Private investigators, hired by Gerry and Kate McCann to find their missing daughter Madeleine, are hoping to obtain DNA samples from known pedophile Raymond Hewlett, as part of their investigation into the little girl’s disappearance.
Travelling to Aachen, Germany, today, the detectives are hoping to question Hewlett, 64, about the case. Hewlett, who is recovering from throat cancer surgery in a hospital, is not legally required to partake in the test and over the next few days, an Aachen public prosecutor will decide whether or not to give him the test.
Hewlett, who has been convicted of raping children in the UK, was allegedly living near the McCann’s holiday apartment in Praia da Luz at the time of Madeleine’s disappearance May 2007.
Police will compare Hewlett’s DNA samples to unidentified samples found at the scene of the crime, in the hope of placing Hewlett at the scene.
Clarence Mitchell, the McCann family spokesman, said he hoped Hewlett would co operate with detectives in their investigation.
‘Mr Hewlett has denied any involvement in Madeleine’s abduction.
‘Our investigators hope he will co-operate by giving them whatever information is needed so they can eliminate him from the investigation.’
Hewlett’s wife, Marianna Schmuker, has been outspoken in her defense of her husband, saying that he had nothing to do with Madeleine’s abduction, and declaring him ‘innocent’; this came even after news had emerged that Hewlett had been spotted outside the McCann’s apartment in Praia da Luz ‘many times’.
A new witness has come forward to reveal that Hewlett had talked non-stop about the Madeleine story in the weeks following her abduction in May 2007.
Hewlett had been living in the Praia da Luz area at the time of the abduction, but had left and gone to Morocco soon after.
Witness Peter Verran, a former Scots Guardsman, spent a few months with Hewlett and said that he seemed to know a lot about the McCann family and the resort they had stayed in.
Mr Verran, who was camping with his family in Morocco, had expressed concern to Hewlett that police would mistake his child for Madeleine, since she bore a resemblance to the missing girl, but Hewlett had quickly replied that Madeleine was not in Morocco.
He went on to say that Hewlett seemed to know a lot about the Ocean Club complex where the McCann’s had been staying, explaining that he had been to the resort many times and used to park his van close to their apartment. He was boastful about knowing the layout of the resort, the restaurant where the McCann’s had been eating and even the flat that Madeleine had disappeared from.
Verran went on to say, ‘He (Hewlett) said it was common knowledge among locals that Praia da Luz in general and the Ocean Club in particular was a magnet for Romanian gypsies who abduct and then traffic children.
‘I asked him why he’d left and come to Morocco. He told me he’d had to leave Portugal in a hurry.
‘He said he’d packed his family up in half an hour and just driven out of the area. That was just after Maddie was taken.’
The McCann’s family spokesperson explained that whilst Hewlett is, ‘a person of interest’ to the investigation, he is just one of many leads they are currently following.
Hewlett has strongly denied any connection with Madeleine’s disappearance. Speaking from his hospital bed he said, ‘I’ve done nothing wrong – nothing, nothing.’