Madeleine McCann disappeared
five years ago
British detectives are examining an extraordinary claim
that Madeleine McCann's body is buried near the holiday
apartment from where she vanished.
A self-styled investigator has sent police ground radar scans he
claims show a burial site.
Stephen Birch says he took the scans last week in Praia da Luz, the
Portuguese holiday resort where Madeleine disappeared
five years ago.
He passed them to Scotland Yard detectives who are carrying out an
investigative review of the case.
They have asked him for more information to help them interpret the
scan results and the "raw data" the machine collected.
He has also sent the material to Portuguese police who abandoned
their search for Madeleine 15 months after she
Madeleine's parents Kate and
Gerry McCann believe she is still alive
Mr Birch, a commercial property developer in South Africa, admits
he is "obsessed" with the Madeleine mystery.
He claims to have spent £40,000 on buying the ground-penetrating
scanner and being trained in its use.
He said: "All I want to do is solve the mystery and bring closure
to Madeleine's family. I am convinced she lies where I
"I've had the scans analysed and they show digging, a void and what
could be human bones."
Scotland Yard said it would always consider any new potential
evidence and pass it on to the Portuguese authorities.
Earlier this year the detective in charge of the review said he
believed there was a chance Madeleine was still alive.
She was nearly four when she disappeared without trace from the
apartment in May 2007.
Despite dozens of potential sightings around the world no credible
evidence has emerged to indicate whether she is alive or
Her parents Kate and Gerry McCann believe she is still alive and
would not comment on Mr Birch's claims.