Madeleine McCann 'kidnapper' was 'hotel worker who snatched her after being sacked then DIED in tractor accident'
30 October 2013 11:25 AM By Gerard Couzens
Portuguese police are believed to have identified the 40-year-old former Ocean Club employee following tests on his mobile phone, local media reported
Madeleine McCann's suspected kidnapper was a worker at the hotel where she vanished who snatched her after being sacked - and later DIED in a tractor accident, it was sensationally claimed today.
Police are believed to have identified the man as their main suspect after tests on his mobile phone showed he was around the McCann's holiday apartment on the day Maddie disappeared, Portuguese daily Correio da Manha reported.
The 40-year-old is understood to have been a former employee at the Ocean Club complex in Praia da Luz who detectives fear may have snatched the little girl out of revenge after he was fired.
The unnamed suspect was also living in a flat in the town of Lagos, around a 15-minute drive from the McCann's resort.
Officers have already quizzed his widow about their suspicions and are thought to be searching for Madeleine's body in the belief he may have killed her, the newspaper reported.
Ocean Club: Police believe the suspect was an employee at the hotel where Madeleine vanished
Portugal's Attorney General gave the go-ahead for the investigation into Madeleine's disappearance to be reopened last week at the request of the country's Policia Judiciaria police force - more than five years after the probe had been shelved.
Correio da Manha claimed: "Police suspicions about the former Ocean Club employee arose during the review of the case carried out by a PJ team from Porto.
"This was the strongest new lead presented to state prosecutors which led to the investigation being reopened.
"The man, who died aged 40 in a tractor accident in 2009, was not on the list of employees handed over to police during the initial investigation by the Ocean Club because at the time of Madeleine's disappearance he was not working there."
McCanns 'pleased' as probe reopens
The newspaper described his departure from the Ocean Club as "frictious" and added: "The motives that could have caused the ex-employee to kidnap the youngster are still being investigated.
"The suspect could have taken the child to commit a sex crime before killing her.
"But he could also have committed the kidnap as a form of retaliation against the Ocean Club.
"His aim could have been to call into question the security of the holiday club but something went wrong and the youngster disappeared."
Correio da Manha reported earlier this week that Portuguese police were looking for Madeleine's body after reaching the conclusion she was probably dead.
The McCanns' lawyer Rogerio Alves said last week the couple were still motivated by the belief she was alive.
Portuguese police declined to comment on the Correio da Manha report today.
Libel battle: Kate and Gerry McCann are taking legal action against Goncalo Amaral
It was written by three journalists, including a senior reporter who recently gave evidence at the ongoing libel trial the McCanns brought against Goncalo Amaral over a controversial July 2008 book he wrote falsely accusing them of faking their daughter's abduction to cover up her death.
A spokesman for the Policia Judiciaria said: "A secrecy order placed on the reopened case, and our professional secrecy, prevents us from making any comment on Correio da Manha's reports."
Police are planning to reinterview several Ocean Club employe4ese
It emerged over the weekend police were planning to reinterview several Ocean Club employees.
More than 130 workers were questioned during the initial inquiry, including two maintenance men who fixed a blind in Gerry and Kate McCann's apartment two days before Madeleine disappeared and showed her mum how to use the washing machine.
One of the men blamed gypsies for a string of robberies in the area and told police he had seen travellers stealing firewood from an Ocean Club warehouse around four months before Madeleine disappeared.
Portuguese police are thought to have returned to the Praia da Luz area around a month ago to do mobile phone tracking work.
It is not clear if the officers were from the Porto-based review team - or were detectives based in the Algarve acting on behalf of Met Police who are carrying out their own separate investigation into Madeleine's disappearance.