My life as a Madeleine McCann suspect’: Russian computer expert reveals the threats, ‘blackmail and bribery’ he faced after being probed by cops over girl’s disappearance
- Sergey Malinka, 32, was named as a suspect after Maddy went missing in 2007
- Detectives noted he contacted another suspect shortly after her disappearance
- His name was raised again in 2014 when Scotland Yard officers questioned him
- Malinka was cleared of all suspicion, but says he endured ‘bribes and threats’
- He has teamed up with British author David S Jones to write Collateral Damage
- Police are still investigating 10 years after Madeleine McCann, 3, disappeared
Sergey Malinka has written a book about his experience as a Madeleine McCann suspect
A Russian computer expert named as a suspect in the Madeleine McCann case is set to reveal the ‘bribing, threatening and blackmailing’ he claims he endured in a new book about the long-running investigation.
Sergey Malinka, 32, was named by Portuguese police as an aguido, or suspect, shortly after Madeleine disappeared in Praia da Luz, in 2007.
He became a person of interest after detectives noted that he had contacted another suspect at 11.30pm on May 3, 2007, around an hour-and-a-half after police were first called over the missing three-year-old.
Malinka was also said to have fitted the description of a man seen close to the hotel where the McCanns were staying.
His apartment was searched and computers seized. Malinka’s car was then firebombed and the word ‘Fala’, meaning ‘speak’ scrawled in red paint outside his apartment.
At the time, Malinka said: ‘The disappearance of a child is always difficult. No parent would want any of that to happen to anyone.
‘So I wish and truly hope that Madeleine will be found and returned to her parents.
‘I have a clear conscience. I have nothing to worry about.’
Then in 2014, Malinka’s name was briefly raised again as a suspect because of an investigation by Scotland Yard detectives.
While he was told he was no longer under suspicion, Malinka claims there has been an impact on his business and personal life from being connected to the investigation.
Madeleine McCann was three-years-old when she went missing in Prai da Luz, Portugal, in 2007 and an age progression image of what she would have looked like on her ninth birthday
Now a decade on, he has teamed up with British author David S. Jones, the co-creator of popular children’s series, Fireman Sam, and who also lives in Praia da Luz, to write Collateral Damage, a book about his experiences.
Malinka, who is set to become a father, said he wants to clear his name so that his child does not have to grow up in the shadow of suspicion that has hung over him for a decade.
Announcing his intention to publish the book next year via Kickstarter, Malinka said in a video: ‘There was alot of slandering and facts that weren’t checked.
‘Ten years has passed, but every time I think about this it’s very difficult for me.
‘You will find out the most revealing details about my story – the bribing, the threatening, the blackmailing, the defamation and just general aggravation from the public.’
Speaking to the Sunday Express, he added: ‘I was 22 years old when it happened, a young man alone in a foreign country.
Kate and Gerry McCann continue to look for their missing daughter, Maddy, a decade on
‘I have been driven to the point of dejection, being involved in a web of lies, betrayals and threats.
‘The deceits of others have driven me to the edge of despair, sometimes to the point of no return, but time heals even the deepest wounds.’
The search to discover what happened to Madeleine McCann – Operation Grange – is one of the longest, most high-profile and costly police investigations in history.
Launched in May 2011, officers have sifted (and translated) 40,000 documents produced by Portuguese police who conducted the initial investigation, and by the eight teams of private detectives who have worked on the case.
Some 600 ‘persons of interest’ have been examined and ‘sightings’ of Madeleine — in Brazil, India, Morocco and Paraguay, on a German plane and in a New Zealand supermarket — assessed.
Author David S Jones has teamed up with Sergey Malinka to write Collateral Damage
The team have taken 1,338 statements and collected 1,027 exhibits. Officers have probed more than 60 people of interest while the team has considered 650 sex offenders.
In total, there have been 8,685 potential sightings of Madeline across the globe.
Over the past few months, the Grange team — now down to four detectives from a peak of 31 — has been criss-crossing Europe trying to locate a ‘woman in purple’, who is of interest to the investigation.
Their budget had been due to run out in September, but officers are understood to have used the ‘woman in purple’ line of investigation to persuade the Home Office — which is financing the inquiry from central government funds — to grant a six-month extension.
The £154,000 agreed will allow inquiries to continue until March, taking the total spent on Operation Grange near to £12million.