A prolific German child killer dubbed the ‘Masked Man’ has been named as the latest suspect in the disappearance of Madeleine McCann.
Martin Ney, 48, is currently serving life in prison for the murders of three boys while they were on holiday with their families.
Ney, from Hamburg, acquired his nickname after targeting his victims wearing a mask or balaclava.
He is said to resemble a photofit of a man who was seen with a child in his arms shortly after Madeleine, then three, vanished on May 3, 2007, while on holiday with her family in Portugal.
According to the Mirror, he was working for an evangelical church on a project for the homeless in Portugal at the time of her disappearance.
Sources claim detectives working on Madeleine’s case are allegedly linking new evidence about Ney to her disappearance.
Fears have also been raised that Ney could have been part of a paedophile ring operating on the Algarve around the time Madeleine went missing.
Portuguese police officer Goncalo Amaral said the German national was investigated in 2008 as part of the probe.
However, it is thought he was ruled out of involvement by Berlin police chiefs, who claimed he was only interested in boys.
Amaral previously told Australian TV that British police had ‘one investigation line’ and were ignoring other possibilities.
He said: ‘Detectives are preparing the end of the investigation, with a German paedophile who is in prison right now.’
Ney is currently being held in a German prison for the killings of Stefan Jahrd, 13, in 1992, Dennis Rostel, eight, in 1995, and Dennis Kleinfrom, nine, in 2001.
He was convicted in 2012 of the three murders.
He was also questioned in connection with the death of another German boy, Renee Hasse, in Aljezur, Portugal, in 1996, but never charged.
The reports have come on the 12th anniversary of Madeleine’s disappearance.
Yesterday, her mother Kate and two siblings, Sean and Amelia, attended an emotional prayer vigil at her home village in Rothley, Leicestershire, marking the occasion.
Madeleine’s father Gerry, a heart doctor, was in Italy on work business as Kate and her twins Sean and Amelie attended the service at a local Baptist church.