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Original Source:  SUNDAY EXPRESS: 20 JANUARY 2013
Sunday January 20,2013 By James Murray
A new photo which appears to show Madeleine McCann is being investigated

DETECTIVES have been given a photo which appears to show Madeleine McCann with an abductor. 


The Sunday Express was passed the picture independently but Scotland Yard appealed to us not to publish it while it continues sensitive global investigations into the missing girl.


Officers were happy for us to describe the potentially key evidence which shows a healthy fair-haired girl aged three or four in pink trousers, a green top and a blue hat.


The child is walking along a road, possibly near a port or airport as there are many people with suitcases in the area. It is sunny with a palm tree in the background.



The photograph was allegedly taken in Brazil in June 2007, a month after Madeleine, three, was snatched from a holiday apartment in Praia da Luz on Portugal’s Algarve coast.


The girl is holding the hand of a swarthy foreign-looking man aged about 50 with long dark hair and a beard. He is wearing cut-off jeans and a green T-shirt.


Nearby, another man in checked shorts and a black T-shirt is pulling a red suitcase. There is no sign of a woman and the child looks out of place with the older men.


If the picture is genuine, it would be the biggest breakthrough in the case to date.


A Portuguese speaking man living in Brazil forwarded the photo to a detective on Operation Grange, the Yard squad trying to find Madeleine by reviewing thousands of documents.


The man suggests paedophile Raymond Hewlett, who died of throat cancer, aged 64, in Germany in 2010, was involved with others in the abduction.


Hewlett was staying on a Portuguese camp site when Madeleine was taken. In a deathbed letter to his estranged son Wayne he claimed to know what happened to her.


The man in Brazil has also sent the Yard a picture of a market scene, apparently shot in Portugal, purportedly showing Hewlett standing near a white van used in the abduction.


Hewlett denied taking Madeleine but later mysteriously said she had been “stolen to order” by gipsies. In an e-mail to the Yard, the man writes in Portuguese: “The London police holds in its hands the real opportunity to rescue Madeleine. I know how.”


He wants to be flown to London to give officers the “entire route taken by the bandits”.


The man says he is not a policeman, is not seeking money nor fame and wants to remain anonymous. He adds: “I am sending you more photos of the bandits taking Madeleine McCann and running from the police.


“Unfortunately, we have to break the normal investigation rules, only for this specific case. Your presence, together with me, and also your investigators, we will rebuild the bandits’ entire action.”


Giving his phone number and address he provides details of a flight from Ibiza to Munich in which one witness saw a girl looking like Madeleine “with the bandits”. Scotland Yard and the McCann investigators are used to dealing with letters from cranks, but are taking this more seriously because of the photographs provided.


We can also reveal the man has been in contact with Isabel Duarte, Kate and Gerry McCann’s civil lawyer in Lisbon.


Mrs Duarte told the Sunday Express: “It is an interesting picture but you cannot say it is Madeleine.


“I communicated with him by e-mail because I wanted to know where the picture was taken and who took it and who the men are.


“He was not prepared to tell me but said he would talk to the police. I don’t know exactly what this guy wants but it needs to be checked out. It is a matter for the police to look into.”


Last week she sent all details of her correspondence with the man to Madeleine’s parents Kate and Gerry in Leicestershire.


A spokesman for Scotland Yard said: “An image has been passed to us and it is being assessed.”


The Yard may send the picture to FBI imaging experts in America for an opinion.


This week the Yard is expected to ask detectives in Brazil to interview the man before considering whether to fly him to London. Officers want to know what he knows about Hewlett, who was jailed for abduction, attempted rape and assault of girls aged six, nine and 14.


Clarence Mitchell, spokesman for the McCanns, said: “This is a matter for Scotland Yard and I am sure they will get to the bottom of it. Kate and Gerry have confidence in Operation Grange.”


Operation Grange was launched in May 2011 at the request of Home Secretary Theresa May.



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