Scotland Yard has revealed vital new information about a suspect wanted in connection with the disappearance of Madeleine McCann.
The 43-year-old German lived in a ramshackle old farm building two miles from where she vanished in Praia da Luz on Portugal’s Algarve coast in May 2007.
He littered the land around the rented home with old vehicles which he bought and sold for a living.
Image: The rear of the Jaguar car linked to a German suspect being investigated over Madeleine McCann’s disappearance. Pic: Met Police
The suspect suddenly left the rented property a year before Madeleine disappeared, but police think he stayed nearby in the area.
Detectives have seized a camper van they believe he used, and are examining it for potential forensic clues.
The man is currently serving a long sentence in a German prison, where he is also suspected of other offences.
Sky News is not revealing the suspect’s identity for legal reasons and Scotland Yard has not named him.
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The suspect’s name was given to the Metropolitan Police in 2017 after the 10th anniversary of Madeleine’s disappearance.
Image: A Volkswagen camper van linked to the suspect
Detective Chief Inspector Mark Cranwell said: “We know a lot about the suspect, but we need to know more about his movements on the night Madeleine vanished and in the days before and afterwards.
“We know he was in the resort on the night, about an hour before Madeleine was last seen around 9pm.
“He took a phone call on his Portuguese mobile from another Portuguese mobile. The call lasted half an hour.”
Police want to hear from anyone who recognises the suspect’s phone number and the number calling him.
They are also keen to hear from anyone who recognises the suspect’s distinctive camper van and a Jaguar car he was also using at the time.
The day after Madeleine disappeared, the suspect had the Jaguar re-registered in someone else’s name.
Image: A photo of the McCanns when they were a family of five
The property the suspect rented sits on a remote hillside along a footpath that runs from above the beach where Madeleine and her family played during their week’s holiday in May, 2007.
A former neighbour of the suspect said: “He arrived in the mid-90s and rented the place from the English owner.
“He went back to Germany at one stage and moved another German guy in to look after it, then came back and threw him out on the street.
“He was always a bit angry, driving fast up and down the lane, and then one day, around 2006, he just disappeared without a word. I think he left some rent unpaid.”
The neighbour added: “About six months later I was asked to help clean up the place and it was disgusting, absolutely vile. It had been trashed, with broken stuff like computers all over the place.
“We found a bin bag and inside were wigs and exotic clothing, whether just fancy dress or something stranger I couldn’t tell.”
Image: Madeleine McCann has been missing since May 2007
The neighbour said she was contacted by Scotland Yard detectives who asked her about the man last year, without revealing any detail of their suspicion.
This year she was visited by Portuguese detectives who showed her photographs of the man and asked more questions.
It is understood that many neighbours, friends and acquaintances of the suspect have been interviewed as police try to establish his movements around the time Madeleine disappeared from her family’s holiday apartment.
Madeleine was nearly four when she vanished without trace after being left sleeping with her younger twin siblings while their parents dined nearby.
Portuguese police abandoned their investigation after 15 months then reopened it in 2013, before Scotland Yard began its own probe.
Image: Madeleine during the family’s holiday in Praia da Luz
This month, the Home Office gave the Madeleine squad another year’s funding of £300,000 to keep its investigation, Operation Grange, going. It has so far spent £11.75m.
Cressida Dick, the Yard’s commissioner, said last year that the squad would keep investigating while there were “active lines of inquiry to pursue.”
More recently the UK and Portuguese forces have worked together to explore the theory of the German suspect and a second, perhaps lesser, undisclosed theory which is said to be the subject of a delicate operation overseas.
Source : Sky News