Posters proclaim suspect's innocence

IAN CLARKE Posters protesting the innocence of Robert Murat - the man questioned about the disappearance of Madeleine McCann - have today been put around the Mid Norfolk village where he used to live.

IAN CLARKE

Posters protesting the innocence of Robert Murat - the man questioned about the disappearance of Madeleine McCann - have today been put around the Mid Norfolk village where he used to live.

Friend Carla Cunha, 35, made the posters and distributed them along with fellow villager Geoffrey Livock, 71, to various places including on the front of his ex-wife Dawn's house in The Street, and on notice boards.

Mrs Cunha, a care worker who lives round the corner from Mrs Murat, said: “I know he is innocent and Rob needs to know he is not alone.”

Alongside a photograph of Mr Murat, the A4-size posters say “Rob is innocent” and urge him to be strong for his daughter who “loves you very much.”

Many villagers at Hockering have spoken about how Mr Murat dotes on his four-year-old daughter, and in Portugal he has talked about how she looks like missing Maddie.

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Mrs Cunha said she had spoken to Mrs Murat and told her what she is doing but did not want to comment further on conversations with Mrs Murat, who has been taken to a secret location by police.

Mrs Cunha said: “I felt very strongly I had to do something and I have done what I have done because I know everyone believes Rob and I didn't want them to be afraid to come forward.”

She said she has started to send the posters to friends in Portugal by email and asked them to send them to their friends, businesses and newspapers in the country.

Mrs Cunha has been in England about nine years and said Mr and Mrs Murat had helped her and her husband Antonio, 33, with getting a house and a job.

“What we have got is thanks to Rob and Dawn.”

Mrs Cunha said she has been constantly watching TV news and it “made her sad” to keep seeing him.

“People have said lies about him but they do not know him.”

“I know Rob and I'm sure he didn't have anything to do with this. The only

mistake he made was trying to help.”

Police cones still surround Mrs Murat's house and media interest in Hockering is continuing.

The village hall remained a makeshift refreshment centre for journalists who have given almost £80 towards hall funds as donations for cups of tea and coffee in the past three days.

Hall chairman Paddy Everson said: “I have not done it for the money but just to show some kindness and help out.”

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