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Maddie McCann's Parents Speak Out As Details Released On New Suspect

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Maddie McCann's Parents Speak Out As Details Released On New Suspect

Following the news that a 43-year-old German man is being questioned over the disappearance of Madeleine McCann, the police have released more information on the individual, and appealed for the public's help.

In what Maddie's parents, Kate and Gerry McCann, describe as a "potentially very significant" lead, the man was named a key suspect on Wednesday 4th June.

"Kate and Gerry do feel it's potentially very significant. They have welcomed the appeal; they're not doing any interviews themselves about it because they wish the focus to remain on the police request rather than they themselves," their spokesperson said.

While the man is not currently being named, he is believed to have been in the area where Maddie was last seen 13 years ago, before her disappearance.

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Detectives investigating the disappearance of Maddie established the latest suspect lived on and off in the Algarve, Portugal, between 1995 and 2007.

He is connected to the area of Praia da Luz and surrounding regions, and also spent some short spells in Germany, the Met police confirmed in a briefing today.

Maddie McCann went missing 13 years ago (Credit: PA)
Maddie McCann went missing 13 years ago (Credit: PA)

The suspect has been described as a white man who is about 6ft tall. At the time of the incident, he is believed to have had a slim build and short blond hair.

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Germany's federal criminal police office - who are working with the MET and Portuguese forces on the case - stated the man was serving a jail sentence for a sex crime, with two previous convictions for "sexual contact with girls".

The Met police say that the case remains a "missing persons" investigation because there is not "definitive evidence" indicating whether Madeleine is alive or not.

However, German investigators have taken a different stance, and labelled it as a murder inquiry.

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"There is reason to assume that there are other persons, apart from the suspect, who have concrete knowledge of the course of the crime and maybe also of the place where the body was left," they said.

In a bid to help further the investigation following the new lead, police are now calling for information on a number of vehicles, which they state could be vital to the investigation.

The first is a distinctive VW T3 Westfalia camper van. It is an early 1980s model, with two tone markings, a white upper body and a yellow skirting, with a Portuguese registration plate.

They are appealing for anyone who may have seen it in or around Praia da Luz on 3 May, the night Madeleine went missing, the days before, or weeks following her disappearance.

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If you have seen this vehicle contact the police (Credit: PA)
If you have seen this vehicle contact the police (Credit: PA)

The second vehicle is a 1993 British Jaguar, model XJR 6, with a German number plate and registered in Germany.

This car is believed to have been in the Praia da Luz and surrounding areas in 2006 and 2007 and was originally registered in the suspect's name.

On 4 May 2007, the day after Madeleine's disappearance, the car was re-registered to someone else in Germany, detectives said.

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To re-register the car in Germany you do not have to have the car in the country or region. Police believe the car was still in Portugal in the spring and summer of 2007.

This is the second vehicle in question (Credit: PA)
This is the second vehicle in question (Credit: PA)

The Met says anyone who saw these cars together or individually at this time should come forward. Both these vehicles are now being held by the German authorities.

Detective Chief Inspector Mark Cranwell, who leads Operation Grange, said: "It's more than 13 years since Madeleine went missing and none of us can imagine what it must be like for her family, not knowing what happened or where she is.

"Following the ten- year anniversary, the Met received information about a German man who was known to have been in and around Praia da Luz. We have been working with colleagues in Germany and Portugal and this man is a suspect in Madeleine's disappearance.

"The Met conducted a number of enquiries and in November 2017 engaged with the BKA who agreed to work with the Met.

"Since then a huge amount of work has taken place by both the Met, the BKA and the Polícia Judiciária.

The hunt for Maddie goes on (Credit: PA)
The hunt for Maddie goes on (Credit: PA)

"Our job as detectives is to follow the evidence, maintain an open mind and establish what happened on that day in May 2007.

"Please contact us without delay so we can get answers for Madeleine's family."

Deputy Assistant Commissioner Stuart Cundy said: "Madeleine's disappearance has attracted huge international interest. We are appealing for the public to help us establish what happened.

"It is a complex investigation bringing challenges in different legal systems. We are committed to do everything we can to establish what happened and to find Madeleine."

Featured Image Credit: PA

Topics: News

Joanna Freedman
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