The purpose of this site is for information and a record of Gerry McCann's Blog Archives. As most people will appreciate GM deleted all past blogs from the official website. Hopefully this Archive will be helpful to anyone who is interested in Justice for Madeleine Beth McCann. Many Thanks, Pamalam

Note: This site does not belong to the McCanns. It belongs to Pamalam. If you wish to contact the McCanns directly, please use the contact/email details campaign@findmadeleine.com    

Scotland Yard Investigation - Apr 2014*

MCCANN FILES HOME BACK TO GERRY MCCANNS BLOGS HOME PAGE PHOTOGRAPHS
NEWS REPORTS INDEX MCCANN PJ FILES NEWS MAY 2007
 

Daily Star, 24 April 2014
Daily Star, 24 April 2014

April 2014 - In brief
11 April 2014
Chloe Campbell disappears from her home in Childers, Queensland and is immediately dubbed the 'Australian Maddy' by the press. However, she is found alive two days later - seemingly snatched to frighten her father in an act of retribution.

19 April 2014
The Daily Mirror claim police want to question five British holiday flat owners over who was in their apartments at the time of Madeleine's disappearance. It is alleged the owners are refusing to cooperate.

23 April 2014
The Met investigation team provide an update on their recent appeal for information on the 'smelly, pot-bellied' intruder. As a result of some 500 calls, they claim to have uncovered a 'new' sexual assault, not previously reported to police, that allegedly took place in Praia da Luz in 2005, involving a ten-year-old British girl.

The Met update statement:
Click here

It is also revealed that Portuguese authorities have rejected the Met's request (supported by the McCanns) for the formation of a Joint Investigation Team.

24 April 2014
The press provide extensive coverage of the previous day's announcement, with a number running front pages. The Daily Star, in particular, promises 'New arrests in weeks' even though the Met has no authority to make arrests on Portuguese soil.

Maddie shock: New victim snatched, 11 April 2014
Maddie shock: New victim snatched Daily Star (paper edition)

 
Daily Star, 11 April 2014

Lookalike 3-year-old taken from her bed

A LITTLE girl who looks just like Madeleine McCann has been snatched from her family home in a chilling copycat crime.

Three-year-old Chloe Campbell, right, who is the same age as Maddie was when she was taken, vanished along with her favourite cuddly toy dog.

Full story: Page 7

 
Daily Star, 11 April 2014, page 7

 

Maddie lookalike in copycat snatch

[text of article as per online version below]

-------------------

Maddie lookalike taken from family home in copycat snatch
Daily Star

POLICE were last night searching for a three-year-old girl snatched from her family home in a remote outback town.

By Nigel Pauley / Published 11th April 2014

MISSING: Madeleine McCann and Australian girl Chloe Campbell [PA/NC]

In a chilling echo of the Madeleine McCann case, blonde Chloe Campbell vanished during the night with a sleeping bag and her favourite cuddly toy.

Her two older sisters, Janae, eight, and Britney, five, were sleeping alongside her but were not disturbed.

A footprint was found on the roof of a car below an open window and her distraught dad is convinced that she has been snatched by someone who knows the family.

Chloe's disappearance recalls the riddle surrounding Maddie, who was also three years old when she was taken from a holiday villa in Praia da Luz, Portugal, in May 2007.

A picture released by Australian police reveals a startling resemblance between the two young girls.

Police chiefs have issued a "child abduction alert" as officers scour the streets of the small town of Childers, Queensland.

Her dad Garth said Chloe's sleeping bag, patterned with wizards and dragons, had gone as well as her stuffed toy dog named Gnarly.

He said: "I don't think there's any possible way she's wandered off. She wouldn't leave the yard by herself.

"I think it's got to be someone who knows me, because of how they got in, and where she sleeps."

Missing three-year-old Chloe Campbell dubbed the 'Australian Maddy' found alive, 11 April 2014
Missing three-year-old Chloe Campbell dubbed the 'Australian Maddy' found alive Evening Standard

Snatched: missing Chloe Campbell

STANDARD REPORTER
Published: 11 April 2014
Updated: 21:28, 11 April 2014


A missing three-year-old girl has been found alive two days after disappearing. Missing Chloe Campbell vanished as she slept, in a mystery which has been compared with the disappearance of Madeleine McCann.

The girl was found close to her family home in Childers, Queensland, and taken to hospital for a check-up.

Mum Tammy O'Donell was taken to hospital to meet her and was described as 'overjoyed.'

Chloe's parents discovered her missing on Thursday morning, local time, after she was having an indoor 'camping style' sleep-over with her two sisters.

She had vanished by the time her parents awoke yesterday in the country town of Childers, Queensland.

An adult-sized footprint was found on top of the family car under the window. Chloe's sleeping bag and her toy dog Gnarly were also taken.

Before she was found mother Mother Tammy O'Donnell described the ordeal as a "nightmare I can't wake up from."

A huge search by police, emergency service workers and volunteers which has been called to a halt.

Police found security footage of two men and a young child close to he family home recorded on Thursday at midnight.

Madeleine McCann, also aged three, was abducted from her room at her family's holiday villa in Praia Da Luz, Portugal, in 2007 and has still not been found.

Chloe Campbell missing: Three-year-old girl dubbed 'Australia's Maddy' found alive, 11 April 2014
Chloe Campbell missing: Three-year-old girl dubbed 'Australia's Maddy' found alive The Independent

Chloe Campbell

Girl 'wandered home' 42 hours after disappearing from family home

A missing three-year-old girl dubbed 'Australia's Maddy' has been found alive almost two days after disappearing.

Chloe Campbell was discovered missing from her home in Childers, Queensland, on Thursday morning, local time, but 42 hours later "wandered home" and was reunited with her mother.

The massive search operation was called off when the little girl was found by police a short distance from the family home, in an area known as the showgrounds.

Police dogs carried out an immediate search of the area in the hope of finding anyone who may have dropped her off.

She was taken to hospital for a check-up where she was briefly re-united with her mother, Tammy O'Donnell, and her father, Garth Campbell. Her parents later went home while she was kept in overnight.

Chloe was discovered missing on Thursday morning and a window of the room she was sharing with two siblings was found open. Her father told reporters a footprint had been found on the roof of a vehicle parked underneath the window.

Her re-appearance was as much of a mystery as the initial disappearance, though police refused to say if she was found in the same clothes she was last known to have been wearing. A few hours before she was found, security footage was located of two men and a young child close to the family home shortly after midnight on Thursday.

Inspector Kev Guteridge said: "It's one of those dreams that comes true. It's really amazing news. Shortly after midnight Chloe was located at the Childers showgrounds by police.

"Chloe was examined by ambulance before being taken to the Bundaberg Base Hospital where she's been reunited with her mother. I'm very, very happy to report Chloe is safe and well and in very good health."

He added: "Obviously, how she came to be at the showgrounds will be part of the investigation.

"The last couple of days our focus has been locating her and locating her safe and well. Now we will transition to the investigation phase and focus more on that, as to the circumstance of her disappearance."

"As you can appreciate at the moment our whole focus is Chloe's well-being. While we are happy to get her back we also have to make sure she's okay before we progress too much with her."

Chloe was, according to reports, spotted by police after calling out, "Mummy," as she approached the family home.

Ms O'Donnell said after being reunited with her daughter: "I was just in tears... I ran in the room basically.

"I just laid on the bed with her and gave her cuddles for a while and then we just came home to let everyone know."

She described herself as, "Over the world," adding: "There is no other word to really describe how I'm feeling, just overjoyed.

"Thank you to everyone, and everyone that called in to help bring Chloe home safe and happy."

Chloe was exhausted and was asleep for much of the reunion but told her mother: "mummy want to go home now."

Police repeated their appeals for anyone with information about the disappearance to come forward and said they will be investigating local - and so far unsubstantiated - rumours that someone close to the family was involved.

The case drew comparisons with the disappearance of three-year-old Madeleine McCann who vanished from the Portuguese resort of Praia Da Luz in 2007. The parallels were emphasised when a photograph of Chloe was released that bore haunting similarities to pictures of Madeleine.

Chloe Campbell snatched to 'scare father', 13 April 2014
Chloe Campbell snatched to 'scare father' Stuff.co.nz

Last updated 10:59 13/04/2014

FOUND: Chloe Campbell
FOUND: Chloe Campbell

Australian Toddler Chloe Campbell was snatched from her home to frighten her father in an act of retribution, family friends believe.

The three-year-old had gone missing from the family's lounge room, where she'd been sleeping with her siblings, before turning up 42 hours later at the showground across the road from her home in the Queensland town of Childers.

The little girl was returned to her mother Tammy O'Donnell at 1am on Saturday after being found by police.

Her disappearance had sparked a massive police hunt and searchers were beginning to fear for the worst after two days of fruitless searching.

Queensland police are trying to find out if the little girl was abducted or wandered off.

Family friends have told the Sunday Mail that they think a threat against Chloe's father, Garth Campbell, about two months ago is linked to her vanishing.

Melissa Small told the Queensland newspaper she suspected the person or people behind the threat to Mr Campbell had snatched Chloe, and that the threat to him had been officially reported.

"They've done this to scare Garth," Ms Small told the Sunday Mail.

"Garth has been very scared and this is why he is a mess."

One family member told the newspaper the abductor must have known the girls were sleeping in the lounge room.

"It's not nice to think it was someone they know. I've met their friends and they all seem like really decent people - battlers - I couldn't imagine it would be them," the family member said.

"But then, too many things point to the fact they must have known the girls were sleeping in the lounge on the holidays. Someone would have to have known that."

Police have begun talking with Chloe and have collected any possible DNA evidence from her clothes.

Ms O'Donnell told reporters she was "overjoyed" when she was reunited with Chloe at the Bundaberg Base Hospital, where she was examined and later released.

"She opened her eyes a little bit and (said) 'Mummy want to go home now' and passed out," the mother of four said.

"I was just in tears. I didn't care if she woke up or not and then I just laid on the bed with her and gave her cuddles for a while and then we just came home to let everyone know."

Investigations are continuing.

-AAP

Madeleine McCann police on trail of five British holiday flat owners - but they are refusing to cooperate, 19 April 2014
Madeleine McCann police on trail of five British holiday flat owners - but they are refusing to cooperate Sunday Mirror

By Matthew Drake | Apr 19, 2014 22:00

British detectives want to quiz them over who was in their apartments when the tot was abducted seven years ago

Missing: Madeleine McCann

 

Missing: Madeleine McCann

Madeleine McCann police are trying to trace five mystery Britons who owned flats in the block where she vanished.

British detectives want to quiz them over who was in their apartments when the tot was abducted seven years ago.

But we can reveal all five – whose identities have been withheld from police under Portuguese data protection laws – have allegedly refused to allow managers at the Algarve complex to pass their details to the Scotland Yard's Operation Grange team.

A source said: "They could hold vital clues to what happened. But it is down to the individuals if they want to get involved.

"They were all asked by email if they were happy for their names to be put forward to the investigation – and they said they were not.

"It may be that they did not want to get caught up in such a high profile case, but they could know something critical about Madeleine's disappearance and may not even be aware of it."

Snatch flats: Five owners refuse to help investigation | Philip Coburn / Sunday Mirror

Snatch flats: Five owners refuse to help investigation

Police are working on the theory that three-year-old Madeleine's abductor spied on her from inside the 59-block Ocean Club complex of holiday flats in Praia da Luz.

Nearly all of the owners at the time were believed to be British and it has been claimed some properties may have been sub-let during May 2007 without the owners' knowledge.

Anybody with access to certain ­apartments could easily have kept an eye on the McCanns' movements without ­looking suspicious.

Madeleine's dad Gerry has said he thinks they were being watched throughout their family break in ­apartment 5A.

Officers are believed to have ­questioned owners of all but five of the remaining 58 flats after they agreed to help the investigation.

They have pinpointed the mystery leaseholders as "persons of interest" who could help them unlock the case although none are suspected of wrongdoing.

But Scotland Yard has been hampered by a combination of data protection regulations and the botched original Portuguese investigation.

It is understood that a full list of owners was never made available even to local police.

Sub-letting at the complex has made ­detectives' work even harder as they try to build a picture of who was where at the time of Madeleine's disappearance.

Our source said: "Operation Grange is trying to gather data through several agencies to collate a full picture of who was at the resort at that time.

"They are working hard to gather this information as quickly as possible and have appealed for full co-operation from everybody involved. But they are having to tread on eggshells.

"They would happily go round Praia da Luz and knock on doors asking everybody for information if they could.

"But they are still waiting for ­permission on the international letters of request they have sent to the ­Portuguese."

The formal letters are used to ask the Portuguese police to carry out certain pieces of work on the British force's behalf.

"The frustrations at Scotland Yard are growing day by day," said our source.

"The Portuguese police just keep referring them to what is in their files and that is not the full picture."

A source close to Madeleine's heartbroken parents Gerry and Kate said: "It is deeply disappointing that these five owners have chosen not to come forward."

A spokesman for Mark Warner, who own the Ocean Club, would only say: "It has been our policy not to comment on the Madeleine McCann case for a quite a few years now."

Madeleine's parents are now preparing to mark the seventh anniversary of her disappearance on May 3.

Detectives are believed to be preparing to make critical arrests in the case as soon as they are given the green light to act on Portuguese soil by judges.

A source said: "It seems there is lots of evidence still to work through.

"If they are finally given permission to act it will be the Portuguese police making the arrests alongside the Met and it will be the same when it comes to the questioning."

Clarence Mitchell, a spokesman for the McCanns, said: "Kate and Gerry will not comment on any operational detail concerning Grange. It is purely a matter for Scotland Yard to pursue."

Six more British families come forward in hunt for 'smelly, pot bellied' Madeleine McCann suspect, 23 April 2014
Six more British families come forward in hunt for 'smelly, pot bellied' Madeleine McCann suspect Evening Standard

Madeleine McCann: Police want to trace a man who targeted other girls in the Algarve

JUSTIN DAVENPORT, CRIME EDITOR | RASHID RAZAQ
Published: 23 April 2014
Updated: 10:33, 23 April 2014


Detectives investigating the disappearance of Madeleine McCann say they are trying to identify a serial sex attacker who may have struck at least 18 times in holiday resorts on the Algarve.

Police said today they received 500 phone calls following an appeal last month for a man who broke into the homes of 12 holiday villas occupied by British families.

They revealed another six British families have come forward to say they were also victims of the burglar and sex attacker.

In five of the cases young girls were sexually assaulted, in one case an intruder broke into a home but was disturbed.

Detectives say they now believe that all the 18 cases stretching over six or so years may be linked because of similarities in the offences.

One of the new cases took place in Praia de Luz, the resort in which Madeleine and her parents were staying when she vanished from her bed in a holiday apartment in 2007.

In all the cases a man broke into mainly holiday villas occupied by British families and in ten incidents he assaulted young white girls aged under 10 as they lay in bed.

The intruder was described as 'smelly and pot-bellied' and was wearing a distinctive burgundy top with a distinctive white circle on the back.

In one case a victim reported hearing the sound of a refuse lorry near-by leading to one theory that the intruder worked as a binman.

The new information means police have identified three cases which took place in Praia da Luz where the three-year-old vanished, while the others were within an hour's drive.

Madeleine disappeared in May 2007 while she slept in bed while her parents Kate and Gerry dined close by with friends.

Detectives in London are said to have been "frustrated" at the slow progress of the response from Portugese authorities.

After last month's appeal by Scotland Yard, police in Portugal said they believed they knew the identity of the serial sex attacker, saying he was a prime suspect in their Madeleine inquiry.

Portugese officers say the man was likely to be Euclides Monteiro, a convicted burglar and drug addict, who died aged 40 in an accident in 2009.

Police in Portugal are reported to have said they arrested the man for some of the sex attacks but could not charge him because of a lack of evidence.

Scotland Yard has refused to comment on the reports.

Detective Chief Inspector Andy Redwood, who is leading the Scotland Yard inquiry, said:  "I'm encouraged by the new information that has come to light as a direct result of the appeal in March. There has been a huge public desire to assist us with our investigation and I would like to thank those who have provided us with new information."

Anyone with information should call the Yard incident room on 0207 321 9251 or ring Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

BREAKING: British police searching for Madeleine McCann planning 'activity' in Portugal, 23 April 2014
BREAKING: British police searching for Madeleine McCann planning 'activity' in Portugal Daily Express

BRITISH detectives investigating the disappearance of Madeleine McCann are poised to stage operations on Portuguese soil.

By: Jane Mathews
Published: Wed, April 23, 2014

Madeleine McCann has been missing since 2007 [AFP]

 

Investigators from Scotland Yard are waiting for an official agreement later this week, and hope to begin "operational activity" linked to the case in the near future.

Deputy Assistant Commissioner Martin Hewitt said he is "cautiously optimistic" that Portuguese and British officers can act soon.

He said: "I am cautiously optimistic that in the not-too-distant future we are going to start to see activity."

Mr Hewitt would not reveal what the operations will involve.

Police also revealed that they are now looking at five more cases in which young British girls were sexually assaulted during holiday home break-ins by a lone intruder in the Algarve.

One of these was in 2005 on a 10-year-old girl in Praia da Luz, where Madeleine, then three, vanished two years later.

Scotland Yard made public appeals to try to trace the paedophile last month, and so far more than 500 people have made contact with information.

Officers are now looking at a total of nine sexual assaults and three "near misses" on British girls aged six to 12 between 2004 and 2006.

Officers are now looking into nine sexual assault on young girls as part of the investigation [PA]

Last month the team revealed that they were looking at a series of break-ins, including two burglaries in the town where Madeleine disappeared.

Detective Chief Inspector Andy Redwood said today: "As a result of those 500 calls, we have now identified a further five sexual assaults and one near miss. None of those six matters we were aware of prior to our appeal.

"In this new tranche of information we have got one crime which is very clearly in the heart of Praia da Luz in 2005, on a young, white, 10-year-old girl.

"Clearly the fact that we've now got an assault that is in the heart of Praia da Luz, very close to where a previous matter had been reported, means that we are even more interested in this as part of the inquiry."

British detectives launched a fresh investigation into Madeleine's disappearance in July last year - two years into a review of the case.

After shelving their inquiry into Madeleine's disappearance in 2008, Portuguese authorities said last October that a review had uncovered enough new information to justify reopening it.

Portugal has declined to set up an official joint investigation with the Met.

Mr Hewitt said Prime Minister David Cameron and Home Secretary Theresa May have expressed a personal interest in the case, and stand ready to intervene to press the Portuguese authorities for help if necessary.

Update following the disappearance of Madeleine McCann, 23 April 2014
Update following the disappearance of Madeleine McCann Metropolitan Police Service

Update following the disappearance of Madeleine McCann

23 April 2014

Following an appeal in March, officers from Operation Grange investigating the disappearance of Madeleine McCann have had a positive response to the appeal which has led to a number of new lines of enquiry.

Detectives overseeing the investigation specifically appealed for further information leading to the identification of a suspect who may have been responsible for a potentially linked series of twelve offences on the Western Algarve region between 2004 and 2010.

As a direct result of a media appeal on 19 March the investigation team subsequently received over 500 calls. Information from those calls has led to the identification of six new cases involving children. These six are in addition to the twelve that had previously been brought to their attention.

These new cases are similar to a number of the originally identified twelve offences whereby a male intruder has gained access to holiday villas occupied by UK families in the Western Algarve.

Of the six new cases, all but one had been reported to the Portuguese police at the time of the offence. Five involve sexual assaults on children and one was a ‘near miss'. Of particular interest to the team is that one of the new sexual assaults took place in Praia da Luz in 2005.

Sufficient characteristics between the cases lead them to now believe that 18 matters in total concerning children may be potentially linked.

  • Three incidents that took place in Praia de Luz - between 2005 and 2010
  • Five incidents that took place in Carvoeiro between 2004 and 2006
  • Nine incidents that took place in the Praia de Gale, Vale de Parra, Sao Rafeal (Albuferia district) between 2004 and 2008
  • One incident that took place in Vilamoura in 2005, a new offence which has come to light since the March appeal.
Detective Chief Inspector Andy Redwood, the senior investigating officer said:

"I'm encouraged by the new information that has come to light as a direct result of the appeal in March. There has been a huge public desire to assist us with our investigation and I would like to thank those who have provided us with new information."

Anyone with any information is asked to call the Operation Grange incident room on 0207 321 9251. Alternatively if you do not want to speak to us directly you can contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

The Metropolitan Police Service continues to offer a reward of up to £20,000 for information leading to the identification, arrest and prosecution of the person(s) responsible for the abduction of Madeleine McCann from Praia da Luz, Portugal on 3 May 2007.

----------------

Update on the investigation into the disappearance of Madeleine McCann (audio)
  NO LONGER AVAILABLE

Update on the investigation into the disappearance of Madeleine McCann Audio transcript

As a result of our appeal in March, we have received a hugely encouraging response from the public, over 500 calls have come in to our incident room and within that material we have identified 6 priority matters; 5 sexual assaults and one case that we would characterise as a near miss where young white female children have been targeted in a similar way to what we saw in our original series of 12.

Particularly of interest to us is that in 2005 one of these new victims has been attacked while she was on holiday in Praia Da Luz.

Madeleine Police Probe Five New Assault Cases, 23 April 2014
Madeleine Police Probe Five New Assault Cases Sky News

11:56am UK, Wednesday 23 April 2014

Detectives investigate new reports of a lone intruder abusing young British girls in holiday apartments in the Algarve.

Video: Madeleine: New Cases Reported

British police are looking at five new cases in which young British girls were sexually abused during holiday home break-ins by an intruder in the Algarve.

One of these assaults took place on a 10-year-old girl in Praia da Luz, from where Madeleine McCann vanished two years later.

Scotland Yard recently made an appeal to trace the intruder which lead to 500 people contacting them with new information.

Detective Chief Inspector Andy Redwood said today: "We have now identified a further five sexual assaults and one near miss. None of those six matters we were aware of prior to our appeal.

"In this new tranche of information we have got one crime which is very clearly in the heart of Praia da Luz in 2005, on a young, white, 10-year-old girl.

Madeleine disappeared from her bed in Praia da Luz in 2007

"Clearly the fact that we've now got an assault that is in the heart of Praia da Luz, very close to where a previous matter had been reported, means that we are even more interested in this as part of the inquiry."

In four of these incidents the man sexually assaulted five white girls, aged between seven and 10, while they were in their beds.

British police added they are poised to begin operations in Portugal following an official agreement from Portuguese police later this week.

Metropolitan Police Deputy Assistant Commissioner Martin Hewitt said he is "cautiously optimistic" Portuguese and British officers can act soon.

Police are still keen to trace a man seen near Madeleine's appartment

"I am cautiously optimistic that in the not-too-distant future we are going to start to see activity," he said.

Officers have so far identified a series of 12 crimes committed between 2004 and 2010 where a male intruder entered villas occupied by UK families on holiday in the Western Algarve.

Police believe the suspect may have been in the villas for some time before being disturbed by parents or a child waking up - and he remained calm even when interrupted.

The noise of a bin collection lorry was heard nearby on two occasions.

The suspect is described as having tanned skin with short, dark, unkempt hair.

Police are still hunting a man seen carrying a girl fitting Madeleine's description on the night of her disappearance.

----------------------

Transcript of video

By Nigel Moore

Rachel Younger: Certainly, the police we have been speaking to say they are now 'cautiously optimistic' that they are in a better place than they were back in March, when they put out this appeal; you may remember - after uncovering evidence that suggested there was a series of potentially linked sexual assaults that had taken place in the Algarve on children/girls aged between six and twelve, in the years between 2004 and 2006, predominantly.

Now, they had what they described as an 'excellent response' to that appeal with 500 contacts being made, and they've been able to pass on that information. They have to go through a very lengthy judicial process, whereby they make requests to the Portuguese police, who then allow them to travel to the Algarve to follow up the things that have been discovered.

What was most notable then? A total of six incidents, as you say; five sexual assaults and one described as a 'near miss' - which would be, for example, we were told, an intruder sitting on a young child's bed. Now, we know that all of the girls involved in this were white, they were British - despite this appeal going out to the Netherlands, to Germany, to Ireland, all the responses came from the UK, and one of those in particular is critical. Now, that is a ten-year-old girl who was assaulted in Praia da Luz - because previously when we've looked at this potential pattern of assaults they have been spread over quite a wide geographical area, but this one happened in 2005, in the same resort that Madeleine McCann disappeared from in 2007. Now, that, we understand, was not reported to the Portuguese police but I do now understand that it was an assault that was reported to the rep of the holiday company that the family were travelling with. Only now, however, has it emerged.

We're told by Scotland Yard that the rest of those 'fresh assaults', if you like, most of them had been reported to the Portuguese police. Would they have liked to know about them? Yes, of course they have [sic: would] but, as we know, this has been a very difficult process and although there is still no joint investigation with the Portuguese, as the British would like, they are at least now confident that 'in the near future', as they put it, British officers will be going out into the Algarve to support, to guide the Portuguese as they follow up on a number of questions that the British police now believe need to be critically answered.

Madeleine McCann: Police probe 18 intruder break-ins, 23 April 2014
Madeleine McCann: Police probe 18 intruder break-ins BBC News

23 April 2014 Last updated at 12:11

Madeleine McCann disappeared from her holiday apartment in May 2007

British police investigating Madeleine McCann's disappearance are now looking at 18 potentially linked break-ins by a lone intruder into Algarve villas.

Six have come to light since an appeal by UK detectives last month, with five involving alleged sexual assaults against young British girls.

They include an assault on a girl aged 10 in 2005 in Praia de Luz - the resort from which Madeleine vanished in 2007.

Scotland Yard says it hopes UK officers will begin operations in Portugal soon.

Last month, the Metropolitan Police revealed they were looking at a series of break-ins, including two burglaries in Praia da Luz.

More than 500 calls have been made with information since then.

 
Map of cases linked to Madeleine McCann in Portugal

Det Ch Insp Andy Redwood said: "As a result of those 500 calls, we have now identified a further five sexual assaults and one near miss. None of those six matters we were aware of prior to our appeal.

"In this new tranche of information we have got one crime which is very clearly in the heart of Praia da Luz in 2005, on a young, white, 10-year-old girl.

"Clearly the fact that we've now got an assault that is in the heart of Praia da Luz, very close to where a previous matter had been reported, means that we are even more interested in this as part of the inquiry."

Pot-bellied intruder

The case involving the 10-year-old was not reported to police in either country until now.

Two families said the intruder had worn a distinctive burgundy long-sleeved top

Overall, nine of the 18 break-ins involved alleged sexual assaults against British girls aged six to 12.

Three took place in Praia da Luz, five in Carvoeiro, nine in Albuferia and one in Vilamoura.

Investigators from Scotland Yard are waiting for an official agreement later this week which would allow them to begin "operational activity" on Portuguese soil.

Dep Asst Commissioner Martin Hewitt said: "I am cautiously optimistic that in the not-too-distant future we are going to start to see activity."

Mr Hewitt would not reveal what the operations would involve.

Detectives said last month that the lone intruder was described as tanned with dark hair.

They said the man was bare-chested in some of the attacks, and some witnesses said he had a pot belly. Three victims said he had a "noticeable odour".

Two of the families said the intruder had worn a distinctive burgundy long-sleeved top, and one family said the top had a white circle on the back.

The man was said to have spoken English slowly, with a foreign accent.

Scotland Yard launched a new investigation - codenamed Operation Grange - into Madeleine's disappearance last July, two years into a review of the case.

A high-profile campaign run by Madeleine's parents Kate and Gerry McCann, from Rothley, Leicestershire, and a Portuguese police investigation had so far failed to locate the missing child.

Madeleine was three when she vanished from the family's holiday apartment.

PJ rejects joint investigation with the British into the disappearance of Madeleine McCann, 23 April 2014
PJ rejects joint investigation with the British into the disappearance of Madeleine McCann Correio da Manhã

April 23, 2014, 14h00
by: LUSA
With thanks to
Astro for translation

The Judiciary Police has rejected a joint investigation with Scotland Yard into the disappearance of Madeleine McCann, but the British police is "cautiously optimistic" about moving forward with diligences in Portugal soon, joint vice commissioner Martin Hewitt said.

"The ideal thing would be a joint investigation, but the Portuguese police doesn't think this is necessary", he said today during a meeting with journalists.

Hewitt asserted these types of joint investigation are "normal with the European structure" and mentioned that he could remember "three or four examples" in the United Kingdom, between the British police and foreign police forces.

Police investigate claims five more British girls have been sexually assaulted in Algarve by lone intruder as they hunt for 'smelly, pot bellied' Madeleine McCann suspect, 23 April 2014
Police investigate claims five more British girls have been sexually assaulted in Algarve by lone intruder as they hunt for 'smelly, pot bellied' Madeleine McCann suspect Daily Mail
  • Detectives set to begin investigation in Portugal following breakthroughs
  • Officer is 'cautiously optimistic' that police from both nations will act soon
  • British police waiting for approval for operation from Portugal authorities
  • A 10-year-old girl was sexually assaulted in same are as Maddie in 2005
  • There are now potentially 18 linked cases, officers said
  • Police took 500 calls following appeal about suspect last month
By SAM WEBB
PUBLISHED: 12:22, 23 April 2014 | UPDATED: 15:19, 23 April 2014

British detectives investigating the disappearance of Madeleine McCann are poised to stage operations in Portugal, after the emergence of five more cases in which young British girls were sexually assaulted during holiday home break-ins by a lone intruder.

One of these was in 2005 on a 10-year-old girl in Praia da Luz, where Madeleine, then three, vanished two years later.

Investigators from Scotland Yard are waiting for an official agreement later this week, and hope to begin 'operational activity' linked to the case in the near future.

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INTERACTIVE MAP LINK

Deputy Assistant Commissioner Martin Hewitt said he is 'cautiously optimistic' that Portuguese and British officers can act soon.

He said: 'I am cautiously optimistic that in the not-too-distant future we are going to start to see activity.'

ARE THEY LINKED? THE INCIDENTS POLICE ARE INVESTIGATING

Mr Hewitt would not reveal what the operations will involve.

Scotland Yard made public appeals to try to trace the paedophile last month, and so far more than 500 people have made contact with information.

Officers are now looking at a total of nine sexual assaults and three 'near misses' on British girls aged six to 12 between 2004 and 2006.

Last month the team revealed that they were looking at a series of break-ins, including two burglaries in the town where Madeleine disappeared.

Detective Chief Inspector Andy Redwood said today: 'As a result of those 500 calls, we have now identified a further five sexual assaults and one near miss. None of those six matters we were aware of prior to our appeal.

'In this new tranche of information we have got one crime which is very clearly in the heart of Praia da Luz in 2005, on a young, white, 10-year-old girl.

'Clearly the fact that we’ve now got an assault that is in the heart of Praia da Luz, very close to where a previous matter had been reported, means that we are even more interested in this as part of the inquiry.'

The investigation into the disappearance of Madeleine McCann may have taken a step forward after British police announced they expect to start a new operation in Portugal soon

 

The investigation into the disappearance of Madeleine McCann may have taken a step forward after British police announced they expect to start a new operation in Portugal soon

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In the previous appeal, the suspect was described as a tanned, dark-haired man who spoke English slowly, with a foreign accent and possibly slurred speech, had unkempt hair and was unshaven, and smelled strange. Some witnesses said he had a pot belly.

Two families said the man had worn a burgundy long-sleeved top, while another said the garment had a distinctive white circle on the back.

He was said to speak English slowly, with a strong foreign accent.

A computer-generated image of the distinctive burgundy long sleeve top worn by a man that detectives investigating the disappearance of Madeleine McCann are looking for

 

A computer-generated image of the distinctive burgundy long sleeve top worn by a man that detectives investigating the disappearance of Madeleine McCann are looking for

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Detective Chief Inspector Andy Redwood said: 'Previously these were very interesting cases but they were remote, of the assaults we’ve had in Praia da Luz before, they were at the bottom end.

'This offence now takes us into the resort so of course it is very significant in terms of trying to prove or disprove whether it has got anything to do with Madeline’s disappearance.

'In addition we want to bring resolution to these families, because for every single one of them this has been an absolutely horrendous experience. This is your worst nightmare.'

He added: 'Of these new cases all of them involved British families with girls between the ages of six and 12 and all of them happened between 2004 and 2006.

'Four offences took place after Madeline McCann was abducted on May 3 2007, but these are at the looser end of the scale.

'In one of the new cases, two children in one bedroom were involved. Similarly, in the old batch, there was one offence where two children were attacked in the same bedroom. In two of the cases there were two victims.

'There are sufficient significant features within the five plus one for us to be comfortable to associate them with the original linked series.

'You will understand that all of the young girls were being disturbed in the middle of the night and the ages that they were the descriptive details relating to that the man looked like, there is not one pattern running through the series.

'But the features make us absolutely confident they could be part of the original linked series.'

Detective Chief Inspector Andy Redwood said the cases bear many similarities

 

Detective Chief Inspector Andy Redwood said the cases bear many similarities

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He added: 'We've got a range of thoughts of who was responsible. Our absolute starting point is to clear the ground around our feet in this and our other lines of enquiry. The sense is that we are looking at one offender, but this is not preclude there may have been others involved.'

He said some of the girls in the new series had reported smelling 'stale aftershave' or 'stale alcohol' on the assailant, which was similar to the old cases.

DCI Redwood continued: 'We know this man has been described as smelly. He has been described as smelling of stale aftershave, but if you ask a seven year-old child what stale alcohol smells like you might get a similar answer to stale aftershave.'

Ordeal: Kate McCann and Gerry McCann, who have to endure not knowing what happened to their daughter for seven years

 

Ordeal: Kate McCann and Gerry McCann, who have to endure not knowing what happened to their daughter for seven years

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DCI Redwood refused to give any further details of the offence involving the 10 year old girl, or why the case had not been reported to police until now.

He also refused to give further detail on the other new cases, other than that British police were now waiting to receive the case files.

Scotland Yard is now working closely with Portuguese police, although the country has refused Britain’s request to be part of a joint investigation, which DCI Redwood said was 'less than ideal'.

He added: 'We are not going to stop asking questions until I am satisfied I have seen everything available, whether it is given to us by Portuguese police or whether we request it. We will not stop investigating these critical issues until we understand them.'

Police would not reveal what the operations will involve. Pictured, a street in Praia Da Luz where an Irish holiday maker and his wife claim they saw a mystery person with a child about the same time as Madeleine McCann disappeared in May 2007

 

Police would not reveal what the operations will involve. Pictured, a street in Praia Da Luz where an Irish holiday maker and his wife claim they saw a mystery person with a child about the same time as Madeleine McCann disappeared in May 2007

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British detectives launched a fresh investigation into Madeleine’s disappearance in July last year - two years into a review of the case.

There is a £20,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and prosecution of those responsible for Madeleine’s disappearance.

Anyone with information can call police on 0207 321 9251 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

After shelving their inquiry into Madeleine's disappearance in 2008, Portuguese authorities said last October that a review had uncovered enough new information to justify reopening it.

Home Secretary Theresa May has expressed a personal interest in the case

Home Secretary Theresa May has expressed a personal interest in the case

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Portugal has declined to set up an official joint investigation with the Met.

Scotland Yard is confident detectives the investigation in Portugal will progress.

The Crown Prosecution Service has sent out three 'international letters of request' to the Portuguese judicial authorities on behalf of the Metropolitan Police Service in July last year, January and February.

Because British police have no jurisdiction in Portugal, they must ask their counterparts in Portugal to carry out investigative work and interview suspects on their behalf.

Dep Asst Commissioner Martin Hewitt said he had heard from Portuguese authorities the requests made in the letters would be granted'

He said: 'Literally in the last day or so I'm now cautiously optimistic around the likelihood of building on lines of enquiry over in Portugal.

'As you are aware, we have been issuing numbers letters of requests over to Portuguese authorities. I am pretty confident by end of this week will have the result of this process.

'It is my understanding much of what we have asked the Portuguese to do with us and behalf of us will be to acceded to.

'In the relatively near future, though I'm not able to fix a timeline, we will be starting to see activity on part of the Portuguese and hopefully with us as well.

'Once we see results we can officially start to get into planning about how we do that.'

Mr Hewitt said Prime Minister David Cameron and Home Secretary Theresa May have expressed a personal interest in the case, and stand ready to intervene to press the Portuguese authorities for help if necessary.

Maddie: New shock evidence, 23/24 April 2014
Maddie: New shock evidence Daily Mirror (paper edition)

 
Daily Mirror, 24 April 2014

 

» Teen reveals she was attacked in resort at 10
» Sex assault came two years before abduction
» It is one of FIVE new cases uncovered by Met


By TOM PETTIFOR
Thursday, April 24, 2014


POLICE are investigating a sex attack on a 10-year-old British girl in the same resort where Madeleine McCann vanished.

It happened two years before Maddie, three, was snatched in Praia da Luz in 2007. It is one of five new Algarve assaults uncovered by UK detectives following a fresh appeal.

DCI Andy Redwood said: "This offence is very significant."

FULL STORY: PAGES 4&5

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THE HUNT FOR MADELEINE MCCANN
Daily Mirror (paper edition, pages 4&5)

 
Daily Mirror, 24 April 2014 (paper edition, pages 4&5)

 

Lost clues to the Algarve prowler

Local cops may be sitting on paedo attack evidence key to Maddie case

[text of article as per online version below]

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Madeleine McCann: Cops discover a girl was sexually assaulted at Maddie resort Daily Mirror

By Tom Pettifor | Apr 23, 2014 23:01

Sex attacker struck at same resort where Maddie went missing, assaulting a little girl

New evidence: Police believe a prowler was to blame for a sex attack at the resort where Maddie went missing

 

New evidence: Police believe a prowler was to blame for a sex attack at the resort where Maddie went missing

British detectives investigating the disappearance of Madeleine McCann fear that local Portuguese police could unwittingly be sitting on vital forensic evidence key to the case.

It comes after police confirmed yesterday that they were probing a sex attack on a 10-year-old British girl in the same resort where Madeleine vanished.

The serious assault took place in Praia da Luz in 2005, two years before Madeleine was snatched.

It is one of 18 Algarve villa break-ins by a prowling paedophile who British police are now potentially linking to Madeleine, who disappeared from a holiday flat nine days before her fourth birthday.

Detective Chief Inspector Andy Redwood, who is spearheading the UK search, said: "The fact we've now got an assault that is in the heart of Praia da Luz means we are even more interested in this as part of the inquiry. This offence takes us into the resort so it is very significant."

The new victim came forward following a fresh appeal last month when detectives revealed a string of break-ins across the Algarve, which included sex attacks on British girls aged between six and 12 from 2004 to 2006.

Before March, Scotland Yard's Operation Grange was aware of 12 break-ins and four sex assaults. Now they are aware of six new break-ins including five new sex assaults.

However, despite five of the new incidents being reported to local police at the time, these details were not passed on to the current UK investigation.

Praia Da Luz: Resort where Madeleine McCann went missing | Philip Coburn / Sunday Mirror

 

Praia Da Luz: Resort where Madeleine McCann went missing

Mr Redwood expressed "major concerns" that local Portuguese police could hold the key to the mystery of Maddie's disappearance but have failed to inform their national counterparts, the Policia Judiciaria.

He said: "If there is a breakdown in communication between local cops and the Policia Judiciaria there could be forensic material sitting in exhibit stores somewhere that we and the PJ are unaware of."

Scotland Yard made public appeals to try to trace a smelly "pot-bellied" paedophile intruder. The suspect was described as a tanned, dark-haired man who spoke English slowly, with a foreign accent and possibly slurred speech, had unkempt hair, was unshaven, and smelt of stale aftershave. So far more than 500 people have made contact with information.

Mr Redwood added: "As a result of those calls, we have now identified a further five sexual assaults and a near miss. None of those six matters we were aware of prior to our appeal.

"In this new tranche of information we have got one crime which is very clearly in the heart of Praia da Luz in 2005, on a young, white, 10-year-old girl.All these incidents pre-date the disappearance of Madeleine McCann and I am extremely positive. They give us a real, clear focus going forward.

"For every single one, this has been a horrendous experience. This is your worst nightmare."

Of the break-ins, which took place between 2004 and 2010, three happened at Praia de Luz, five in Carvoeiro, nine in the Albufeira district and one in Vilamoura. Scotland Yard said they are waiting for an official agreement later this week and hope to begin "operational activity" linked to the case in the near future.

This could involve making arrests and questioning witnesses.

Much of the requested information is believed to relate to mobile phone records as police attempt to pinpoint who was in the area at the time Madeleine disappeared.

Deputy Assistant Commissioner Martin Hewitt said: "I am cautiously optimistic that in the not-too-distant future we will start to see activity."

His officers are hoping to act on new leads in Portugal as early as next week as the seventh anniversary of her disappearance approaches.

They want to quiz a number of suspects but do not have the authority to make arrests or carry out interviews themselves – they can only accompany their Portuguese counterparts.

Fresh appeal: British chief inspector Andy Redwood, leading the investigation in the disappearance of Madeleine McCann

Fresh appeal: British chief inspector Andy Redwood, leading the investigation in the disappearance of Madeleine McCann

Meanwhile, Madeleine's parents, Kate and Gerry, last night welcomed the new developments.

Their spokesman Clarence Mitchell said: "The fact that yet more new information is coming out since the last appeal shows the scale of work that is yet to be done, and naturally Kate and Gerry hope it can be completed as soon as possible. There is a lot of information that still needs to be checked and Kate and Gerry are hoping that it leads to Madeleine being found."

News of a potential new breakthrough comes after former GP Kate and cardiologist Gerry, both 45, spent Easter with their twins, nine-year-olds Sean and Amelie, and extended family in their home village of Rothley, Leicestershire.

A source close to the couple said: "Met police hope to be on the ground within a fortnight, which means they will be probably be out there for the anniversary weekend. Whether it leads to anything we just don't know.

"Formal negotiations with Portuguese police have been made but this is a complicated and sensitive matter and it takes time for approval to be given.

"Clearly an offender was operating in the area but whether it was connected to Madeleine is not known. Any arrests and formal interviews will be conducted by the Portuguese police with Met officers sitting in on them. They can't be the lead police force in a foreign country and just go ahead and knock on doors, they have to be hosted. It is very frustrating for them.

"And the fact that previous attacks haven't been fully investigated by the Portuguese authorities shows a degree of incompetence."

Mr Redwood said: "I'm encouraged by the new information that has come to light as a direct result of the appeal in March.

"There has been a huge public desire to assist us with our investigation and I would like to thank those who have provided us with new information."

MADELEINE, 24 April 2014
MADELEINE Daily Express (paper edition)

 
Daily Express, 24 April 2014

 

Police now ready to make arrests in the Algarve | Prime suspect has attacked 9 young girls

By John Twomey
Thursday April 24, 2014

DETECTIVES hunting the ­kidnapper of Madeleine McCann are poised to make arrests.

The breakthrough comes after they identified new ­incidents where British girls were targeted by a lone ­paedophile in Portugal.

In nine Algarve cases the girls were sexually assaulted.

An elite unit of Scotland Yard officers is now ready to fly out to support wide-ranging operations by Portuguese police.

Madeleine's parents Kate and Gerry, who are convinced their little girl will be found alive, welcomed the news yesterday.

Family spokesman Clarence Mitchell said: "Whatever needs to be done on the ground in Portugal needs to be done as effectively and swiftly as ­possible."

Metropolitan Police Deputy Assistant Commissioner ­Martin Hewitt confirmed the authorities in Lisbon have responded positively to a series of "international letters of request" from the Yard.

He said: "In the relatively near future, we will start to see activity on behalf of the Portuguese with us involved as well."

He declined to say what the "activity" would be.

Police have identified several

TURN TO PAGE 8

 
Daily Express, 24 April 2014 (paper edition, page 8)

 

Maddie police to swoop

FROM PAGE ONE

potential suspects in connection with 18 incidents.

They need to be traced, interviewed and eliminated so inquiries can focus on the most likely offenders.

It is understood Portuguese police have DNA from at least one incident.

The speeding up of the investigation comes less than two weeks before the seventh anniversary of Madeleine's disappearance from the McCann ­holiday apartment in Praia da Luz on May 3, 2007 when she was three.

A source close to Kate and Gerry McCann, both 45 from Rothley, Leics, said Met officers hoped to be "on the ground in Portugal" for the first time since the squad was formed "within a fortnight".

He said: "It appears the Yard have X, Y and Z they want to interview out there but they won't have the power to do it themselves.

"Any arrests and formal interviews will be conducted by the Portuguese police with Met officers sitting in."

The Yard squad first identified a prolific paedophile as a potential ­suspect last month after a major appeal through newspapers and BBC's Crimewatch.

At the time, 12 incidents on the Algarve were connected to him, two in Praia da Luz.

The new cases have been added since the appeal, which prompted more than 500 calls and emails.

In particular police heard from a 19-year-old who was sexually assaulted by a lone intruder at a holiday home in the "heart of Praia da Luz" in 2005 when she was 10. It is thought she may have only recently told anyone about her ordeal.

Yard detectives are focusing on 12 of the incidents – nine sex assaults and three "near misses". The other six incidents happened further away or years after Madeleine was snatched.

All the victims were white, British, aged between six and 12 and were attacked between 2004 and 2006. The paedophile – described as smelly and pot-bellied – crept into their ­bedrooms without forcing entry.

He spoke ­English with a foreign accent, was tanned, with short, dark, unkempt hair, and reeked of tobacco, stale aftershave or alcohol.

During two incidents, he wore a ­burgundy long-sleeved top. One ­witness said it had a white circle on the back. Detective Chief Inspector Andy Redwood, head of Operation Grange, said several features of the description, the type of offences and the way they were committed point to a lone offender.

Scotland Yard is offering a reward of up to £20,000 for information leading to the identification, arrest and prosecution of the person or persons responsible for the abduction of Madeleine McCann.

If you have information call the Operation Grange incident room on 020 7321 9251. Or contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

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Article also appears online:

Police now ready to make arrests in the Algarve in missing Madeleine McCann case
Daily Express

DETECTIVES hunting the ­kidnapper of Madeleine McCann are poised to make arrests.

By: John Twomey
Published: Thu, April 24, 2014

Madeleine McCann vanished aged three and police are hunting for the person who abducted her [PA]

 

The breakthrough comes after they identified new ­incidents where British girls were targeted by a lone ­paedophile in Portugal.

In nine cases in the Algarve girls were sexually assaulted, it has been revealed. Now an elite unit of Scotland Yard officers is ready to fly out to support wide-ranging operations by the Portuguese police.

Madeleine's parents Kate and Gerry, who are convinced their little girl will be found alive, welcomed the news yesterday.

Family spokesman Clarence Mitchell said: "Whatever needs to be done on the ground in Portugal needs to be done as effectively and swiftly as ­possible."

Metropolitan Police Deputy Assistant Commissioner ­Martin Hewitt confirmed the authorities in Lisbon have responded positively to a series of "international letters of request" from the Yard.

He said: "In the relatively near future, we will start to see activity on behalf of the Portuguese with us involved as potential suspects in connection with 18 incidents.

They need to be traced, interviewed and eliminated so inquiries can focus on the most likely offenders.

Madeleine was taken from her bedroom in this apartment complex in Praia da Luz, Portugal [TIM CLARKE]

It is understood Portuguese police have DNA from at least one incident.

The speeding up of the investigation comes less than two weeks before the seventh anniversary of Madeleine's disappearance from the McCann ­holiday apartment in Praia da Luz on May 3, 2007 when she was three.

A source close to Kate and Gerry McCann, both 45 from Rothley, Leics, said Met officers hoped to be "on the ground in Portugal" for the first time since the squad was formed "within a fortnight".

He said: "It appears the Yard have X, Y and Z they want to interview out there but they won't have the power to do it themselves.

"Any arrests and formal interviews will be conducted by the Portuguese police with Met officers sitting in."

The Yard squad first identified a prolific paedophile as a potential ­suspect last month after a major appeal through newspapers and BBC's Crimewatch.

At the time, 12 incidents on the Algarve were connected to him, two in Praia da Luz.

The new cases have been added since the appeal, which prompted more than 500 calls and emails.

In particular police heard from a 19-year-old who was sexually assaulted by a lone intruder at a holiday home in the "heart of Praia da Luz" in 2005 when she was 10. It is thought she may have only recently told anyone about her ordeal.

Yard detectives are focusing on 12 of the incidents – nine sex assaults and three "near misses". The other six incidents happened further away or years after Madeleine was snatched.

All the victims were white, British, aged between six and 12 and were attacked between 2004 and 2006. The paedophile – described as smelly and pot-bellied – crept into their ­bedrooms without forcing entry.

He spoke ­English with a foreign accent, was tanned, with short, dark, unkempt hair, and reeked of tobacco, stale aftershave or alcohol.

During two incidents, he wore a ­burgundy long-sleeved top. One ­witness said it had a white circle on the back. Detective Chief Inspector Andy Redwood, head of Operation Grange, said several features of the description, the type of offences and the way they were committed point to a lone offender.

Scotland Yard is offering a reward of up to £20,000 for information leading to the identification, arrest and prosecution of the person or persons responsible for the abduction of Madeleine McCann.

If you have information call the Operation Grange incident room on 020 7321 9251. Or contact Crimestoppers anonymously 0800 555 111.

Yard probe links Maddie suspect to five more attacks on British girls, 24 April 2014
Yard probe links Maddie suspect to five more attacks on British girls Daily Mail (paper edition, page 12)

 
Daily Mail, 24 April 2014 (paper edition, page 12)

By Rebecca Camber
Crime Reporter
Thursday, April 24, 2014


FIVE more British girls were attacked by a paedophile in and around the Algarve holiday resort where Madeleine McCann went missing, police revealed yesterday.

It came as British detectives investigating the disappearance of the three-year-old said they are about to begin 'operational activity' on the ground in Portugal.

The latest attacks to emerge include one on a ten-year-old British girl who was sexually assaulted in Praia da Luz two years before Madeleine vanished from the resort.

The attack on the ten-year-old took place in the 'heart of the resort' in 2005 but the victim, now thought to be 19, did not tell her parents at the time.

She only came forward following an appeal by Scotland Yard last month about a lone sex offender thought to have broken into the holiday apartments of 12 British families in the region between 2004 and 2010 and assaulted a number of young girls.

Since the appeal six British families have come forward to report that their children aged six to 12 fell victim to the offender - suspected of being a local binman described as 'smelly and pot-bellied' - over the same period.

Five of those children - including the ten-year-old molested in Praia da Luz - were sexually assaulted and there was one 'near miss', when the intruder was disturbed, in neighbouring holiday resorts.

Police have received 500 calls about the mystery man said to have 'a vile interest in young, white, female children'.

Detectives are preparing to fly out to Portugal in the next fortnight in a move which will coincide with the anniversary of Madeleine's disappearance. They hope to be able to arrest and quiz suspects but any formal interviews will be conducted by Portuguese police with Met officers sitting in.

After months of stalling, the Portuguese authorities are set to give the go-ahead by the end of the week on three letters of request from Scotland Yard which are thought to include the questioning and arrest of suspects.

Detectives hope the breakthrough will mean British and Portuguese officers can act within days.

But they have still to agree a timescale with the Portuguese authorities which have refused to mount a joint investigation with their British counterparts preventing Scotland Yard detectives from carrying out their own activities in Portugal.

It emerged yesterday that the Portuguese have already snubbed a number of requests from Scotland Yard's Operation Grange set up in 2011 to investigate the toddler's disappearance. One key thing detectives want to establish is if there are any local police files on the break-ins, now totalling 18, of British tourists' apartments around the Algarve between 2004 and 2010.

Astonishingly, local police knew about 14 of them at the time of Madeleine's disappearance in 2007, but dismissed any link as they were spread over a wide area and there were no attempts to abduct the children targeted.

Three of the break-ins were in Praia da Luz, while the others were within an hour's drive.

There were nine sexual assaults, three 'near-misses' and six other break-ins of apartments where British children as young as two were staying.

Detective Chief Inspector Andy Redwood said the attack on the ten-year-old girl was particularly significant.

He said: 'This offence now takes us into the resort so of course it is very significant in terms of trying to prove or disprove whether it has got anything to do with Madeleine's disappearance.'

Madeleine disappeared from her family's holiday apartment on May 3, 2007, as her parents Kate and Gerry dined at a nearby restaurant with friends.

Maddie fiend 'preyed on 18 other Brit kids', 24 April 2014
Maddie fiend 'preyed on 18 other Brit kids' The Sun (paper edition, page 6)

 
The Sun, 24 April 2014 (paper edition, page 6)

Cops reveal new cases

By TOM MORGAN
Thursday, April 24, 2014


COPS suspect the beast who snatched Madeleine McCann preyed on another 18 British kids

Among them was a girl aged ten abused streets from where Maddie vanished.

The attack took place in the heart of the Algarve's Praia da Luz resort in 2005 but the family only came forward recently.

Other cases were reported to local officers at the time - giving Scotland Yard hope that crucial forensic evidence may be gathering dust on police shelves in Portugal. Detectives were last night closing in on their first arrests since the investigation reopened.

Portuguese authorities could give the go ahead in days after months of legal wrangling.

The 18 linked cases all involve intruders approaching UK children in the West Algarve between 2004 and 2010. Of those, nine were sexual assaults on girls aged six to 12.

Det Chief Insp Andy Redwood said his team received around 500 calls after a new appeal last month.

Maddie went missing aged three in 2007. A spokesman for her family said they "fervently" believe she is still alive.

The Sun Says - Page Eight

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The Sun Says The Sun
(paper edition, page 8)

 
The Sun, 24 April 2014 (paper edition, page 8)


 

Madeleine failure

MADELEINE McCann vanished seven years ago, and every day since her parents have been through hell.

They must have mixed feelings about the latest development.

It's clearly helpful that Scotland Yard now has 18 potentially linked incidents to look into.

But if such promising leads can be found so many years later, the McCanns must wonder how different things might have been if the Portuguese police had done their job properly at the time.

We are all wondering the same.

MADDIE New arrests within weeks, 24 April 2014
MADDIE New arrests within weeks Daily Star (paper edition)

 
Daily Star, 24 April 2014

 

BRITISH police probing Madeleine McCann's disappearance are set to make arrests after a major breakthrough.

Their chief suspect, a pot-bellied sex fiend with foul body odour, has been linked to 18 sex attacks, including one on a 10-year-old British girl staying in the same Portuguese resort.

Full story: Page 5

 
Daily Star, 24 April 2014 (paper edition, page 5)

 

Maddie: Pot-belly fiend linked to 18 more sex attacks

[text of article as per online version below]

----------------

Maddie detectives find 'smelly and pot-bellied' suspect is linked to 18 more sex attacks
Daily Star

MADELEINE McCann detectives are set to make arrests after a major breakthrough in the case, it was revealed yesterday.

By Marc Walker / Published 24th April 2014

MISSING: Madeleine disappeared from the villa in Praia da Luz in May 2007 when she was three [PA]

 

Scotland Yard said they had discovered their chief suspect abused a British girl in the same resort two years before Madeleine vanished.

The victim, who was 10, was attacked in her bed in Praia da Luz in Portugal's Algarve region.

Police believe the fact that he struck so close to Madeleine's holiday villa is of huge significance to their new probe into her 2007 disappearance.

They were tipped off about the previously unknown incident after a Crimewatch TV appeal last month.

They revealed on the BBC show that they wanted to trace a serial sex attacker they had linked to 12 attacks on white British girls as they slept in flats and villas in the Algarve.

Yesterday police said that appeal had given them information about six other similar assaults, including the one in Praia da Luz.

All 18 attacks appear to have been committed by the same man who was described as "smelly and pot-bellied".

NEW HOPE: Gerry and Kate McCann are praying the latest information will help solve the mystery [PA]

The Met now hope to visit Portugal as early as next week. They want to question a number of suspects but will need Portuguese police to make arrests and carry out interviews.

Clarence Mitchell, spokesman for Madeleine's parents Kate and Gerry, both 45, said: "The fact that yet new information is coming out since the last appeal shows the scale of work that is yet to be done.

"Naturally Kate and Gerry hope that it can be completed as soon as possible.

"There is a lot of information that still needs to be checked and Kate and Gerry are hoping it leads to Madeleine being found.

"They remain very grateful to the Metropolitan police for the work they continue to do."

He added that the families of previous victims did not wish to be identified but were "prepared to help police all they can".

MYSTERY: The ground floor apartment in Praia Da Luz from where Madeleine McCann was taken from [PA]

 

Five of the new crimes have been classed as sexual assaults, while the sixth was described as a "near miss".

Portuguese police have announced that African burglar Euclides Monteiro, who died aged 40 in a tractor accident five years ago, is the serial attacker but Scotland Yard are not so sure.

DCI Andy Redwood, leading the Met probe, said the latest cases emerged after more than 500 members of the public phoned a special hotline for the case.

He said the horrific sexual assaults had left the lives of the victims and their parents shattered.

He told press at central London's New Scotland Yard yesterday: "For every one of these families it's been an horrendous experience."

Deputy Assistant Commissioner Martin Hewitt revealed British police are poised to stage operations on Portuguese soil soon.

He said: "I am cautiously optimistic that in the not-too-distant future we are going to start to see activity."

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DAILY STAR Says.. Daily Star (paper edition, page 7)

 
Daily Star, 24 April 2014 (paper edition, page 5)

New hope on Maddie

AT last some real hope for the family of missing Madeleine McCann.


Detectives are poised to make arrests after a major breakthrough.

It has emerged that the prime suspect abused another British girl in the same resort where Maddie disappeared.

It is one of 18 potentially-linked cases being probed.

But investigators are now convinced they are getting closer to solving the mystery.

That would bring an end to seven years of pain and heartache for Madeleine's parents Kate and Gerry.

They have never stopped fighting for answers.

There have been so many false dawns and leads that have come to nothing.

Let's hope this time it's different.

The truth is the very least they deserve.

Maddie: Police hunt smelly, pot-bellied, lone intruder over sex attack on another British girl aged 10 in same resort two years earlier, 24 April 2014
Maddie: Police hunt smelly, pot-bellied, lone intruder over sex attack on another British girl aged 10 in same resort two years earlier Daily Record (paper edition)

 
Daily Record, 24 April 2014

 

By TOM PETTIFOR
Thursday, April 24, 2014


BRITISH police looking for Madeleine McCann are investigating a sex assault on a 10-year-old girl from the UK in the same resort.

The 10-year-old was attacked in Praia da Luz two years before Maddie vanished, but details of the crime have only just been reported to Scotland Yard.

Detectives are now looking at EIGHTEEN break-ins by a lone paedophile prowler at Algarve villas to see if they are linked to

TURN TO PAGE 5

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Madeleine McCann: British police now investigating 18 linked break-ins by a lone paedophile prowler at Algarve villas
Daily Record

By Tom Pettifor | Apr 24, 2014 06:58

DETECTIVES looking for Madeleine McCann are investigating a sex assault on a 10-year-old girl from the UK at the same Algarve resort two years before Maddie vanished.

Madeleine McCann

BRITISH police looking for Madeleine McCann are investigating a sex assault on a 10-year-old girl from the UK in the same resort.

The 10-year-old was attacked in Praia da Luz two years before Maddie vanished, but details of the crime have only just been reported to Scotland Yard.

Detectives are now looking at EIGHTEEN break-ins by a lone paedophile prowler at Algarve villas to see if they are linked to the McCann case. They appealed last month for information to help them trace a smelly, pot-bellied intruder, and more than 500 people have come forward with information so far.

But they fear that Portuguese police who investigated the break-ins at the time may have left vital forensic clues languishing in storage.

The 10-year-old victim of the newly reported assault was molested by an intruder in 2005 at a villa in Praia da Luz.

It happened a few hundred yards from the villa where Madeleine, three, disappeared in 2007 while on holiday with her parents, brother and sister.

The new victim came forward after last month's Scotland Yard appeal. She is now 19, and it's believed she may have only just revealed what happened to her.

Detective Chief Inspector Andy Redwood, leading the Scotland Yard team, said: "This offence now takes us into the resort, so of course it is very significant.

"Clearly the fact that we've now got an assault in the heart of Praia da Luz means we are even more interested in this as part of the inquiry."

DCI Redwood's appeal in March also led to reports of four more new sex assaults and one "near miss".

Five of the new incidents were reported to local police at the time, but the Portuguese did not tell the Scotland Yard team about them.

And DCI Redwood fears other important evidence may have been forgotten.

He believes local officers on the Algarve may have gathered forensics from the attack scenes which could unlock the mystery – but then failed to tell the country's national force, the Policia Judiciaria, about them.

He said: "If there's a breakdown in communication between local cops and the Policia Judiciaria, there could be forensic material sitting in exhibit stores somewhere that we and the PJ are not aware of."

The newly reported attacks happened between 2004 and 2006 and involved British girls aged between six and 12.

DCI Redwood said he was "extremely positive" about where the new reports could lead.

He said: "They all pre-date the disappearance of Madeleine. They give us a real, clear focus going forward.

"For every singleone, this has been a horrendous experience. This is your worst nightmare."

Madeleine's parents, Kate and Gerry, welcomed the new developments.

Their spokesman Clarence Mitchell said: "The fact new information is coming out shows the scale of work yet to be done, and Kate and Gerry hope it can be completed as soon as possible."

Scotland Yard yesterday said they are waiting for agreement from the Portuguese to begin "operational activity" on the Algarve as early next week. This could involve making arrests and questioning witnesses, in co-operation with the Portuguese police.

Deputy Assistant Commissioner Martin Hewitt said: "I am cautiously optimistic that in the not-too-distant future we are going to start to see activity."

The British detectives want to speak to a number of suspects in Portugal but cannot arrest people or do interviews themselves. They can only accompany Portuguese officers.

A source close to Kate and Gerry said: "It appears the Yard have X, Y and Z they want to interview out there
but they won't have the power to do it themselves.

"Any arrests and formal interviews will be conducted by the Portuguese police with Met officers sitting in on them.

"They can't be the lead police force in a foreign country and just go and knock doors. They have to be hosted.

"It's very frustrating for them. And the fact that previous attacks haven't been fully investigated by the Portuguese authorities shows a degree of incompetence."

Anyone with information can call police on 0207 321 9251 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

Paul Luckman, editor of The Portugal News, on BBC Radio 5 live, 24 April 2014
Paul Luckman, editor of The Portugal News on BBC Radio 5 live

Nicky Campbell and Rachel Burden

24/04/2014

Nicky Campbell and Rachel Burden with all the day's news and sport

---------------------

Transcript

By Nigel Moore

Rachel Burden: [02:38:35] Good morning. It's 8:38 and it's Thursday morning.

British police investigating the disappearance of Madeleine McCann say they're looking at 18 break-ins into villas on the Algarve by a lone intruder. Six have come to light since an appeal last month, with five involving alleged sexual assaults against young British girls.

Paul Luckman is the publisher of the English newspaper The Portugal News and has followed this whole story and the whole investigation - over the past few years - very closely. Morning, Paul.

Paul Luckman: Good morning.

Rachel Burden: So, do you think the Met Police are genuinely onto something new here?

Paul Luckman: Errm... I think I have to question it. We have certainly heard nothing of these cases, and anything involving foreigners comes pretty quickly to our ears; it's... it's inevitable. We're the largest English paper in Portugal you... you get to hear about these things. Errm... I notice locally, certainly nationally, none of the national papers have picked up on this story and they have extremely good police contacts here.

I don't think anybody here is taking this seriously and you really begin to wonder, errm... I wonder, after all the money that the Met have spent on this case, if they're not looking to almost justify... I think we're looking at, what, £7 million at the minute, on the investigation?

Rachel Burden: [interrupting] Yeah. So, Paul, just be clear, you're saying that you doubt the reports of these break-ins, or just the fact that they might be connected in some way to the Madeleine McCann disappearance?

Paul Luckman: Do you know, I am not in the position to... to say that definitely. But there have been no reports on this, errm... at anytime. I find this extremely strange. I have searched through all our archives, errm... nothing has... has come to our ears or been reported.

Rachel Burden: What about this assault on a 10-year-old girl back in 2005 in Praia Da Luz? Now that's only recent, that information, and we don't know why it's only come to light recently. There are all sorts of potential explanations; it could be that the child herself didn't report it at the time. They have to look closely at something like that don't they?

Paul Luckman: Well, the police will look closely and I think that the attitude, certainly the comments that I heard yesterday, errm... I believe will do little to create good relations between the English police and the Portuguese police, who are trying very hard to get this resolved; they have reopened the case.

Rachel Burden: Are they cooperating with the Met?

Paul Luckman: Yes, totally. Errm... This... this suggestion that they're not; I read headlines in the UK this morning: 'arrests imminent' - complete nonsense! Errm... The... the Met cannot make - and I am sure they're not even claiming - they can't come into Portugal to make arrests.

But you'll remember that we had a situation like this 2 or 3 months ago, where there was mass coverage and they were arriving to make arrests and it just petered into nothing; there was nothing - it was just a regular visit.

Errm... we had a situation where, errr... the Met stated that the police, the, errm... Portuguese police, had not told them about a Cape Verdian, who apparently was accused of, I think, three rapes of children. And yet we had it directly from the police that in fact they had briefed the Met, and the McCanns, six months earlier in Lisbon - even with a power point presentation on this case!

So, these things don't do an awful lot to help relations and, errr... lets see what happens. As I say, I am very surprised there is no coverage at all, not from any of the major daily's here in Portugal this morning and they are extraordinarily well connected - much more so than... than us ourselves, of course.

Rachel Burden: Okay.

Paul Luckman: There's just no mention at all.

Rachel Burden: Well, as you say, we'll wait to see what happens. Thank you very much, Paul. Nice to talk to you, from The Portugal News.

Let me just tell you, Detective Chief Inspector Andy Redwood has told the BBC: "I am encouraged by the new information that has come to light. There has been a huge public desire to assist us with our investigation. I am cautiously optimistic that in the not too distant future we are going to see activity."

Maddie anniversary brings shock new revelations, 24 April 2014
Maddie anniversary brings shock new revelations Portugal Resident

Posted by JOMAD on April 24, 2014

Madeleine McCann

Days before the 7th anniversary of the disappearance of Madeleine McCann, British detectives say they now know of at least one other child "abused in her bed while on holiday in the heart of Praia da Luz".

The news comes just as the village is getting ready for a fun-loving community sports event designed to kick off the season and bolster spirits after countless years in the Maddie shadow.

But no matter how hard people try to move on, 'revelations' keep coming - particularly to coincide with the May 3 anniversary.

This latest - announced to newspapers and news services on Wednesday - focuses on the pot-bellied male intruder with noticeable odour that Operation Grange, the Met’s special Maddie task force, revealed it was looking for last month.

Originally, Grange boss Andy Redwood said his team had identified 12 break-ins between 2004 and 2010, four of which had involved the sexual assaults of five white British girls on holiday.

Releasing the information, DCI Redwood appealed to the public for information.

As a result, Operation Grange is reported to have received up to 500 calls. Among these they have learned of six further incidents in the Algarve during the same time frame, says Redwood: five of which involved sexual assaults on young British holidaymakers (all girls) and one of which was a 'near miss'.

The fact that none of the assaults were made on children of Madeleine's age - nor were any of the girls removed from their beds never to be seen again - has not dissuaded investigators from the theory that they could all be linked to the little girl's disappearance in 2007.

"In this new tranche of information we have got one crime which is very clearly in the heart of Praia da Luz in 2005, on a young, white, 10-year-old girl", Redwood told journalists.

"Clearly the fact that we've now got an assault that is in the heart of Praia da Luz, very close to where a previous matter had been reported, means that we are even more interested in this as part of the inquiry."

According to BBC news: "The case involving the 10-year-old was not reported to police in either country until now.

"Overall, nine of the 18 break-ins involved alleged sexual assaults against British girls aged six to 12.

"Three took place in Praia da Luz, five in Carvoeiro, nine in Albufeira and one in Vilamoura".

As news services scramble to send the revelations all over the globe, residents in Luz are shaking their heads in disbelief.

"When will this end?" One asked us, visibly crestfallen. "A NEW sexual assault on a child, in Luz? Why have we never heard about it until now? And why are we hearing about it just in time for the 7th anniversary of the disappearance?"

Others were more belligerent. "These latest revelations are simply beyond belief", a former British policeman who has been actively following investigations told us.

"The totally Flat man - who managed to hide behind the door against the wall when Gerry (Madeleine's father) entered the room to do his check (just before Madeleine went missing), and Tannerman who was of medium slim build, and Smithman, who was not potbellied, and the Heroin Blackman have all suddenly been dropped in favour of trying to trace potbellied Smellyman - a fat man who can leap in a single bound through a tiny window, and take a sleeping child, whilst sedating two others in a way unknown to modern medical science, and then leap out again and VANISH without leaving his distinctive smell.

"It is all too ridiculous to even try to take on board"...

But "take on board" has been the order of the day for years.

News services simply repeat verbatim news purportedly coming from Scotland Yard, and occasionally even news reported to have come from PJ police in Portugal. And, as the little village of Praia da Luz bravely continues to try and turn the page, it appears likely to remain this way.

The countdown has begun on a triathlon event that will bring together Portuguese and foreigners alike on Saturday.

Meantime, British police, journalists, Madeleine McCann's parents, and even the former parish priest Haynes Hubbard - who befriended the couple when their little girl went missing - are all understood to be on their way back to Luz to focus attention once again on the world's most famous missing person.

Maddie McCann's parents: "We won't apply for death certificate and still hold out hope 7 years on", 25 April 2014
Maddie McCann's parents: "We won't apply for death certificate and still hold out hope 7 years on" Daily Mirror

By Tracey Kandohla | Apr 25, 2014 22:31

Kate and Gerry McCann are so encouraged by Scotland Yard's fresh leads that they will not seek for a Certificate of Presumed Death

Still hopeful: Kate and Gerry McCann

Still hopeful: Kate and Gerry McCann

Madeleine McCann's parents have chosen not to apply for a death certificate – despite being entitled to one on the seventh anniversary of her disappearance next weekend.

Kate and Gerry McCann are so encouraged by Scotland Yard's fresh leads into her disappearance that they will not seek for a Certificate of Presumed Death which applies after that period.

And they are so convinced Madeleine is still alive they are instead stepping up their efforts to find their daughter.

Her gran Susan Healy told the Mirror yesterday: "She could be found."

And Kate herself has previously said: "Madeleine is still alive until someone proves otherwise."

A person can legally be declared dead after seven years under British law despite the absence of direct proof of the victim’s death. But friends of the couple, from Rothley, Leics, said that was the "last thing on their minds" as they prepare for next Saturday's grim milestone.

Their hopes of finding Madeleine, who would now be 10, have been boosted in recent months by the progress of a British police probe.

Scotland Yard detectives are believed to be poised for a breakthrough after their own three-year review that sparked a fresh investigation.

New evidence has come to light of a sex attack on a British girl of 10 in Praia da Luz two years before Madeleine disappeared there. It is one of five new Algarve assaults uncovered by senior British detectives.

Madeleine vanished from her parents' holiday apartment in the Portuguese resort on May 03, 2007, just nine days short of her fourth birthday.

Despite no confirmed sightings of the youngster since that fateful night, Kate and Gerry cling to the hope she will be found alive.

Former GP Kate has said: "There is nothing to suggest Madeleine is not alive. We have to keep looking for her.

"We still have real hope. We all know cases of missing children, presumed dead and found alive years, sometimes decades, later."

Kate has told how she had been "buoyed" by the efforts of Met Police and "relieved" the case had been reopened in Portugal.

Family spokesman Clarence Mitchell said last night: "Kate and Gerry are fully aware of the declaration of death. They still believe Madeleine is alive and are not applying for a certificate presuming she is dead. That is the last thing on their minds."

The Presumption of Death Act, due to be reformed in October following a campaign, is based on a seven-year rule.

A Ministry of Justice spokesman said: "If after seven years a person is still missing and there has been no sight or contact with them, they are presumed dead.

"The family can then apply for a ­Certificate of Presumed Death from a court which allows them to help resolve that person's affairs or simply to help give them some closure.

"This can be done without a body being found. No-one can prepare for the heartache and confusion which arises when a loved one disappears with no trace."

MADELEINE MCCANN: Sunday Express special investigation seven years on from disappearance, 26 April 2014
MADELEINE MCCANN: Sunday Express special investigation seven years on from disappearance Daily Express

Seven years on from the disappearance of Madeleine McCann, the Sunday Express has travelled back to Praia da Luz in Portugal.

By: James Murray
Published: Sat, April 26, 2014

Madeleine McCann went missing when she was three years old[PA]

Former Scotland Yard detective Peter Bleksley travelled to the resort with us and we will report tomorrow our exclusive and startling findings which shed new light on the youngster's disappearance.

Peter Bleksley

Transcript of short video

By Nigel Moore

Peter Bleksley: On the third of May 2007, three-year-old Madeleine McCann went missing from this apartment, here in Praia da Luz, on the Algarve, in Portugal.

Nearly seven years on, mystery surrounds her disappearance. Nobody has been charged in connection with this crime.

My name is Peter Bleksley, I'm a former Scotland Yard detective. Read our exclusive report in this edition of the Sunday Express, where we reveal out latest findings.

Found: Shirt worn by Maddie suspect, 27 April 2014
Found: Shirt worn by Maddie suspect Sunday Express (paper edition)

 
Sunday Express, 27 April 2014

Detective says promotional top is rare and could solve mystery

EXCLUSIVE
By James Murray

INVESTIGATIONS EDITOR

A FORMER Scotland Yard detective has uncovered a sensational clue that could help solve the disappearance of Madeleine McCann.

Peter Bleksley believes the shirt worn by the prime suspect was a rare design produced by beer company Super Block.

It was not sold but given away to loyal customers and should be possible to trace. The suspect is a child sex attacker who has been operating for years

TURN TO PAGE 5

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Found: Shirt worn by Madeleine McCann suspect Sunday Express

A FORMER Scotland Yard detective has uncovered a sensational clue that could help solve the disappearance of Madeleine McCann.

By: James Murray
Published: Sun, April 27, 2014

VITAL CLUE: Left, a tradesman wearing an old Super Bock T-shirt, right, Madeleine McCann [PA]

Peter Bleksley believes the shirt worn by the prime suspect was a rare design produced by beer company Super Bock.

It was not sold but given away to loyal customers and should be possible to trace.

The suspect is a child sex attacker who has been operating for years in the area of Portugal where Madeleine vanished in 2007.

His burgundy coloured top with a distinctive white ­circle on the back was described by the families of two of his victims.

The Yard has released a picture of the long-sleeve T-shirt.

Mr Bleksley, 54, a founder member of the Yard's undercover squad, said: "Some people have suggested it bore a resemblance to a strip once worn by the Arsenal football team.

"However, I think a more likely explanation could be that the man was wearing one of these Super Bock promotional T-shirts.

"From speaking to bar owners I know the design for these T-shirts changes every year and only a certain number are handed out to regular customers.

"Therefore, it would be possible to check back on all the designs and the years they were produced and see which one bears most similarity to that witnessed by families of victims.

"Then it would be possible to check the distribution of the T-shirts to see where they were given out.

"Not all pubs bother with the promotion so through a process of elimination it may be possible to narrow down where such shirts may have been handed out and then bar owners could be asked about their customers.

"We know that some victims said the man smelt of stale alcohol and tobacco and that he had a pot belly, so that would suggest he was a regular drinker or may have worked in a pub or restaurant.

ON SPOT: Mr Bleksley at Ocean Club last week [MARK KEHOE]

 

"The man appears to target his victims after watching families and working out how to get into their holiday apartments, suggesting he is methodical and has his own modus operandi."

The distinctive Super Bock logo of a white circle on a maroon background is used on signs outside pubs across Portugal.

In the Algarve resort of Carvoeiro we found a tradesman wearing one of the shirts with the words Super Man on it. He said he had owned the shirt for a number of years.

Last week the Sunday Express flew Mr Bleksley to the Algarve to assess the progress of the Yard's investigation into Madeleine's disappearance from her family's holiday apartment in Praia da Luz on May 3, 2007, seven years ago this Saturday, when she was approaching her fourth birthday.

He arrived just as Scotland Yard announced that there were five more attacks on British girls in and around Luz, including a disturbing sexual assault on a girl of 10 in 2005 in the very resort from where Madeleine disappeared two years later.

The Yard are looking at 18 potentially linked cases of someone entering holiday homes.

They are focusing on 12 break-ins during which nine girls were attacked and three other cases described as near-misses.

Mr Bleksley said: "The Yard has a massive job on its hands to look into all these crimes and every tiny clue is important.

"The one solid clue comes from two families who report the intruder as wearing the top with the distinctive white circle."

Mr Bleksley, whose book on unsolved murders, called Ten Most Wanted, highlighted shortcomings in police investigations, has analysed the McCann files for the Sunday Express.

He suggested it was time to go back to square one, with a new forensic sweep of material from the holiday apartment where she vanished.

Last week Detective Chief Inspector Andy Redwood revealed that some of the attacks on British girls had been reported to the GNR, the military-style police force that investigates minor crimes, but it appears the information was not passed on to the Policia Judiciaria, equivalent of the British CID.

Mr Bleksley said: "I was very alarmed to hear Mr Redwood suggest there may be forensic material relating to some of these attacks sitting in a GNR cupboard somewhere.

"Clearly, if this is the case these exhibits need to be found urgently.

"In fact, I would go further and say there needs to be a full re-examination of all known material on all 18 of the break-ins and particularly those during which girls were assaulted."

He believes there should also be a full review of all forensics relating to Madeleine's disappearance from apartment 5a of the Ocean Club.

"There was a case I looked into for my book where a review of all the forensics on the murder of a woman was re-examined 10 years after the crime and a breakthrough was made which led to a charge of murder.

"Forensic techniques are continually evolving and improving and I think the Yard should consider whether there would be any value in conducting further forensic tests of material from apartment 5a.

"An abductor may have come into contact with bed linen, door handles, door frames, walls, furniture and there could be minute traces from which it was not possible to obtain a profile then but may be possible now.

"If a profile was obtained from 5a it would be very interesting to see if it matched profiles taken from scenes of crime where British girls were attacked in apartments or villas.

"I sincerely hope the Met and the PJ work in tandem towards a shared goal. If these offences had happened in Britain, the victims would have been interviewed on video and the information processed and cross referenced to see if there were similarities to other reported offences and to see if a pattern emerged.

"This obviously was not done in Portugal so the Yard had to go right back to square one."

Scotland Yard declined to comment last night but said anyone with information should call police on 020 7321 9251 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

---------------------

Pictures subsequently added to the online version:

A tradesman wearing an old Super Bock t-shirt [MARK KEHOE]

The beer's ubiquitous logo in another bar [MARK KEHOE]

Could this red shirt be the breakthrough for Madeleine police investigators? Distinctive top worn by pot-bellied suspect provides new hope for search, 27 April 2014
Could this red shirt be the breakthrough for Madeleine police investigators? Distinctive top worn by pot-bellied suspect provides new hope for search Daily Mail
  • Revelation comes a week before seventh anniversary of her disappearance
  • Man was said to be wearing distinctive shirt on two occasions in Algarve
  • Peter Bleksley believes burgundy shirt is designed with a Super Bock logo
  • Suspect is also believed to be 'pot-bellied' and smells of alcohol
  • Mystery man has been linked to attacks on five girls in the holiday resort
By WILLS ROBINSON
PUBLISHED: 10:00, 27 April 2014 | UPDATED: 10:39, 27 April 2014

A former Scotland Yard detective says the man wanted in connection with the disappearance of Madeleine McCann wore a rare long-sleeve t-shirt designed by a beer company.

Peter Bleksley, 54, a founding member of the Metropolitan Police's undercover unit, believes the 'pot-bellied' suspect had a shirt with a logo from the Portuguese drinks company Super Bock.

The revelation comes a week before the seven anniversary of her disappearance from a Praia de Luz in the Algarve.

He is said to have worn the distinctive burgundy shirt on two occasions in Vale de Parra and Praia da Gale, with one witness saying the clothing had a white circle on it.

 
Revelation: A former Scotland Yard detective believes he has discovered more details of the burgundy shirt (mock image right) that was said to be worn by a suspect linked with Madeleine's disappearance

 
Revelation: A former Scotland Yard detective believes he has discovered more details of the burgundy shirt (mock image right) that was said to be worn by a suspect linked with Madeleine's disappearance

 

Revelation: A former Scotland Yard detective believes he has discovered more details of the burgundy shirt (mock image right) that was said to be worn by a suspect linked with Madeleine's disappearance

----------------

The suspect has been linked with attacks on another five British girls and is said to have targeted 12 families in the region between 2004 and 2010.

The victims – including a ten-year-old molested in Praia da Luz – were sexually assaulted and there was one 'near miss' when the intruder was disturbed in neighbouring resorts.

Police have received more than 500 calls about attacks that could be linked to the unidentified man, but the detail of the shirt's design could be a significant development in the search for the girl, who would now be 10-years old.

The circular logo has the manufacturer's name on a maroon background and can be seen in bars and pubs around Portugal.

Mr Bleksley told the Sunday Express: 'Some people have suggested it bore resemblance to a strip once worn by the Arsenal football team.

INTERACTIVE MAP LINK

 

Possible locations: A number of claims concering alleged attacks have been made along the southern coast of Algarve, many of them in resorts popular with British tourists

----------------

Struggle: Kate and Gerry McCann will mark the seventh anniversary of Maddie's disappearance this week

 

Struggle: Kate and Gerry McCann will mark the seventh anniversary of Maddie's disappearance this week

-----------------------

'However, I think a more likely explanation could be that the man was wearing one of these Super Bock promotional t-shirts.

Revelation: The Met previously released an image of the shirt which witnesses said the suspect could have been wearing

 

'Therefore it would be possible to check back on all the designs and the years they were produced and see which one bears most similarity to that witnessed by families.

The suspect, who is said to have broken into the apartments of five young girls to assault them believe he may be a local binman described as 'smelly and pot-bellied'.

The tanned, dark-haired man is suspected of breaking into holiday properties where British families were staying and sexually abusing five white British girls aged between seven and 10, Detective Chief Inspector Andy Redwood said last month.

The mystery man is also said to have 'a vile interest in young, white, female children'.

Since launching an appeal into other alleged attacks, six other British families have come forward to report that their children aged six to 12 fell victim to the offender over the same period.

Scotland Yard are hoping to begin 'operational activity' on the ground in Portugal, raising hopes that arrests could be imminent.

The McCann family will mark the seventh anniversary of her disappearance this week. Her mother, Kate, will relive her heartache on Thursday during an interview with Lorraine Kelly.

Madeleine would be ten-years-old, but her mother still believes she will be found.

Hopes: Madeleine would now be ten-years-old and the increase in operational activity from Scotland Yard could lead to more arrests

 

Hopes: Madeleine would now be ten-years-old and the increase in operational activity from Scotland Yard could lead to more arrests

----------------------

A source close to Kate told The Daily Star on Sunday: 'She wants to speak from the heart to thank the public for their continued support over these seven difficult years and to viewers she still hopes Madeleine will be found.

The couple's spokesman Clarence Mitchell said yesterday: 'There is lots of information that still needs to be checked and Kate and Gerry

Madeleine disappeared from her family's holiday apartment on May 3, 2007, as her parents Kate and Gerry dined at a nearby restaurant.

Scotland Yard declined to comment on the new allegations, but said anyone with information should call police on 020 7321 9251 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

Police would not reveal what the operations will involve. Pictured, a street in Praia Da Luz where an Irish holiday maker and his wife claim they saw a mystery person with a child about the same time as Madeleine McCann disappeared in May 2007

Police would not reveal what the operations will involve. Pictured, a street in Praia Da Luz where an Irish holiday maker and his wife claim they saw a mystery person with a child about the same time as Madeleine McCann disappeared in May 2007

---------------------

Maddie suspect: Amazing new clue, 28 April 2014
Maddie suspect: Amazing new clue Daily Star (paper edition)

 
Daily Star, 28 April 2014

 

Hope as 7th anniversary nears

POLICE were last night closing in on the prime suspect in Madeleine McCann's disappearance thanks to a sensational breakthrough.

A British detective has uncovered an amazing clue which could lead to the man who took the youngster almost seven years ago.

Full story: Page 5

-------------------

Amazing new clue linked to Madeleine McCann: Cops set to arrest suspect thanks to t-shirt
Daily Star

POLICE were last night closing in on the prime suspect in Madeleine McCann's disappearance – thanks to a "unique" T-shirt.

By Nigel Pauley / Published 28th April 2014

LEAD: Madeleine McCann and a t-shirt similar to the one that police are using as a clue to her disappearance [PA]

 

A detective has made a break-through just days before the seventh anniversary of the three-year-old going missing in Portugal.

Her parents Gerry and Kate were last night said to be "heartened" by the revelations.

New witnesses claim the No 1 suspect, a serial child sex attacker who operated for years in the Praia de Luz area where Madeleine vanished, was wearing a beer logo shirt.

Peter Bleksley, a founding member of the Metropolitan Police's undercover unit, has discovered that the T-shirt bearing a "Super Man" logo from Portuguese drinks company Super Bock was a rare item not sold to the public.

It was in fact given away to a handful of loyal customers at just a couple of bars in the Algarve.

CLOSING IN: An arrest could be imminent [GETTY]

 

The burgundy top, with a distinctive white circle on the back, was described by the families of two of his victims in Vale de Parra and Praia da Gale.

Thanks to this vital new evidence, the net is closing on the "pot-bellied" man police believe is responsible both for Madeleine's disappearance and several other sex attacks.

A source close to the investigation said: "Fresh evidence which has come to light is helping detectives narrow down the lists of suspects considerably.

"There were once potentially hundreds of suspects but this has been reduced to just a handful – with one prime suspect.

"Everyone is very confident the suspect will be found soon.

"It goes without saying that any information about these unusual T-shirts – or anyone wearing them – could be vitally important to helping us finally solve this case."

HOPE: This new clue could bring Kate and Gerry closer to discovering the truth [PA]

Friends of Kate and Gerry McCann, both 45, claimed last night the couple were upbeat that the news raised "fresh hopes" that Madeleine could be found.

Ex-Scotland Yard detective Mr Bleksley, who has spent much time investigating the case in Portugal, said: "We know that some victims said the man smelt of stale alcohol and tobacco and that he had a pot belly, so that would suggest he was a regular drinker or may have worked in a pub or restaurant."

Next Saturday it will be exactly seven years since Madeleine went missing as her parents dined at a nearby tapas bar.

A new image, left, of what she may look like now has been released.

Kate will appear on ITV on Thursday when morning favourite Lorraine Kelly, 54, interviews her.

Maddie cops set to nab T-shirt suspect, 28 April 2014
Maddie cops set to nab T-shirt suspect Daily Star (paper edition, page 5)

Maddie cops set to nab T-shirt suspect - Daily Star, 28 April 2014 (paper edition, page 5)

Who is Peter Bleksley?
Who is Peter Bleksley?

Peter Bleksley

 

By Nigel Moore
28 April 2014


Peter Bleksley is a regular media commentator who has appeared on both the BBC and Sky News, as well as in various news outlets. He is principally used by the media to provide an 'expert' opinion on undercover police work.

He completed 21 years police service, between 1978 and 1999, and when his career ended - apparently as the result of a mental breakdown (as described in his book Gangbuster) - he held the rank of Detective Constable. A grade comparable to, and no senior to, that of a regular police constable.

His LinkedIn profile states he is a self employed 'security and risk consultant' and that he writes 'scripts, books and articles' about subjects which he knows, such as 'policing, crime, security, elderly care, parenting, sport and more'.

Gangbuster: Years under cover had made me a monster.., 13 May 2001
Gangbuster: Years under cover had made me a monster.. The People (paper edition)

I was in too deep, and a moment from murder

Adapted by MIKE RIDLEY
May 13, 2001

CRACK cop Peter Bleksley was the best undercover officer Scotland Yard ever had. Every day for 10 years, this fearless policeman rubbed shoulders with some of Britain's most ruthless crooks - knowing that one false move could end with him getting a bullet in the head. The Mafia still has a £100,000 contract on his life after he foiled one of their biggest drug deals. Today - in the third and final extract from his thrilling new book Gangbuster - Peter reveals how 10 long years of high-octane danger working undercover drove him to the brink of madness...

WIELDING a pub bar stool high above my head like an executioner's axe, I was filled with a maddening rage.

Lying face down at my feet was a drinking pal who I had just viciously attacked for no reason.

In my deranged state, I was intent on bringing the stool down on his head and smashing his brains in.

This was the moment I completely lost it - the moment I nearly killed a good friend in cold blood.

All those years undercover - a decade of lying and cheating, of constantly swapping identities and living on my nerves just to stay one step ahead of the dregs I mixed with - had finally taken their toll.

The never-ending pressures of being in so deep and the constant threat from the Mafia - who had taken out a £100,000 contract on my life - had turned me into a monster.

I didn't realise it but I had become a nightmare to live and work with.

My girlfriend had even attempted suicide because she couldn't bear the strain of my vicious mood swings.

I was unwilling - or unable - to face up to the truth. Yet I was about to lose it big time and when I did, I also lost the career I loved.

The crunch came on that terrible day in the pub.

I was convinced I was being followed by two Mafia hitmen but had managed to outrun them in my motor in the back streets of South London. I was totally hyped up. My head felt like it would explode.

Foolishly, I went to the pub. I was sitting at the bar going over the car chase in my mind - had I imagined it, or were the Mafia closing in?

A drinking mate came up and started telling me how another pal in the pub had been slagging me off to an ex-girlfriend of mine.

Under normal circumstances, I wouldn't have given a toss.

But this time - in my stoked-up, head-splitting state - I put down my drink and went over to the bloke who had supposedly been bad-mouthing me. BASH! Without any warning, I gave him a massive right-hander that sent him flying off his bar stool.

He rolled over and over on the carpet. I picked up the heavy bar stool and raised it high over my head.

He was face down and I was going to smash the stool down on the back of his head.

My mind was filled with rage and I didn't know what I was doing.

As I brought the stool down with all my might, someone screamed out: "NO!..NO!"

At the very last second, I moved away from his head and cracked him in the middle of the back.

People grabbed me. I was fired up and fighting them off like a lunatic. I'd cracked completely and had come within a whisker of murder.

Friends persuaded my victim not to call the police - and the very next morning I sought professional help. Over the years, I've often wondered how things went so far and why no one else had seen the warning signs.

Perhaps I should have seen it coming myself. Only a few months earlier, I'd seriously messed up a job in Manchester when I was infiltrating a notorious cocaine gang.

On a drug deal, I was led - along with my informant - to a pub in a run-down street in bandit territory.

We walked into a back office to see a geezer sitting in a chair with a 9mm pistol in front of him. He picked up the gun and pointed it at me and then at the informant.

Staring down the barrel of a pistol, I went against my better judgement. After all those years under cover, I should have said: "F*** you, pal," and walked away.

But I stupidly went ahead - negotiating a drug deal with a gun-waving nutter.

Foolishly, I wanted to nick him just because I disliked him. We carried on with the deal - even though he was charging me street and not wholesale prices. The operation was becoming fatally flawed - and all because I was riding a grudge.

We arranged to do a trade a few days later at a service station on the M6. As we pulled in, I could see the place was crawling with enemy.

The cards were stacked against us and I should have pulled out.

I met the lunatic who still had the shooter on him. His henchmen were all thugs and robbers. We met in an underpass. They had people on guard at each end.

I thought we were going to be shot - robbed and left for dead for a miserly three grand.

I took hold of the parcels which were supposed to be a kilo of dope and an ounce of cannabis.

If I'd been myself, I would have tested both packages. But I was so desperate to get out of there, I just handed over the cash and dashed to the car. When I opened the parcels I found he drugs were phoney - we'd been had. It was the last undercover operation I ever went on. My double life had taken its toll. I was off my trolley and had become a danger to other people.

Superman had broken down and no one knew how to fix him.

Eventually, doctors at Greenwich Hospital in South London spent hours probing the deepest recesses of my mind and treating me with drugs.

It really worked - but by then my career was over.

Since I went off the rails, all undercover officers are now seen by a psychiatrist every six months to make sure they can cope with the pressure.

But it was too late for me. It was all over for Detective Constable Bleksley - the cop who got in too deep for his own good. I retired with just £10,000 in compensation.

I may have been the best but I paid a big price.

Extracted from Gangbuster by Peter Bleksley. Published by John Blake Publishing tomorrow, price pounds 15.99.

--------------

Note on police grade of Peter Bleksley:

DC - Detective Constable Norfolk Constabulary

A Detective Constable (DC) is a police officer who, after two years training, has transferred into a specialist area like the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) or other investigative unit.

The rank is not senior to that of a police constable (PC).

Once a detective, promotion through the ranks is as follows, starting from lowest to highest;

  • DC - Detective Constable
  • DS - Detective Sergeant
  • DI - Detective Inspector
  • DCI - Detective Chief Inspector
  • D/SUPT - Detective Superintendent
  • D/Chief SUPT - Detective Chief superintendent

Spot the difference: The Burgundy Top v. The Super Man T-shirt, 28 April 2014
Spot the difference: The Burgundy Top v. The Superman T-shirt

Spot the difference: The Burgundy Top v. The Superman T-shirt

 

By Nigel Moore
28 April 2014


What the Met actually said:

'On two occasions in Vale de Parra and Praia da Gale he was wearing a distinctive burgundy long sleeve top, on one of those occasions it was described as having a white circle on the back.'

So, how does the 'amazing new clue' of the Super Bock 'Super Man' T-shirt measure up?

The Burgundy Top
The Super Man T-shirt
Match?
Colour: Burgundy
Colour: Grey
X
Sleeves: Long
Sleeves: Short
X
Motif: On the back
Motif: On the front
X
Wording: None
Wording: Super Man
X

Not exactly a 'sensational breakthrough' then.

 

With thanks to Nigel at McCann Files

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