Portugal police ignore 4 new Madeleine leads

26 May 2009
The Daily Express
Nick Fagge

FOUR potential new leads in the hunt for Madeleine McCann have been dismissed in the past week by Portuguese police, who told the callers: "She is dead."They were told not to bother detectives with any new information about the missing youngster, a source close to the investigation claimed.

The source revealed: "In the past week four people have approached the Portuguese police with information. "They were told not to worry them and that Madeleine McCann was dead."

Last night, the McCanns reacted with fury at the latest missed opportunity by the Portuguese police. A family friend said: "It's a disgrace frankly. It's beyond frustrating. "It is exactly the attitude that we have been up against for months. They closed the inquiry and were not prepared to lift a finger. "Yet Kate and Gerry's team are still providing the Portuguese with information."

The revelation came as private detectives hired by the McCanns failed in their bid to question British paedophile Raymond Hewlett, 64, who has been linked to Madeleine's disappearance. He is currently in a German hospital with throat cancer and is refusing to say what he knows about the missing youngster. The convicted child rapist is seen as a vital lead in solving the mystery.

Former police detective Dave Edgar told the Daily Express: "If he has nothing to hide he should speak to us. "His evidence may be crucial but we won't know until we have spoken to him. "We want to know where he was when Madeleine McCann went missing. "We want to eliminate him from our inquiry as quickly as possible. It is a matter of urgency because of his medical condition. "We can't get through the hospital authorities. We have sent a message to Mr Hewlett that we want to speak to him."

The McCanns are said to be disappointed at Hewlett's lack of co-operation.

Their spokesman said: "Raymond Hewlett is now well aware that the investigators helping Kate and Gerry McCann wish to speak to him. However the investigators are still waiting for a definitive response. "Clearly, if he is to be eliminated from their inquiries, it is incumbent on Mr Hewlett to talk to the investigators. "To that end, the investigators will stay in Germany overnight with a view to interviewing him tomorrow."

A family friend added: "If our men come away from Germany empty handed that begs more questions than it answers and you would have to ask yourself why Hewlett was not prepared to co-operate."

Hewlett has allegedly referred to being familiar with the layout of the holiday apartment in the Algarve resort of Praia da Luz, from where Madeleine went missing in May 2007, just before her fourth birthday.

Former soldier Peter Verran, who met Hewlett on a campsite in Morocco a month later, claimed the pervert admitted parking his van close to the holiday complex several times and was "obsessed" with the case.

Hewlett travelled around Europe with his German common-law wife Mariana Schmuecker and her six children in a distinctive blue Dodge van. The investigators are now keen to find the vehicle.

Mr Edgar said: "Hewlett's Dodge van is a line of inquiry."

The investigators have appealed to Mariana, 33, to urge Hewlett to talk. Mr Edgar said: "We spent 10 minutes with Mariana last night. We sent a message through her that we need to talk to him. "It would appear that he does not want to talk to us. We also want to speak to the man who came forward with details and a photo of Hewlett staying at a campsite in Morocco."

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