Madeleine McCann suspect: I didn't kill her

14 June 2009
Madeleine McCann suspect: I didn't kill her
Liverpool Click
John Harkin

The prime suspect in the Madeleine McCann case has today denied he was involved in her disappearance.

Raymond Hewlett, who has been in hiding ever since he was named in connection with the case, admits he was in the Algarve at the time Madeleine was snatched.

And five weeks after she disappeared, he left Portugal for Morocco for a two-month-long "business trip".

Hewlett is also REFUSING to give an alibi for the night Madeleine,three, vanished.

Speaking to the Sunday Mirror, he said "I have an alibi but why should I share it?" he says, struggling for air with each syllable.

"There is a person who can say where I was that day, but why should I bring them into this? I've done nothing wrong.

"Why should I have to prove it?

"My life's been made a misery for something I know nothing about and a crime I have not committed.

"I'd take a lie-detector test.

"I'll take any test you like. The only time I've seen Madeleine McCann is on missing posters.

"And I saw her on TV in a bar once. But I've never seen her in real life. Yes I've been to Praia da Luz, but not since 2002."

But those claims contradict what former Scots Guard Mr Verran, 46, says Hewlett told him - that he was in and around Praia da Luz at the time Madeleine disappeared in May 2007.

The McCanns private detectives first became aware of father-of-six Hewlett in February this year when his name was given to them during local door-to-door inquiries.

Portuguese detectives told UK officers they were unaware of his existence until the McCann team uncovered his name.

But bizarrely, Hewlett tells the Sunday Mirror he was visited twice by Portuguese police over the Maddie case and gave detectives a DNA swab and fingerprints, although he was never arrested or quizzed.

The McCanns' investigators are unsure whether to believe him or the detectives in Portugal.

Hewlett says that Portuguese police, acting on unknown information, swooped on his truck while he had throat cancer treatment across the border in Spain in August 2008.

He says:"They checked that all the children living with us were ours.

"Our youngest girl looks a bit like her. But they saw everything was OK and they left.

"The police came again in August last year and told Mariana it was about the McCann girl.

They asked for me and Mariana told them I was in hospital. They came to see me and asked permission to take DNA and fingerprints. I was very sick and barely able to speak to them. They asked where we parked in the Algarve in the first half of 2007.

"I told them, "You know where we've been because you know us round there.' "I knew why they were asking, because I'd seen the TV and newspapers.

"I was miles from the UK but it didn't make any difference. I'd tried hard to build a new life. But the reality for me is that my past convictions will never go away.

I have to put up with it because it's always going to be this way.

"I gave them their DNA and fingerprints. I knew they were just doing their job but I was angry. I had enough to cope with. I had cancer and no money."

Hewlett says he was 60 miles away - in Vila Real de Santo Antonio - when Maddie was taken.

Crucially, he says he cannot specifically remember being there that day.

"May 3 was a Thursday and I was always in Vila Real Santo Antonio on Thursdays."

"My routine never altered. That's 100km from Praia da Luz.

"If you asked people there if we were there on that day, I don't know what they'd say.

"Maybe they can't remember.

"If you ask them if we were normally there, they'd say yes. If it wasn't for the fact that we were living the way we were, I wouldn't be able to say so clearly that that was where I was.

He also claims that a female friend who shot a home video of him and his family on May 5 - two days after Maddie vanished - could vouch for his whereabouts on May 3.

His youngest daughter Yanina bears a striking resemblance to missing Maddie.

He says: "The friend who made the video would remember where I was two days earlier. She could tell anyone where I was. But I haven't asked her and I don't intend to.

"Why should I ask her? I don't think I should involve anybody.

"Why should I keep dragging people in to this?

"I don't like being in it, so why should I keep putting people's names forward so that they get bothered with it too?

"I could ask her, but if she says no, then sorry, the answer is no. Then people will just have to carry on speculating."

Today as he wastes away on the fourth floor of a tower block, Hewlett is close to death.

Doctors discharged him from hospital, telling him there is nothing more they can do for him, and his weight has plummeted to just 45kg.

Instead of expressing sympathy for Kate and Gerry McCann, he insists people should feel sorry for him.

"I've been through hell and now I have got another hell which I don't deserve."

Shaking with pain, he repeats: "I didn't kill the McCann girl."


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