Maddie suspect lived in Donegal

24 May 2009
Donegal On Sunday
Connie Duffy

Investigators want to hear from anyone in Donegal who may have encountered a convicted British paedophile who has sensationally re-emerged as a key suspect in the Madeleine McCann case. Raymond Hewlett, 64, who has been jailed for a catalogue of child sex crimes and assaults in Britain, is known to have lived in Donegal as well as Louth and Kerry and visited at least nine counties, including Fermanagh and Tyrone.

Hewlett is said to have been living just one hour away from Praia da Luz in southern Portugal at the time of Maddie’s disappearance in 2007, British newspapers report. The McCann’s spokesman said that Hewlett was one of a number of people currently being investigated by private detectives. They added they would welcome any information from anyone in Donegal who might have see him or known of his whereabouts.

Hewlett’s role in the disappearance of Maddie, which continues to baffle European authorities, has been reviewed again after a British pair became suspicious after getting to know him in Portugal. He had originally been questioned by Portuguese police but was found to have a 15-year-old girl as an alibi.  (Note: Hewlett's alibi in the Lesley Molseed case was given by a 15 year old girl, who later recanted her statement.  Odd that it would happen again - am attempting to find the source of this "alibi")

Alan and Cindy Thompson reported that the suspect was living in a truck with his wife and six children and moving around from campsite to campsite. Hewlett allegedly took the couple into his confidence and revealed to them that a gypsy had asked to buy one of his children. However Hewlett denies that he has anything to with the Maddie case. "I've done nothing wrong, nothing, nothing. I don't actually believe that child was kidnapped, let alone murdered," he told British tabloids.

According to police, Hewlett poses a great threat to children leading investigators to step up their search for him. So far tracks have led them to a Germany, where Hewlett is said to be receiving treatment for throat cancer, the Daily Mirror reports. The paper adds that Hewlett’s wife comes from Germany.

Hewlett, a former soldier in the British army, has previously been convicted of rape and spent many years in jail. He was also suspected of sexually abusing and killing an 11-year-old girl in 1975, but he was not convicted. Hewlett has been on the run since being released from jail after serving a six year sentence for a sex attack on a 14-year-old girl in 1988.

Garda sources here said yesterday they were aware of him when he was in the county but added there were no warrants in existence for his arrest. They added there were a number of unconfirmed sightings of him within this jurisdiction in 2008 which An Garda Siochana monitored.

Did you see or know Hewlett when he was in Donegal? Let us know - e-mail

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