Thursday morning news briefing: Madeleine prime suspect revealed

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German sex offender is prime Madeleine suspect

It is the biggest breakthrough in the 13-year investigation. Scotland Yard has identified a prime suspect in the disappearance of Madeleine McCann. Senior officers disclosed that a 43-year-old German, who is in jail in his homeland for child sexual offences, was now suspected of involvement in the little girl’s disappearance. The man, whom they did not name, was in Praia da Luz on the day of Madeleine’s disappearance and received a telephone call in the area an hour before she vanished. Police released images of two vehicles belonging to the man and took the highly unusual step of releasing the Portuguese mobile number he was using at the time. This is the data they could gather from phone records.

Friends of Kate and Gerry McCann said it was the biggest development in the case since their daughter went missing. Ten years after their daughter’s disappearance, they made a fresh appeal for information which perhaps elicited more sympathy than hope from most of those watching. But the 2017 appeal paid dividends. Gordon Rayner explains how a tip-off led to a secret cross-border investigation that pinpointed the suspect. Read a profile of the couple who refuse to give up hope. And our timeline explains all the twists and turns of the last 13 years.

Covid-19 escaped from Chinese lab, says ex-MI6 boss

A former head of MI6 has said he believes the coronavirus pandemic “started as an accident” when the disease escaped from a laboratory in China. In an exclusive interview with The Telegraph‘s new Planet Normal podcast, Sir Richard Dearlove said he had seen an “important” scientific report suggesting the virus did not emerge naturally – but was made by scientists. He said it will raise the prospect of China paying “reparations” for the deaths and economic catastrophe wreaked upon the world. Listen to the full podcast by Allison Pearson and Liam Halligan.

Year-and-a-half wait for European holiday refunds

Holidaymakers may have to wait up to 18 months for refunds on cancelled trips to Portugal, Italy or France under an EU-approved scheme. Travel experts said several countries have issued decrees meaning hotels booked directly can offer credit vouchers instead of cash refunds for holidays between March and September. They would be valid until Dec 31 2021 – after which money would have to be given back. But Matt has found a solution to the holiday dilemma in today’s cartoon. PS: For the latest holiday advice and news from our experts around the world, sign up to our Travel newsletter – now sent to you three times a week. For unlimited access to our journalism, try our subscription offer. Take a free one-month trial – then save 50pc on your first three months.

At a glance: More coronavirus headlines

Also in the news: Today’s other headlines

Black Lives Matter | Protests in London turned violent last night, with demonstrators hurling objects at police outside Downing Street. Thirteen people were arrested after dozens of people wearing face masks scaled railings. They were protesting at the death of a black man in police custody in the US, where three former police officers present at the arrest were last night charged with aiding and abetting murder. As US Editor Ben Riley-Smith reports, a fourth who pinned George Floyd down by the neck saw his charge upgraded to second-degree murder.  

You Are Not Alone: Getting you through the crisis

  1. Lockdown tore us apart | Why the pandemic has been the final straw for many
  2. ‘I’ve never eaten something I’ve named’ | William Sitwell on raising a pig to eat
  3. The reality of being a model in a lockdown From DIY make-up to FaceTime shoots

Comment and analysis

Gallery: Life under lockdown

Division practice | Isabel Freeman, a learning support assistant, cleans and divides items for individual pupil stationery packs ahead of the return of more children from reception and year six to Muswell Hill Primary in north London. View our gallery of Britain in lockdown.

Staff have been working to find the best way to provide extra spaces while still retaining social distancing – LEON NEAL/GETTY

Business and money briefing

Aviation row | British Airways could be stripped of prized landing slots at Heathrow airport because it is cutting staff while taking advantage of the furlough scheme. Officials will review if they can intervene in slot allocations at Europe’s busiest airport as BA plans to slash 12,000 jobs.  

Sport briefing

‘Show us the money’ | The Premier League is under increasing pressure to explain how it will deliver on the Government’s call for it to share the financial benefits of Project Restart through the “entire football family”. Despite a desperate need at every level of the men’s and women’s game for the distribution of income, little detail has been forthcoming.  

And finally… for this morning’s downtime

How a naked baby transformed rock | As part of his series on classic album covers, Neil McCormick tells the story of one of the greatest rock albums ever made – Nirvana’s Nevermind album cover.