Thursday 23 January 2020

Madeleine McCann: Portuguese police refuse to reopen case claiming no new evidence

Madeleine McCann in 2007 and as she might look aged 9
Madeleine McCann in 2007 and as she might look aged 9

PORTUGUESE police have refused to reopen the inquiry into the disappearance of Madeleine McCann saying there is no new evidence

Yesterday the Met Police said the youngster could still be alive and released a new “age progression” image of the toddler, which they said showed what she would look like today at the age of nine.

They asked the Portugese Police to reopen the case saying they had identified nearly 200 new items for investigation within historic material and believed they had found new evidence.

But today police in Portugal regused the request.

"There are no new elements at the moment that would allow for the reopening of the inquiry," Pedro do Carmo, the deputy head of the criminal police department, told AFP.

It came just hours after her parents said they were ''hugely encouraged'' by the momentum in the case.

Kate McCann is said to be ''particularly pleased'' with the new age-progressed image of Madeleine, saying it has strong family resemblance.

Mrs McCann and her husband Gerry have also joined Scotland Yard in urging Portuguese authorities to reopen the search for Madeleine after detectives said there were 195 potential leads to finding her alive.

McCann family spokesman Clarence Mitchell told BBC Breakfast that as the five-year anniversary of her disappearance draws close, Mr and Mrs McCann are said to be ''coping as best they can''.

Mr Mitchell said: ''Kate and Gerry welcome this and they are hugely encouraged by what the police have been doing all of this last year since the launch of the investigative review.

''They (Scotland Yard) believe that it is quite possible that Madeleine could still be alive and that is what Kate and Gerry have said throughout the five years and they are hugely encouraged by all of this momentum in the case.''

Speaking about Mr and Mrs McCann's reaction to the new image, Mr Mitchell said: "They are very pleased that the new age-progressed image of Madeleine aged nine was put out yesterday, which is getting wide publicity today. Of course, that is the girl that people should still be looking for.

''We need to remind people around the world that this is probably what Madeleine looks like today, not the very famous picture of her when she went missing. This is Madeleine as a young girl now.

''Kate particularly feels there is a very strong family resemblance. She sees Madeleine, Sean and Amelie her brother and sister, and herself in the image.''

Yesterday, the detective leading the Metropolitan Police review said the case could still be solved.

Detective Chief Inspector Andy Redwood said he believed her disappearance was a stranger abduction, as he said there were 195 ''investigative opportunities''.

But police refused to say what evidence they had uncovered to suggest Madeleine was alive.

Mr Redwood confirmed that his team of more than 30 officers involved in the case had been to Portugal seven times, including a visit to the family's holiday flat in Praia da Luz.

It will be five years next week since the three-year-old went missing as her parents dined with friends nearby.

The investigative review was launched last year after a meeting between former Met commissioner Sir Paul Stephenson and the Home Office.

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