UK

Police quizzed manager of apartment where McCann disappeared

Vitor dos Santos
Image caption Vitor dos Santos now runs boat tours for tourists

UK detectives have questioned the reception manager at the apartment complex where Madeleine McCann disappeared, the BBC has discovered.

It is 10 years to the day since the three-year-old disappeared while on holiday in Portugal.

Vitor dos Santos took the booking for the McCann family holiday at the Ocean Club in Praia da Luz in 2007.

In his first interview, Mr dos Santos told BBC Panorama he had nothing to do with Madeleine's disappearance.

He was originally interviewed by the Portuguese detectives in 2007, but was questioned again by the Metropolitan Police two years ago.

Mr dos Santos said British detectives asked him the same questions as the Portuguese: "They make the questions as usual.

"The same questions as when the girl went missing - that's it.

"The police asked just the things about our job, because I was the head of some departments, but now I lost the job," he said.

"The people said it's because of Maddie McCann reasons that I lost the job."

Mr Dos Santos now runs boat tours for tourists in the nearby town of Lagos.

Image copyright PA
Image caption Madeleine, from Leicestershire, was three when she went missing from her family's holiday apartment in 2007

The British investigation into Madeleine's disappearance was started in 2011 at the request of the then Prime Minister David Cameron. It has already cost more than £11m.

Scotland Yard has focused on the theory that the three-year-old was taken during a burglary that went wrong.

In 2014, British detectives also questioned four men from Praia Da Luz.

They were made official suspects, or arguidos, and have been living under suspicion for almost three years.

Paulo Ribeiro - one of the four suspects - told BBC Panorama that he was shocked to be questioned about how Madeleine went missing.

"I thought it was incredible, as I knew of nothing when the police arrived at my door with a piece of paper that had a drawing on it, saying it bore a likeness to me, and that someone had said I was involved and that I looked like the person who had kidnapped Maddie.

"I don't know who that person was."

Image copyright PA
Image caption Madeleine McCann went missing from this apartment block in Luz in the Algarve

All four suspects denied any involvement in the disappearance of Madeleine.

The Portuguese police clearly believe them.

Pedro Do Carmo, deputy director of the Policia Judiciaria, told Panorama that he had never considered them to be suspects.

"I can only say that we questioned those people on request of the Metropolitan Police and only based on the request of the Metropolitan Police.

"We never questioned those people. We never saw or looked at those people as suspects of the crime."

  • 20:30 Kate and Gerry McCann leave their apartment to have dinner at a Tapas bar
  • 21:05 Gerry McCann checks on Madeleine and her siblings
  • 22:00 A man is seen carrying a child wearing pyjamas heading towards the ocean (E-fit images of the suspect were released as part of a 2013 Crimewatch appeal)
  • 22:00 Kate McCann raises the alarm that Madeleine has gone missing

Clickable map and timeline

Last week, Scotland Yard announced there was no evidence to implicate the four men and the case against them had been closed.

The Met say it is pursuing new lines of enquiry and that it has not ruled out the burglary theory.

But many in Portugal are sceptical.

Carlos Anjos, the former head of the Policia Judiciaria officers' union, told Panorama the British investigation has been a waste of £11m.

"This burglary theory is absurd.

"Not even a wallet disappeared, no television disappeared, nothing else disappeared.

"A child disappeared."

The BBC Panorama programme - Madeleine McCann: Ten Years On - is on BBC One at 21:00 BST on Wednesday and available on iPlayer afterwards.

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