MADELEINE McCann ‘could have wandered off’ before her disappearance, a top cop has claimed.
Jim Gable was the UK’s most senior child protection police officer when Maddie vanished in May 2007 – and has sensationally claimed she might not have been kidnapped after all.
He told the Daily Star: “What we do know is, Madeleine is missing.
“Either someone took her or she wandered out that night, came to harm and her body has never been discovered.
“You’ve got to consider the hypothesis that in fact she was taken.”
A family source said: “Kate and Gerry have always maintained that their daughter was abducted and simply didn’t get up and wander off to her fate.
WAS SHE HIT BY DRUNK DRIVER?
“To suggest this is almost ridiculous. There were heavy shutters which would have been impossible for a small child to open.”
His claim comes just weeks after detectives from Operation Grange — the Met Police’s probe into her 2007 disappearance — discussed the theory with Portuguese police.
Cops there had previously explored whether Madeleine was searching for her parents, who were at a nearby tapas bar.
She may have been knocked down by a drink driver, they speculated, who put her body in the car and later buried it.
Meanwhile Scotland Yard officers looked at whether it was a kidnapping or burglary gone wrong.