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McCann detectives 'pleased' convicted paedophile will talk

Retired British detectives searching for Madeleine McCann today welcomed convicted paedophile Raymond Hewlett's offer to answer their questions.

The two ex-policemen employed by the girl's family hope to interview him about her disappearance in the "near future", a source close to them said.

Hewlett, 64, is said to have been staying around an hour's drive from the McCanns' holiday flat in Praia da Luz in Portugal when Madeleine vanished in May 2007.

Over the weekend the family's private investigators - former UK detectives Dave Edgar and Arthur Cowley - flew to Aachen in Germany, where Hewlett is being treated in hospital.

They had hoped to quiz him about his movements around the time that Madeleine went missing.

But having failed to gain access to him they returned to the UK today, the source said.

Hewlett emerged from the hospital in a wheelchair this morning and was confronted by journalists.

He again denied having any involvement in Madeleine's disappearance but told the reporters he would speak to the McCanns' private detectives.

McCann family spokesman Clarence Mitchell said: "The investigators are pleased to hear that Mr Hewlett has agreed to speak to them.

"An interview with him will be arranged and will take place in due course.

"We will not be going into public detail about where or when that interview will take place.

"Mr Hewlett has again denied any involvement in Madeleine's abduction, and if it helps to eliminate him from the private investigation then he has done the right thing by indicating that he will speak to the investigators currently helping Kate and Gerry McCann."