A FORMER Northwich detective is helping Gerry and Kate McCann in the search for their missing daughter Madeleine.
Ex-Det Insp Dave Edgar, who has more than 30 years’ experience with Cheshire Police and the RUC (Royal Ulster Constabulary), is leading the probe.
He was involved in the inquiries into the Warrington murders of Garry Newlove and schoolgirl Shafilea Ahmed.
He and fellow retired detective Arthur Cowley believe five separate sightings of a suspicious man could hold the key to solving the mystery of Madeleine’s disappearance.
Three witnesses saw an odd stranger looking at her family’s holiday apartment in Praia da Luz, Portugal, in the days before Maddy went missing more than two years ago.
The former policemen have put the previously-unreported accounts together with two better-known sightings of a man carrying a child away from the flat on the night Madeleine vanished.
Their theory, revealed in a recent Channel 4 documentary, is that someone was watching the McCanns’ apartment for up to a week before the little girl disappeared.
Mr Edgar said it was most likely Madeleine was taken by one person. But he does not believe Madeleine was taken at random.
He said: “In my experience random doesn’t happen. A passer-by doesn’t go in and pick up a child and take it. These things are planned. This offence happened in Praia da Luz. And that’s where I think the answer is.”
Kate McCann believes the recent flurry of media attention will help in the search for Madeleine.