POLICE hunting Madeleine McCann say they now know the identity of her killer.
They expect to swoop within days after British detectives unearthed new clues.
Last night a Portuguese police source said: “We now have a lot of crucial evidence and we believe we know who is behind the death of Madeleine.”
Police chiefs said the fresh clues had led them to pursue a major new line of inquiry and they are about to name new suspects.
The breakthrough comes as senior investigators will today get the results of forensic tests carried out by scientists in the UK.
Portuguese detectives insist they now believe Madeleine was killed inside her family’s holiday apartment in the Algarve resort of Praia da Luz.
The Portuguese police source said the results from forensic tests were “the final piece in the jigsaw”.
Brit sniffer dogs found specks of blood in the McCanns’ apartment.
But Portuguese police insisted the new line of inquiry did not hinge on the outcome of the tests.
The police source said: “We have been following a new line of inquiry which has proved significant.
“It may well be that the blood found in the apartment matches Madeleine’s but that is not the most important part of the investigation.
“Even if the blood is not the young girl’s it will not alter the outcome. It is just the last piece we are waiting for before we can act.
“It is expected we will soon be in a position to name the new suspects.”
The development is the clearest indication yet that British ex-pat Robert Murat, 33, is set to be dropped as the only official suspect in the case.
It is expected Murat will be told within days police have failed to find sufficient evidence to charge him.
Portuguese police have now gone on the record saying they believe Madeleine was not kidnapped.
In an official statement police spokesman Chief Inspector Olegario Sousa described the inquiry as a
“complex one” which had been “extremely difficult to investigate”.
He added: “Never has there been collected so much evidence in a crime scene by specialised teams as in this situation.”
Madeleine disappeared in May while her parents were dining with seven holiday pals in a tapas bar 40 yards away from their apartment.
Last night the McCanns admitted for the first time they may have to leave Portugal without their daughter.
Kate, 38, and Gerry, 39, have always insisted that they would remain in the resort of Praia da Luz for as long as it took to discover what had happened to their little girl.
But with the welfare of their two-year-old twins, Sean and Amelie, becoming an increasing concern, they are contemplating returning to their home in Rothley, Leics.
The couple are both doctors and have been granted leave by their NHS employers to remain in Portugal.
They recently moved into a rented villa not far from where Madeleine disappeared.
But yesterday Kate finally admitted the time would come when they would have to return to the UK, with or
without their missing daughter.
She said: “We know we will be going back and I guess one day we will wake up and it will be right.
“We never thought we would go before she came back.
“Now we just don’t know – but we have the twins to consider.
“I can’t imagine how we came out as a family of five and are going back as a four.”
Gerry added they had to consider the twins. He said: “They are happy.
“There was a period, a few days last week, when it was very, very difficult to function.
“It was not right. We almost felt we had to be cooped up somewhere.
“The decision to go home will come at some point when we are ready and it will be for the right reasons - our welfare, our family’s welfare.”
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