Private investigators searching for Madeleine McCann are hoping to obtain DNA samples from known pedophile Raymond Hewlett.
Arriving in Aachen, Germany, the detectives are hoping to question Hewlett, aged 64, about the missing child. Although they have no legal authority to question and test Hewlett, who is recovering from throat cancer surgery in a hospital, may be ordered to take it by the public prosecutor who is deliberating this week.
Hewlett, who is a convicted child rapist in the UK, was allegedly living in Praia da Luz, near the McCann’s holiday apartment, at the time of Madeleine’s disappearance May 2007.
Police are hoping that by comparing Hewlett’s DNA samples to unidentified samples found at the scene of the crime, they will be closer to finding out what happened to Madeleine.
A McCann family spokesman, Clarence Mitchell, expressed their hope that Hewlett would co operate with detectives in the investigation.
‘Mr.Hewlett has denied any involvement in Madeleine’s abduction.
‘Our investigators hope he will co-operate by giving them whatever information is needed so they can eliminate him from the investigation.’
Hewlett’s wife, Marianna Schmuker, has defended her husband, saying that he had nothing to do with Madeleine’s abduction. Even after news had emerged that Hewlett had been spotted outside the McCann’s apartment in Praia da Luz ‘many times’, she still declared him ‘innocent’.
A new witness has recently come forward to speak about Hewlett, saying he had talked non-stop about the Madeleine story in the weeks following her abduction in May 2007.
Hewlett had been living in the Praia da Luz area at the time of the abduction, but had left and gone to Morocco soon after Madeleine was discovered missing.
The witness, a former Scots Guardsman named Peter Verran, had spent a few months with Hewlett in Morocco and said that he seemed to know a lot about the McCann family and the resort they were staying in.
Mr.Verran was camping with his family in Morocco and had expressed concern to Hewlett that police would mistake his child for Madeleine, since she bore a resemblance to the missing girl; Hewlett, however, had quickly replied that Madeleine was not in Morocco.Verran also spoke about how much Hewlett seemed to know a lot about the Ocean Club complex where the McCann’s had been staying, explaining that he had been to the resort many times and used to park his van close to their apartment. He was almost boastful about his knowledge of the layout of the resort, the restaurant where the McCann’s had been eating and even the flat that Madeleine had disappeared from.
Verran went on to say, ‘He (Hewlett) said it was common knowledge among locals that Praia da Luz in general and the Ocean Club in particular was a magnet for Romanian gypsies who abduct and then traffic children.
‘I asked him why he’d left and come to Morocco. He told me he’d had to leave Portugal in a hurry.
‘He said he’d packed his family up in half an hour and just driven out of the area. That was just after Maddie was taken.’
The McCann’s family spokesperson told reporters that although Hewlett is, ‘a person of interest’ to the investigation, he is still just one of many leads they are currently following.
Hewlett, speaking from his hospital bed, is strongly denying any connection to the disappearance of Madeleine, saying, ‘I’ve done nothing wrong – nothing, nothing.’