Missing Madeleine
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Post  Annabel on Sat 28 Apr - 10:50



Madeleine: Re-open case, Portugal told


The case of Madeleine McCann has hit the headlines days before the fifth anniversary of her disappearance. The Metropolitan Police Service on Wednesday said their objective was now to have the case “re-opened”. But this decision rests solely on the Attorney-General’s office in Lisbon, which has repeatedly said it would re-open the case “should new evidence emerge”. On Wednesday, they learnt that Scotland Yard had “uncovered evidence during a review and believe Madeleine is still alive”.

A murder team within the Homicide and Serious Crime Command, led by Detective Chief Inspector Andy Redwood said this week that its year-long investigative review into the disappearance of Madeleine McCann has resulted in the emergence of new information.

Scotland Yard declined to disclose what evidence they had uncovered.

The review team has cost British taxpayers in excess of £2 million and was created in the wake of calls by News Corporation titles The Sun and The Sunday Times on Prime Minister David Cameron to order a review into the case – which he did soon afterwards in May 2011.

The Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) expressed support of the team’s creation, dubbed Operation Grange, saying detectives “are in a unique position in that their task is to compile and review material from three separate strands - the Portuguese investigation, inquiries by UK law enforcement agencies, and the work of private investigators/agencies.”

Officers have made two trips to Spain and visited Portugal four times, most recently last week.

The team of officers is said to be methodically going through material which they believe amounts to around 40,000 pieces of information equating to approximately 100,000 pages.

The intention is to identify from investigative opportunities which they will then present to the Portuguese authorities.

Officers have so far identified around 195 such opportunities within the historic material, and are also developing what they believe to be “genuinely new material”.

“The objective of the review team is to work with the Portuguese authorities with a view to having the case, which has remained closed since 2008, re-opened in due course”, the MPS said.

“From the outset we have approached this review with a completely open mind, placing Madeleine McCann at the heart of everything we do. We are working on the basis of two possibilities here. One is that Madeleine is still alive; and the second that she is sadly dead”, said DCI Andy Redwood.

UK police said they also want to speak to people who were on holiday or living in Praia da Luz between 28 April and 3 May 2007.

This call reportedly emanates from the belief in Scotland Yard that not all people in the resort were interviewed by Portuguese police. It has also emerged that while Portuguese police have a huge amount of mobile phone cell site evidence in their possession, it apparently failed to analyse the information.

A review team was also set up in Portugal and the task of liaising with Scotland Yard was given to a team of detectives from the Polícia Judiciária (PJ) in Oporto.

The team of detectives is under the guidance of Helena Monteiro and it is believed they only started their review this year.

Police sources say the case has been handed to Oporto police to allow for a fresh look by detectives who are close to the case.

Gonçalo Amaral, who led the investigation for the first six months following Madeleine’s disappearance, was unimpressed with the timing of the release of the MPS statement.

Speaking to The Portugal News following the release of “new information”, he said: “The timing of all this falls into the folkloric and commemorative spirit of this time of the year. But as a Portuguese citizen, the timing of the release of this information on 25 April, when Portugal is commemorating Freedom Day and the creation of democracy, concerns me. It seems that 38 years after the April Revolution we are still subject to the orders of foreign powers.”

But he stressed that he was in full agreement that the case be re-opened.

“We were always against the closing of the case and the interruption of the investigation”, he said.

Questioned on what should be done first should the case be re-opened, Mr Amaral, who is facing libel charges from Kate and Gerry McCann, said: “There is a fundamental police act which will serve to remove contradictions, inconsistencies and lies relating to the disappearance of the child. We are referring to a reconstruction.”

The case was formally shelved in July 2008 by the Attorney-General who said it would be re-opened should new evidence emerge.

The Attorney-General’s Office was not immediately available to comment on the developments during the 25 April bank holiday.

Madeleine McCann disappeared from Praia da Luz on 3 May 2007 from an apartment where she was sleeping with her younger twin brother and sister while her parents dined at a nearby restaurant.

The MPS have asked non-UK residents who believe they may have information relating to this case, to call +44 2071580 126 or contact police in Lisbon on 218 641 000.

Brendan de Beer

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Post  Guest on Sat 28 Apr - 11:03

Ah, Brendan de Beer ............

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