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Portuguese cops ‘WILL continue to investigate Madeleine McCann disappearance’ as Met ends probe

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PORTUGUESE cops will continue to investigate Madeleine McCann’s disappearance as the Met Police ends its probe.

Sources close to Portuguese authorities said abandoning their ongoing case review was “completely out of the question”, the Mirror reports.

Portugal police will continue to investigate the disappearance of Madeleine who went was last seen in Praia da Luz in 2007
AFP

The Met’s McCann probe is due to wind down later this year[/caption]

News Group Newspapers Ltd

Portugal police sources have ruled out local cops giving up[/caption]

Portugal’s Attorney General’s Office said an independent inquiry led by prosecutors out of the Algarve will continue.

A spokesperson said: “The investigation is proceeding, with the inquiry not having a final conclusion yet.”

Sources connected to the country’s police dismissed concerns its ongoing case review case will be wound down despite Scotland Yard wrapping up its 11-year investigation into McCann’s case.

They revealed it had been a “long time” since the UK detective team had officially requested any new information.

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A source said: “Only the German authorities have been sending formal requests for judicial assistance of late.”

Funding for the UK’s Operation Grange inquiry — launched four years after she vanished from her family apartment on May 3, 2007 — will end later this year.

A source said: “There are currently no plans to take the inquiry any further.”

The decision means that prime suspect Christian B is highly unlikely to be charged over her disappearance.


It underlines how top cops feel there is insufficient evidence to bring a case against the convicted paedophile and rapist, who German cops were convinced was involved.

The Met’s Operation Grange probe — which has run for 11 years — is due to wind down later this year.

But the clock is ticking for Portugal police who could lose their chance to nail anyone over McCann’s disappearance due to a law which prevents prosecutions after 15 years.

Legal experts say the time limit means the chances of putting anyone behind bars would be “greatly reduced” after May 3, the day she vanished in 2007.

Accused German national Christian B, 45, who lived near the resort from where Madeleine vanished at the time — Praia da Luz — would have to be declared an “official suspect” by that date this year.

Spencer Dohner, of MDM Legal in Faro, said Portugal’s statute of limitations states that anyone behind a crime punishable by ten or more years’ jail “cannot generally be prosecuted once 15 years has passed”.

The lawyer said: “If Madeleine is dead and was murdered the cut-off point for prosecution would be the 15th anniversary of her disappearance.


“If she were found alive and had been the victim of sex crimes as a minor, legal proceedings could take place until she was 23.” She is now 18.

A Lisbon-based lawyer, who asked not to be named, said: “Police and prosecutors in Portugal will be acutely aware of the time limits hanging over the case.”

Key events in quest to solve riddle

MAY 3, 2007: Madeleine reported missing from her holiday apartment at the Ocean Club in Praia da Luz, Portugal, at 10.14pm.

SEPTEMBER 2007: Her parents Kate and Gerry McCann return to England with their twins.

JANUARY 2008: Sketch of a suspect released.

JULY 2008: Portuguese authorities shelve their probe.

NOVEMBER 2010: McCanns sign publishing deal to write book about disappearance.

MAY 2011: Operation Grange is set up by Met Police after Kate writes open letter in The Sun to PM David Cameron asking for inquiry by British cops.

JULY 2013: Brit cops identify 38 “persons of interest”.

OCTOBER 2013: Portuguese police re-open their investigation.

MAY 2014: British cops go to Portugal to investigate leads.

OCTOBER 2015: Operation Grange staff cut from 29 to four.

APRIL 2017: Four official suspects are ruled out.

JUNE 2019: Police receive a further £300,000 funding.

JUNE 2020: Christian B identified as a suspect.

JULY 2021: Operation Grange given a further £350,000.

PA

British police and their Portuguese counterparts search of a patch of Praia da Luz scrubland in 2014[/caption]

Alamy

Police could be running out of time to press charges over Madeleine McCann’s disappearance[/caption]

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