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Last Updated: Saturday, 4 August 2007, 21:43 GMT 22:43 UK
New search at McCann suspect home
Madeleine McCann
Four-year-old Madeleine was last seen on 3 May
Police in Portugal investigating the disappearance of Madeleine McCann have renewed their search of the home of 33-year-old Briton Robert Murat.

Up to 10 officers returned to the home of the only official suspect in the case, in Praia da Luz, in the Algarve.

Four-year-old Madeleine was abducted in May, while she slept in her family's holiday apartment.

Mr Murat's house - about 100m (330 ft) from the apartment - was initially searched days after she vanished.

Police, including two British detectives, arrived at the house at 0700 (0600GMT) on Saturday.

Officers cordoned off several areas in the grounds of the property, which is thick with vegetation, and used rakes and hedge trimmers to clear them.

Their search is expected to last four days.

Mr Murat was not arrested or questioned. He was on the premises with his lawyer as the search was conducted.

Vegetation was cleared from the site. Later a British sniffer dog searched the site.

The next phase would be for the police to bring in some type of scanning machinery to detect, for example, something buried underground.

Potentially, phase three would be for the police to decide whether or not to dig on the premises.

'Sighting'

The property is owned by Mr Murat's mother.

A friend says he has remained upbeat about the search, and believes that it could finally prove his innocence.

Robert Murat
Mr Murat's house is not far from where the McCanns were staying

Mr Murat was declared a suspect 10 days after Madeleine was last seen, on 3 May, but has strenuously denied any involvement in her disappearance. The property was searched then too.

The search comes as police investigate a possible sighting of Madeleine in Belgium.

Detectives have issued a sketch of a Dutch man and an English woman seen with the girl in a restaurant in Tongeren on the Dutch border.

A customer at the restaurant said she was "100% sure" she had seen the four-year-old.

Madeleine's parents Gerry and Kate McCann have also travelled to Spain to mark the three months since her abduction.


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Police at Robert Murat's home





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