'I felt like I was being set up' - former Norfolk man speaks of time he was a suspect in Madeleine McCann case
PUBLISHED: 06:30 20 March 2019 | UPDATED: 08:25 20 March 2019
A former mid Norfolk resident who was at the centre of the Madeleine McCann investigation has told how he went through "Hell on Earth" and felt he was being set up.
Robert Murat, a former resident of Hockering, near Dereham, was the first official suspect during the investigation into the disappearance of the three-year-old.
Madeleine vanished from an apartment in the Portuguese resort of Praia da Luz, in May 2007 and has not been seen since.
Mr Murat has been interviewed in the new Netflix documentary series, The Disappearance of Madeleine McCann.
He was 33 when Madeleine vanished, living in Praia da Luz and working as a property consultant.
He volunteered his services as an interpreter for Portuguese police.
Twelve days after Madeleine disappeared, Mr Murat was named as an official suspect, after a journalist told police he had been notably curious about the case.
Police raided his home and questioned him, but found no evidence linking him to the crime.
He has always denied any involvement in Madeleine’s disappearance.
Speaking on the documentary about being taken in for questioning, Mr Murat said: “I remember being scared.
“I felt, be honest, be truthful, they’ll find out you have nothing to do with it. But they didn’t want that. They wanted me to confess.
“Multiple people came shooting in and it felt quite threatening. They were telling me I was guilty and my time was up. The more I said I hadn’t done it, the more they said I lied.
“I hadn’t got a clue what was going on, I was a mess. I literally wasn’t functioning, I actually felt I was being set up.
“I felt like they were going to do anything and everything to make it me.”
He added: “I remember pacing around the house in circles and not being able to stop.
“I remember putting myself in a room in the dark and crawling up on a chair and just wanting to die. Just absolutely Hell on Earth.”
Back in Norfolk at the time, Hockering residents displayed posters supporting Mr Murat.
In November last year, Operation Grange, the Metropolitan Police’s investigation into the disappearance of Madeleine received a further £150,000 in government funding.