the Madeleine McCann investigation expect a major
breakthrough this week in the hunt for her kidnappers.
A source close
to the Portuguese team said yesterday that the net was
finally tightening on those responsible for abducting the
Detectives are set to swoop on several new suspects they
want to question about the toddler’s kidnapping in the
Algarve 67 days ago.
Robert Murat, who lives just 100 yards from where Madeleine
was snatched as she slept, is also due
to be hauled in for another round of interviews this week.
“While there is only one official suspect so far,
investigators have identified other people they believe were
involved in this case and they are now being sought,” said
Investigators believe that several people were involved in
the kidnap, which took place at the quiet family resort of
Praia da Luz on May 3.
insist it is most likely that Madeleine is still being held
in Portugal, a belief shared by her parents, Kate and Gerry,
who met police last week to discuss the latest
As the couple continue their desperate wait for news at
their villa, the only official suspect is across town
awaiting a further visit by police.
Murat, 33, told his estranged British wife Dawn in a phone
call at the weekend that he is to face questioning by the
Portuguese authorities in the next 48 hours. “Rob told me
the police intend to talk to him again,” said Dawn 41.
Its worrying, of course, but theres nothing I can do about
new meeting with police will be to tell him he is no longer
involved in their inquiries.”
Dawn, who lives in, Norfolk, has never doubted Murat's
innocence and said she could not understand why police had
told him on Friday that he would be re-interviewed early
"Why didnt they simply interview him straight away rather
than delay matters? ” she said.
Murat and Dawn have a daughter, Sophie, aged four – the same
age as Madeleine.
Both girls are
blonde and bear a striking similarity to each other, a fact
Murat repeatedly told journalists in the days after the
The British businessman has always insisted that he spent
the night of Madeleines abduction at the house nearby that
he shares with his mother Jenny, 71.
But 11 days after the kidnapping he was arrested and named
as chief suspect in the investigation.
Banned by Portuguese law from commenting on the case, Murat
has since asked family and friends to protest his innocence
while he endures a “living hell” as the official accused, or
Friends and relatives have said he is now a virtual prisoner
in his home, unable to venture outdoors for fear of
reprisals from locals in the close-knit community of Praia
His aunt, Sally Everleigh, 56, who runs a guesthouse in a
nearby resort, said Murat had received piles of hate mail
since his arrest.
She said her nephew had offered to take a lie detector test
to prove his innocence, adding that he only met the McCanns
very briefly to offer them his help in their search for
She said: “If the police would allow it, he says he would
happily take a lie detector test to prove his innocence. But
would that put an end to this?”
Murat has lived in Portugal with his mother since his
break-up with Dawn two years ago. His German girlfriend
Michaela Walczuch, her estranged husband, Luis and Russian
business associate Sergey Malinka were also questioned after
He underwent 19 hours of questioning by detectives and
willingly gave a DNA sample, hoping it would prove he was
not at the McCanns’ apartment.
But he will remain an official suspect until Portuguese
police formally hand back paperwork linking him to the
The McCanns, from Rothley in Leicestershire, declined to
comment yesterday on the latest developments but last week
spoke out to stress their confidence in the investigation
The police’s handling of the inquiry attracted a storm of
criticism in the early stages, with accusations that vital
clues had been missed and alerts at ports and border posts
were unnecessarily delayed.
Mrs McCann, 38, who works as a GP, said: “The most positive
thing for me is that I’m totally reassured that everything
that can be done is being done and the Portuguese police are
100 per cent committed to finding Madeleine.”
Her husband, cardiac consultant Gerry, 39, added: “We have a
great working relationship with the police. Our
determination to find Madeleine is matched by theirs.”
In Holland, a 39-year-old unemployed man remains in custody
after being charged with attempted fraud for allegedly
offering to provide information on Madeleine’s whereabouts
in exchange for £1.3million.
And in southern Spain, a couple with convictions for child
abuse and alleged links to international child trafficking
are still being investigated after attempting to claim the
£2.5million reward last month.
But despite all the heart-breaking false hopes and cruel
hoaxes of recent weeks, the McCanns are still confident they
will one day be reunited with their daughter.
“We remain convinced that Madeleine is alive,” Mr McCann