DETECTIVES searching for missing toddler Madeleine McCann last night swooped on the home of a 22-year-old web designer linked to the key suspect in the abduction.
After spending two hours inside the home of Sergey Malinka, in Praia da Luz, plain clothes officers emerged carrying two hard drives, a laptop and a black bin bag full of items.
Mr Malinka, who neighbours said was Russian and has lived in the town for seven years, had designed a website for key suspect Robert Murat.
He was driven off by detectives.
The news came as the family and friends of Madeleine McCann launched a fund to help trace the four-year-old and bring her abductors to justice.
Unveiled at Leicester’s Walkers Stadium yesterday, Madeleine’s Fund is inviting people to make donations in person at their local bank, by post or via the internet to help pay for Maddie’s parents, Gerry and Kate, to stay in Portugal to continue their search.
Organisers last night vowed any surplus cash from the not-for-profit company will be used to help other families and missing children.
But in the meantime funds will be ploughed into the search for the toddler who was snatched from an apartment in the resort of Praia Da Luz two weeks ago.
Speaking at the launch, Madeleine’s grandmother, Susan Healy, from Mossley Hill,
Liverpool, said in setting up Madeleine’s Fund, the family hoped to continue to keep her story in the public spotlight, and revealed the family were considering using donations to employ a British private detective.
Mrs Healey, 61, said the last two days had been particularly hard for her and daughter Kate, who grew up in Allerton and went to Notre Dame High School.
She said: “Kate is not even ready to think about leaving Portugal without her beloved daughter. I know she had a very down day yesterday.
“The fund makes them feel they have some kind of control over the situation.
“I think in the early days in Portugal, they were ever so frustrated. This is for the future, it will empower them and will allow then to stay out there for as long as it takes.”
The McCanns said they are now concentrating on driving forward their campaign to find Madeleine and continuing with everyday life, despite the recent police activity in the village and developments in the case.
Three of Madeleine’s Fund directors will be Madeleine’s uncle, John McCann, her great uncle, former head teacher Brian Kennedy, and Gerry McCann’s colleague, Dr Doug Skehan, a consultant at Leicester’s Glenfield Hospital.
If there is surplus money, Madeleine’s Fund can be converted into a charity.
Mr McCann said: “We have got one principal objective with this fund: we want Madeleine back.
“A lot of people have offered support in different ways and this will be a vehicle to help our family to get our darling niece back.
“If as a result of this fund and as a result of getting Madeleine back we can help other families in a similar situation that would be fantastic.
“It is a difficult thing just getting through this day-to-day but it would have been more difficult without the constant flow of support and sympathy.
“It is very touching and I hope people will now take this opportunity to do something concrete to help.” Col- leagues of Madeleine’s parents have already donated £10,000 to the fund.
* MEMBERS of the public can now make donations over the counter in branches of NatWest and the Royal Bank of Scotland. Postal donations can be made with cheques payable to “Madeleine’s Fund: Leaving No Stone Unturned.” People are asked to send cheques to Madeleine’s Fund, c/o The International Family Law Group, 26 Southampton Street, Covent Garden, WC2E 7RS. Internet donations can be made to “Madeleine’s Fund: Leaving No Stone Unturned“, Sort Code 60 40 05, Account Number 32130058. All donations will be processed free of charge.
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