As news that manpower behind Scotland Yard’s four-year investigation into the disappearance of Madeleine McCann is to be cut back to four officers did the rounds of the world’s press last week, a source from the PJ – carrying out a parallel investigation from Porto – admitted: “We haven’t a clue what happened” to the little girl who went missing from apartment 5a at Luz Ocean Club eight publicity-jammed years ago.
Despite all the police work – not to mention the millions of pounds of taxpayers’ money ploughed into Operation Grange launched in 2011 – police in Portugal say they are no closer to discovering the truth than they were on May 4, when Madeleine’s alleged abduction hit the headlines.
“This is worrying,” explained the source, “because in most cases where no-one is arrested or charged, we know what happened, we just can’t prove it. But in this case, rigorously, there is no definitive idea on what happened. We don’t know a thing.”
The source said it was “perfectly reasonable” to see Scotland Yard’s Operation Grange investigation reduced to just four police officers after so much time, as now all material available has been analysed and it is time for the “second phase” – in which Portugal will be lending its full support.
“We have a great relationship with the Metropolitan Police,” the source confirmed. “And the PJ has never stopped worrying about this case. It is important to try and find answers.”
What was intriguing about the statement put out by Scotland Yard last week is that British police are no longer talking about an abduction.
The truncated investigation centres on “the disappearance” of the little girl. Sky News also refers to the case as a “disappearance”.
Talking to Sky last week, the McCanns’ press spokesman Clarence Mitchell said his clients were buoyed by the fact that eight years on they still feel there is no evidence to suggest that their daughter “has come to any harm”.