Europe

Wednesday 23 July 2014

Madeleine suspect was questioned about sex assaults

Gerard Couzens

Published 04/05/2014|02:30

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Tributes to missing Madeleine McCann, at a low-key open-air service in the centre of Rothley, Leicestershire, on the seventh anniversary of the girl's disappearance
Tributes to missing Madeleine McCann, at a low-key open-air service in the centre of Rothley, Leicestershire, on the seventh anniversary of the girl's disappearance

MADELEINE McCann suspect Euclides Monteiro was quizzed about a string of sex assaults linked to the British youngster's disappearance before he died, his widow sensationally confessed last night.

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Luisa Rodrigues said Portuguese police probing Madeleine's abduction questioned the convicted burglar the year after she vanished about a spate of sex attacks at Algarve holiday villas.

She claimed DNA tests had put the recovering heroin addict, a former worker at the Ocean Club holiday complex Madeleine vanished from seven years ago yesterday, in the clear.

And she insisted detectives leading the hunt for Madeleine never asked Cape Verde-born dad-of-one Euclides, who died in a 2009 tractor accident, about the missing three-year-old.

The revelation, pointing to an apparent failure by Portuguese detectives to link the breaks-ins to Madeleine's abduction early on, will raise fresh concern about the original police probe which led to her parents Gerry and Kate being made suspects.

It also raises questions about why Portuguese police heading a cold case review decided to question Euclides's widow last year after making a link between Madeleine McCann's May 3, 2007, disappearance and the sex attacks that Luisa says he proved five years earlier he had nothing to do with.

British police heading a separate probe into Made-leine's disappearance are trying to identify a serial sex attacker who may have struck at least 18 times in Algarve holiday resorts since 2004.

They have described the intruder as "smelly and pot-bellied", wearing a burgundy top with a distinctive white circle on the back – but never pointed the finger at Monteiro.

Ms Rodrigues's claims that Portuguese detectives believed the Algarve sex assaults were the work of one man as far back as 2008 will also lead to questions about why they were only made public recently.

Euclides's widow, who never spoke about her late partner's 2008 police quizzing when she admitted earlier this year that two Portuguese women detectives had questioned her last October, broke her silence on Portuguese state broadcaster RTP.

Insisting that he had nothing to do with Madeleine's disappearance and went straight after finishing a five-year prison sentence in 1999, she told the TV station: "Euclides was summonsed to the police station in Portimao, the same one heading the Madeleine McCann investigation, in 2008.

"He was told they were looking for a tall black man who had broken into country homes and sexually assaulted children inside.

"He didn't commit a single crime after he left prison.

"He denied any involvement in the indecent assaults. Police did DNA tests at the time and ruled him out as a suspect and apologised for troubling him.

"They never mentioned Madeleine McCann. Until the day he died the police never contacted him again."

Luisa also gave her late husband an alibi over Madeleine – by producing a poem she said he had written on his computer around the time she vanished.

She admitted to only finding it recently and not handing it over to police.

Luisa has made the poems he wrote during nights at home into a book titled Drogas, Vivencias e Sonhos ('Drugs, Personal experiences and Dreams').

Reading a passage from the poem that she said computer records showed he wrote at 9pm on May 3, 2007, an hour before Kate McCann discovered Madeleine missing, she said: "I only found the poems after the police had questioned me and they haven't contacted me since so they don't know about this.

"I know Euclides had nothing to do with Madeleine's disappearance. It's impossible he had a double life. I knew everything about him."

Porto-based Policia Judiciaria officers heading a review into the Algarve-led Madeleine McCann investigation began to suspect Euclides after pinpointing him to the area where the British youngster disappeared from by his mobile phone.

Luisa says this means nothing because they lived so near to mobile phone masts by the Ocean Club at the time that they could have been sitting indoors when the signal was picked up.

She wants Portuguese police to publicly clear Euclides of any involvement, but doubts they will because as a dead man he makes a "convenient scapegoat".

Construction firm boss's daughter Luisa still lives hear the Ocean Club with her 11-year-old son by Monteiro.

Sunday Independent

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