Madeleine McCann: £2m Becomes £20,000 And The ‘Prime Suspects’ Sought
MADELEINE McCann is back on the Daily Express’ front page.
BRITISH detectives investigating the disappearance of Madeleine McCann are looking at five more cases in which young British girls were sexually assaulted in the Algarve. In each case, a lone intruder broke into a holiday home before attacking the girls.
One of the assaults, on a 10 year-old girl, was carried out in Praia da Luz, where Madeleine McCann was staying when she disappeared. The 2005 attack took place two years before Madeleine vanished.
But are police “ready to make arrests”?
The Daily Mail reports:
Deputy Assistant Commissioner Martin Hewitt said he is ‘cautiously optimistic’ that Portuguese and British officers can act soon.
So. Not ready to make arrests, then? The Express is wrong.
He said: ‘I am cautiously optimistic that in the not-too-distant future we are going to start to see activity.’ Mr Hewitt would not reveal what the operations will involve.
No real news, then.
Detective Chief Inspector Andy Redwood said today: “As a result of those 500 calls, we have now identified a further five sexual assaults and one near miss. None of those six matters we were aware of prior to our appeal. In this new tranche of information we have got one crime which is very clearly in the heart of Praia da Luz in 2005, on a young, white, 10-year-old girl. Clearly the fact that we’ve now got an assault that is in the heart of Praia da Luz, very close to where a previous matter had been reported, means that we are even more interested in this as part of the inquiry.”
“Previously these were very interesting cases but they were remote, of the assaults we’ve had in Praia da Luz before, they were at the bottom end. This offence now takes us into the resort so of course it is very significant in terms of trying to prove or disprove whether it has got anything to do with Madeline’s disappearance. In addition we want to bring resolution to these families, because for every single one of them this has been an absolutely horrendous experience. This is your worst nightmare….
“You will understand that all of the young girls were being disturbed in the middle of the night and the ages that they were the descriptive details relating to that the man looked like, there is not one pattern running through the series. But the features make us absolutely confident they could be part of the original linked series.”
And the “prime suspect”?
“We’ve got a range of thoughts of who was responsible. Our absolute starting point is to clear the ground around our feet in this and our other lines of enquiry. The sense is that we are looking at one offender, but this is not preclude there may have been others involved.”
The Times has more:
Martin Hewitt, the deputy assistant commissioner, said he was “cautiously optimistic” of a positive response to requests for assistance and actions which the Met believes will make progress in the inquiry.
A British police team sent to Portugal would be made up of senior detectives on the McCann case and specialist officers and staff with particular forensic science and search skills.
They would assist, advise and provide expert help to the Portuguese Policia Judicaria but co-operation would stop short of a joint investigation team.
Mr Hewitt said: “At this point in time the Portuguese are not keen to be part of a joint investigation team, but they are happy with the process as it is involving international letters of request.”
There are other unresolved lines of inquiry in the McCann case, but the emergence of a pattern of assaults on young white girls in their holiday bedrooms has altered its direction.
“We are seeking any case files or material the Portuguese local police might hold on these cases in order to prove or disprove that this has anything to with Madeleine’s disappearance,” said Mr Redwood.
The Guardian has other news:
There is a £20,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and prosecution of those responsible for Madeleine’s disappearance. Anyone with information can call police on 0207 321 9251 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.
It used to be more.
Such are the facts.