The son of a dead pedophile suspected of being involved in the disappearance of Madeleine McCann believes he was "being watched" outside his home in England.
Raymond Hewlett was jailed three times for sexual assaults on young girls and at the time lived just one hour away from the holiday villa in Portugal where three-year-old Madeleine went missing on May 3 2007.
Riddled with cancer, the 64-year-old wrote a letter to his son, Wayne, while on his death bed, claiming he had nothing to do with the toddler’s kidnapping, but that she had been "stolen to order" by a gang based out of Belgium.
After his father’s death, Wayne Hewlett cooperated with police and told them about the letter, however last year he felt as though he was being followed.
Mr Hewlett claimed his family and his home in Telford, Shropsire, were under surveillance in the summer of 2015, and said he had noticed people in unmarked cars watching him from the street.
“My partner and I thought someone might be watching the house. We would notice a car with somebody in it parked so they could see in,” he told The Sun on Sunday.
“If it’s connected to Madeleine it’s the biggest waste of money I’ve heard of. What did they hope to find? I told detectives all I knew years ago.”
A source confirmed to the newspaper that detectives had planned to monitor Raymond Hewlett’s former wife and his children to see if there was a link between the family and the gang that supposedly took Madeleine.
There is no suggestion that ex-wife Mariana or Wayne and his siblings are connected in any way to Madeleine’s disappearance.
A source told The Sun that detectives aimed to find out who the family associated with.
“Hewlett had claimed traffickers took Maddie and the surveillance operation was to see if any of the ring were in contact with members of his family. If she was taken then there is always the possibility she could still be alive.”
Raymond Hewlett was first jailed in 1972 after he lured a 12-year-old girl to his car, sedated her with paint stripper and raped her. He was sentenced to just one year behind bars.
Six years later, he attempted to rape a 14-year-old girl and was given another four years behind bars.
He spent another six years in jail for abducting a 14-year-old girl at knife-point while she was delivering newspapers.
Last week, the operation into Madeleine’s disappearance received a $160,000 boost to investigate new leads with child trafficking groups in Europe.
Her parents Kate and Gerry McCann have never given up hope that their daughter is alive.
Still prominently in the public consciousness, Madeleine – who would now be a 13-year-old – was at the centre of a tasteless troll attack at the fourth test match between England and India on Sunday.
On a giant screen inside Mumbai’s Wankhede Stadium, fans managed to post personal messages via a live tweet messaging service.
Several messages published on the board were disturbing posts signed off by victims of crime tragedies.
“So gratefull for my parents to bring me to the cricket! Great day so far ☺ - Madeleine McCann,” one message read.