Blackpool man is Maddie suspect

22 May 2009
Blackpool Gazette
Joe Robinson

A former Blackpool soldier is being investigated over the disappearance of Madeleine McCann. Paedophile Raymond Hewlett was reportedly living just an hour from the Algarve resort of Praia da Luz at the time Madeleine disappeared from her holiday apartment in May 2007. The former Marton serviceman – who grew up in a semi-detached house on Hawes Side Lane – has a long record of sex attacks on young girls and is wanted by police in Britain for offences dating back more than 30 years.

Former neighbours in Blackpool today described Hewlett as "very strange" and said it was "frightening" to hear he had been linked with Madeleine's disappearance. Sources say Hewlett, 64, who is currently in Germany receiving treatment for throat cancer, has denied any involvement in Madeleine's disappearance. But a team of private detectives are now looking into his movements after it was claimed he was living just 30 miles from Praia de Luz at the time Madeleine went missing.

Clarence Mitchell, spokesman for Madeleine's parents Kate and Gerry, said Hewlett was being looked at by investigators. He said:
"It's my understanding if you are on the Sex Offenders Register you are supposed to alert the authorities to your movements. "I understand in this case Mr Hewlett's whereabouts weren't known to a number of police forces for some time.
"Now that he is being treated for an illness in Germany it's up to the individual police forces as to what they do with that information."

Police are expected to make a formal request for him to be extradited to face questioning.

For more on Raymond Hewlett, and the full story, pick up a copy of Saturday's Gazette.

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