No one can give him an alibi

21 June 2009
Maddie suspect's wife: no one can give him an alibi; Female friend 'can't remember where he was'.
Sunday Mirror
Simon Wright

THE wife of Madeleine McCann suspect Raymond Hewlett yesterday admitted that NO ONE can give him an alibi. German-born Mariana, 33, confessed that a female friend Hewlett insisted could vouch for him on the day Madeleine vanished cannot remember where he was. Convicted paedophile Hewlett, 64, won't name the woman.
In an interview with the Sunday Mirror last week, he claimed she was with him on the day Madeleine vanished. He said she would remember because she shot a home video of him and his family at a flea market in the town of Fuzeta, 30 miles from Praia da Luz, on May 5, 2007. But he refused to reveal the German woman's identity, saying: "I don't think I should involve anybody. Why should I keep dragging people into this?"

Yesterday, the woman - whose identity the Sunday Mirror has learned - failed to turn up at a market where she normally sells food.

And last night, as Hewlett drifted closer to death from throat cancer, Mariana said: "The truth is, she can't remember where Ray was. She can't give him an alibi. No one can."

Speaking from the couple's tiny flat in Aachen, Germany, Mariana insisted dad-of-six Hewlett has nothing to do with Madeleine's disappearance. And she said claims he'd lied about a white van he supposedly owned at the time was "simply wrong".

Hewlett says a blue Dodge truck was the only vehicle he owned - but a friend claims he also had a white van similar to one seen parked near the McCanns' apartment before Madeleine disappeared. (Blogger note: the "friend" is former Scots Guard Peter Verran - sole source of this allegation.)

He admits to leaving Portugal for Morocco three weeks later, but insisted if he'd been in Praia da Luz at the time, the truck meant he would have "stuck out like a sore thumb".

Mariana said: "We've never owned a white van. "We had a grey van when we first arrived in Portugal in 2002. In August 2004, we swapped it for the Dodge and kept that until March 2008."

We can also reveal Hewlett befriended two families of Portuguese gipsies in the weeks leading up to Madeleine's disappearance. Theories that Madeleine was snatched by gipsies have surrounded the case.

But police and the McCanns' private detectives cannot establish a link between the theory and a named suspect.

Chillingly, Hewlett told a friend that gipsies had offered him "good money" for his own two year-old blonde-haired daughter.

Former Scots Guard Peter Verran, 46, shared a Moroccan campsite with Hewlett between June and November 2007.

He said: "He told me gipsies wanted to pay good money for her and he'd met some who traded in children and sold them to paedophiles."

Last week, Hewlett dismissed those claims as "rubbish". But another former close pal of his in the Portuguese town of Tavira - where his family used to park their truck - revealed how, in April 2007, he developed a close friendship with two families of gipsies.

US-born artist Leonardo Leopoldo, 79, who has lived in Tavira - 40 miles from Praia da Luz - for 10 years, said: "No one spoke to the gipsies apart from Ray. He was always talking to them.

"There was talk in the area that they sold children to paedophiles. By the time, Madeleine was snatched, he was very friendly with them."

Leonardo said he was stunned to learn of Hewlett's past convictions for child sex attacks. He said he had grown fond of him, Mariana and the couple's seven children after first meeting them in the summer of 2002. "I thought they were lovely. "Now, everything is different."

The Sunday Mirror tracked down another close pal of Hewlett's - British expat Jenny Day - who the McCanns' private detectives have been keen to interview but unable to trace.

Divorced Jenny, who's in her fifties, admitted she could not provide Hewlett with an alibi and told how she had been shattered by revelations of his criminal past.

Speaking at her beach-side apartment in Santa Luzia, 30 miles from Praia da Luz, she said: "I loved Ray, but not now. I met him 10 years ago and thought he was a loving father. To find out that he had committed the crimes he had was shattering. "I didn't shoot the home video being talked about and I cannot provide Ray with an alibi for the day Madeleine went missing."

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