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'We have all the pieces of the jigsaw': Madeleine McCann cop says they have “best opportunity” yet to solve mystery

Original Source: WEDNESDAY 25 APRIL 2012
By Ryan Parry 25 Apr 2012 00:00

 The detective leading the hunt said his team of 28 detectives are going through 40,000 reports and documents on her disappearance 

Vanished: Madeleine McCann

 THE detective leading the UK hunt for Madeleine McCann has spoken for the first time about “solving” the riddle of her disappearance.


Det Chief Insp Andy Redwood said this is the “best opportunity” yet to find the girl who vanished on holiday five years ago next week, and who would now be aged eight.


He said: “We are here in terms of seeking to bring closure to the case. Closure means establishing what has happened to Madeleine.”


Mr Redwood’s comments on BBC1’s Panorama tonight come after Portuguese police, working in tandem with their British counterparts, announced last month that they were reviewing clues.


Almost four years after the investigation was “archived”, a team has been drafted in from Porto to go over every exhibit and thousands of pages of notes. 

Positive: Detective Chief Inspector Andy Redwood BBC

Mr Redwood says his team of 28 detectives and seven civilian support staff have received a huge number of reports and documents from Portugal and are also looking at information gathered by UK police and private detectives.


“Our initial estimates of the amount of material we are facing is that it will be in the region of 40,000 pieces,” he said. “Clearly, within that material, the answer could lie.”


Operation Grange was established last May in response to a plea from Kate and Gerry McCann to David Cameron.


The Prime Minister asked the Home Office to finance a review by a homicide team from the Metropolitan Police.

As she was: Madeleine was just days short of her fourth birthday PA

As she could look now: A computer generated image of what Maddy could look like older Getty

 So far, the review has cost taxpayers £2million. Officers have made two trips to Spain and visited Portugal four times, most recently last week.


Portuguese police remain in charge of the investigation, but Mr Redwood said having all of the information collated is an advantage.


He revealed: “At no time before have those three elements been drawn together in one place.”


"And so what we’ve done over the past number of months is to bring to one place all those pieces of the jigsaw.”


Former Home Secretary Alan Johnson criticises the initial hunt in the programme.


He said: “It didn’t seem to me they had had the benefit of a proper police investigation.”


Johnson was the first Home Secretary to carry out a feasibility study into whether the Metropolitan Police could review the investigation.


He met Madeleine’s parents and says: “I was enormously sympathetic to their case.” 

Review plea: Parents Kate and Gerry McCann PA

Also interviewed is Goncalo Amaral, the original lead investigator in the Portuguese Policia Judiciaria’s hunt for Madeleine, and he openly admits making mistakes.


Amaral was removed from the case after he made outspoken criticism of British involvement in the investigation.


“It’s a fact that our investigation had its faults and lost a lot of time, lots of time. And a lot of things didn’t get followed up. And I’m just as much to blame for that as anyone else,” he said.


Amaral left the police in 2008 and wrote a book on the case. He also presented a DVD which made allegations against Kate and Gerry McCann who are now suing him.


A statement on the McCanns’ website last night read: “Madeleine is still missing and someone needs to be looking for her.


"We love her dearly and miss her beyond words.”


* BBC Panorama – Madeleine: The Last Hope? is on BBC1 at 7.30pm tonight.


The timetable of tears 

Mystery: The hotel where the McCanns were staying

May 3, 2007: Madeleine, three, vanishes from her family’s ground-floor apartment at the Ocean Club resort in Praia da Luz, Portugal.


May 15, 2007: British-born Robert Murat is made a formal suspect, or arguido, following a search of his mother’s home in the resort.


September 7, 2007: Portuguese police declare Madeleine’s parents Kate and Gerry McCann are also formal suspects in the disappearance.


September 9, 2007: Kate and Gerry return home to Rothley, Leics.


July 21, 2009: Portuguese authorities shelve their investigation and clear the McCanns and Mr Murat.


May 23, 2011: Home Secretary Theresa May announces a Scotland Yard review of the McCann case


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