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Aus woman denies McCann link: report

world Updated: Aug 09, 2009 11:32 IST
Australian woman denies McCann link: report

An Australian woman has denied any knowledge about the disappearance of British toddler Madeleine McCann after a friend identified her as a mystery witness in the case, a report said on Sunday.

"I have no connection to the little girl," Judith Aron, 53, told Fairfax Media from her home in the southern city of Melbourne.

Private detectives last week said they were seeking a "Victoria Beckham lookalike" with an Australian accent who spoke to a British man outside a bar in Barcelona three days after Madeleine vanished in Portugal in 2007.

She allegedly asked him whether he was "here to deliver my new daughter", before realising he was not the man she was looking for.

Fairfax reported that a friend of Aron had told police she believed the Melbourne woman was the person depicted in an identikit sketch released by the British investigators, who are working for Madeleine's parents.

But Aron, who speaks fluent Spanish and has a five-year-old daughter, said it was a case of mistaken identity.

"I'm 53 years old and I certainly don't look like a Spice Girl," she said.

"I'm shocked that anybody may have thought that I have some connection to this case. I can't understand how it may have happened. I can honestly say I have no connection to the little girl.

"I haven't left Australia since 2000, so there's no way I could have been in Portugal or Spain around the time she went missing."

McCann family spokesman Clarence Mitchell said the search for the mystery woman would continue, with last week's public appeal for information generating hundreds of calls to investigators.

"An awful lot of these tip-offs and bits of information are well-meaning, but ultimately come to nothing," he told Channel Nine television in Australia.

"But out of all this we have had dozens of names for the woman we're looking for given to us ... and out of that, the detectives have a number of viable leads."

Madeleine was nearly four when she went missing from her family's holiday apartment in Praia da Luz, a resort in the Algarve, on May 3, 2007 while her parents dined with friends nearby.