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Madeleine 'killed in moment of thwarted desire'

Original Source: TELEGRAPH: TUESDAY 27 NOVEMBER 2007
By Fiona Govan in Praia da Luz
Last Updated: 2:39AM GMT 27 Nov 2007
Madeleine McCann was killed by a paedophile in a moment of "thwarted desire" before being taken from her Algarve holiday apartment, police investigating her disappearance believe, it has been claimed.


Detectives now believe she was taken by an intruder who panicked and suffocated her to stop her from screaming, it was alleged.


They are close to abandoning the theory that Kate and Gerry McCann were responsible for their daughter's disappearance and will instead focus on the man seen walking away from the apartment carrying a child in his arms.

The U-turn has been suggested after a review of the case by senior detective Paulo Rebelo, 45, who took over the investigation in October.

Respected Portuguese daily Publico on Monday published a chilling recreation of what it claimed police now believe may have been Madeleine's final few seconds of life.

"It was a moment. An unexpected event thwarted the prospect of desire. Madeleine cries as she wakes from her sleep. Her fear makes itself heard," the newspaper said. "She has to be silenced. Violence, suffocation probably. And unexpected death.

"All over in minutes. Now he had to get her out of there. Close the door. Flee as fast as he could.

"The theory this is the explanation behind Madeleine's McCann's disappearance, the night of May 3, was practically ruled out previously by police investigators.

"Now though, it's gaining strength in the centre of the investigation."

Gerry and Kate McCann, both 39, who were made arguidos - or formal suspects - in their daughter's disappearance on September 7, have always protested their innocence and claimed an intruder took her. On Monday they reiterated their belief that she was still alive.

"All we will say is Madeleine was abducted and in the absence of any evidence to the contrary her family firmly believe that she is alive and being held against her will somewhere," said Clarence Mitchell, the official spokesman for the McCanns.

Speaking of the Publico report he said: "An abductor would not have had time to do what is alleged here.

"This sort of unsourced report is potentially extremely distressing for Kate and Gerry," he said.

"The only point in this report to draw comfort from is the indication that police no longer believe that Kate and Gerry are involved in Madeleine's disappearance."

Meanwhile the Spanish detective agency hired by the McCanns to find their daughter are investigating links between Madeleine's disappearance and that of a local Portuguese girl who went missing 3 years ago.

Joana Cipriano, 8, disappeared from her home in the Algarve village of Figueria, 10 miles from Praia da Luz in September 2004. She has never been found.


Her mother Leonor, 36, and uncle, Joao, 35, were convicted of murder after Ms Cipriano confessed to the crime during police questioning.

She later retracted her confession, claiming it was forced during a beating by detectives, but was found guilty and sentenced to 16 years in jail. Her lawyers claim she is innocent and are appealing.

On Monday it emerged that Metodo 3 are looking into Joana's case to see if there is anything to link it with Madeleine's disappearance.

"There may be a connection," one of the Spanish detectives told Portuguese newspaper Diario de Noticias.

"We are following all leads," he said.

Kate and Gerry deny evidence claim

The McCanns have denied that key evidence held in high security storage would undermine the results of tests that they claim clears them of any involvement in their daughter's disappearance.

The couple's legal team insist that independent forensic results carried out on the Renault Scenic hire car showed no evidence that Madeleine's body had been transported in the boot, as alleged by the police.

It emerged on Monday, however, that the McCanns' scientists did not have access to all the evidence because some of the lining of the boot's interior had been removed and sent to a laboratory Birmingham, where it is undergoing tests.

Clarence Mitchell, the McCanns' official spokesman said: "We do not believe this affects the results of our tests at all.

"They were extremely thorough and covered all aspects of the vehicle.

"The piece retained by the Forensic Science Service is extremely small, if anything has been found on it, there is a wholly innocent explanation for it," he said.


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