Critical new evidence at the centre of the reinvigorated hunt for Madeleine McCann came from a suppressed report by ex-MI5 investigators.
The evidence, including e-fits of a man seen carrying a child the night the toddler disappeared, was included in an intelligence report produced by a firm of former spies for her parents in 2008.
But the report was sidelined for five years by Gerry and Kate McCann because it was critical of people involved and would have caused a distraction if made public, The Sunday Times reported.
The team of hand-picked former MI5 agents was hired by the McCanns in the spring of 2008, 10 months after their daughter disappeared from the Portuguese resort of Praia da Luz.
A report they produced was “hypercritical” of the McCanns and their friends and the authors were threatened with legal action if it were ever published, the paper reported.
Its contents were kept secret until Scotland Yard detectives conducting a fresh review of the case contacted the author for a copy.
The e-fits of the suspect formed the centrepiece of a Crimewatch appeal earlier this month that attracted more than 1,000 calls from the public.
The Find Madeleine fund said all information privately gathered during the search for Madeleine "has been fully acted upon where necessary" and passed on to Scotland Yard.
A spokesman for Scotland Yard, said: “Where we have been able to make massive steps forward is by drawing together all the material gathered to date, and reviewing it as a whole."