Agony set to continue for Robert Murat

IAN CLARKE An eight-month nightmare faced by a former Norfolk man after he was named a suspect in the disappearance of Madeline McCann looks set to continue.Robert Murat, 34, an ex-car salesman, formerly of Hockering, near Dereham, has always denied any involvement and had hoped Portuguese police would clear him.

IAN CLARKE

An eight-month nightmare faced by a former Norfolk man after he was named a suspect in the disappearance of Madeline McCann looks set to continue.

Robert Murat, 34, an ex-car salesman, formerly of Hockering, near Dereham, has always denied any involvement and had hoped Portuguese police would clear him.

Under Portuguese law official suspects have to be charged or released after eight months unless prosecutors apply for an extension.


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It appears authorities need more time and it emerged the secret file detailing the investigation into four-year-old Maddie's disappearance from the family apartment on May 3 is unlikely to be made public “for some time.”

The continued uncertainty for Mr Murat came as one national newspaper report claimed he was hoping to make £1m from TV appearances and writing a book if he is formally cleared.

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A friend was quoted as saying: “Maddie was the biggest story of 2007 and Robert Murat has been a massive part of that. He's been living under a cloud since being named a suspect and feels he should at least have some compensation for the trauma.”

Publicist Max Clifford has reportedly been in regular contact with Mr Murat and has said he can “make enough money to compensate him for this nightmare.”

Mr Murat's aunt Sally Eveleigh repeated the claim that there “is not a shred of evidence against him.”

According to Portuguese newspaper Correio da Manha, detectives in the Algarve produced an interim report to coincide with the eight-month mark.

The report is said to name Maddie's parents Gerry and Kate McCann, from Leicestershire, as prime suspects in their daughter's disappearance. But it is also said to include the possibility Maddie was abducted as well as keeping Mr Murat “in the frame.”

Mr Murat's lawyer, Francisco Pagarete, said: "I have had no letter from the public prosecutor. I don't know if they are going to ask for a postponement of the secrecy law or not.

"When the prosecutor arrives at a decision, he writes it down and sends me a letter telling me of the decision. The postman has been and left me no letter.”

Edward Smethurst, the lawyer conducting the McCanns' defence, said: "We have received no information to suggest that the court file is going to be opened today and indeed we believe it's likely that it will be some time before the court file is made available.”

The McCanns' spokesman, Clarence Mitchell, said: "If this interim police report exists it appears to say nothing new. It apparently maintains the position that Kate and Gerry remain arguidos. I also note that it says the exact same thing about Mr Murat.

"More importantly it says that abduction is a possibility as well, as we have maintained all along.

"All we will say is that this appears to be nothing new and the police appear to be restating their current position.

"We hope that once the police realise there is no case against Kate and Gerry that they will lift their arguido status.”

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