Paedophile's phone signals checked in Maddie hunt

26 May 2009
Yorkshire Post
Rob Preece

DETECTIVES leading the search for Madeleine McCann are to use mobile phone signals to track the movements of a violent paedophile who was in Portugal when she disappeared.

Raymond Hewlett, who has been jailed for sex attacks on young girls in the Yorkshire region, is said to have been staying near the McCanns' holiday flat when Madeleine went missing in May 2007.

A couple who alerted detectives to Hewlett's whereabouts after meeting him on holiday in Portugal were interviewed for three hours at the weekend by officers from Leicestershire Police.

Alan and Cindy Thompson handed over Hewlett's number, which police hope will enable them to access phone company records dating back to the night Madeleine disappeared.

The records are likely to show where calls on Hewlett's phone were made from, providing clues about his movements.

Hewlett, 64, is undergoing treatment for throat cancer in a German hospital, but police want to question him about a crime which took place in Yorkshire more than 30 years ago.

Officers from West Yorkshire Police are awaiting clearance from German authorities to interview him over an indecent assault from 1975.

Hewlett, who was suspected of murdering schoolgirl Lesley Molseed until DNA evidence trapped her killer, formerly lived in Todmorden, where he carried out some of his most serious attacks.

He was sentenced to 18 months in prison for abducting a 12-year-old girl and taking her on to moors near Todmorden in 1972.

In 1978 Hewlett attacked a 14-year-old girl in her Todmorden home. He was convicted of attempted rape and sentenced to four years in prison, but only served 16 months.

After kidnapping another 14-year-old girl in North Wales and sexually assaulting her, he fled to Ireland. He was captured in 1989 and jailed for six years.

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