Kate McCann: My suspicions over Murat's alibi on the night Madeleine vanishedby VANESSA ALLEN
Last updated at 16:24 01 January 2008
Robert Murat: Denies involvement
Kate McCann: Concerned about reports of sightings
The mother of three has confided to friends she believes there are questions about the British expat that need to be answered.
Mrs McCann's doubts emerged after the Daily Mail reported that seven witnesses claim to have seen Mr Murat near the McCanns' holiday apartment on the night of May 3.
He has always insisted he was at home all night at the villa he shares with his elderly mother in Praia da Luz, near the Mark Warner holiday complex.
Read more...A friend of Kate and her husband Gerry said: "Kate has always felt there are questions concerning Murat and a body of evidence contrary to what he is saying.
"Gerry doesn't know whether he is involved but Kate has always been suspicious."
Mrs McCann, 39, has avoided publicly voicing suspicions about Mr Murat.
She and Gerry, also 39, even called for calm after he was made an official suspect on May 14 and appealed for him to be treated fairly.
Mr Murat, a property consultant, insists he did not learn about Madeleine's disappearance until the next morning and was not aware of the massive search going on less than 100 yards from his villa, Casa Liliana.
But a source close to Mrs McCann said: "We now have a number of people who have come forward quite independently of us and volunteered information directly in contradiction to what he has said."
Three friends of the McCanns, Rachael Oldfield, Fiona Payne and Russell O'Brien, told police in July that they saw Mr Murat near the Ocean Club holiday complex while they were searching for Madeleine.
They are said to have given statements to Portuguese police saying he introduced himself to them and said: "I am Robert. Can I help in the search?"
Charlotte Pennington, 20, a nanny at the Mark Warner complex, has said she saw Mr Murat on May 4, when he was working as a police translator, and recognised him as a man she had seen near the Ocean Club at midnight.
The Mail told yesterday how holidaymaker Jayne Jensen, 54, also recognised the 34-year-old as a man she saw smoking a cigarette on the street corner opposite the McCanns' apartment
An unnamed British barrister who was on holiday in Praia da Luz at the time is understood to have corroborated what Mrs Jensen said, but not made a formal statement.
Two other tourists also called the hotline operated by the McCanns' private detective agency, Metodo 3, to report similar sightings.
Mr Murat, who has a young daughter from a failed marriage, vehemently denies any involvement in Madeleine's disappearance. His mother Jennifer, 71, has accused Metodo 3 of bribing witnesses to change their evidence.
But a source close to the McCanns said: "He is her son and most mothers would protect their children. Either she knows something or she is mistaken."
Police searched Mr Murat's home and vehicles after he was made a suspect and are understood to have found no forensic evidence linking him to Madeleine.
He is still an official suspect along with the McCanns, who could face fresh police interviews this month.
It also emerged yesterday that Metodo 3 detectives have made another visit to Morocco to investigate a potentially important new lead.
They have since returned to Spain, where the agency's boss Francisco Marco has ordered a review of their investigation ahead of a new focus on Morocco this year.
He remains adamant that the North African country is the most likely place for Madeleine to have been smuggled to after she disappeared from the Algarve.
His detectives travelled there last month amid claims that they had narrowed down a region in the Rif Mountains where the four-year-old could have been held.
But the expedition is not thought to have given them a breakthrough in the case.
The agency has been silent about its operations in secret since Mr Marco was reprimanded by the McCanns for his public boasts that he would find Madeleine within six months and hoped to have her home by Christmas.
The McCanns spent a quiet New Year's Eve with their two-year- old twins Sean and Amelie with relatives in Scotland.
Their spokesman Clarence Mitchell said they would not celebrate without their oldest daughter.
The couple are due to return home to Rothley, Leicestershire, tomorrow, the day before Gerry returns to work as a consultant cardiologist at Leicester's Glenfield hospital.
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-505443/Kate-McCann-My-suspicions-Murats-alibi-night-Madeleine-vanished.html#ixzz1G6g8Ib2s