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Madeleine McCann: Scotland Yard 'to release e-fit picture of possible suspect'

Madeleine disappeared from her family's holiday apartment in the Algarve in 2007 as her parents dined at a nearby restaurant with friends

A new picture of a possible suspect connected to the disappearance of Madeleine McCann will  released by police, it has been claimed.

Sky News reported that British detectives investigating Madeleine's disappearance are to issue the "e-fit" ahead of an appeal on Crime Watch, to be broadcast on Monday.

The suspect is one of 41 individuals police considered to be "people of interest" and need to talk to, Sky News added.

Scotland Yard would neither confirm nor deny the claim.

In a statement, the Metropolitan Police said: "We are not prepared to discuss, comment or speculate on the content of the upcoming appeal in relation to the investigation into the disappearance of Madeleine McCann.

"This has been weeks in the planning and each element of the investigation must be set into the overall context of the appeal.

"We will be asking for help from the public in a number of countries, delivered through a series of public appeals.

"We will do nothing to jeopardise the effectiveness of these appeals and we have repeatedly stated that media speculation can be damaging to our efforts.

"The MPS will release the relevant material at the relevant time."

Madeleine disappeared from her family's holiday apartment in Praia da Luz in the Algarve on 3 May, 2007 as her parents dined at a nearby restaurant with friends.

British detectives launched a fresh investigation in July this year - two years into a review of the case - and a new BBC Crimewatch appeal on the case is to be aired on Monday.

The appeal will include a reconstruction of the "latest, most detailed understanding" of the events around the time Madeleine went missing.

Scotland Yard has revealed a vast log of mobile phone traffic could be the key to finding out what happened to the girl.

Madeleine's parents have said they remain "optimistic" of finding their daughter and will not accept she is dead until they are presented with clear evidence.

The Metropolitan Police now has a team of six Portuguese detectives based in Faro who are carrying out inquiries on its behalf.

The Portuguese investigation is officially closed but authorities there are backing the Scotland Yard inquiry and officers from both countries will work together in pursuing new leads.

Yesterday it emerged that Madeleine's mother Kate McCann has asked to give evidence at the libel trial of former Portuguese police chief Goncalo Amaral, over claims in his book The Truth of the Lie.

Her husband Gerry McCann is fighting to give evidence at the trial in Lisbon, and it was revealed that the couple's lawyer Isabel Duarte last week applied for Kate to step into the witness box as well.

The judge is yet to rule on the application, as well as one by Mr Amaral.

Last week Gerry's sister Trish Cameron told the court that the family's pain over Madeleine's disappearance was "multiplied 100 times" by the book.

She said the youngster's parents had been left in "purgatory" and the book and subsequent documentary had seen them "vilified" and "demonised".

The trial has previously heard how Mrs McCann had suicidal thoughts in the aftermath of the book's publication in 2008.

The McCanns say the former detective's claims in the book, including suggestions that they hid their daughter's body after she died in an accident and faked an abduction, damaged the hunt for Madeleine and exacerbated their anguish.

If successful in the case the family stands to be awarded around £1 million in damages. The McCanns were paid £550, 000 in damages in 2008 after Express Newspapers settled a libel case over reports of Madeleine's disappearance. The money was used to fund the Find Madeleine campaign.