Crack spy team in new Maddie hunt; Ex-cops and spooks hired

14 January 2009
Mike Sullivan and Antonella Lazzeri
The Sun

An elite team of ex-cops and secret agents are spearheading a new hunt for Madeleine McCann. The veteran investigators have been hired by missing Maddie's desperate parents Gerry and Kate. The 12 crack former Scotland Yard detectives and MI5 and MI6 agents have been secretly on the ground in Portugal for weeks chasing any new leads which may help to find her. The group was recruited over the past few months after Portuguese cops announced they had shelved their inquiry into Maddie's disappearance.

They are thought to have been assembled by a London-based private security firm run by a former intelligence officer. Multi-millionaire businessman Bryan Kennedy, who has supported the McCanns since three-year-old Maddie vanished in May 2007, is thought to be funding them.

A source close to the investigators said yesterday: "The team in Portugal comprises some of the most experienced officers in the police and security services. "They feel there is still a great deal of stuff to be gone over and new leads to be found."

The team has used files released by Portuguese cops last summer to compile a database of evidence and information known about the abduction of Maddie. They are also using a HOLMES type computer software system to index the information.


The Home Office Large Enquiry System was developed after the Yorkshire Ripper investigation and is still regarded as the most advanced in the world. The team is carrying out background checks on possible suspects, including their movements before and after Maddie went missing. A list of paedophiles in the area is also being analysed. Gerry and Kate, both 40, of Leicestershire in England, vowed that they will never give up searching for Maddie, who vanished from the family's holiday apartment in Praia da Luz.

Yesterday their spokesman Clarence Mitchell refused to confirm that the team was in Portugal, saying: "We never comment on operational detail."

The Spanish private eyes Kate and Gerry first hired were a complete failure.

Barcelona- based Metodo 3 cost the Finding Madeleine Fund more than £300,000.


GERRY McCann flew back to Portugal yesterday for the first time since returning to the UK 16 months ago. He went to meet his Portuguese lawyers to discuss what more could done to help find Maddie, said family spokesman Clarence Mitchell. Gerry flew into Faro Airport in the Algarve and was met by British officials. He then travelled to Lisbon for talks with his legal team, led by Rogerio Alves. He will fly back to England today. It is understood Kate wasn't with him, and that he will not see any Portuguese officials.

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