A friend of Madeleine McCann's parents may have seen her being carried away from her holiday apartment on the night she vanished, as police release the description of a man they want to trace.
Policia Judiciaria (PJ) finally released a description of the man seen that night in the face of possible legal action by Madeleine's parents. The information, likely to have been released early on as a matter of course in other countries, had to be sanctioned by the public prosecutor.
It followed an "amicable" meeting with senior Portuguese police and the McCanns believed to have taken place on Thursday. The couple also had discussions with British Ambassador John Buck and UK police at their apartment on Thursday.
It is thought the PJ have known about the sighting for three weeks but have not released it for that reason.
The description - which tallies closely to details being circulated at the time but never publicised - is of a white man, approximately 35 to 40 years old, of medium build and 5ft 10ins tall. He was described as wearing a dark jacket, light beige trousers and dark shoes.
The announcement was welcomed as an apparent "new development" in the case by the McCanns. The couple spoke earlier of hopes that police would make an announcement soon to take the case forward.
A spokesman for the couple confirmed: "Gerry and Kate McCann are pleased to hear about what appears to be a new development. They will now be considering what the police have said before making any further comment. They are acutely aware that this is an ongoing investigation."
Meanwhile, the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office has issued new photographs of the four-year-old. The holiday snaps, taken by a friend of the family the day before her disappearance, show Madeleine McCann at play wearing a pink zip-up top.