Disappeared and Abducted Children and Young Adults > Suspects

Raymond Hewlett

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Some of the first media reports on Raymond Hewlett as a person of interest.

Sky News 21st May 2009

'New Suspect In Madeleine Case'
Investigators searching for Madeleine McCann say they are interested in talking to a man they've named as Raymond Hewlett. Speaking to Sky News, spokesman for the family Clarence Mitchell has stressed that this is just one line of inquiry out of many.


Daily Mirror 22nd May 2009

'Madeleine McCann search team probe convicted British paedophile'


The Sun, 22 May 2009

'Maddie: Paedo suspect'

A CONVICTED British paedophile on the run is a key suspect in the Madeleine McCann abduction mystery.
He is Raymond Hewlett, 64, originally from Yorkshire but living in Portugal less than an hour from the McCann's holiday home when she was snatched.
Hewlett has been traced to a German hospital - where he is undergoing treatment for cancer - by the McCann's own team of former cops who are believed to have had him under investigation.
Last night it was understood members of the team were on the ground in Germany pursuing their inquiries.
Hewlett was quizzed by Portuguese cops investigating the toddler's disappearance but was given an alibi by a 15-year-old girl.
Sources close to the British investigation into the snatch say that he is now of renewed interest because of bizarre comments he made about the case to friends and family.
Details of his oddball comments were passed earlier this year to a team of British private detectives probing the abduction.
It is also understood that his alibi has been challenged.
Last night the McCann's official spokesman Clarence Mitchell said: "We are aware of Raymond Hewlett and the claims that have been made about him.
"The investigators searching for Madeleine are currently looking into the circumstances surrounding these claims.
"He is an individual of interest to the investigation."
Hewlett has convictions for two violent sex attacks on young girls dating back to the 1970's.
A source close to the British investigation added: "He was looked at by Portuguese police a number of times in the days after Maddie was taken.
"He made strange comments about Maddie and other children.
"The reason he is back in the frame is because people near to him who have spoken to him since have become suspicious because of comments he has made to them about Maddie.
"There were several conversations which made them suspicious.
"Other people have begun to doubt the truth of his alibi.
"They were sufficently worried to go to the police again but they felt nothing was being done to fully investigate him.
"It was after this that he was named as a person of interest to the McCann's own investigators."
Investigators have shown Hewlett's photograph to several witnesses who believe they may have seen Maddie's abductor on the night, May 3rd 2007, she went missing and in the days leading up to her abduction.
One eye witness commented on the similarity between his appearance and a photo fit of a mystery man seen by Jane Tanner, one of the Tapas Seven, who believes she saw carrying Maddie away in his arms on the night she disappeared.
Jane described him as having "greasy, long, dark hair."
The source close to the investigation revealed: "There are some photos of Hewlett where he looks eerily like the man Jane believes she saw, especially his hair."
Hewlett who's believed to have fathered at least nine children has worked in the past on travelling fairs and as a trawlerman. He is a serial child sex offender who has also had a string of underage teenage girlfriends.
The former Scots Guardsman has a long record of sex attacks on young girls and is wanted by police in the UK and Ireland.
The source said: "He lived less than an hour away from Praia da Luz. There are suggestions that he talked about children being bought and sold as well as the Maddie case in the weeks after she went missing.
"He has also said things subsequently which have made people suspicious about him. Portuguese authorities are aware of him, he was spoken to soon after Maddie went missing.
"He left Portugal and effectively went on the 'run'. He has travelled extensively through Europe and other countries. We believe he is currently wanted by several police forces.
"Hewlett is of enough interest for photographs of him to have been shown to the key witnesses."
"During some conversations, which disturbed those who know him enough to make them alert authorities, he is alleged to have said he 'knew what was going' when he was talking about Maddie.
Seven years ago Hewlett was the subject of a global police alert after he was linked to the unsolved murder of a girl but he was subsequently cleared by DNA evidence.
He denies being involved in Maddie's disappearance.
Last night a source close to the McCann's said: "Kate and Gerry are aware of Hewlett. It is obviously worrying for them given his horrific background."

Daily Mail 25th May 2009

Monster boasted he knew Maddie resort Praia da Luz 'very well'


*The Daily Mail placed Hewletts picture alongside Gail Cooper's 'Creepy Man'.



Daily Mail 27th May 2009

Hewlett insists he has 'done nothing wrong''

'Madeleine McCann hunters claim the Algarve is awash with paedophiles'


Daily Star 28th May 2009

'Paedo paradise'



The Sun 6th June 2009 (online article removed)

'I saw Maddie twice, admits paedo suspect'
CHILD-SEX fiend Raymond Hewlett has sensationally admitted he TWICE saw Madeleine McCann before she vanished.
Hewlett, 64, claimed he was at the holiday resort where Maddie was kidnapped - and got so close to her that he could see the distinctive flaw in her right eye.

The pervert - who has a string of convictions for sexually assaulting young girls - is said to have made his confession to police who questioned him about a 1975 attack on an eight-year-old.
That is a dramatic U-turn after Hewlett previously claimed he had never been near the Ocean Club holiday complex in Praia da Luz, Portugal - where Maddie disappeared days before her fourth birthday in May 2007.
Two senior officers from West Yorkshire Police travelled to Germany, where Hewlett is in hospital being treated for throat cancer.
A source close to the investigation said Hewlett told the cops he had been to the Ocean Club and seen Maddie.
The source added: "He said he had seen her at least two times and had wandered around the complex several times.
"He said he had been so close to Maddie he was able to see the distinctive mark in her right eye.
"He didn't say why he had previously denied ever being in Praia da Luz. It's obviously a disturbing development."
Last night Clarence Mitchell, official spokesman for Maddie's parents Gerry and Kate, said it was vital Hewlett now spoke to private investigators employed by the family to find Maddie.
He said: "If Mr Hewlett has any credible information about Madeleine it is absolutely imperative that he should speak to the investigators as a priority.
"Mr Hewlett and his representatives must do the right thing and allow the private investigators to do their work."
Hewlett, originally from Todmorden, West Yorks, refused to see the McCanns' investigators when they flew to Germany two weeks ago. He now says he will talk to them - if he is paid.
But Mr Mitchell said: "No payment will be made for any such interview."
Hewlett has also employed a lawyer to try to sell his story to newspapers for thousands of pounds.
The source said: "There are fears he's trying to cash in on Maddie, and it may be that he has made these claims to get more money. Whatever his motives, he needs to be seen by the investigators because he may have vital information."
Hewlett emerged as a suspect in Maddie's abduction after it was revealed he was living at a campsite nearby in May 2007. British tourists who spoke to him said he was "obsessed" with the case.
Police wanting to quiz Hewlett over the 1975 assault had been unable to trace him as he travelled around Europe and Morocco after being released from prison. His lawyer in Germany says he only has weeks to live.
Hewlett has now provided cops with a DNA sample which will be compared to evidence from 1975.
Any information he provided about Maddie, from Rothley, Leics, will be passed to the Leicestershire Police task force.
Officially, the West Yorkshire officers questioned Hewlett only about the 1975 attack.
A spokesman said: "Our understanding is that no questioning of Raymond Hewlett about Madeleine McCann was undertaken by our officers as that has nothing to do with our case."


Daily Mirror 6th June 2009

Paedo Ray Hewlett says:  "I've never seen Maddie before"
Dying pervert denies claims he admitted seeing Madeleine McCann before she vanished

The prime 'person of interest' of hired cops probing Maddie McCann's disappearance insisted last night:
"I've never set eyes on her."


14th June 2009

Sunday Mirror (print version)

Madeleine: Key suspect talks for first time

'But I didn't kill Maddie'

By Simon Wright in Aachen, Germany
YES I'm a convicted paedophile
YES I lived near Praia Da Luz
YES I look like police drawing
YES I did flee area to Morocco
Why McCanns want to quiz him
* He's a convicted paedophile who has served UK jail sentences for sex attacks on children
* Lived an hour's drive from Praia Da Luz at the time Maddie vanished
* Bears a striking resemblance to the pock-marked suspect seen acting suspiciously near the Ocean Club
* He refuses to give a specific alibi
* Gave DNA samples but was never quizzed or eliminated
* Told a friend he knew the Ocean Club complex and visited Prai da Luz
* He fled across sea to Morocco soon after Madeleine was taken
Why he claims he's innocent
* He says he was 60 miles away from Praia Da Luz on May 3, 2007
* Insists he hasn't even been there since 2002
* His only way of driving to Praia Da Luz, his converted Dodge truck, was home to wife and six children
* He appears on a home video filmed on May 5, 2007 just two days after Madeleine vanished looking totally calm and relaxed
* Insists he has alibi from un-named pal he doesn't want to 'drag into it'
The convicted child rapist who has been catapulted into the frame over the hunt for Madeleine sits hunched up in a squalid German flat, gasping for breath as he finally breaks his silence.
"It's obvious why they're interested in me," croaks Hewlett, 64. "But they can all think what they like. I didn't kill the McCann girl. It's the truth and it's never going to change."
The man jailed three times for sex attacks on girls today speaks out for the first time in a bid to clear his name amid the mountain of circumstantial evidence against him.
Hewlett, who has been in hiding ever since he was named in connection with the case, admits he was in the Algarve at the time Madeleine was snatched and, as our pictures show, that he looks strikingly similar to a sketch of a suspect with a pock-marked face seen lurking around the apartment.
And five weeks after she disappeared, he left Portugal for Morocco for a two-month-long "business trip".
He told Peter Verran, a tourist he befriended there, that he'd become obsessed with the case and he admitted being outside the McCanns' holiday flat in Praia da Luz "many times" and parking his van close to the complex.
What's more he is REFUSING to give an alibi for the night Madeleine, three, vanished.
"I have an alibi but why should I share it?" he says, struggling for air with each syllable.
"There is a person who can say where I was that day, but why should I bring them into this? I've done nothing wrong. Why should I have to prove it?
"My life's been made a misery for something I know nothing about and a crime I've not committed.
"I'd take a lie-detector test. I'll take any test you like. The only time I've seen Madeleine McCann is on missing posters. And I saw her on TV in a bar once. But I've never seen her in real life. Yes I've been to Praia da Luz, but not since 2002."
But those claims contradict what former Scots Guard Mr Verran, 46, says Hewlett told him that he was in and around Praia da Luz at the time Madeleine disappeared in May 2007.
The McCanns' private detectives first became aware of father-of-six Hewlett in February this year when his name was given to them during local door-to-door inquiries.
His distinctive live-in Dodge truck, large family and bizarre nomad lifestyle singled him out. Further checks into his past revealed his previous convictions in Britain, including the rape of a 12-year-old girl he lured into his car and then drugged with paint stripper, an attempted rape of a 14-year-old girl he snatched from a fair and threatened with a fake gun and the abduction of a 14-year-old newspaper delivery girl. The McCanns' investigators began searching for him, keen to eliminate him from inquiries.
Portuguese detectives told UK officers they were unaware of his existence until the McCann team uncovered his name.
But bizarrely, Hewlett tells the Sunday Mirror he was visited twice by Portuguese police over the Maddie case and gave detectives a DNA swab and fingerprints, although he was never arrested or quizzed.
The McCanns' investigators are unsure whether to believe him or the detectives in Portugal. Hewlett says that Portuguese police, acting on unknown information, swooped on his truck while he was had throat cancer treatment across the border in Spain in August 2008. He also says that local police helping in the search for Maddie visited him, wife Mariana and their children in the summer of 2007.
He says: "They checked that all the children living with us were ours. Our youngest girl looks a bit like her. But they saw everything was OK and they left.
"The police came again in August last year and told Mariana it was about the McCann girl. They asked for me and Mariana told them I was in hospital. They came to see me and asked permission to take DNA and fingerprints. I was very sick and barely able to speak to them. They asked where we parked in the Algarve in the first half of 2007.
"I told them, 'You know where we've been because you know us round there.'
"I knew why they were asking, because I'd seen the TV and newspapers. By then, that McCann kid's photo was in every shop and supermarket you went into. I've got previous convictions for child-sex crimes so my heart sank. I thought, 'Oh no, here we go again.' I was miles from the UK but it didn't make any difference. I'd tried hard to build a new life. But the reality for me is that my past convictions will never go away. I have to put up with it because it's always going to be this way. I gave them their DNA and fingerprints. I knew they were just doing their job but I was angry. I had enough to cope with. I had cancer and no money."
At the time Madeleine vanished, Hewlett and his family were moving between three towns in the Algarve Vila Real de Santo Antonio, Fuzeta and Tavira all within 60 miles of Praia da Luz. They scraped money together by picking up unwanted jumble and old car parts, then selling them on.
Hewlett originally from Todmorden, West Yorks and Mariana first arrived in Portugal from her native Germany in the summer of 2002. They had been together five years after meeting in Italy. He was a mechanic on a tourist boat and Mariana worked as a cleaner for the boat's owners on the Mediterranean island of Elba.
They embarked on a tour of Europe in the converted Dodge truck. He had installed beds for their children, a sink, cooker and shower. At that point the couple had four children David, 10, who died when he fell from their moving truck in December last year, Michael, nine, Anya, eight, and Jobe, seven, who were all born in Germany. Yanina, six, and Paul, three, were born during their travels across the Algarve, and the youngest Daniel, now six-anda-half months, was born in Spain.
"We'd stop in various places and decide whether to hang around there," he says. "It would depend on the weather and how easy it was to make money.
"I used to busk on the street, playing guitar. I can't really play but people would give me money anyway."
Hewlett says he was 60 miles away in Vila Real de Santo Antonio when Maddie was taken. Crucially, he says he cannot specifically remember being there that day.
"May 3 was a Thursday and I was always in Vila Real Santo Antonio on Thursdays," he says. "My routine never altered. That's 100km from Praia da Luz.
"If you asked people there if we were there on that day, I don't know what they'd say. Maybe they can't remember. If you ask them if we were normally there, they'd say yes. If it wasn't for the fact that we were living the way we were, I wouldn't be able to say so clearly that that was where I was.
"It's only because of the way we live that I can say it. As far as I'm concerned, I don't have to prove anything.
"Our truck was our only vehicle. I didn't have another vehicle to go anywhere in. It's a highprofile vehicle. Once you see it, you never forget it. It was like that purposefully because I wanted people to see us. I didn't want to be hiding."
But he claims that a female friend who shot a home video of him and his family on May 5 two days after Maddie vanished could vouch for his whereabouts on May 3.
The 30-minute video seen by the Sunday Mirror shows Hewlett, Mariana and their seven children laughing at the camera and playing games with each other at a market they regularly attended in the Portuguese town of Fuzeta every Sunday, less than 40 miles from Praia da Luz.
His youngest daughter Yanina bears a striking resemblance to missing Maddie. He says: "The friend who made the video would remember where I was two days earlier. She could tell anyone where I was. But I haven't asked her and I don't intend to.
"Why should I ask her? I don't think I should involve anybody. Why should I keep dragging people in to this. I don't like being in it, so why should I keep putting people's names forward so that they get bothered with it too?
"I could ask her, but if she says no, then sorry, the answer is no. Then people will just have to carry on speculating."
A month later, on June 10, Hewlett left Portugal and took his family to Morocco.
He said: "A friend gave me a broken old Mercedes and I stripped it down into parts.
"I knew they were worth a fortune in Morocco because I'd been there for a couple of months in 2005. You can even get good money for Mercedes nuts and bolts there.
"I knew people on the docks at Faro and I got the captain of a ferry to take us over for free. We stayed in Morocco for two months and came back in the August. I made 300 euros from the car parts."
His voice so weak it is at times barely audible, today Hewlett is holed up in his cramped, sparse apartment, with Mariana, 33, and the six young children.
The family arrived there six weeks ago as his health deteriorated, and Mariana is able to get state benefits.
Hewlett was last month tracked down by the McCanns' detectives to a hospital in Aachen, Germany, where he was undergoing treatment. The detectives had hoped to put a series of questions to him but he refused to see them and they were forced to return to the UK empty-handed.
This week, they travelled there for a second time but he was deemed too ill to undergo intensive questioning.
Today as he wastes away on the fourth floor of a tower block, Hewlett is close to death. Doctors discharged him from hospital, telling him there is nothing more they can do for him, and his weight has plummeted to just 45kg. Instead of expressing sympathy for Kate and Gerry McCann, he insists people should feel sorry for him.
"I would say to the McCanns that I know what it's like to lose a child because it's happened to me recently," he says.
"I've been through hell and now I've got another hell which I don't deserve. I know for a fact that I didn't do anything wrong, but if people aren't listening, what can you do?"


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