Six Weeks for Kidnap Plot Email to Reach Portuguese; Tip-Off: Madeleine McCann Disappeared Three Days after the Yard's Email Warning

The Evening Standard (London, England), August 7, 2008 | Go to article overview

Six Weeks for Kidnap Plot Email to Reach Portuguese; Tip-Off: Madeleine McCann Disappeared Three Days after the Yard's Email Warning


Byline: ROBERT MENDICK

A SCOTLAND YARD email warning Madeleine McCann may have been abducted by an international paedophile ring took six weeks to reach Portuguese detectives investigating her disappearance, it emerged today.

The Met police received a tip-off that a Belgian paedophile gang "made an order for a young girl" just three days before Madeleine vanished. The email suggests that "somebody connected to this group" photographed Madeleine and sent the picture back to Belgium for approval before snatching the little girl, then aged three.

The existence of the email is contained in a 30,000-page police file made public this week. No explanation is offered in the dossier as to why the email sent on 5 March by the Met's vice intelligence unit to Leicestershire police which was co-ordinating the British end of the investigation was only passed on to Portuguese officers based in Portimao in the Algarve on 21 April.

Inspector Ricardo Paiva, one of the detectives working on the Madeleine case, then sent it to Lisbon Interpol one week later asking them to investigate the claim as a matter of urgency.

More than a month later, Interpol replied that information gathered from around Europe suggested that some information was not credible.

On 27 May, Lisbon Interpol sent a further urgent message requesting information but received an undated fax claiming there was nothing to add. The email that sparked the line of inquiry was sent by John Shord, an officer with the Met's CO14. It states: "Intelligence suggests that a paedophile ring in Belgium made an order for a young girl three days before Madeleine McCann was taken. …

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