British police list 38 suspects in Maddie case
12 Britons included in new push to solve six-year abduction case
LONDON: Thirty-eight potential suspects have been identified in the abduction of Madeleine McCann, Scotland Yard said yesterday as it launched a final push to uncover the mystery of the three-year-old’s disappearance during a family holiday in the Algarve six years ago.
The potential suspects include 12 Britons believed to have been in Praia da Luz in 2007 when the youngster disappeared from the bedroom of her holiday villa.
The Metropolitan Police is set to apply to Portugal and three other, unidentified, European countries for information on individuals following a twoyear trawl of thousands of documents collected during years of fruitless attempts to find the girl.
The step change in the inquiry comes after the Home Secretary, Theresa May, responded to a plea for help from the family in 2011 and ordered a review of files compiled by police in Portugal and Britain and by seven firms of private investigators.
Scotland Yard has upgraded the review to a full investigation, which allows them to apply to other countries for information on suspects and ask them to act on new witness evidence, leads and theories that they have identified during the review.
If any of the 12 Britons, some of whom live abroad, are eventually charged with an offence, they could potentially go on trial in the UK. Scotland Yard took the decision to launch a full investigation after
‘It’s a positive step that our understanding of the evidence has enabled us to shift from a review to an investigation’
the Portuguese authorities declined to reopen their inquiry, which was shelved in 2008.
The unusual arrangement – which will see a small number of Metropolitan Police officers work alongside their Portuguese counterparts – is seen as the last realistic prospect of uncovering what happened to Madeleine.
Arrests are not imminent but the multimillion- pound review by 37 officers is believed to have uncovered new theories about what happened to her.
Scotland Yard declined to go into detail about what might have happened that night but said it believed the girl, who would be 10 now, may still be alive because of a lack of evidence to suggest otherwise.
Madeleine was asleep in the family’s holiday apartment as her parents dined at a tapas restaurant with friends nearby when she was taken.
Her parents, Kate and Gerry McCann, and their friends have been ruled out as suspects.
Some of the 38 who have been identified have not previously featured in inquiries into the girl’s disappearance, which has been marked in the intervening years by sightings across Europe and wider afield.
The officer leading Opera- tion Grange, Detective Chief Inspector Andy Redwood, said: “We continue to believe that there is a possibility that Madeleine is alive.
“It is a positive step in our hunt for Madeleine that our understanding of the evidence has enabled us to shift from review to investigation.” – The Independent