New lead in hunt for Madeleine

McCanns' spokesman says British paedophile is 'of interest' to investigation

A fresh development in the hunt for Madeleine McCann emerged last night when a spokesman for the McCann family confirmed that a British paedophile has been identified as a "person of interest" to the private investigators searching for the missing girl.

Clarence Mitchell said he understood that Raymond Hewlett, 64, was staying in Faro, an hour's drive from Praia da Luz in Portugal, where the family were on holiday when the three-year-old went missing in April 2007.

While confirming that the investigators are pursuing a number of lines of inquiry, Mr Mitchell said: "We are aware of Raymond Hewlett and the claims that have been made surrounding him. The investigators searching for Madeleine are currently looking into the circumstances surrounding those claims. Hewlett is an individual of interest to the Madeleine investigation. Beyond that, I cannot go into any further operational detail." Mr Mitchell added that Madeleine's parents were "fully aware" of the development and that the couple's investigators had been in Portugal for the last week.

Hewlett has been convicted several times for sexual offences against girls, and was jailed for six years in 1988 after abducting a 14-year-old newspaper delivery girl, driving her 100 miles and forcing her to strip naked at knifepoint. He is also wanted by the police for questioning in connection with sex attacks going back nearly 30 years.

In September 1972 Hewlett abducted a 12-year-old girl and took her on to moors near his home in Todmorden, West Yorkshire, where he incapacitated her with a rag soaked in paint thinners and sexually assaulted her. Six years later Hewlett attacked another girl at gunpoint but she managed to convince him that she was expecting visitors and he let her go.

In 2001 he was investigated in connection with the murder of 11-year-old Lesley Molseed, who was abducted near her home in Rochdale in 1975 on her way to buy a loaf of bread. She was sexually assaulted, stabbed 12 times and dumped on nearby moors.

Tax clerk Stefan Kiszko was convicted of her murder but cleared on appeal in 1991, having spent 16 years in jail. Kiszko died of a heart attack shortly after being released from a psychiatric hospital. Ronald Castree, 54, was jailed in 2007 for the murder of the schoolgirl, after DNA taken during an arrest in 2005 for an unrelated incident matched that recovered at the scene. He has since been given permission to challenge his conviction.

Hewlett, who is currently believed to be receiving cancer treatment in Germany, has a long history of travelling around Europe in a van and is known by police to have lived in Italy, Scotland, Ireland and England in the 1990s. He is described by detectives as "cunning" and a "danger to children". In the past he has posed as a police officer and befriended families to get access to their children.

Kate and Gerry McCann have refused to give up hope of finding their daughter and have employed the services of two retired police officers, Detective Inspector Dave Edgar and former Detective Sergeant Arthur Crowley, to continue the search for her. Earlier this month they marked the second anniversary of Madeleine's disappearance by releasing a computer-generated image of what she may look like today.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: IT Support Engineer

£18000 - £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The company provides IT support...

Recruitment Genius: IT Manager

£45000 - £55000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This manager is for a successfu...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Uncapped Commission: SThree: As a Trainee Recruitm...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£13676.46 - £15864.28 per annum + Uncapped Commission: SThree: As a Trainee Re...

Day In a Page

Sepp Blatter resignation: The beginning of Fifa's long road to reform?

Does Blatter's departure mean Fifa will automatically clean up its act?

Don't bet on it, says Tom Peck
Charles Kennedy: The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

Charles Kennedy was consistently a man of the centre-left, dedicated to social justice, but was also a champion of liberty and an opponent of the nanny-state, says Baroness Williams
Syria civil war: The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of this endless conflict

The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of Syria's endless civil war

Sahar Qanbar lost her mother and brother as civilians and government soldiers fought side by side after being surrounded by brutal Islamist fighters. Robert Fisk visited her
The future of songwriting: How streaming is changing everything we know about making music

The future of songwriting

How streaming is changing everything we know about making music
William Shemin and Henry Johnson: Jewish and black soldiers receive World War I Medal of Honor amid claims of discrimination

Recognition at long last

Jewish and black soldiers who fought in WWI finally receive medals after claims of discrimination
Beating obesity: The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters

Beating obesity

The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters
9 best women's festival waterproofs

Ready for rain: 9 best women's festival waterproofs

These are the macs to keep your denim dry and your hair frizz-free(ish)
Cycling World Hour Record: Nervous Sir Bradley Wiggins ready for pain as he prepares to go distance

Wiggins worried

Nervous Sir Bradley ready for pain as he prepares to attempt cycling's World Hour Record
Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Reds baulk at Christian Benteke £32.5m release clause
On your feet! Spending at least two hours a day standing reduces the risk of heart attacks, cancer and diabetes, according to new research

On your feet!

Spending half the day standing 'reduces risk of heart attacks and cancer'
With scores of surgeries closing, what hope is there for the David Cameron's promise of 5,000 more GPs and a 24/7 NHS?

The big NHS question

Why are there so few new GPs when so many want to study medicine?
Big knickers are back: Thongs ain't what they used to be

Thongs ain't what they used to be

Big knickers are back
Thurston Moore interview

Thurston Moore interview

On living in London, Sonic Youth and musical memoirs
In full bloom

In full bloom

Floral print womenswear
From leading man to Elephant Man, Bradley Cooper is terrific

From leading man to Elephant Man

Bradley Cooper is terrific