Paedophile Raymond Hewlett has issued a brazen demand to be paid thousands of pounds to answer questions about the night Madeleine McCann went missing.
The child molester refused to speak to detectives hired by Kate and Gerry McCann unless they gave him a vast slice of the Madeleine Fund.
Hewlett, 62, who has a lifelong history of sexually abusing little girls, was in the Algarve when the three-year-old was snatched from her bed.
He is now in hospital in Germany recovering from throat cancer surgery, and has so far rebuffed efforts by the McCanns’ investigators to interview him.
A source close to the McCanns told the Mail: ‘He is actually demanding a fee to answer questions that could help the inquiry. It is truly reprehensible. There is no way anyone is going to pay him.’
Convicted paedophile Hewlett is also wanted for questioning by West Yorkshire police over an unsolved indecent assault on an eight-year-old in 1975.
Hewlett will have little choice over speaking to the police, but the McCanns’ private investigators have no powers to compel him to answer their questions.
The McCanns’ spokesman Clarence Mitchell said: ‘We still need to speak to Mr Hewlett who remains a person of interest to the inquiry. We are confident that we will be able to speak to him in the near future, and we hope that he and his legal representative will see the sense in clearing his name.’
But as of this afternoon, Hewlett was still remaining firm on his repulsive demand. He has strenuously denied having anything to do with Madeleine’s disappearance.
A friend of the McCanns said: ‘It has been made abundantly clear to Hewlett that he is not going to get a penny from the Madeleine Fund. It would be like asking the victims to pay.
‘He is saying he wants money to look after his kids if he dies, but no one is going to touch him with a bargepole. He should be more worried about being eliminated from the inquiry. If he truly has nothing to hide, he should be happy to come out and say it. He ought to be grateful that the detectives are willing to speak to him with a view to crossing him off their list of possible suspects.’
Two ex-policemen, former detective inspector Dave Edgar and former detective sergeant Arthur Cowley, are now in charge of the Madeleine hunt. They were hired by the McCanns after Spanish agency Metodo 3 failed to find any trace of their daughter.
Last week, the British detectives flew to Aachen in Germany to try to speak to Hewlett in hospital, but he rebuffed them.
Although he later changed his mind, they had already returned home empty-handed by then.
Former soldier Hewlett’s German wife Marianna Schmuker initially agreed to help the investigators, but she has now enlisted a local lawyer on his behalf to ‘negotiate’ a fee for access.
Hewlett is one of 38 paedophiles known to have been – or still be – in the Algarve when Madeleine vanished from her holiday apartment in Praia da Luz on May 3, 2007.
The McCanns’ detectives are building profiles on each of them and are understood to regard four or five of them as being particularly significant.
They are also examining possible links with seven other sex attacks on tourist children in which a paedophile has broken into a holiday apartment on the Algarve, over the past four years. Two of these attacks happened since Madeleine went missing. The investigators are convinced the answer to the Madeleine riddle lies close to where she disappeared.
Hewlett was an hour’s drive up the coast in May 2007, living on a campsite with his wife and six children in a blue Dodge truck, which detectives would still like to trace. He later moved the family to a camp ground in Morocco.