By SIMON HUGHES and ANTONELLA LAZZERI
A VAN used by Maddie McCann suspect Raymond Hewlett will be "ripped apart" in a hunt for clues.
Private detectives believe forensic checks could provide crucial evidence about the toddler's disappearance.
The battered blue Dodge has been seized by cops in Germany, where paedo Hewlett, 64, is being treated for cancer.
A source close to the probe added: "It will be ripped apart to look for a trace of Maddie."
Clarence Mitchell, spokesman for Maddie's parents Gerry and Kate, 41, said: "Our investigators have known about the vehicle for some time."
A former detective with more than 20 years' experience said: "A single hair or a clothing fibre could provide the breakthrough everyone is so desperate for."
Hewlett and the van were a familiar sight when Maddie, then three, was snatched from her holiday apartment in Praia da Luz, Portugal, in May 2007. It was the one vehicle he was known to drive at the time.
Hewlett has been jailed three times for sex attacks on young girls but has insisted: "I didn't kill the McCann girl."
He claimed he was 60 miles away when Maddie disappeared.
Source: The Sun
Discussion at the 3 arguidos: Sun tabloid: Hewllet Saga News
A few comments:
"This surely can't be legal for anybody other than the police to carry out this work ?I take it the single hair or clothing fibre would have to belong to Maddie , so if either of these were found whose to say they hadn't been planted ,if this is done privately?"
"The deflectives are going to rip apart a vehicle that Hewlett and his whole family lived in looking for forensic evidence related to a missing child, who's dna, hair etc could not even be found in the apartment she allegedly slept in for five days and could only be identified by allegedly finding her DNA from a pillow in the UK."
On the subject of Maddie's DNA found in the boot of the McCann's hire car three weeks after she disappeared Clarence Mitchell said: "There are wholly innocent explanations for any material police may, or may not, have found. "
Related: Gonçalo Amaral's book 'Maddie: L'Enquête Interdite' ('The Forbidden Investigation' is being translated into English) here