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FLATS 'WERE NOT SEARCHED'
Express 31 May 2007 [Now removed from internet]
David Piditch and Matt Drake in Praia da Luz
PORTUGUESE police hunting for Madeleine
McCann faced further criticism last
night for allegedly failing to search
empty apartments yards from where she
Detectives in the Algarve have come
under intense pressure over a growing
catalogue of mistakes during an inquiry
that critics fear has stalled.
Another shortcoming came to light
yesterday when it was revealed officers
never carried out a full search of
holiday apartments close to the crime
scene. Many properties have metal
shutters on their windows and doors that
would have prevented any of the search
teams seeing if anyone is inside.
In Britain, a sweeping door-to-door
police search of the area would have
been standard procedure.
Businessman Michael Askew, 60, owns a
two-bedroom apartment in a large complex
just 500 yards from the Ocean Club where
the McCann family were staying on
He said none of the owners had been
asked who was living in the complex at
the time four-year-old Madeleine was
taken on May 3.
Mr Askew, who owns a building company in
Derbyshire, said: “I’m amazed the police
haven’t searched my place.
“Soon after Madeleine was abducted I saw
an interview on television with a
Portuguese policeman who said they had
master keys to all the nearby empty
“He said they were all going to be
searched but mine certainly hasn’t.
“My son Robert went out there this week
for the first time since Madeleine went
missing and it’s obvious no one has been
into the apartment. He’s spoken to the
neighbours and none of theirs have been
searched either. I’ve spoken to the
complex managers and they say they
haven’t handed over the master keys to
Mr Askew has now told Leicester-shire
Police of his concerns.
“I’m also surprised that no one seems to
have been asked whether they were
staying in the apartments or who may
have been renting them at the time,” he
“That would seem a very obvious thing to
have done. It makes you very sceptical
about how they have conducted their
Last Friday Chief Inspector Olegario
Sousa, who is leading the investigation,
was forced to take the unprecedented
step of issuing a description of a man
seen carrying a child on the night
Madeleine was snatched.
But it has since emerged the description
issued around the world was wrong.
Police gave the suspect’s height as
three inches taller than the witness had
said. It appears the mistake was made in
the conversion from centimetres to
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