A British woman on holiday near where Madeleine McCann vanished was attacked in bed by a man who told her he "killed" the missing child.

Liverpool mum Clara Corrigan, 39, was stabbed 17 times during the "terrifying" assault on 28 May by an attacker in Albufeira, in the Portuguese Algarve.

She said: "I woke up with him on top of me, suffocating me. Then he shouted 'I killed Madeleine McCann and I am going to kill you'.

"When he made that threat I was absolutely terrified. I knew my life was in danger."

The single mother-of-three was treated in hospital for stab wounds to her lower back and buttocks. She claimed the attack was carried out by a man she met while on holiday. The pair went to his home following a night out in the holiday resort.

The alleged attack happened days before British police arrived in Praia da Luz to dig up land in a new phase of the investigation into what happened to Madeleine.

Scotland Yard has not said if they are aware of Corrigan's claims.

The man Clara says stabbed her is British trainee chef Shane Leighton, who is currently held in a prison on the Algarve.

Corrigan's father said that since her attack, his daughter had not been visited by British police. The Metropolitan Police said they were not investigating the account.

Dad John told the Express: "She said she got really terrified when he said he had killed Madeleine McCann. She told the Portuguese police that and she was expecting to hear from Scotland Yard but so far no one has contacted her."

Police have recently finished searching scrubland in Praia da Luz without finding any sign of Madeleine. Her parents Kate and Gerry said the results heartened them by giving fresh hope their daughter remains alive.