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Briton's lover is re-interviewed over Madeleine

Original Source: TELEGRAPH: 24 MAY 2010
By Fiona Govan in Praia da Luz 24/05/2007
Detectives investigating the disappearance of four-year-old Madeleine McCann in Portugal yesterday re-interviewed two people as witnesses in the case.

The two were believed to be Michaela Walczuch, a German woman who is the lover of Robert Murat, and her estranged Portuguese husband Luis Antonio, who works as a pool cleaner.

Mr Murat is a British ex-pat who has been identified by police as a formal suspect in the case.

A senior police source described yesterday's questioning, which lasted several hours, as "normal and routine". The pair were first questioned 10 days ago as a result of their connection to Mr Murat.

Mr Murat, who has not been charged or even formally arrested but remains the police's main line of inquiry, lives with his mother in a villa less than 100 yards from the Algarve holiday apartment where Madeleine was snatched three weeks ago.

He strenuously denies any involvement in Madeleine's disappearance and is said to be in a state of "near collapse" over the allegations. Police have said that they will continue to investigate those with links to Mr Murat.

They have already searched premises belonging to a Russian computer expert who reportedly had telephone conversations with Mr Murat in the hours immediately following Madeleine's disappearance.

The latest development came amid local media reports that forensic tests on evidence taken from the McCanns' apartment and Mr Murat's home had yielded no clues.

The head of the Forensic Medicine Institute of Portugal told the Portuguese newspaper Correio da Manha that tests on the samples had so far proved inconclusive.

"It is not like on the television show CSI," said Duarte Nuno Vieira, who explained that the investigation would take time.

"The analyses are ongoing," he added. "They're far from over, and we'll only be able to draw conclusions once they're completed."

Detailed DNA analysis on hair, fibres and sweat samples are not expected until at least Saturday, it was reported, at which point police may be in a position to arrest Mr Murat or drop the case against him completely.

The police search for Madeleine was strongly criticised yesterday as a leading expert said the Portuguese investigation had been plagued with "serious errors".

Mark Williams-Thomas, a former officer with Surrey police who worked on the case of Sarah Payne, the seven-year-old murdered by paedophile Roy Whiting, said detectives had failed to seal off the apartment when the four-year-old vanished and had not carried out proper forensic searches.

He said the investigation had hit "a brick wall" as a result and called for British detectives to carry out a full review of the case to ensure that everything was being done to find Madeleine.


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