At a press conference today, German police confirmed they have identified a suspect in the case of the missing Brit who disappeared on holiday in Portugal 13 years ago. In a major development, the police said they are working on the assumption Madeline was dead.
The German prosecutor identified an imprisoned German child abuser as a murder suspect.
The Met Police would not comment this afternoon on the suspected murder announcement made in the press conference.
However, they are still treating the case as a missing persons investigation.
Express.co.uk understands the Met Police have not ruled out the British girl, who disappeared in 2007, being alive.
Just last night Detective Chief Inspector Mark Cranwell, who leads the Met Police’s investigation into Madeline’s disappearance said: “While this male is a suspect we retain an open mind as to his involvement and this remains a missing person inquiry.”
Yesterday Kate and Gerry McCann said they will “never give up hope” of finding their daughter alive.
“All we have ever wanted is to find her, uncover the truth and bring those responsible to justice,” they said.
READ MORE: Madeleine McCann’s parents say they will ‘never give up hope’
“We will never give up hope of finding Madeleine alive but whatever the outcome may be, we need to know as we need to find peace.”
Scotland Yard opened an investigation into the disappearance of Madeleine in 2013, after Portuguese police shelved the investigation in 2008 due to failing to make a breakthrough.
In 2015 the Government confirmed the case had cost more than £10million.
Yesterday’s statement on the identification of a new suspect marked the first time the Met have spoken publicly about their investigation for a number of years.
Detective Chief Inspector Mark Cranwell added: “Our job as detectives is to follow the evidence, maintain an open mind and establish what happened on that day in May 2007.”
His comments are in contrast to those made by Hans Christian Wolters, a spokesman for the Braunschweig Public Prosecutor’s Office this afternoon in Germany.
READ MORE: Madeleine McCann assumed dead: German police launch murder probe
Mr Wolters said: “In connection with the disappearance of the three-year-old British girl Madeleine McCann on May 3 2007 from an apartment complex in Praia da Luz, in Portugal, the Braunschweig prosecution is investigating against a 43-year-old German on suspicion of murder.
“We are assuming that the girl is dead.
“With the suspect, we are talking about a sexual predator who has already been convicted of crimes against little girls and he’s already serving a long sentence.”
Met detectives have confirmed the dentified as a suspect is a white 43-year-old man currently serving time in prison for an unrelated offence.
The German man, who was not publicly named, lived in the Algarve between 1995 and 2007 and burgled hotels and holiday flats as well as trading drugs.
Madeleine McCann suspect’s Algarve home now owned by expat [INSIGHT]
Madeleine McCann German suspect re-registered car in new name [PICTURES]
Madeleine McCann statement in FULL: Read Met Police’s statement [LATEST]
The Met police appealed for information about the man and released photographs of vehicles – a Volkswagen camper van and a Jaguar – which he used at the time.
One of these cars was re-registered to someone else in Germany on May 4 2007, the day after Madeleine’s disappearance.
The Met Police and their German counterparts have also appealed for information about two mobile phones.
In a rare move, officers have released the phone numbers of the mobiles they are trying to find.
The first number is +351 912 730 680 and is believed to have been used by the suspect between 7.32pm and 8.02pm on the day of the disappearance.