Expatica news

Portuguese police quiz Maddie case witnesses

Portuguese police, accompanied by their British counterparts, questioned a group of witnesses Thursday over the 2007 disappearance of three-year-old Madeleine McCann, a year after reopening the baffling case, Portuguese media reported.

Four women and seven men are being questioned this week about the disappearance of the British girl in the Algarve resort of Praia da Luz seven years ago.

Inspectors from Scotland Yard, which compiled the questionnaire, flew to the southern city of Faro to be present during the hearings.

Among those to be quizzed is British expat Robert Murat, who was first questioned when the toddler was reported missing by her parents but later cleared of suspicion.

Murat is to be questioned in the presence of his lawyer Friday, reports said. His girlfriend was questioned for eight hours Wednesday.

The police have also heard from employees of the holiday complex where Madeleine went missing on May 3, 2007 while on holiday with her parents.

The police were tightlipped on the case.

The British officer in charge of the investigation, Detective Chief Inspector Andy Redwood, refused to be drawn by reporters in Faro on any new developments.

Redwood is fast approaching retirement. On December 22 he will hand over the case to his successor Detective Chief Inspector Nicola Wall, who has joined him on the trip.

Madeleine, then aged nearly four, disappeared from her bedroom as her parents Kate and Gerry McCann were dining with friends at a nearby tapas bar.

Portuguese police closed their investigation in 2008 after 14 months, which at one point implicated her parents in her abduction before their names were cleared.

After two years studying the case, Britain officially opened its own investigative review of the evidence in July last year and the Portuguese authorities reopened their case shortly afterwards.