Paedophile 'knew layout of Madeleine complex'

25 May 2009
Yorkshire Post
Mike Waites

A convicted paedophile who is being investigated over Madeleine McCann's disappearance said he was familiar with the layout of the Portuguese holiday complex where she went missing, it was claimed yesterday.
Raymond Hewlett, who is also facing questions over an indecent assault in West Yorkshire three decades ago, is alleged to have been staying around an hour's drive from the McCanns' holiday flat in Praia da Luz when she vanished on May 3 2007. The McCanns' investigation team wants to interview the 64-year-old in the next few days in the hope he can shed some light on the little girl's disappearance.

A former soldier who met Hewlett at a campsite in Morocco in May 2007 told a Sunday newspaper he admitted parking a van close to the McCanns' complex on several occasions. Peter Verran, 46, said: "He brought Madeleine up straight away. He said his three-year-old daughter looked like her.

"He was worried that because there had been reports that Madeleine may have been spirited away to Morocco, people might think his child was her. Then he suddenly said, 'Madeleine's not in Morocco'. "I asked him what he meant and he said he knew Praia Da Luz really well. He knew the Ocean Club complex where the McCanns had been staying. He said he'd been there many times and had often parked his van close to the apartment.

"He said he knew the layout of the place, the flat and the restaurant where the McCanns and their friends had been eating when Maddie disappeared. "He had a lot of detail about the layout. He said there was no way that the child could be taken without the parents seeing. He said they were lying."

Hewlett, a former soldier, is reportedly being treated for throat cancer in hospital in the German city Aachen. He was jailed several times for sexually assaulting young girls in Todmorden in West Yorkshire and North Wales and is now wanted for questioning by West Yorkshire detectives in connection with a separate indecent assault in 1975.

The McCanns hope that once officers from the force have questioned Hewlett, their investigators will speak to him, despite reports he is seriously ill.

Hewlett was a suspect over the murder of schoolgirl Lesley Molseed until DNA evidence trapped her killer Ronald Castree who was jailed for life in 2007.

Hewlett formerly lived in Todmorden where he carried out his most serious attacks including abducting a 12-year-old girl in 1972, for which he was sentenced to 18 months, and the attempted rape of a 14-year-old girl in 1978, for which he was given a four-year jail term.

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