News comes as detectives are blocked from quizzing paedophile
Portuguese police have dismissed up to four potential Madeleine McCann leads in the past week by telling informers: ‘The case is closed, she is dead.’
The revelation was described as a 'disgrace' by friends of Kate and Gerry McCann, who are spearheading a renewed appeal to find their daughter two years after she vanished in Portugal.
A source close to the investigation said: ‘In the last week, three or four people have approached the Portuguese police with information, and they were told not to worry them because the case was closed and she is dead.’ It is understood these people later gave their information directly to the McCanns' private detectives. A friend of the McCanns - both doctors from Rothley, Leicestershire - said: 'It's a disgrace frankly, it's beyond frustrating. It is exactly the attitude that we have been up against for months.
Yesterday two private detectives employed by the couple were rebuffed as they tried to question paedophile Raymond Hewlett in his hospital bed in Germany. Former soldier Hewlett, 62, who was living in the Algarve when Madeleine went missing and has a history of sex attacks on girls, hid in his room and refused to see the pair.
Because Hewlett is not suspected of a crime in Germany, the authorities cannot compel him to cooperate - unless they receive a request from British Police. However, West Yorkshire police have confirmed they are 'actively seeking' Hewlett in connection with an indecent assault on an eight-year-old in 1975.
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