Cunning predator and 30 years of depravity

23 May 2009
Daily Mail
Michael Seamark

Compile a profile of Madeleine McCann's possible abductor and there are few more suitable suspects than Raymond Hewlett. He's a convicted predatory paedophile - a man detectives describe as cunning and a danger to children - who flits from country to country.Given that he speaks English and, crucially, was within striking distance of Praia da Luz when three-year- old Madeleine went missing, Hewlitt ticks a a great many boxes.

From his hospital bed in Germany, where he is being treated for cancer, the 64-year old protests his innocence. 'I've done nothing wrong, nothing nothing,' he says. However, it is hardly surprising that Kate and Gerry McCann's investigators are now forensically examining any possible link between Hewlett and their daughter's disappearance in 2007.

The former Scots Guardsman, trawlerman and fairground worker has been repeatedly jailed for a series of violent sexual offences against young girls. Once featured on a Crimestoppers list of most wanted paedophiles, he is currently wanted for questioning by British police forces for the indecent assault of a young girl more than 30 years ago.

Several years ago Irish officers investigating a series of attempted abductions were seeking Hewlett, who had been posing as an undercover police officer to search for young girls or befriend their families to gain access to children. 'To say we need to trace this man is an understatement,' said one detective. But, as in the past, Hewlett was one step ahead of the law and had fled.

He was born in Blackpool in 1945, the second youngest child in a family of seven, and left school without any qualifications and, at the insistence of his father, joined the Scots Guards in 1961. His military career lasted nine months, before he was dishonorably discharged for causing disorder, being absent without leave and stealing a regimental bicycle.

HE SPENT the next year wandering the country before ending up in Todmorden, West Yorkshire, where he held a series of menial jobs and made the first of his many court appearances, for assault.

He first married in 1963, to local girl Susan Ginley, and over the next five years they had four children. But a series of offences, ranging from burglary to firearms possession, meant regular spells behind bars.

In 1972 he carried out the first of a series of serious sexual crimes against young girls when he persuaded the 12-year-old daughter of a neighbour to get in his car, telling her that her mother needed to see her urgently.
Instead of taking her home, Hewlett drove her up to nearby moors and forced a rag soaked in paint thinner over her face. When she regained consciousness she was naked on the back seat of the car. Hewlett, who hid in his attic for a week until his wife called in the police, insisted the girl had consented to sex but he was jailed and served 12 months of an 18-month sentence before returning to Todmorden.

In 1978 he went to a nearby house on the pretext of delivering a parcel, after establishing by telephone that a girl of 14 was home alone. Once inside he pointed a handgun at the terrified teenager's face and forced her upstairs where, terrified and crying, she was made to lie face down on a bed. He had started to strip her when the girl told him she was expecting friends. That quick-thinking saved her and Hewlett was arrested and sentenced to four years imprisonment, serving 16 months.

In 1980 Hewlett left his long- suffering wife Susan for Anita Cox, and they had two children and married in 1982 - a partnership punctuated by regular vicious attacks by husband on wife.

Eight years later he was sentenced to six years imprisonment for kidnapping and indecent assault after snatching at knifepoint a girl of 14 on a paper round in Northwich, Cheshire. 'You know what is going to happen to you now,' he warned the terrified teenager after they arrived at a quarry 50 miles away in north Wales. Naked apart from her socks and threatened with a knife, she was subjected to a brutal sexual ordeal when she feared she was going to be raped. But then Hewlett told her to dress, bundled her into the boot of his car and dumped her a further 50 miles away at another quarry.

He fled to Ireland but was identified as the attacker by forensic evidence and brought back to face trial. But two years into his sentence, he was granted home leave from Leicestershire's Stoken Prison and absconded, only to be rearrested when he arrived back in Britain from Ireland in 1991.

THE following year Hewlett was quizzed over the 1975 murder of 11-year-old Lesley Molseed, sexually assaulted, stabbed and dumped on moors at Ripponden after she set off for a loaf of bread in Rochdale.

Inland Revenue clerk Stefan Kiszko was wrongly imprisoned for the killing but Hewlett became a prime suspect given that he lived ten miles from Rochdale, that he had fled to the Irish Republic soon after the murder and had a record of attacks on young girls. When questioned about Lesley's murder his response to most questions was 'No reply.'

He was linked to the crime scene by his ownership of a blue Morris 1000 van which matched descriptions given by 14 witnesses who saw one parked in a lay-by at Ripponden on the day of Lesley's abduction.

Previously unknown links between Hewlett's family and friends of the Molseed family raised the possibility that Lesley knew her killer and might have got in his car. But DNA later eliminated Hewlett and another man Ronald Castree, was eventually convicted of the girl's murder in 2007 after Kiszko's death.   

(Blogger's note:  Castree was convicted solely on DNA evidence.)

Hewlett returned to his 'safe haven' in the Irish Republic in 1993 living in a commune in County Donegal. He was eventually asked to leave by commune members worried by remarks made by their young children concerning Hewlett. He wandered across Ireland before heading for the Continent, eventually working as a candle maker in the Italian mountains. While there, he met and married an Italian woman Gabriella - the couple having a son Marco - but she had nothing more to do with him when she learnt the nature of Italian police inquiries about her new husband. Little more than a decade ago he was back in Donegal, this time with his pregnant German partner Marianna Schmuker.

They were still together, living with six children in a converted Dodge truck, when they met English couple Alan and Cindy Thompson in Portugal, who raised the possibility of Hewlett's links to Madeleine's disappearance. Alan said: 'Hewlett befriended us but kept quiet about his terrible past. We were mortified and disgusted to discover the truth.'

1 Responses to "Cunning predator and 30 years of depravity"
Ironside said...

Blair spent much of his youth with family in Donegal he knows it well

The McCanns spent much time in Donegal

Hewlett also spent time in Donegal..

I had not realised how far they have pushed Hewlett into this..The last time I saw such pressure was on Murat in the early days.

Feb 15, 2010, 11:59:00 AM
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