Madeleine McCann disappearance: Gerry and Kate McCann issue fresh appeal to Irish public for help

Madeleine McCann disappearance: Gerry and Kate McCann issue fresh appeal to Irish public for help

MADELEINE MCCANN’S parents have issued a new appeal to the Irish public for information related to the disappearance of their daughter. 

Kate and Gerry McCann are calling on anyone who may have been in the Algarve in 2007 and the resort of Praia da Luz to come forward if they have information they may have about the young girl’s disappearance. 

The appeal comes after a 43-year-old German prisoner emerged as the prime suspect in Madeleine’s disappearance. Police have confirmed that the man, a convicted paedophile, is currently in prison on separate sexual abuse charges. 

The McCanns are appealing for help or any information from some of the thousands of Irish tourists that visit the region every year on holiday. 

Speaking on RTE’s Prime Time, the family’s spokesperson Clarence Mitchell said: "Please rack your memory, look at all the information that police have put out, it's all over the media now. 

"And see if you have any photographs that might be of use to the police, do you recognise the phone numbers, the Portuguese numbers the police have released, did you even accidentally receive a call from any of them or have it in your contacts. 

"Anything, no matter how minor it may seem, anybody that was in the Algarve in May 2007, or just before that in fact, might have some vital piece of information that could still help the police to build a case against this man, if indeed he is involved." 

Commenting on the emergence of this new suspect, Mr. Mitchell described the breakthrough as a “significant development” in what has been a 13-year investigation. 

Mr Mitchell claimed that the latest breakthrough feels like a "significant development" in the 13-year investigation. 

"It certainly feels more significant," he said. 

“The fact it's not just one police force, it's the Germans, who have this man in custody for other unrelated offences, and the Portuguese police. 

"All of them want very detailed information surrounding his moments both before and after Madeleine went missing, the vehicles he was using and even the two phone numbers he was receiving calls on. 

"There's never been, in my 13 years helping the McCann family, been a single individual has been so focused on by the police, so it does feel like a significant development. 

"They are looking to assist their own enquiries by getting extra pieces from members of the public who were there at the time. 

"They're asking people to go through their own holiday snaps, just in case there might be an image of one of these vehicles, or the man himself, captured accidentally and it's just sitting there waiting to be discovered." 

The man is described as being white, 6ft tall, of slim build and with short blonde hair.  

Officers say he lived in a white and orange VW camper van in the Algarve resort from 1995 until 2007. 

The description echoes one issued by Scotland Yard in 2013, who said they had received reports of a blond man lurking by the apartment where Madeleine was taken from. 

He would have been 30 around the time of the incident. 

Speaking to ZDF, German state prosecutor Christian Hoppe confirmed the suspect is currently serving a prison sentence for a sex crime. 

Mr Hoppe also confirmed he has two previous convictions for "sexual contact with girls". 

German police have put forward the possible theory that the man, who was a known burglar, crept into the McCann’s apartment during an attempted raid and ended up abducting the young girl.