Portuguese one ”, he affirms. The vehicle was parked in the Hotel Apolo parking.
Four years later, the sighting is again making current headline news in the British media. The McCanns lawyer in Portugal, Isabel Duarte, said Mr Castela's account is one of several important leads that the Portuguese police have failed to follow up.
However, way back in 2008, a source connected with the investigation guaranteed to Correio de Manha that the information given by António Castela were "investigated" and the “lead was proven false”.
At that time, Clarence Mitchell responded publicly on behalf of the McCanns to this particular sighting...
Clarence Mitchell, reacted yesterday with amazement at the declarations of the taxi-driver. “The declarations of Mr. Castela are false. They are a perfect nonsense. He can only be mistaken when he says that at that time he transported Kate and Madeleine with three men”, he said. Clarence doubts of the intentions of the taxi-driver. “It astonishes me that only now, ten months later, he talks about this. These are declarations that only cause pain to Kate and Gerry", he said, advancing that that the McCann's daughter has no facial twitches. “The only sign to report is the one she has in the eye.”2008
Today, Clarence Mitchell seems to have wholly changed his mind about the doubtful intentions of Mr Castela, saying it was "deeply shocking" that detectives never interviewed Antonio Castela about his possible sighting of the missing child.
"Mr Castela did absolutely the right thing at the time by reporting his sighting to the PJ. It is clearly deeply shocking that he now tells us he has not been interviewed once by a detective in five years. This is exactly the sort of thing that needs to be looked at in the investigative review now being carried out by the Metropolitan Police."2012
Spot the difference? I reckon there's about two million quids worth there... and a lorra lorra spin.
NB : All initial media accounts of this story in 2008 gave Mr Castela's account of 3rd May 2007 before Madeleine went missing. However, current articles in the British media now inaccurately refer to the incident happening on the 4th May. Something stinks and it's not just cadaver.