McCann team pursues man

23 May 2009
Liverpool Echo

BRITISH police were last night preparing to interview a convicted paedophile in Germany who is being investigated over Madeleine McCann's disappearance.

Raymond Hewlett, 64, is alleged to have been staying near the McCanns' holiday flat in Praia da Luz, Portugal, when the little girl went missing, in May, 2007.

UK-born Hewlett, a former soldier who previously lived in Blackpool and Telford, was jailed several times for sexually assaulting young girls.

He is now reportedly being treated for cancer in a German hospital but is wanted for questioning by British detectives.

West Yorkshire Police confirmed they were seeking him in connection with an indecent assault in 1975.

Two retired UK detectives hired by Madeleine's parents to search for their daughter hope to interview Hewlett with the help of UK police.

A source said: "A proper police force may get first crack." But the source added: "He is one of a number of possible leads that we are looking at. We are not going to give it any more weight than that."

Alan and Cindy Thompson told the Daily Mirror the sex offender was living with his wife and six children in a converted Dodge truck travelling from campsite to campsite in the Algarve and southern Spain.

Hewlett allegedly told the couple he was approached by some "Gipsy tourists" offering to buy his daughter just before Madeleine went missing.

Hewlett told the Thompsons he was in Fuseta, 30 miles from Praia da Luz, when Madeleine vanished.

The disgraced former Portuguese police chief who previously led the Madeleine inquiry was convicted of perjury in a separate case yesterday.

Goncalo Amaral was given an 18-month suspended sentence by a court in Portugal.

The McCanns' spokesman, Clarence Mitchell, said the couple thought the conviction "speaks for itself ".

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