New Maddy suspect is British paedophile

22 May 2009
The Daily Telegraph
Chris Irvine and Lucy Cockcroft

Raymond Hewlett, a convicted British paedophile, is being investigated in connection with the disappearance of Madeleine McCann, it emerged last night. Hewlett, a former soldier, is believed to have been living an hour's drive from the resort of Praia da Luz, in Portugal, when the toddler disappeared in May 2007, reports said.

The 64-year-old has a long record of sex attacks on young girls and is wanted by police in Britain and Ireland. He has been on the run since Madeleine's disappearance.

The new information is thought to have emerged after her parents, Kate and Gerry McCann, made international media appearances to issue a fresh appeal for information. New material released included a computer-aided image of what she may look like now, aged six, and a sketch of a suspect seen near the holiday complex.

Hewlett, described by detectives as "cunning'' and a "danger to children'', is a former Scots Guardsman. He has been jailed several times for sexual offences against young girls. He is also wanted by some British police forces for questioning about other sex attacks.

Clarence Mitchell, the spokesman for the McCanns, said: "My understanding is he is receiving hospital treatment and is in Germany.'' He refused to comment on whether Hewlett was in custody.

The alarm was raised about Hewlett by a couple who met him while on holiday in Portugal. Alan and Cindy Thompson said Hewlett was living in a converted truck with his wife and six children. They described a conversation in which Hewlett said he was approached by some "gipsy tourists'' offering to buy his daughter, just before Madeleine went missing.

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