Detectives are examining mobile phone information they believe could hold the key to Madeleine McCann’s disappearance.
Portuguese authorities are thought to have provided Scotland Yard with a list of calls made in and around the Ocean Club in Praia de Luz between 9pm and 10pm on May 3 2007 – the night the three-year-old vanished. The dossier is believed to contain phone numbers that have yet to be identified, and officers hope they could provide vital new leads. Detectives hope to track down the registered owner of each phone, and check whether any are known sex offenders.
The information was sent to the Met in response to an “international letter of request” asking for assistance from foreign police forces in 31 countries. The requests are believed to relate to unidentified mobile phone numbers and it is the first time they have been analysed in detail. The Met are preparing to send another letter of request soon, sources said. Detectives and Crown Prosecution Service lawyers are believed to have prepared a string of ILORs but remain hopeful that a joint probe can be established, rendering them unnecessary.
Scotland Yard detectives investigating the disappearance of Madeleine McCann have formally asked Portugal for more help with their inquiry. Police refused to give any details about the nature of the assistance being sought, but the move appears to suggest that fresh suspects or promising new lines have been identified.
The Crown Prosecution Service sent a second “International Letter of Request” to the Portuguese authorities on behalf of the Metropolitan Police this week. The first letter asking for help was submitted to Portugal as Scotland Yard announced it was launching a full investigation into the case, codenamed Operation Grange, in July last year. Over the summer British detectives sent further International Letters of Request to 30 other countries, most of them in Europe.
The requests relate to persons of interest and unidentified mobile phone numbers that were recorded in Praia da Luz in southern Portugal around the time that Madeleine, then aged three, went missing from her family’s holiday flat on May 3, 2007. Because British police have no jurisdiction to operate overseas, they must ask their counterparts in other countries to carry out investigative work and interview suspects on their behalf. Under European Union rules, member states are expected to comply with requests like these made under Mutual Legal Assistance Treaties.
The Crown Prosecution Service has sent an International Letter of Request to Portuguese police seeking permission to arrest the trio
British police are poised to make the first arrests in the hunt for missing Madeleine McCann. The Met want to quiz three burglars who carried out raids in the Portuguese resort when the three-year-old vanished. Officers were last night preparing to fly to the Algarve to make their first arrests since the force set up Operation Grange in 2011 to review the kidnapping. They hope to speak to the thieves after mobile phone records showed the men made numerous calls to each other in the hours after she disappeared.
The Crown Prosecution Service has sent an International Letter of Request to Portuguese police seeking permission to arrest the trio. A spokesman for Madeleine’s parents Kate and Gerry said: “The letter is a significant development. It is necessary for British police to request the Portuguese authorities allow them to operate on their turf.
"It means they have the intention of arresting and interviewing X, Y or Z. We don’t know who they have their sights on but it’s likely it is the burglars. Whether the Portuguese will co-operate remains to be seen. It is a very sensitive issue with differences they have had. Police want to be given a chance to arrest key suspects. It doesn’t prove they have Madeleine but it will rule them in or out of the investigation and that is important. Kate and Gerry don’t want to build up their hopes too high but they realise it could be a significant new lead.”
British police investigating Madeleine McCann's disappearance are targeting three burglars whose phones were "red hot" after she went missing, Sky News has confirmed.
Metropolitan Police detectives want Portuguese investigators to interview the three men, who were in the area when the three-year-old disappeared. Sky News Crime Correspondent Martin Brunt said mobile phone records show the men made numerous calls to each other in the hours after Madeleine vanished while on a family holiday in Praia da Luz in May 2007.
The little girl vanished from this holiday apartment in May 2007
He said: "Scotland Yard detectives, among many other things they did as part of their review of the Portuguese case, have examined mobile phone traffic and what's emerged is that there was an extensive use of mobile phones by these three individuals in the minutes and hours after Madeleine disappeared. They were suspected of burgling one or more apartments in the block where Madeleine and her family were on holiday in the days before her disappearance. Madeleine went missing and within minutes the phones of these suspects were 'red hot' - they were talking to each other an awful lot. Investigators have no idea what they were saying to each other. There are no recordings of the phone conversations, but the activity was such that it's raised suspicions."
After a renewed push for leads in the case of missing British girl Madeleine McCann, authorities in the United Kingdom are turning to Portuguese officials for help.
A letter sent by the Crown Prosecution Services to authorities in Portugal on Friday is requesting permission to conduct interviews in connection with the girl's 2007 disappearance from her family's holiday villa in the resort town of Praia da Luz. Pedro do Carmo, the deputy national director of the Judiciary Police in Portugal, said Portuguese authorities have not yet received the letter, but he noted the latest lines in the Scotland Yard investigation focus on three people. Do Carmo declined to provide the nationalities of those three people, who he said have not been detained.
Madeleine was 3 when she disappeared while she was on holiday with her family in June 2007. Her disappearance prompted headlines worldwide. The two police forces' investigations have run in parallel since October. Do Carmo said Portuguese police have been in constant contact with authorities in the UK. Detectives have been investigating a spike in break-ins in the area in the weeks before Madeleine disappeared, two of them in the same block where her family was staying.
20:30 Kate and Gerry McCann leave their apartment to have dinner at a Tapas bar 21:05 Gerry McCann checks on Madeleine and her siblings 22:00 A man is seen carrying a child wearing pyjamas heading towards the ocean 22:00 Kate McCann raises the alarm that Madeleine has gone missing