Private detective in Madeleine McCann case found dead

Private detective in Madeleine McCann case found dead

One of the first private detectives hired to investigate the disappearance of Madeleine McCann has reportedly been found dead.

Police are now describing the death as "unexplained".

He had denied misusing funds meant to aid the search for Madeleine, who went missing in Portugal in May 2007.

In 2013, Halligen was sentenced to 41 months in a U.S. prison in an unrelated fraud case.

The McCanns have not made a statement regarding his death but it is understood they had had no association with him since letting him go.

"There was blood around the house, probably caused by previous falls when he was either drunk or blacking out", he said. "A lot of people wished him ill but his death is nearly certainly related to alcoholism". The family ended up severing their contract with Halligen, however, after learning that the detective was living the high life at the expense of the search by using money from the Find Madeleine Fund to pay for top restaurants and hotels.

The firm had initially been awarded a £500,000 contract but the McCanns terminated the arrangement before paying any more fees, apparently because Halligen failed to fulfil certain agreements.

He was sentenced to 41 months and deported from the country soon after because of the time he had already spent in prison.

Surrey Police told the newspaper they were called to a house in Cobbett Hill Road on Monday, to reports of a man in his 50s being taken unwell who subsequently died.

"The death is being treated as unexplained and a file will be passed to the coroner's office in due course".