Belfast Telegraph

Monday 21 April 2014

CPS lawyers discuss Madeleine leads

Madeleine McCann went missing in 2007

UK Government lawyers have travelled to Portugal to visit their counterparts to discuss new leads in the case of missing Madeleine McCann, it has been confirmed.

London's chief crown prosecutor Alison Saunders and her deputy Jenny Hopkins flew to Portugal with Scotland Yard detectives in connection with the police force's review of the case.

Madeleine, who was then nearly four, disappeared from her family's holiday apartment in Praia da Luz in Portugal's Algarve on May 3 2007 as her parents Kate and Gerry dined at a nearby tapas restaurant with friends.

A CPS spokesman said: "Prosecutors from CPS London, and investigators from the MPS (Metropolitan Police Service), visited their Portuguese counterparts on April 17-18 to discuss possible next steps in relation to the disappearance of Madeleine McCann. We continue to work with the police on this case."

Operation Grange, conducted by Scotland Yard's Homicide & Serious Crime Command, was launched in May 2011.

Last month, Detective Chief Superintendent Hamish Campbell said the review has identified ''both investigative and forensic opportunities'' and had identified ''more than a handful of people of interest".

As they marked the sixth anniversary of Madeleine's disappearance last month, Mr and Mrs McCann said they were encouraged by Operation Grange and said police seemed ''more determined than ever''.

The couple's hopes were further reinforced by the recent discovery of Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus and Michelle Knight in Ohio, a decade after they went missing in separate incidents. When the women were found, the McCanns said the rescue of the women "'reaffirmed" their hope of finding their daughter, which has never diminished.

It has been reported that Home Secretary Theresa May is set to announce a full-scale Yard investigation into Maddie's disappearance. A full investigation would allow police to interview suspects in Britain though they would seek the assistance of the Portuguese to carry out there inquiries there.

A Home Office spokesman said: "The Home Office remains committed to supporting the search for Madeleine McCann and we have always said we would provide the Metropolitan Police with the resources they need to investigate her disappearance."

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