British expatriate Jenny Murat, who was living in he coastal village of Praia da Luz on Portugal’s Algarve said she noticed a woman staring into an apartment block next to the Ocean Club, where Maddie and her parents were staying.
‘I saw the woman standing on the corner of the street,’ Mrs Murat later recalled. ‘She caught my eye because she was dressed in purple-plum clothes. It struck me as strange.
‘It’s so usual for anyone, particularly a woman, to be standing alone on the street in our resort, just watching a building.’
Three-year-old Maddie disappeared just hours later.
The next morning, we heard that a little girl had gone missing, and I later told police about the woman I’d seen right outside,’ Mrs Murat continued. ‘I didn’t recognise her and don’t have a clue who she is, but she seems a bit suspicious.’
It is this mystery woman who s keeping alive Operation Grange, the reinvestigation of the Madeleine McCann case by Scotland Yard, now in its sixth year.
Operation Grange has been one of the longest, most high-profile and costly police investigations in history. Launched in May 2011, officers have sifted (and translated) 40,000 documents produced by Portuguese police who conducted the initial investigation, and by the eight teams of private detectives who have worked on the case.