British police searching for missing
Madeleine McCann are poised to return to
Portugal to try to solve the seven-year
riddle of the girl’s disappearance.
After weeks of tense negotiations, a
team of Scotland Yard detectives will
travel to the seaside resort of Praia da
Luz next month.
The latest development is described by
sources close to the investigation as a
Up to seven officers from Operation
Grange will hold meetings with senior
It is understood they have been granted
permission to interview up to seven key
suspects identified earlier this year –
three of whom will be questioned for a
The last time the Met officers were in
Portugal, in May this year, they
conducted interviews with four people,
known as arguidos.
The Portuguese term – normally
translated as “named suspect” or “formal
suspect” – refers to someone who is
treated by Portuguese police as more
than a witness, but has not been
arrested or charged.
One of them, Russian-born Sergey Malinka,
has been told he is no longer under
But now detectives have been given
the go-ahead to question the
remaining suspects they believe hold
vital information that could help
them crack the case.
Analysis of mobile phone data
suggests at least three of them were
close to the scene when
three-year-old Madeleine vanished at
the resort on May 3, 2007, and were
in contact in the hours that
A source said: “Thousands of pieces
of evidence have been re-examined by
the Scotland Yard team to get to
this stage. This is far from a
“The detectives are acutely aware
there is a finite amount of money
for the investigation and that they
need results. It is hoped they are
on the right track to achieving
Portuguese authorities are also
understood to have granted
permission for Yard officers to
investigate new “areas of interest”.
In May, a team of detectives led by
Det Chief Inspector Andy Redwood
travelled to the Algarve to
supervise digs on scrubland near the
Inspector Redwood leads
policemen away from
station in Faro
But after eight days of
searches, using sniffer dogs and
nothing was found.
Portuguese sources have
described the Met probe, which
has so far cost UK taxpayers
more than £6million, as a
senseless waste of time.
Madeleine’s parents Kate, 46,
and Gerry, 45, from Rothley,
Leics, are not expected to
travel to Portugal but are being
kept informed of developments.