Bri­tish po­lice list 38 sus­pects in Mad­die case

12 Bri­tons in­cluded in new push to solve six-year ab­duc­tion case

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - WORLD -

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

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