5. The Lagos sighting
It was only to be a matter of a few days before yet another significant "new witness" emerged, this time in the Daily Mirror on the 28th November.
Under the headline 'I saw Maddy dragged away by vicious man' it reported on how a British expatriate named George Burke had seen a girl who looked "remarkably like Madeleine" being dragged along a road leading to Lagos marina at 6am on the 4th May, and claimed an 'Exclusive' over what it described as a "crucial lead" in the case.
Presumably this was the very same George Burke who had earlier featured in the Daily Mirror months previously on the 7th May when he reported a sighting of a couple who had "scurried" down a road towards a railway station with a blonde toddler in tow but said that "It was 6am and pitch black I couldn't be certain it was her."
Of course by the time the Daily Mirror decided to revive this report as an 'Exclusive' the male half of the couple had become a "vicious-looking man" who, together with his female companion, had "a Madeleine lookalike" in tow being "cruelly dragged towards a marina".
As it happens the same the Lagos road leads to both the railway station and marina. Naturally if you saw a couple scurrying down this road you would assume they were in a hurry to catch a train, but obviously it would be far more dramatic to assume that the marina was their destination as this fitted the belief of Metodo 3 that there was "a strong chance Madeleine was taken by boat from the marina and is still alive somewhere."
Of course cynics might well have noted that since Madeleine disappeared sometime before 10pm on the 3rd May, and Lagos is only fifteen minutes drive away from Luz, that had it been the abductors intention to spirit her away to Morroco by sea, she would have been halfway to the Rif Mountains eight hours later rather than being dragged down some street in Lagos.
The Mirror however chose not to take this line, nor question how this sighting fitted in with the earlier reports of the "handover" at Silves, a mere half an hour's drive away on the following day. They did however report the claim by Metodo 3 that Portuguese police "did not take his report seriously", although quite how they knew that the Polícia Judiciária hadn't spoken to staff at the railway station or the security guards manning the gates of the marina was a mystery to all.