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Original Source: EXPRESS: 01 - 02 - 03 - 04 -  MONDAY 9 JULY 2007
Monday July 9, 2007 Express Transcript By Padraic Flanagan in Praia da Luz

POLICE leading 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 four-year-old.

Detectives are set to swoop on several new suspects they want to question about the toddler’s kidnapping in the Algarve 67 days ago.


Chief suspect 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 the source.

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.


SUSPECT: Murat questioned again


Detectives 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 developments.

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 it.


Hopefully, any 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 this week.

"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 kidnapping.

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 “arguido”.

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 da Luz.

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 Madeleine.

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 Murat’s arrest.

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 inquiry.
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 team.

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 said.







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