herald

Thursday 23 November 2017

Maddie detectives fly in to quiz No1 suspect Hewlett

CLUES: Tourists spoke to paedophile on Portugal holiday

Detectives hope to interview a convicted paedophile in Germany today over Madeleine McCann's disappearance.

Raymond Hewlett (64) is alleged to have been staying near the McCanns' holiday flat in Praia da Luz, Portugal, when the little girl went missing in May 2007.

British-born Hewlett, a former soldier who has lived in various locations around Ireland, was jailed several times for sexually assaulting young girls.

He is now reportedly being treated for throat cancer in hospital in the German city of Aachen, but is wanted for questioning by gardai and police in Britain.

"We have made contact with the German authorities. We are just waiting for clearance so we can go and speak to him," a police spokeswoman said.



search

Two retired UK detectives hired by Madeleine's parents to search for their daughter hope to interview Hewlett with the help of British police.

A source said: "A proper police force such as West Yorkshire may get first crack. It's then a question of us liaising with the police to see what access we can get."

But the source added: "He is one of a number of possible leads that we are looking at. We are not going to give it any more weight than that. We are being quite cautious on this."

Questions were raised about Hewlett's time in Portugal by a couple who met him on holiday.

Alan and Cindy Thompson said the sex offender was living with his wife and six children in a converted Dodge truck travelling between campsites in the Algarve and southern Spain.



tourists

Hewlett allegedly told the Thompsons he was approached by some "gipsy tourists" offering to buy his daughter just before Madeleine went missing.

They also recalled him mentioning a "business" trip to Morocco, where there were several alleged sightings of the little girl in the months after her disappearance.

Hewlett reportedly told the couple he had done nothing wrong and they were judging him based on his past.

He said: "If you've chosen to believe anything I can't do anything about it anyway, so there you go. Catch 22.

"You're basing it on someone's past, rather. That means the person's past is important. Doesn't make him guilty. You shouldn't be talking to me about it. I've done nothing wrong."

British police have reportedly arranged to speak to the Thompsons today to discuss their dealings with Hewlett, who is also believed to be under investigation in Germany over the death of his son David.



killed

The boy was allegedly killed after he fell from the back of a van that Hewlett was driving from Portugal to Germany.

Wayne Hewlett (40), another son of Hewlett's, said he had severed all ties with his father, whom he branded "despicable" and "a monster".

hnews@herald.ie

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