Madeleine McCann cops ‘missed call that could have implicated suspect Christian B years earlier’

DETECTIVES investigating the disappearance of Madeleine McCann failed to probe a crucial phone call connected to suspect Christian B, it’s claimed. 

Jim Gamble, who was a senior child protection officer during the UK's initial McCann probe, has alleged Portuguese cops missed their “golden hour” by not examining the phone data.  

Christian B was a 43-year-old convicted rapist and paedophile living near the Portuguese resort of Praia da Luz in 2007 when Madeleine vanished and now is the focus of the investigation. 

Mr Gamble told the Daily Star the German career criminal — who is currently serving time in prison for drug offences — received a half-hour phone call the evening where Madeleine disappeared from her family’s holiday villa. 

He said: “The information about what telephone was there at a particular time in connection with another number… was captured, but it had never been properly interrogated.

"So that data hadn't been analysed. 

“They lost the golden hour, they lost the early hours in the investigation.”

"They hadn't looked for those things you would expect to see – telephone calls taking place immediately before or immediately after and in close proximity."

In 2010, Gamble published a report into the case which had been commissioned by then Home Secretary Alan Johnson.

After this the Metropolitan Police to re-opened their own investigation because of alleged failings from Portuguese detectives.

One recommendation Mr Gamble made was to re-examine a “cell dump” which was a vast backlog of phone data collected from towers.

German investigators claim they have traced the phone used by their prime suspect and found it connected to the mast owned by the resort complex where the McCann's were staying.

Hans Christian Wolters, the chief prosecutor in the case, said this has allowed them to place Christian B at the scene around the time Madeleine was taken.

The phone call has been a central part of the renewed police probe since the twice convicted paedophile was named as a key suspect earlier this month.

Police are probing the 30 minute call which occurred just one hour before Madeleine is believed to have been taken from the Ocean Club apartment where she was sleeping alongside her twin siblings Sean and Amelie.

The content of the call is unclear, and police took the extraordinary step to release both of the phone numbers in the case.

Portugese media reported the number Christian B was called from (+351) 916 510 683 was registered to a man called Diogo Silva, which is a common name in Portugal.

Christian B is believed to have been using the number (+351) 912730680 – with the call starting at 7.32pm and ending at 8.02pm on May 3, 2007..

Kate and Gerry were having dinner with pals just a one minute walk away when the tot vanished – with the mum discovering her daughter was missing just after 10pm.

The mum and dad – both doctors – have since poured their into efforts finding her and have never given up hope that Madeleine may be alive.

Madeleine would have turned 17 last month, and the family have described the identification of Christian B as "potentially very significant".

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