German police identify 'murder' suspect in Madeleine McCann case

File: On 3 May 2007, a few days before her fourth birthday, Madeleine McCann disappeared from her family's holiday apartment in the Algarve village in Portugal.

File: On 3 May 2007, a few days before her fourth birthday, Madeleine McCann disappeared from her family's holiday apartment in the Algarve village in Portugal.

BERLIN - Police revealed they have identified a new suspect in the disappearance of British girl Madeleine McCann in 2007, saying the 43-year-old German man with a history of child sex abuse may have killed her.

The suspect, who was not named, is serving a "long prison sentence" for an unrelated matter, said Germany's federal criminal agency.

He has previous convictions over child sexual abuse, the agency added.

READ: Portugal service for Madeleine McCann 10 years on

"In connection with the disappearance of the then three-year-old British girl Madeleine Beth McCann... the Braunschweig public prosecutor's office is investigating a 43-year-old German citizen on suspicion of murder," said federal police in a statement.

On 3 May 2007, a few days before her fourth birthday, "Maddie" disappeared from her family's holiday apartment in the Algarve village in Portugal as her parents dined with friends at a nearby restaurant, sparking one of the biggest searches of its kind in recent years.

Despite a wide range of suspects and theories about what happened, no one has ever been convicted over her disappearance.

READ: Police prepare for new search in Madeleine McCann case​​​​​​​

Lead investigator Christian Hoppe told ZDF television that the inquiry had led police to suspect that the man had killed Madeleine. 

Described as white with short blond hair in 2007, the man was about six feet tall, with a slim build.

He regularly lived between 1995 and 2007 in the Algarve, and did occasional jobs in the area, including in the gastronomy sector, police said.

READ: McCann parents encouraged by renewed search efforts

"There is information suggesting that he also earned his living by committing criminal offences, such as burglaries of hotel complexes and holiday flats as well as trafficking in narcotic drugs," added German police.

Welcoming the appeal launched in conjunction with British police, the girl's parents Kate and Gerry McCann said in a statement that: "All we have ever wanted is to find her, uncover the truth and bring those responsible to justice.

"We will never give up hope of finding Madeline alive. But whatever the outcome may be, we need to know as we need to find peace."

Source
AFP