Cruel online trolls who have targeted Madeleine McCann’s parents with vicious slurs have been warned their time is up as a new prime suspect in the case is named.
Kate and Gerry McCann have faced years of online abuse and mocking since their three-year-old daughter went missing.
The couple have been repeatedly attacked on social media by people accusing them of playing a part in her disappearance from their holiday apartment 13 years ago.
They have categorically denied any part in their daughter’s disappearance and begged the trolls to leave them alone, the Mirror reports.
Now German prosecutors are investigating a child sex predator on suspicion of Madeleine’s murder – and spokesman Clarence Mitchell said anyone hurling abuse at her parents online needed to consider their own behaviour.
He told Good Morning Britain: “Anybody who believes that Kate and Gerry were involved are categorically wrong.
“And sadly if this proves to be the man responsible and we find out the fate of Madeleine in time, then a lot of people on social media will have to take a long hard look at themselves and what they’ve said over the years.”
In a major breakthrough in the case, German state prosecutor Christian Hoppe yesterday confirmed the suspect is a 43-year-old paedophile who has been convicted of sexual abuse against children as well as other sex crimes.
Neither German forces nor Scotland Yard have identified the suspect, who is reportedly serving a seven-year prison sentence for the rape of a 72-year-old American woman in Portugal in 2005.
He is known to have lived on the Algarve coast between 1995 and 2007 and his Portuguese mobile phone received a half-hour phone call in Praia da Luz around an hour before Madeleine went missing.
Mr Hoppe said the suspect was regularly living in the Algarve between 1995 and 2007, where he worked jobs, including in the gastronomy business, but funded his lifestyle by committing crimes, including thefts in hotel complexes and apartments, as well as drug dealing.
Kate and Gerry McCann, from Rothley, in Leicestershire, welcomed the latest appeal in a statement which said: “We will never give up hope of finding Madeleine alive, but whatever the outcome may be, we need to know as we need to find peace.”
Mr Mitchell, a spokesman for Madeleine’s family, said her parents felt the development was “potentially very significant” and that he could not “recall an instance when the police had been so specific about an individual” in the 13 years since she disappeared.
He told BBC Breakfast: “Of all the thousands of leads and potential suspects that have been mentioned in the past, there has never been something as clear cut as that from not just one, but three, police forces.”