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New hope in Maddy inquiry as CPS lawyers travel to Portugal





Justin Davenport, Crime Editor  21 June 2013


Case review: Madeleine McCann went missing in the Algarve in May 2007


Government lawyers have travelled to Portugal to meet police and prosecution officials to discuss new leads in the Madeleine McCann inquiry. 



The trip is the first time that lawyers from the Crown Prosecution Service have visited Portugal in connection with Scotland Yard’s £5 million review of the case.


Home Secretary Theresa May is now expected to  announce a full-scale Yard investigation into the disappearance of three-year-old Madeleine in May 2007.


London’s chief crown prosecutor Alison Saunders and her deputy Jenny Hopkins flew to Portugal in April to meet counterparts to discuss leads identified in the Met’s review.


Last month the Standard revealed that detectives had identified a list of potential suspects. Detective Chief Superintendent Hamish Campbell, who supervised the review, said there were a “good number” of people who should be questioned as well as “further forensic opportunities”.


The list is thought to number around 20, including Britons. The potential suspects are thought to include a handful of known child-sex offenders who are believed to have been in the Algarve when Madeleine disappeared.


The visit by senior CPS lawyers underlines the belief among senior detectives that the case could be solved.


Portuguese police led the search for Madeleine after she went missing from a holiday apartment in Praia da Luz while her parents dined nearby.


The investigation was shelved in 2008 but the Yard launched a Home Office-funded review in 2011 after David Cameron intervened at the request of Madeleine’s parents, Kate and Gerry McCann. The review team examined hundreds of thousands of documents from the Portuguese investigation and enquiries by a private detective agency employed by Madeleine’s family and identified 195 potential leads.


A full Yard investigation would allow police to interview suspects in Britain though they would seek the assistance of the Portuguese to carry out any enquiries there.


A CPS spokesman said: “We continue to work with the police on this case.”


A Home Office spokesman said it had agreed to “provide the Metropolitan Police with the resources they need”.

Alison Saunders

CPS London is headed by Chief Crown Prosecutor Alison Saunders.


A barrister who has prosecuted some of the country's most infamous criminals Alison Saunders joined the CPS in 1986, the year it was formed.


She was appointed London's Chief Crown Prosecutor after heading the CPS Organised Crime Division which deals with the most serious offences, including human trafficking, immigration, drugs-running, counterfeiting and money laundering, and confiscation of criminals' assets.


Alison spent her early CPS career prosecuting in what was then known as CPS London South and then moved to the CPS Policy Directorate in 1991 where she developed an expertise in issues involving child victims and witnesses. Appointed Branch Crown Prosecutor for Wood Green in 1997, she was promoted to Assistant Chief Crown Prosecutor.


Her role in the prosecution of 'Railway Rapist' David Mulcahy - convicted of a spate of sex attacks and murders during the 1980s - was highlighted in a TV documentary in 2001. That year Alison became Chief Crown Prosecutor Sussex, and in 2003 she served as Deputy Legal Advisor to the Attorney General before rejoining the CPS two years later as Head of the Organised Crime Division.


Alison is supported by Deputy Chief Crown Prosecutors (DCCP) Jenny Hopkins, David Robinson, Andrew Baxter and Naheed Hussain, and Business Manager Jean Ashton.


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