Monday

Madeleine McCann case: Scotland Yard must step in


SUNDAY EXPRESS COMMENTARY

IT IS both a scandal and a crying shame that almost two and a half years after Madeleine McCann went missing the forces of law and order have failed to solve the mystery, bring her kidnapper to justice and find her.

Portuguese detectives working closely with Leicestershire Police and with limited support from Scotland Yard have amassed bulging case files but precious little hard evidence or, more importantly, any suspects.

The Portuguese investigation has effectively been shelved, with senior officers saying it will only be reopened if they receive credible new information.

So now finding Madeleine has become the responsibility of two retired middle-ranking police detectives working as private investigators for Kate and Gerry McCann.

While David Edgar and Arthur Cowley have done a solid, credible job so far, Home Secretary Alan Johnson should now ask Scotland Yard to set up a cold case review team to follow through on the pair’s fresh leads and work closely with their Portuguese counterparts.

For there is still so much work to be done. As a matter of urgency all forensic material, including Madeleine’s blanket and bedding, must be re-examined as the culprit must have left a trace of a knock out drug.

Scotland Yard must demand spy satellite images of the resort as the kidnapper is probably on film casing the apartment in the days, weeks and months before the kidnap. There must also be a proper, systematic search of all the scrubland in and around Praia da Luz as it is likely the kidnapper hid in the undergrowth for several hours after the kidnap and almost certainly left clues behind.

Mr Edgar is believed to be looking at five or so “persons of interest” but he has limited resources. That is why Scotland Yard must restore public confidence by taking over the investigation.

The public has a right to expect its government will spend whatever it takes to capture the most heinous of criminals, child abductors.

in Sunday Express, paper edition only

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by Joana Morais