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PostPosted: Sat Nov 24, 2012 1:57 am 
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Daily Mirror

New Madeleine McCann sensation: Cold case cops investigate paedophile in search for Maddy

By Martin Fricker
24 Nov 2012 00:00

The child molester, who has a string of child sex convictions, was living on the Algarve when the youngster vanished from her holiday home

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Pervert: Child rapist Raymond Hewlett
Harry Page

Child molester Raymond Hewlett went to his death refusing to speak to investigators hunting for Madeleine McCann after he was sensationally linked to her disappearance.

But police have now turned their attention back to the notorious paedophile who has a string of child sex convictions and was living on the Algarve when the youngster vanished from her holiday home in May 2007.

Scotland Yard detectives who opened a review into the Madeleine mystery want to speak to a couple who befriended the former soldier while they were on holiday in Portugal.

They were told by him he had been approached by gypsies wanting to buy one of his six children.

Alan and Cindy Thompson met pervert Hewlett, his German wife Mariana Schmucker and their kids.

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Alarmed: Alan and his wife Cindy
James Vellacott

It was only after they returned to Britain they learned from a fellow holidaymaker that the seemingly harmless drifter had been jailed three times for vile attacks on young girls.

The couple raised the alarm after ­realising he and his family had been staying in their converted truck at a camping site near Praia da Luz at the time three-year-old Madeleine disappeared as her parents Kate and Gerry dined out with friends nearby.

Speaking after making the link Alan, 59, said: “Hewlett befriended us but kept quiet about his terrible past.”

The sex beast told the Nottingham couple how he was approached by some “gypsy tourists” offering cash for his own daughter.

Like Madeleine, she was blonde-haired and blue-eyed. He said he refused.

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Sketch: Drawing of the suspect
Reuters

Cindy, 50, added: “We didn’t think too much of this at the time.

"Ray and his family led a desperate hand-to-mouth lifestyle and someone may have thought he’d be tempted to sell one of his six children.”

Hewlett, once on a ­Crimestoppers list of most wanted ­paedophiles, bore a striking resemblance to a suspect seen lurking outside the McCanns’ apartment.

He also repeatedly refused to give an alibi.

Described as “cunning” and a “danger to children”, it is feared the pervert might have kidnapped Madeleine to sell to the gypsies or even smuggled her into North Africa.

He admitted leaving Portugal for Morocco three weeks after she disappeared.

The 64-year-old was tracked down by investigators Dave Edgar and Arthur Cowley, who were working for Kate and Gerry, before his 2010 death from throat cancer.

But despite being confronted on three occasions, he refused to speak to the private detectives about the case.

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Missing: Madeleine hasn't been seen since 2007
PA

Former Scots Guard Peter Verran, 46, shared a Moroccan campsite with Hewlett between June and November 2007.

He said: “He told me gypsies wanted to pay good money for his daughter and he’d met some who traded in children and sold them to paedophiles.”

Another former pal in the ­Portuguese town of Tavira – where Hewlett’s family used to park their truck – revealed how he developed a close friendship with two gypsy families.

US-born artist Leonardo Leopoldo, 79, said: “No one spoke to the gypsies apart from Ray.

"He was always talking to them. There was talk in the area they sold children to ­paedophiles.

“By the time, Madeleine was snatched, he was very friendly with them.”

The Thompsons recalled Hewlett telling how he had gone to Morocco with his family to make a sale.

He did not elaborate but said it was “a good business trip and he made a profit”.

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In Morocco: Hewlett boasted of making a sale on Africa trip after Maddy was taken
Peter Verran

There were numerous sightings of a girl matching Madeleine’s description in the North African country after she was taken.

Alan and Cindy contacted Hewlett in September 2009 to ask him about any link to her disappearance.

When quizzed about his Morocco trip he replied ­sarcastically: “Yes, so? That makes me guilty then?

"In Morocco, everything’s worth ­something. You can get 25 euros for an old bike.”

Speaking after he and Mr Cowley tracked Hewlett down to Germany, Mr Edgar said: “It would appear certain now that he does not want to talk to us.

“We want to know where Hewlett was when Madeleine McCann went missing.

“Does he know anything about Madeleine and will he speak to us? This is the first named person we have flown out to see.

“We want to eliminate this man from our inquiries as quickly as possible.

"His evidence could be crucial but we won’t know until we’ve spoken to him.”

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On road: Hewlett's truck in Morocco
Peter Verran

German newspapers quoted police sources as saying the pervert boasted he had seen Madeleine twice before she died.

And in a deathbed letter to estranged son Wayne, he claimed to know what had happened to the youngster.

Hewlett denied having anything to do with her disappearance but said he knew she had been stolen to order by a gypsy gang.

Detectives are also looking at interviews Hewlett gave before his death in which he admitted being in the Algarve when Madeleine was snatched.

He told the Sunday Mirror: “It’s obvious why they’re ­interested in me. But they can all think what they like.

"I didn’t kill the McCann girl. It’s the truth and it’ll never change.

"I know I didn’t do anything wrong, but if people aren’t listening, what can you do? I didn’t kill the McCann girl.”

Before his death Hewlett claimed he was with an unnamed woman in Fuzeta, 30 miles from Praia da Luz, on May 3, 2007 – the day Madeleine went missing.

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Ailing: With wife Mariana in hospital in 2009
Harry Page

He said she would remember because she shot a home video of him and his family at a flea market in the town.

But Mariana later revealed the friend could not remember where he was.

She said: “The truth is, she can’t remember where Ray was. She can’t give him an alibi. No one can.”

Before he died, Mariana challenged Kate and Gerry, of Rothley, Leicestershire, to come to see her.

She said: “I know about my Raymond’s past and it is forgotten. He is a changed man. I know that he didn’t take Madeleine.

“He is a very sick man and has said to me he will do anything to prove he is innocent, even take a lie detector test.

“Let the parents of Madeleine come here and ask him face-to-face if he had anything to do with their child going missing.

"My husband has nothing to do with little Madeleine. He’s an innocent man and he’ll prove it.”

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Living in hope: Kate and Gerry McCann
Ian Vogler

Reports in Portugal claimed Hewlett was grilled by local detectives but later ruled out as a suspect.

But yesterday, the Policia Judiciaria refused to confirm if the paedophile had ever been questioned.

Hewlett gave a sample of his DNA to police in Germany from his hospital bed before he died.

But a German police spokesman said the DNA sample related to two 1975 child abuse cases in Britain – and not Madeleine’s disappearance.

British police wanted to interview him about a sexual assault on a child in West Yorkshire in 1975 and the murder of 11-year-old Lesley Molseed that same year.

In 1972, he abducted and ­sexually assaulted a neighbour’s six-year-old daughter and was sentenced to 18 months behind bars.

In 1978 he attempted to rape a nine-year-old girl and was jailed for four years.

And in 1988 at Mold, Flintshire, he kidnapped and assaulted a 14-year-old girl and was jailed for six years.

Last night Scotland Yard said: “We are not prepared to discuss any particular lines of enquiry.”

[VIDEO in link above]

Rush of new clues in fresh look at case

The renewed investigation into Madeleine McCann’s disappearance uncovered 95 potential new leads in its first year.

Scotland Yard launched its £2million Operation Grange in May 2011, three years after the official inquiry ended, at the request of Home ­Secretary Theresa May.

By May this year the team of 29 detectives from the Met’s highly skilled Homicide and Serious Crime Command unit had sifted through 40,000 pieces of information in the case.

They are being led by Detective Chief Inspector Andrew Redwood, who previously caught murderer Miguel da Silva – convicted of strangling a mum-of-two – after a cold case review.

Last December, police said were examining up to eight “very important” new leads after meeting Barcelona private investigators Metodo 3, who spent six months working for Kate and Gerry McCann, Madeleine’s parents.

They urged their Portuguese counterparts to re-open their search for the youngster, who vanished in May 2007.

The Portuguese police refused, but Madeleine’s dad Gerry said he had “no doubt” they would re-open the investigation to check new leads uncovered by the ­Scotland Yard team.

Former Met detective Peter Kirkham said the renewed investigation could still uncover new clues.

He said: “They bring fresh eyes to the case to ensure nothing has been missed.

“Forensic science has moved on and re-examination of the original exhibits may reveal new clues.

“If the police go knocking on doors again someone may now be willing to talk.

“Just one piece of information could help reveal what happened to Madeleine.”


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PostPosted: Sun Nov 25, 2012 1:51 am 
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