Portuguese police have allegedly asked UK forensics experts to examine evidence
to see if Madeleine McCann might have previously been drugged, as they turn
their attentions on the apartment next door to the one from which she vanished,
it has been claimed.
The latest speculation on the police investigation into the missing
four-year-old emerged as detectives in the case admitted they may never find her
There is speculation her corpse may have been weighed down with rocks and dumped
in the sea or even destroyed in an incinerator.
The new claims, in the Evening Standard, centre on the apartment neighbouring
the McCanns' and police are said to believe it may hold the key to the
whereabouts of any body in the hours after she was reported missing.
They also follow reports in the newspaper France Soir that Madeleine allegedly
died from an overdose of sleeping pills.
Further claims in the Evening Standard take the theory one step further
suggesting that the Forensic Science Service in Birmingham has been asked to
look for evidence that she had been given drugs on the night she went missing
and on earlier occasions.
The McCanns have always emphatically denied that they ever sedated any of their
Madeleine's parents Kate and Gerry have been formally named as suspects, but
police have admitted that they do not have enough evidence to charge them.
Mrs McCann, 39, is expected to be recalled to Portugal in the next few days to
face further questioning as police work on the theory that she may have
accidentally killed her daughter while her husband helped cover up the crime.
The couple have vehemently denied these claims.
But the couple, who spent Friday in London consulting lawyers about their
arguido status, have been told the case against them is weak if a body is not
A senior Portuguese police source said there was very little for detectives to
pin on the McCanns.
"We have nothing concrete," he told Portuguese newspaper 24 Horas. "There are a
lot of indications but without more information it is impossible to determine
what happened in those four vital hours in the case between 6pm and 10pm.
"Even if the blood and traces gathered in the car or in the apartment were
confirmed to correspond to 100 per cent of the little girl's DNA, that wouldn't
Madeleine disappeared from the family's holiday apartment 5A in the Mark Warner
Ocean Club resort on May 3.
For several weeks forensic scientists in Birmingham have been examining bodily
fluids and hair found in the back of the couple's Renault Scenic hired 25 days
after their daughter went missing.
As the investigation continued, Portuguese newspaper Diario de Noticias said
police had admitted Madeleine's body "may no longer exist".
A source told the paper: "One theory is that the body may have been thrown in a
bag filled with stones into the high sea from a yacht in Lagos marina."
Mr Murat, a 33-year-old property developer, is the only other named suspect, or
arguido in the case.
Family friends of the McCanns have demanded to know why he is not facing the
same amount of scrutiny as Madeleine's parents.
They insist he was involved in the preliminary search for the little girl while
he maintains he was at home with his mother in their villa 150 yards from the
The Portuguese authorities are still trying to track down Mrs McCann's personal
diary to gain an insight into her psychological state before and after Madeleine
disappeared. It is understood they have photocopies of extracts and are now
trying to get the papers formally accepted as evidence.
The investigating judge Pedro Miguel dos Anjos Frias, has until next Thursday to
authorise any further police activity in the case against the McCanns after
being handed a 4,000 page file by the public prosecutor last Tuesday.
Police are on standby to carry out searches along the coast to the west of Praia
da Luz and attention has also focused on the area surrounding the town's church.
In the UK, Mr McCann's sister Philomena said the couple and extended family
would be prepared to sell their homes to help foot the legal bill to clear their
Mr and Mrs McCann have appointed lawyers in Portugal and the UK after being
named official suspects in their daughter's disappearance.
The couple's £640,000 home in Rothley, Leicestershire, has been besieged by the
world's media since the McCanns flew home last Sunday.
Their battle to shift suspicion has been hampered by the fact that they are not
allowed to hire their own private investigator.
Under Portuguese law, no independent inquiry can be carried out while a criminal
investigation is underway.
It is only when a person has been charged with a crime that they are entitled to
appoint their own experts – such as forensic specialists – which have to be
approved by the court.