A detective has made a break-through just days before the seventh anniversary of the three-year-old going missing in Portugal. Her parents Gerry and Kate were last night said to be “heartened” by the revelations. New witnesses claim the No 1 suspect, a serial child sex attacker who operated for years in the Praia de Luz area where Madeleine vanished, was wearing a beer logo shirt.
Peter Bleksley, a founding member of the Metropolitan Police’s undercover unit, has discovered that the T-shirt bearing a “Super Man” logo from Portuguese drinks company Super Bock was a rare item not sold to the public. It was in fact given away to a handful of loyal customers at just a couple of bars in the Algarve.
The burgundy top, with a distinctive white circle on the back, was described by the families of two of his victims in Vale de Parra and Praia da Gale. Thanks to this vital new evidence, the net is closing on the “pot-bellied” man police believe is responsible both for Madeleine’s disappearance and several other sex attacks.
A source close to the investigation said: “Fresh evidence which has come to light is helping detectives narrow down the lists of suspects considerably. There were once potentially hundreds of suspects but this has been reduced to just a handful – with one prime suspect. Everyone is very confident the suspect will be found soon. It goes without saying that any information about these unusual T-shirts – or anyone wearing them – could be vitally important to helping us finally solve this case.”
Officers investigating the disappearance of Madeleine McCann are hunting a British paedophile who was in Portugal when a series of sex attacks linked to the case took place, it has been reported. Roderick Robinson, 77, was arrested at a campsite in the Algarve in 2010 and extradited to Australia - where he was wanted for the 1998 rape of an eight-year-old. He escaped to the Far East following another conviction in the UK in 2012. Now it is believed that police think he may have evidence about a suspected paedophile ring that operated in the region where the three-year-old went missing in 2007.
Briton Roderick Robinson when he was arrested in Pattaya, Thailand. Police reportedly want to speak to him in relation to a suspected paedophile gang in the Algarve which could be related to the disappearance of Madeleine McCann
The British citizen was arrested at an Olhao campsite, where he had been staying for two months. He had spent the last decade on the run. At the time of the arrest, the Portuguese police said they had no evidence suggesting that the man had committed any crimes in Portugal but investigated his time in the Algarve and the reasons that brought him to the region.
Sources close to the latest Madeleine McCann investigation have indicated that British detectives believe he could have vital evidence about a suspected paedophile ring. The ring operated across the Algarve at the time three-year-old Madeleine was snatched in Praia da Luz in 2007.
A source said: “Roderick Robinson is a notorious and dangerous sex offender. He has shown a pattern of disturbing behaviour wherever he has travelled. He may have vital information which could shed light on the mystery surrounding the disappearance of Madeleine McCann. He is wanted on an international arrest warrant after failing to notify British police of his whereabouts and it is vital he is found without delay.”
He was first arrested by Portuguese police at a campsite in Olhao on the Algarve, 60 miles from Praia da Luz. He associated with other paedophiles in the area around the time Madeleine vanished. A source said: “These are questions that could have particular significance in the disappearance of Madeleine McCann.” When he was deported from Thailand, Robinson told a reporter: “I’m a marked man for the rest of my life which won’t be very long.” A Scotland Yard spokesman said: “We do not comment on ongoing investigations.”
A SUSPECT in the disappearance of Madeleine McCann was quizzed about a string of sex assaults linked to the youngster's disappearance before he died, his widow said last night.
Euclides Monteiro's wife Luisa Rodrigues said Portuguese police probing Madeleine's abduction questioned the convicted burglar the year after she vanished about a spate of sex attacks at Algarve holiday villas.She claimed DNA tests had put the recovering heroin addict - a former worker at the Ocean Club holiday complex Madeleine vanished from seven years ago today - in the clear. And she insisted detectives leading the hunt for Madeleine never asked Cape Verde-born Monteiro, who died in a 2009 tractor accident, about the missing child.
The revelation, pointing to an apparent failure by Portuguese detectives to link the breaks-ins to Madeleine's abduction early on, will raise fresh concern about the original police probe which led to her parents Gerry and Kate being made suspects. It also raises questions about why Portuguese police heading a cold case review decided to question Monteiro's widow last year after making a link between Madeleine McCann's 2007 disappearance and the sex attacks his widow says he proved five years earlier he had nothing to do with.
Ms Rodrigues' claims that Portuguese detectives believed the Algarve sex assaults were the work of one man as far back as 2008 will also lead to questions about why they were only made public recently. Euclides' widow, who never spoke about her late partner's 2008 police quiz when she admitted earlier this year two Portuguese women detectives had questioned her last October, broke her silence on Portuguese state broadcaster RTP, Insisting he had nothing to do with Madeleine's disappearance and went straight after finishing a five-year prison sentence in 1999.
Suspects in the disappearance of Madeline McCann are set to be interviewed in Portugal this week. Media outlets in the UK are reporting that Scotland Yard officials have returned to Portugal to question four suspects, as well as witnesses, as part of the second phase of the Scotland Yard probe on the ground in The Algarve.
Sky's Crime Correspondent Martin Brunt said: "They will be joining their Portuguese colleagues and sitting in on a series of interviews with, I'm told, first a key witness, and then a number of people who are being described as aguidos (suspects). We think that this includes the three or more former workers from the Ocean Club in Praia da Luz where Madeleine vanished who are suspected of carrying out a series of burglaries in the months leading up to Madeleine's disappearance. Scotland Yard have made it clear for a while, if not publicly, that they are interested in talking to these suspects."
The first person is expected to attend a police station in the Algarve region on Tuesday. British police will sit in on the questioning, but only Portuguese officers will ask questions. Madeleine was three when she went missing in Praia da Luz in 2007. The suspects are attending "off their own free will". They will be made "arguidos" - people of interest - after they meet police. The first person will go on Tuesday to a police station in either Portimao or Faro. All are Portuguese nationals, although some of those being questioned are Russian born.
Questioning of four suspects in the Madeleine McCann investigation has concluded without any new developments, a source has told the BBC. The source close to the inquiry played down the significance of the interviews carried out in Portugal on Tuesday.
The source told the BBC: "Questioning of the four suspects was concluded yesterday evening. Unfortunately the interviews have led to no new developments and we are back where we were seven years ago." The source added: "The 'arguido' [suspect] status was given to the suspects to protect them. It gives them legal rights including the right to remain silent and to have a lawyer present during interviews.
It is clear that the latest developments in the Madeleine McCann case are the result of the detailed, painstaking work being done by British police officers working on Operation Grange. As their investigation continues, they formally request assistance from the Portuguese police. It is at the request of Scotland Yard officers that four potential new suspects - or arguidos - and 11 potential witnesses are being interviewed.
Those interviews involve detectives from both countries; the Portuguese asking the questions, while the British monitor proceedings. It is not clear what potential link the British team believe may exist between the "suspects" and the disappearance of the three year-old. But clearly there are lines of inquiry they believe are worth following up. There are, however, clear tensions here. With one source close to the case saying that the investigation is going nowhere and "we are back where we were seven years ago".
This is the second phase of the investigation in which British officers, who carried out digs on sites at the resort last month, will join forces with local police. Scotland Yard described the recent investigation as the "largest ever undertaken by UK police overseas in a case of this type". The Met said a total of 60,000 square metres of land was searched – including utilities, drainage channels and derelict buildings – around the resort of Praia da Luz, where the family was staying when Madeleine was snatched. Although no evidence was found, the McCann family said that were "encouraged" because it reinforced their belief that Madeleine could still be alive.
Police have begun the process of interviewing 11 witnesses, which also relates to official requests from the Metropolitan Police. The source indicated that two tracker dogs from the UK could be used in searching a vehicle thought to belong to one of the witnesses. No time or location was given for this. One of the four "persons of interest" - or arguidos - questioned was Sergey Malinka. He has always denied any involvement.
Mr Malinka, a Russian-born website designer with Portuguese nationality, was questioned as a witness in 2007 when Madeleine went missing. On Tuesday, Mr Malinka and another suspect left the central police station in Faro after they were interviewed. A third person, who is said to be suffering from severe schizophrenia, remained inside the police headquarters after the other two had left. All of those being questioned are Portuguese citizens. They have all been summoned to be interviewed; there have been no arrests.