Suspect in Maddy probe knew layout of complex

25 May 2009
Irish Independent

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 reported yesterday. Raymond Hewlett is alleged to have been staying 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 claimed yesterday that he had 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."
UK-born Hewlett, a former soldier who previously lived in Blackpool and Telford, is reportedly being treated for throat cancer in hospital in the German city Aachen. He was jailed several times for sexually assaulting young girls and is now wanted in Britain over a separate indecent assault.

The McCanns hope that once officers have questioned Hewlett, their investigators will speak to him, despite reports that he is seriously ill in intensive care. Clarence Mitchell, Kate and Gerry McCann's spokesman, said: "Mr Hewlett has denied any involvement in Madeleine's abduction. Our investigators hope he will see sense and co-operate by giving them whatever information needed so they can eliminate him from the investigation."

It is understood that before the McCanns' team can speak to Hewlett, British officers will interview him in connection with an indecent assault in 1975. The McCanns currently have two retired detectives who they hired to search for their daughter. Madeleine was nearly four when she went missing from her family's holiday apartment in Praia da Luz on May 3, 2007,while her parents dined with friends nearby.

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