He's evil enough to have snatched Maddie

23 May 2009 
The Sun
Rhodri Phillips and Robin Perrie

THE latest major suspect in the Madeleine McCann case was branded "evil incarnate" last night — by his first known victim. Bette Balfour, just 12 when Raymond Hewlett abducted and sexually assaulted her, added: "I believe he is quite capable of taking Maddie."  Yesterday The Sun revealed convicted paedophile Hewlett had been in Portugal when Maddie was snatched — and how investigators working for her parents Kate and Gerry had tracked him to Germany.

Last night he was said to be critically ill with lung cancer in hospital in Aschen, on the Belgian border.


Bette, now 49, said: "I don't care if he's ill. I don't care if he's dying. He deserves to be brought to justice if there are crimes he still hasn't been punished for."

Asked if she thought he could have abducted three year-old Maddie, she added: "He was in the Algarve when she disappeared and he is evil enough. "His name has never left my mind, but when I saw his picture and his name in The Sun this morning it gave me a chill."

Hewlett, 64, was a neighbour and friend of Bette's father in Todmorden, North Yorks. In 1972 he lured her in to his car, telling her his mother was ill, drugged her with paint thinner and assaulted her on a moor.

Bette, who bravely agreed to waive her anonymity, went on: "I haven't moved on since it happened. He still haunts me. He is a sick, devious man, who will use every trick he can to get his way."

Detectives working for Kate and Gerry have shown a photograph of convicted serial offender Hewlett to a schoolgirl who twice saw a man loitering near the family's holiday apartment — and asked:  Is this him? 

In the weeks after Maddie's disappearance Hewlett is said to have made comments implying he had knowledge of child trafficking.

Hewlett has cropped up across Europe and in Morocco, North Africa. In May 2007 he was on the Algarve, an hour away from the resort of Praia da Luz where Maddie, of Rothley, Leics, was snatched.

He was quizzed by Portuguese cops but was given an alibi by a girl of 15.  

(Blogger note - ??? what ??? - In the *Molseed case*, Hewlett's false alibi was given by a *15 year old girlfriend, Rosalee Dolan. There are no other reports of a 15 year old girl providing an  alibi for Hewlett's whereabouts in the McCann case. Perhaps the reporters could be asked to verify this story and provide some sort of source for this allegation.)

British police also hope to question him about a sexual assault on an eight-year-old girl in Manchester in 1975.

Meanwhile disgraced Goncalo Amaral, 49 — former head of the Maddie police probe in Portugal — was yesterday given an 18-month suspended jail term for falsifying evidence in another missing child case.

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