Maddy paedo said this was only vehicle he had

Maddy paedo said this was only vehicle he had;
But really he was driving a van similar to this.
19 June 2009
Daily Mirror
Stephen Moyes

PERVERT Raymond Hewlett's lies were unravelling last night as he faced renewed questioning over missing Madeleine McCann. The convicted paedophile rekindled suspicion after it was revealed he tried to mislead detectives over the vehicle he was driving at the time the youngster vanished.

Hewlett, who has lived in Ireland, claimed he only had one motor - a blue Dodge truck. And he said it was so distinctive that he could not have driven into Praia da Luz in May 2007 without being spotted.

But now a former friend has dramatically come forward to say Hewlett was lying. He actually owned a white Mercedes van at the time - similar to one seen parked near the McCanns' apartment before Madeleine disappeared.

Ex-Scots Guard Peter Verran, 46, decided to contact the Maddy inquiry team after being disturbed by Hewlett's claims in our sister paper, the Sunday Mirror. Mr Verran, who befriended Hewlett on a campsite in Morocco in June 2007, said: "He told me he owned a white Transit-type van before his blue Dodge truck. "He said he'd swapped it for the Dodge in order to leave Portugal and travel to Morocco.


"The white van didn't have enough room for the whole family, so he sold it to a pal who traded on the same market as him in Fuzeta, about 40 miles from Praia da Luz." Last month it was revealed a witness had seen a man apparently staking out the McCanns' apartment, standing near a white van.

According to Mr Verran, Hewlett also said that he had driven from Portugal's Algarve to Spain in the Mercedes van around the time Madeleine vanished. But Hewlett, who was living near Praia da Luz, insisted recently that he only had the Dodge truck.

Protesting his innocence, he 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." He added: "Our truck was our only vehicle. I didn't have another vehicle to go anywhere in. It's a high-profile vehicle."

When they met in Morocco, Hewlett, 64, told Verran that he'd become obsessed with the case of the missing girl. He admitted being outside the holiday flat "many times" and parking his van close to the complex.

A source close to the Maddy inquiry team said yesterday: "This new information could be very significant. Hewlett has repeatedly said that he could not have been at the scene without someone remembering his distinctive truck. "But if he was driving a Mercedes van at the time, his reasoning is shot to pieces. "And it would raise the question of why he lied about the vehicle in the first place."

It is not known if Hewlett owned the white van and the truck at the same time, or one after the other. But Mr Verran's recollection is that he bought the Dodge for the trip to Morocco - AFTER Madeleine vanished.

Hewlett admits he was in the Algarve at the time. He told friends he was offered money by "gipsy tourists" to sell his own three-year-old blonde-haired daughter just before Maddy vanished. He says he left Portugal five weeks later for a two-month "business trip".

But last night there were also doubts over his assertion that he caught a ferry from Faro to Morocco. He claimed: "I knew people on the docks at Faro and I got the captain of a ferry to take us over for free." But there is NO public ferry service between Faro and Morocco.

Hewlett also said he stayed at a campsite in Morocco for at least two months and made 300 euros selling car parts. Questions were being asked how he afforded to remain for so long when the campsite cost 10 euros a night. He would also have needed cash to feed his seven children and partner, and pay for petrol for his truck.

Hewlett, who is refusing to give an alibi for the night Madeleine vanished, was first brought to the attention of investigators by Alan and Cindy Thompson, who met him while on an extended holiday in Portugal.

Dave Edgar and Arthur Cowley, the detectives working for the Madeleine McCann fund, hoped to question him last month after the Mirror tracked him down to a hospital in Aachen, Germany, where he was being treated for throat cancer. But Hewlett refused to see them, claiming he was too ill to be questioned.

Hewlett was jailed three times in the UK for sex offences before beginning his nomadic lifestyle across Europe with his wife Mariana and their six children.

He is still being investigated by West Yorkshire police over an attack nearly 30 years ago.

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