Maddie suspect lied to police

21 June 2009
Sunday Independent
Vivian Attwood

POLICE investigating the disappearance of Madeleine McCann are in a race against time to probe the lies told by convicted paedophile Raymond Hewlett. It emerged this week that Hewlett, 64, who is terminally ill with throat cancer, had lied to police on significant aspects of the case, including whether he had seen the three-year-old before her disappearance from the Praia da Luz holiday resort in Portugal in May 2007. Hewlett served three jail terms in the UK for sex crimes involving children before he took up a nomadic existence criss-crossing Europe with his wife and children. He has been on the run since his release from jail after serving six years for a sex attack on a 12-year-old girl in 1988. It has been established that he was in the vicinity of Praia de Luz when Maddie vanished.

Suspicion that he might have knowledge of her whereabouts was rekindled this week when it emerged that he had misled police about the make of vehicle he was driving at the time of her disappearance.The paedophile claimed he had one vehicle – a distinctive blue Dodge truck – and that it would have been noticed if he had driven into the resort.  (Blogger note: Although stated as FACT, this allegation was made SOLELY by Peter Verran.)

Protesting his innocence to police, Hewlett said: “If you’d gone in our truck you couldn’t have got away with it, driving that about. You’d have stood out like a sore thumb.”

But a former acquaintance of Hewlett has told investigators that Hewlett owned a white Mercedes van at the time, similar to one seen parked near the McCanns’ holiday flat before Maddie disappeared.

Former Scots Guard Peter Verran, 46, who befriended Hewlett at a Moroccan campsite in June 2007, said: “He told me he owned a white Transit-type (van) before his blue truck, but swopped it for the Dodge when he left Portugal for Morocco.”

Adding substance to the theory that Hewlett may have abducted Maddie is his seeming obsession with the case after she disappeared.

Verran told police that when he met Hewlett in Morocco, Hewlett confessed that he was fixated by the case, had been outside the Praia da Luz holiday flat “many times” and had parked his van near the complex.

In an apparent about-turn on Thursday, Hewlett, who refuses to give an alibi for the night Maddie disappeared, but has consistently maintained his innocence, told a German newspaper: “Yes, I saw Maddie.”

However, he later recanted the statement.

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