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Portuguese police refuse to reopen Maddy inquiry

PORTUGUESE police have refused to reopen the inquiry into the disappearance of Madeleine McCann.

The decision came after Scotland Yard urged authorities to resume their investigation and released a new "age-progressed" image showing what she might look like as a nine-year-old.

While British detectives believe Madeleine could still be alive, officers in Portugal insist there is no evidence to warrant relaunching the search.

And despite the Metropolitan Police's announcement that detectives have identified 195 potential leads, Portuguese police said the status of their investigation had not changed.

Next week will mark five years since Madeleine went missing from her family's Algarve holiday flat as her parents, Kate and Gerry McCann, dined nearby. There have been hundreds of possible sightings, but each one has come to nothing.

The Portuguese refusal to re-examine her disappearance came shortly after family spokesman Clarence Mitchell said the McCanns were "hugely encouraged" by the recent momentum in the case.

Referring to the 195 potential new leads, Mr Mitchell told 'BBC Breakfast': "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."

Yesterday, Detective Chief Inspector Andy Redwood refused to say what evidence they had uncovered to suggest Madeleine was still alive.

Detectives in Portugal are also understood to want the case reopened but to do so they must gain judicial approval via the courts.

Last night Pedro do Carmo, assistant director of the criminal police department in Portugal, said: "We have found no new element that is sufficient or credible that would allow us to formally reopen the investigation.

"The decision to do so would be up to the public prosecutor," he added.

He said an independent team of investigators would continue to work in collaboration with British police and he insisted that its task "was not yet over".

Irish Independent