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Madeleine latest: British police “back to where they were seven years ago”

British police are said to be “near the end” of their latest efforts ongoing in Faro to uncover the truth behind Madeleine McCann’s disappearance. And this end, like all the others, seems to have brought them right back to the beginning. “We’re back to where we were seven years ago,” a police source is quoted by British tabloid the Daily Mirror.
The various “arguidos” (suspects) and witnesses interviewed over the last couple of days have not, apparently, revealed any new evidence – and have certainly not in any way corroborated the Metropolitan Police theory that Madeleine was taken in a botched burglary and then murdered, with her body buried close to the apartment in Praia da Luz from which she disappeared on May 3, 2007.
As commentators point out, it is almost too much to expect that anyone who was involved in the child’s disappearance would have stayed in the area for seven long years. Less likely even that they would have kept hold of any vehicle used to transport a dead body.
But if newspapers are to be believed, the arrival on Tuesday of Welsh sniffer dogs was designed to give the suspects’ cars a thorough sniffing.
SIC TV news carries a short report today showing Met officers walking through the streets of Faro with their packed lunches in plastic bags on Wednesday, and reports that the British diligences took much less time than they had expected. Almost the entire 10-man team was reported to have returned to their hotel, with some officers already said to have returned to UK.
The time allowed for this latest stage of the long-running Met investigation, which has so far spent at least €7 million, runs out tomorrow, and it is understood that a bid to get DNA from all four “arguidos” to match it with hairs found in the McCanns’ holiday apartment has run aground as it did not satisfy the requirements of Portuguese law.
According to the Daily Mirror, Portuguese police “rejected the request because it had not been sanctioned by a judge”.
Judicial issues were highlighted in Portugal’s popular tabloid, Correio da Manhã, today which claimed that the country’s authorities have been “used and abused” by British police.
“From chartered Air Force helicopter flights (to unveil graves dug seven years ago) to the return of the famous sniffer dogs and interrogation of ‘arguidos’ and witnesses… Can this all be justified?” queries university professor Rui Pereira, who adds that it is almost impossible to believe that the British police would do the same for Portuguese counterparts if the situation was reversed.
Pereira concluded that the whole case “shows a large dose of subservience” on the part of Portuguese authorities, with resulting “damage to our penal sovereignty”.
And as the Daily Mirror points out: A Portuguese source close to the investigation has claimed the interviews have produced no new leads.
He added: “We’re back where we were seven years ago.”
By NATASHA DONN [email protected]