An investigative journalist who visited the Algarve town days after Madeleine McCann disappeared from her holiday apartment has revealed what he believes may have happened.
Madeleine was nearly four when she vanished in 2007 as her parents dined with friends at a Praia da Luz tapas bar nearby. She would now be a teenager.
Appearing on This Morning, Mark Williams-Thomas said: “It’s such a well trodden story by so many and such a difficult story to tell now because there are so many legal implications.
“On that morning of Madeleine’s disappearance, we do know she went to [her parents] Gerry and Kate and said: ‘Where were you last night?’
“Because we know the twins did wake up on days prior to her disappearance.
“And I think as a result of that, Madeleine was clearly aware they were in the tapas bar that was in the resort.
“Now the interesting element in that is in order to get to the tapas bar you had to actually come out of the premises, walk on a public road to go back in again.
“And that raises a concern I have in regards to Madeleine. I believe she woke up in the middle of the night, she went looking for Gerry and Kate and she left the apartment and went out.
“Because we know the patio door at the back was insecure.”
Co-host Philip Schofield then interjected to ask Williams-Thomas to stop theorising further for legal reasons.
The McCann’s spokesman Clarence Mitchell told The Sun: “This is pure speculation and as such Kate and Gerry will not be dignifying it with any sort of comment whatsoever.”
A source added: “It’s baffling a television programme had him on as an authority on the Madeleine case. He’s re-invented him as a criminologist but when did he become an expert on this high profile case? Never!”
Williams-Thomas appeared on the show last week where he revealed exclusive access to the home of missing chef Claudia Lawrence, eight years after she vanished.
He fronts a crime series called Unsolved, which looks at high profile cold cases.
It comes amid reports Scotland Yard detectives have been given more resources to investigate the new lead.
The new line of inquiry comes after the Portuguese force rejected the British theory Madeleine may have been abducted during a bungled robbery.
The new focus is reportedly on human traffickers who may have snatched her and sold her “to order.”
Private investigators hired by the McCanns in 2007 reported the presence of men watching children at the beach with binoculars and taking pictures of them.
The McCanns believe images of their daughter may have been shared with traffickers who then selected her.
They continue to hold hope Madeleine will be found alive, stating “there is absolutely nothing to suggest she has been harmed.”