Police knew about McCann link but 'did nothing'

Gerry and Kate McCann, the parents of Madeleine McCann. Photo / AP
Gerry and Kate McCann, the parents of Madeleine McCann. Photo / AP

Detectives investigating the disappearance of Madeleine McCann were alerted two years ago to paedophile Sir Clement Freud's connection to the case, but did nothing, one of his victims has revealed.

Vicky Hayes, who was groomed by Freud for years before he raped her as a teenager, was left with an "uneasy" feeling about Freud's motives after reading that he had befriended the McCann family and cooked for them at his holiday home in Praia da Luz, Portugal.

She said it was "odd" that Freud had sought out the McCanns, because he was a "private person" who did not enjoy the media spotlight when he was not performing.

In her book, Madeleine, Kate McCann describes how Freud contacted the family two months after the 3-year-old disappeared and invited them for dinner at his villa around 600m from their Ocean Club apartment. He kept in touch with them and played host a second time weeks later.

Hayes told ITV News: "I read Kate McCann's book and was immediately upset and anxious that Clement Freud had invited the McCanns to his home.

"He was a private man, not the type to suddenly befriend a couple who had intense media attention. It really jarred with me, left me feeling very uneasy. He had a home in Praia da Luz, but why invite them and cook for them?

"Nobody else would have thought Freud capable of abuse and rape but he did it to me.

"He was capable of anything."

She reported her concerns to her local police force in Suffolk, and her son wrote to the Metropolitan Police to pass on his mother's account and concerns over Freud's connection to the McCanns. They received no response.

Hayes said: "I'm angry the police were dismissive of my information.

"I have a 6-year-old granddaughter, a young girl like Madeline. If you have a something you feel needs to be looked at you have to tell someone. That's what I did. That's why I contacted the police, when I read Kate McCann's account, I wanted the detectives to know what I knew about Clement Freud.

"My purpose was for officers to investigate why he invited them. It needs investigating if Freud had any involvement or knew anything."

The Freud family say Sir Clement was in the UK at the time of Madeleine's disappearance in May 2007.

Ana Duarte, a psychologist who has lived opposite the house for 20 years, says Freud used to arrive in early spring and would stay for several weeks.

She told the Telegraph: "I would see him come and go, but we didn't talk very much. He was a bit of a snob if I'm being honest. What I can't tell you is whether he was here when Madeleine disappeared. That I just can't remember." The villa was sold by the Freud family after Freud's death in 2009.

Hayes contacted ITV today after reading newspaper reports of Freud's paedophilia, which form the subject of a new ITV documentary.

In the documentary, two other women detail how Freud abused them over a period spanning four decades.

- Daily Telegraph UK

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