Europe

Wednesday 20 August 2014

Portuguese to arrest Maddie suspects for Met

Tracy McVeigh and Brendan de Beer

Published 08/06/2014 | 02:30

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Members of Scotland Yard insert a camera inside a sewer during the search for missing British girl Madeleine McCann in Praia da Luz, near Lagos,. McCann was three when she disappeared from her room at the Praia da Luz holiday resort in the Algarve in May 2007 while her parents were dining with friends at a nearby restaurant, prompting a global hunt and worldwide headlines.
Members of Scotland Yard insert a camera inside a sewer during the search for missing British girl Madeleine McCann in Praia da Luz, near Lagos,. McCann was three when she disappeared from her room at the Praia da Luz holiday resort in the Algarve in May 2007 while her parents were dining with friends at a nearby restaurant, prompting a global hunt and worldwide headlines.

Portuguese police sources have confirmed that a number of suspects identified by Scotland Yard detectives will be arrested "in the very near future" over the disappearance seven years ago of Madeleine McCann.

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Police confirmed that "several people" had been identified by the London Metropolitan police (Met), who have had officers and two sniffer dogs in the Algarve all week searching a large area of scrubland close to the holiday apartment where the McCann family were staying when the three-year-old disappeared in May 2007. The search of that particular area, Portuguese police source said, would end today and shift to another area.

It has been six months since the initial request by the Met for access to "three prime suspects" for questioning, although it is believed that as many as eight could be on the interview list. They would be the first significant arrests in the case. The three are thought to be burglars who may have carried out raids in the holiday resort and live locally, although the Portuguese would not say whether the men had criminal records.

The development comes after a cold-case review by British officers and involved the painstaking examination of hundreds of phone records from the area on the night the toddler vanished from her bed.

Portugal's attorney-general's office said in January it had received an international letter of request in regard to "prime suspects" sent by British police investigating the disappearance. Yesterday the source said there was still no date set for questioning but that it would not happen during the current search phase of the investigation, which would expand to new sites on Wednesday, culminating by "no later than next Friday".

Police confirmed that interviews would be conducted by Portuguese detectives with British counterparts allowed to sit in but not intervene.

© Observer

Sunday Independent

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