A MUM from Bexley has told detectives working on the Madeleine McCann case of the chilling moment her daughter was nearly abducted in Gran Canaria.

Mother Lisa Allen, 38, was on holiday in the resort of Puerto Rico with daughter Jessica, then aged six, and son Gary, who was four at the time, when the incident occurred.

Too nervous to report the incident to the Spanish authorities as a young mum on her first trip abroad, it was not until Ms Allen saw a recent BBC Crimewatch programme on Madeleine McCann that she came forward to tell her story.

The links between Jessica’s near abduction and the case of Jeremy Vargas, who vanished from his home in Gran Canaria aged seven on March 10 last year, also brought back horrible memories for Ms Allen of when her daughter was nearly snatched in October 2000.

On a visit to a market during the holiday, the mother-of-five was pushing Gary in his buggy and talking to her brother Daniel, 34, while Jessica was walking a few yards ahead.

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Gary, Lisa and Jessica Allen in Gran Canaria in 2000. 

Suddenly, Ms Allen looked up and saw a man grabbing her daughter by the top of her arm and marching her quickly away between two stalls.

The full-time mum told News Shopper: “I let go of the buggy, ran over and grabbed his opposite arm.

“He didn’t say anything – he just looked at me with a big smirk on his face and a big grin like he knew he had been caught.

“He was quite big, stocky and tanned and he just turned around and walked away at a really quick pace.

“If I had looked up a few seconds later Jessica would 100 per cent have been gone.”

Ms Allen has since spoken twice to Metropolitan Police detectives investigating three-year-old Madeleine McCann’s disappearance from a holiday apartment in Portugal in 2007.

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The Puerto Rico resort (pic by Dan Kamminga). 

And Ms Allen, who lives with Jessica in Mount Pleasant Walk, Bexley, said the near miss made her much more worried for her children.

Jessica Allen, now 19, works at a call centre in Dartford and has vivid memories of the terrifying moment in 2000 when she was nearly wrenched from her family by a complete stranger.

The former Cleeve Park School pupil said: “I remember pinching him and scratching him and trying to get him off me.

“I didn’t scream because I just didn’t think about it. The guy just basically laughed in mum’s face.

“I do sit and actually think if it weren’t for my mum seeing me in those last couple of seconds I might have been gone.

"To this day, I will be out on the street and I will still worry about it and I am very conscious of people around me.”