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Former Notts Police superintendent challenges what happened to Madeleine McCann

Jill Havern | Published on the 06.03.19 17:25 | 2423 Views

Former Notts Police superintendent challenges what happened to Madeleine McCann in new podcast

Peter MacLeod has also written about the case:

ByDavid WhitfieldDigital Content Editor

   12:30, 6 MAR 2019

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A former superintendent at Nottinghamshire Police has told a new podcast about the disappearance of Madeleine McCann that it was "not possible" for an abductor to have carried her out of the window at the apartment where she was sleeping.

Three-year-old Madeleine went missing on the evening of May 3, 2007, from an apartment at the Ocean Club complex in Praia da Luz where she was sleeping with her twin siblings.

Now a new podcast about the case has cast doubt about whether an abductor could have carried her out of the apartment window, which Maddie's mother Kate said was open when she found her daughter missing at around 10pm. She and husband Gerry said they believed someone had 'jemmied open' the shutters to get into the bedroom.

The podcast by Australian journalist Mark Saunokonoko, simply called 'Maddie', features contributions from former Nottinghamshire officer Peter MacLeod.

n the second episode of the podcast, released on Sunday March 4, Mr MacLeod says: "The window is only an absolute maximum 50cm wide, in reality about 46 wide, and it's already a metre off the ground.

"I had a [inaudible] at that and my shoulders are wider than that little window. So although you could climb in sideways you certainly can't jump in if you are a normal-sized person."

Asked whether he believes someone carrying a child could get through the window, he replies: "I frankly do not think it's possible.

"It would be difficult enough to get yourself in. You'd have to grab hold of windows, and grab hold of things."

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He adds: "But of course the shutters are the problem, because the shutters are going to be bashing down on your head. Either that or you've got to put a piece of wood in or something. And there's no suggestion of any of that.

"And then you've got to pick up a child without waking it up, without waking the other two children. I do not think it can be done. Or let me put it another way, I do not see how anyone could do it."

He then goes on to say it was obvious from local television footage that the window shutters were not damaged, smashed, forced or jemmied. This was in contrast to the stories in the British media that both the window and the shutters were damaged.

"That was the first red flag, to me," he adds.

Peter MacLeod served with Nottinghamshire Police for 28 years. He reached the permanent rank of chief inspector, but then became temporary superintendent at West Bridgford police station, with operational responsibility for West Bridgford, Clifton, Bingham, Carlton, St Ann’s and Sneinton.

He retired in 2000, and the following year he left his West Bridgford home to move to the village of Ronda in southern Spain with his partner Claire Casson, where the couple spent two years transforming an old farmhouse into a five-bed B&B.

He has visited Praia da Luz and written an e-book about the case called 'What Really Happened to Madeleine McCann?' which looks a number of key aspects of the case, including the sightings of a man carrying a child, the photos taken at the time, and whether Madeleine and her siblings were sedated.

Madeleine would now be 15, turning 16 in May this year. In November last year Operation Grange, the Met Police investigation into her disappearance, was given a further £150,000 from the Home Office, providing funding up to March 31 this year.

Nottinghamshire Live has contacted the official Find Madeleine website for a comment.

Aside from a short message at Christmas, the last update on the site from Maddie's parents Kate and Gerry, who were dining in a nearby tapas restaurant when their daughter went missing, was on the 11th anniversary of her disappearance last year.

They wrote: "It gets harder to know what to say or write as each anniversary of Madeleine’s abduction approaches then passes. Life is full and busy which helps but Madeleine is still missing and she is still dearly missed. Information continues to come in (incredible as it may seem after so long, although we are grateful for that) and work goes on. Perseverance and hope remain.

"Thank you to everyone who continues to support us and wish us, especially Madeleine, well. After eleven years such warmth and persisting solidarity is truly remarkable, and at the same time a real tonic and boost to our spirit.

"We couldn’t bear for Madeleine to be forgotten or to become just a ‘story’. She is a real person and still our ‘little girl’ and as we always have, we will endeavour to do whatever it takes to find her. Thank you so much for staying with us on this mission."

So far three episodes of the podcast have been released. A Netflix documentary about the case is set to be broadcast later this month.

* Anyone with information about Madeleine McCann’s disappearance should call the Find Madeleine investigation line on 0845 8384699 or email

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