Maddie McCann investigation sees police probe former suspect and rapist pig farmer

LAST UPDATED: 11 Jan, 2015 @ 13:24
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Maddie McCann investigation sees police probe former suspect and rapist pig farmer

A former suspect in the Madeleine McCann investigation has been questioned by police, along with 10 other witnesses.

Robert Murat, 41 – who became a suspect just days after Madeleine’s disappearance from a Praia da Luz holiday complex – was questioned by Portuguese police as a witness.

The British IT consultant arrived at Faro Police Station yesterday morning, through the back entrance, accompanied by his German-born wife Michaela Walczuch, 38, and their lawyer Francisco Pagarete.

The 11 people brought in as witnesses this week are the first since four men – including Russian businessman Sergey Malinka – were questioned at the start of July.

All four insisted they had nothing to do with the disappearance.

Three other men were also questioned on Tuesday, including the rapist pig farmer Joaquim Jose Marques.

Three more are to be questioned today as witnesses on the final day of police questioning.

Murat is not suspected of any involvement in Madeleine’s disappearance on May 3 2007, and was cleared of being a suspect in the case a year after the disappearance.

Police took three statements from estate agent Michaela within three weeks of Madeleine’s disappearance.

A Portuguese lorry driver reported that he had seen a blonde woman – who allegedly resembled Michaela – passing a blanket that he was convinced contained a child, over a fence on an Algarve farm on May 4.

Spanish tourist Isabel Gonzalez also claimed she had spotted her in a town in northern Morocco in June 2007, just moments after seeing a girl resembling Madeleine.

Michaela dismissed the claim of a sighting in Morocco as ‘ridiculous’, insisting she was having lunch with Murat and his lawyer on the day in question.

“I lost my faith not just in justice but in the whole system and everyone that supports it,” she said in a UK newspaper interview in December 2007.

“The worst part is people putting me in this, knowing I have nothing to do with it. They have no feelings, no heart. They are completely empty.

“I went into town and I just saw my face on the front of all the papers. I felt sick. I just wanted to go all around the town screaming, ‘It wasn’t me’.”

Police also questioned Silvia Batista, who ran the service and maintenance departments at the Ocean Club holiday complex where the McCanns were staying.

Now unemployed, Batista was one of the first people on the scene after being alerted to Maddie’s disappearance.

She told police she found Gerry ‘hitting the floor with both hands’ and ‘screaming with anger’ when she reached apartment 5A, where Maddie had been sleeping with twin siblings Sean and Amelie.

British police believe Maddie was killed during a robbery that went wrong, although Portuguese police disagree.

DCI Nicola Wall, from the Met Police’s Homicide and Major Crime Command Unit, will take charge of the British investigation from Andy Redwood on December 22, when he retires.

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