witnesses in and around the Ocean Club resort complex when Madeleine
McCann disappeared should be asked to take part in a re‑enactment to
help the Scotland Yard hunt for the child.
Former Yard Commander Dai 'Davies believes a controversial
reconstruction with Kate and Gerry McCann, their holiday friends and
others could be vital in encouraging new witnesses to come forward.
top Portuguese detective Paulo Rebelo took over the case he was
frustrated at not being able to stage a reconstruction as he believed it
could provide a breakthrough.
However, at that time there were strains in the relationship with the
McCanns, the so-called Tapas Seven and Portuguese police and there was
suspicion about the motives of such an exercise.
Davies, head of royal protection at the Yard and now a respected
'security consultant, said: 'I believe a reconstruction should be one of
the ideas on the table and it should be seriously considered, although
it would obviously have to be handled very gently and diplomatically.
'Reconstructions screened on Crimewatch many, many years after serious
crimes have been crucial in solving complex and difficult inquiries. If
the reconstruction was screened across Europe it may inspire someone to
come forward with crucial information.'
Tanner, the friend of the McCanns who claimed she saw a man carrying a
child near apartment 5a of the complex at Praia da Luz on Portugal's
Algarve on May 3, 2007, days before Madeleine's fourth birthday, has
already taken part in a partial reconstruction for a TV 'documentary.
Another crucial witness is Irishman Martin Smith, who also saw a man
carrying a child in his arms later in the evening.
Davies said: 'As well as these important witnesses it would be useful to
seek the cooperation of others who were working at the tapas bar.
'With the close involvement of the Yard and cooperation with all the
important witnesses and an agreement for a filmed version to be screened
on Crimewatch and its 'Portuguese equivalent, I believe a reconstruction
would be very useful. I also think the Yard should conduct a 'thorough
overhaul of all the forensic evidence as something may have been missed
and they should trawl over the crucial witnesses to see if a line of
inquiry was not pursued.
lot of photofits have been 'produced over the years and the team will be
anxious to try to identify those people.' John O'Connor, former head of
the Yard's Flying Squad, said: 'They are lucky in that there is already
a mountain of evidence to go through and analyse and they are very good
at that. They are very good at concentrating on the really important
leads and how they were pursued.'
Although the Portuguese police publicly released scores of files on the
case, they withheld documents with details of British people living in
the area with criminal records for sex offences.
information will now come under the microscope of the Yard's elite
Homicide and Serious Crime Command unit.
Chief Insp Andy Redwood will lead the team and he will be reporting to
Det Chief Supt Hamish Campbell, Operational Command Unit commander. The
senior officer in overall charge is 'Commander Simon Foy.
Campbell is used to handling difficult, high profile cases as he was
responsible for investigating the 'murder of BBC news presenter Jill
Dando and is known for his attention to detail and his tenacity.
is expected DCI Redwood will at times have 10 officers working for him
and he will split them up into groups concentrating on different aspects
of the case.
is expected to travel to Portugal later in the month with a small team
to liaise with 'detectives in Lisbon and Portimao, some 20 miles from
Luz. Portuguese police are still the lead force in the investigation.
her book, Madeleine, published last week, Kate McCann, 43, revealed the
existence of a note in the Ocean Club staff message book saying that the
families were leaving their 'children behind each night.
said: 'I was dismayed. This was a glaring light to a child taker and yet
no mention is made of it in the files until December 2007. December
2007! Seven months after Madeleine's abduction! I could only conclude
that its relevance had not been appreciated by the police.'
avenue the officers will explore is whether sightings of Madeleine were
taken seriously and properly examined. Last week an elderly woman
contacted the Sunday Express to say she saw Madeleine at the Spanish
coastal town of Torrevieja, near Murcia, the day after the kidnapping.
woman, aged 81, said she and her husband saw a girl with a suspicious
looking man near some shops. She said: 'It was definitely Madeleine
because I recognised the mark in her eye. I went to the police there and
I have been to British police but I don't believe the sighting was
have passed on details of this incident to private investigators
'working for the McCanns.
week we revealed that 'German youth worker Martin N, who is being
questioned about a spate of child murders across Europe, will be asked
if he was in Praia da Luz when Madeleine vanished.
German police say he has 'confessed to one child murder and will be
questioned about some 40 sex attacks.