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Dublin: 14°C Monday 14 June 2021

Madeleine McCann search: Police hunt intruder who sexually abused five children

Scotland Yard says it wants to identify a man who assaulted children in the area where Madeleine McCann went missing almost seven years ago.

Madeleine McCann's parents Gerry and Kate hold a poster of their daughter.
Madeleine McCann's parents Gerry and Kate hold a poster of their daughter.
Image: John Stillwell/PA Wire

SCOTLAND YARD POLICE investigating the disappearance of Madeleine McCann are looking to identify a man who committed sexual assaults on children in the area where the 3-year-old went missing almost seven years ago.

Police issued the appeal for the man after identifying a series of crimes which could be linked and which took place mainly in holiday villas occupied by British families in the Western Algarve in Portugal.

In four cases between 2004 and 2006, the man sexually assaulted five children aged between 7 and 10 years old while they were in their beds. On one of these occasions he assaulted two girls in the same villa.

Police said that while the crimes are not identical, there were many similar aspects to each of the incidents, such as no signs of forced entry, nothing being stolen from the premises, and the attack happening in the middle of the night.

The man is believed to have spent some time in each villa before committing the offences.

(Video: metpoliceservice/YouTube)

Police said that the man remained calm during the assaults, even when disturbed either by a parent coming in or the child waking up.

The man is described as having tanned skin with short, dark, messy hair. He spoke English with a foreign accent.

His victims said that he was occasionally bare-chested and had a pot belly, while several victims said he had a noticeable smell.

The police officer in charge of the investigation said the identity of the man needed to be established.

“These offences are very serious and no-one has been charged in connection with them,” said DCI Andy Redwood of the London Metropolitan Police. “We also need to eliminate this man from our enquiries and ascertain whether these offences are linked to Madeleine’s disappearance”.

He appealed to anyone who had been the victim of a similar crime to come forward, even if they had already spoken to police in Portugal about it.

The Met Police launched a new appeal into the disappearance of Madeleine McCann last October, receiving more than 5,000 phone calls following a television appeal.

Read: Police receive thousands of phone calls after Madeleine McCann appeal >

Read: Madeleine disappearance: British detectives in Portugal ‘to arrest three burglars’ >

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