THE serial child killer named a key suspect in the search for Madeleine McCann was in Portugal when she vanished, it’s claimed.
German paedophile Martin Ney, 48, was jailed for life in 2012 for abducting and murdering three children, and sexually abusing dozens more.
German paedophile Martin Ney, 48, was jailed for life in 2012 for abducting and murdering three children
Handout Ney looks like a photofit of a man seen acting suspiciously before Madeleine vanished from her Portuguese holiday apartment 12 years ago
Goncalo Amaral, the Portuguese cop who first led the hunt for Madeleine, revealed last week that police were probing a “German paedophile who is in prison”.
Ney was working for an evangelical church on a project for the homeless in Portugal when Madeleine disappeared, it’s claimed.
Ney also looks like a photofit of a man, who was seen acting suspiciously before Madeleine vanished from her Portuguese holiday apartment 12 years ago.
The youth worker dressed in black and donned masks and balaclavas while carrying out his attacks.
Ney was said to have been familiar with the Algarve after travelling widely in Portugal in the 1990s.
He was jailed for killing three German kids — Stefan Jahr, 13, in 1992, Dennis Rostel, eight, in 1995, and Dennis Klein, nine, in 2001.
He is also suspected of the murder of a child in Holland in 1998 and another in France in 2004.
‘PREPARING THE END OF THE INVESTIGATION’
The timings raise the possibility Ney murdered a youngster every three years – 1992, 1995, 1998, 2001 and 2004, before Madeleine vanished in May 2007.
She disappeared days before her fourth birthday after parents Kate and Gerry left their children in their apartment in Praia da Luz.
Scotland Yard launched its Operation Grange investigation in 2013 and still has a team working on Madeleine’s disappearance.
Mr Amaral revealed on Australian TV that British cops were focusing on a jailed German.
He also claimed it had “one investigation line” – and was ignoring other possibilities.
Mr Amaral said: “Detectives are preparing the end of the investigation, with a German paedophile who is in prison right now.”
On Friday, Portuguese newspapers also reported that Metropolitan Police detectives had provided information about a foreign paedophile.
A recent Netflix documentary on the case focused on a suspect who targeted British holidaymakers’ apartments in Praia da Luz in 2007.
Madeleine McCann vanished from a holiday apartment in Praia da Luz in May 2007
PA:Press Association Ney murdered a youngster every three years – 1992, 1995, 1998, 2001 and 2004, before Maddie vanished
Chris Eades The Praia da Luz apartments where Kate and Gerry left Maddie and her siblings alone
Netflix A reconstruction of the theory was recently broadcast in the new Maddie Netflix documentary
The man, who wore a surgical mask and had a foreign accent, preyed on children and replied “yes” when one girl woke up and asked if he was her daddy.
Scotland Yard is known to have been in contact with German detectives over Ney.
Well-placed sources also confirmed yesterday Ney’s internet chatroom history – using the name GerdX – had been probed.
In a chilling post from 2002 he wrote: “I bought a camouflage suit to jump out of the bushes in children’s playgrounds if a beautiful boy goes past.”
Ney’s known victims are boys, but clinical psychologists say gender is often unimportant to paedophiles. Private detectives working on behalf of the McCanns also previously looked into Ney, whose horrific crime spree is believed to have started in Germany in 1992.
CAGED FOR LIFE
He also started travelling around the same time after finishing teacher-training at the age of 21.
Police know he visited Ecuador in 1993, Peru in 1995 and Portugal the following year. He has also made repeated trips to Holland and Denmark. Ney was finally arrested in April 2011 after a massive police operation.
He confessed to the three German murders and sexually abusing 40 other children, and was jailed for life.
Ney, who told cops he murdered to cover up his abuse, has denied during police interviews involvement in any other child crimes.
But he has been suspected of murdering Nicky Verstappen, 11, who vanished from a holiday camp in Brunssum, Holland, in 1998.
Last year it was also reported Ney confessed to a cellmate to the 2004 killing of Jonathan Coulom, who was kidnapped from a camp in Saint- Brevin-les-Pins, western France.
British officers are now believed to be trying to establish if he was in the Algarve around the time of Madeleine’s disappearance.
He bears an uncanny resemblance to a photofit — which was made public in 2013 — of a suspect seen acting suspiciously in the area beforehand.
A source close to Madeleine’s parents Kate and Gerry, of Rothley, Leics, said they had not been informed of any “significant developments”. But the source said Met Police officers could be investigating Ney without telling the couple.
They said: “There has been work done on him in the past and they could well be focusing on him.”
The McCanns’ spokesman Clarence Mitchell said: “We are simply not discussing operational details either in Great Britain or Portugal. That is a matter for the police.”
A Met Police spokesman said: “The investigation is ongoing and we are not providing a running commentary.”
Caters News Agency The McCanns’ spokesman, Clarence Mitchell, said: “We are simply not discussing operational details either in Great Britain or Portugal
Kids on trips taken and killed
Ney targeted kids in school dorms and holiday camps — while wearing a mask and dressed in black
Martin Ney targeted children in school dorms and holiday camps — while wearing a mask and dressed in black.
His first known murder victim, Stefan Jahr, 13, was taken at night from a boarding school in Scheebel, Germany, in 1992.
A string of boys on camping trips were also sexually abused by him, with victims describing him as the Masked Man.
In 1995, Ney snatched Dennis Rostel, eight, from a camp in Schleswig-Holstein, Germany. His body was found in Denmark.
Ney also killed Dennis Klein, nine, who vanished on a school trip to Lower Saxony, Germany, in 2001.
He was also convicted of sexually abusing at least 40 kids and is suspected of two other murders.
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