“Revealed: ‘Child abuser’ Clement Freud befriended the McCanns at his holiday home in Praia da Luz after Madeleine vanished and even teased Kate about being a ‘nymphomaniac’” | By Sam Greenhill, Lucy Crossley for The Daily Mail
- Former MP had a villa in Praia da Luz, where Madeleine vanished in 2007
- Two women have come forward to say Sir Clement molested them
- He had befriended the McCanns after little girl’s disappearance
- Kate McCann revealed in her book that he had bizarrely teased her about whether she was a ‘nymphomaniac’
- No sign his name appeared in investigation and son Matthew says he was in the UK on the night Madeleine disappeared
Kate and Gerry McCann were ‘horrified’ last night as it was claimed the late Sir Clement Freud – who befriended them in Praia da Luz – was a child abuser.
Two women have dramatically come forward to say Sir Clement molested them when they were children.
The celebrated broadcaster and former MP, who died in 2009, had a villa in the Algarve resort where Madeleine disappeared nine years ago.
After the little girl vanished, he invited her parents around to his villa – bizarrely teasing Mrs McCann about whether she was a ‘nymphomaniac’, she later wrote in her book.
The revelation that Freud was in Praia da Luz the year Madeleine went missing, and is now named as a child abuser, will be a ‘shock’ to the McCanns.
A source close to the couple said: ‘It certainly raises a lot of questions. They will be appalled to hear the details.’
Freud’s whereabouts around the day when Madeleine vanished, May 3, 2007, could potentially be the subject of police inquiries, if it has not already been so.
There is no sign that his name featured in the botched Portuguese police investigation. And the Metropolitan Police, which launched Operation Grange in 2011 to re-examine the Madeleine case, has never said anything about him.
Last night his son Matthew Freud said his father had been in the UK on the night Madeleine vanished in Portugal, adding that his father was 83 at the time.
He said the Madeleine detectives had not asked the family anything about their father.
Asked if there was any information that might help police with their inquiries, in terms of people his father might have known in Praia da Luz, Mr Freud said it was ‘a totally inappropriate line of questioning given an ITV allegation of teenage groping in 1956’.
Sylvia Woosley, who first met Freud when she was 10 and later went to live with him when her mother’s marriage broke down, has claimed in an ITV Exposure documentary to be aired tonight that he molested her over several years.
A second woman, who wants to remain anonymous, alleged that the Liberal politician also abused her as a child and raped her when she was 18.
Private investigators hired by the McCanns in the months after the three-year-old’s disappearance said Praia da Luz and the Algarve were ‘awash’ with paedophiles.
Freud had owned a beautiful family home, complete with a lemon tree, in the resort since the 1980s.
Among the unanswered questions are why someone who has now been named as a child abuser would have invited the McCanns around to his villa.
Mrs McCann wrote in her book, about her daughter’s abduction, of the times when she and Gerry went round to see him.
The first meeting, a lunch, took place in July 2007.
Freud had written them a letter saying he was ‘ashamed of the intrusion to your lives by our media’.
He went on to offer: ‘If you would care to come to lunch/dinner at any time before Wednesday next, do ring and let me know. I cook decent meals.’
At his villa the next day, Mrs McCann recalled his ‘razor-sharp intellect’ and said he treated them to a strawberry vodka followed by chicken and mushroom risotto.
He wore ‘so many hats’ that he was hard to pin down, Mrs McCann noted, and was ‘incredibly warm, funny and instantly likable’, cheering the couple up with his ‘lugubrious wit’, she wrote in her book on her daughter’s disappearance.
She said Freud kept in touch by email after his return to England, and called them again when he was back in Luz that August.
The next time they saw him, after the McCanns had been made suspects by bungling Portuguese police, he joked with them about the useless police investigation.
Offering Mrs McCann a brandy, he also teased her about the press coverage, saying: ‘So, Kate, which of the devout Catholic, alcoholic, depressed, nymphomaniac parts is correct?’, she wrote in her book Madeleine.
A source close to the McCanns said: ‘Clement Freud invited them round for drinks, just to show some sympathy.
‘He had a family home in Praia da Luz and the invitation came as a bolt from the blue. They were grateful for his sympathy. It was a chance for them to take time out and have a drink by someone being friendly.’
The Metropolitan Police have not commented on how the new information about Freud might relate to Operation Grange, the ongoing investigation into Madeleine’s disappearance.
Former murder squad detective Colin Sutton told the Telegraph: ‘If this is something that investigators had not been aware of then it would be certainly a potential line of inquiry that would be worth pursuing.
‘It is not something that ought to be taken lightly and you would also want to look any connections he may have had in the area at the time.’
PSYCHOLOGIST’S GRANDSON WHO WENT FROM DOG FOOD ADS TO MP
Sir Clement Freud was a writer, broadcaster and politician who became famed for his intellect and dry sense of humour.
The grandson of famous psychologist Sigmund Freud who was born in Berlin, he first became a household name in the 1960s and ’70s in Minced Morsels dog food adverts.
His on-screen role with Henry the dog launched his long television and radio career, which saw him regularly contribute to BBC Radio 4’s Just A Minute for 30 years and feature on shows including Have I Got News For You.
Freud was also a celebrated food, sport and comment journalist, who worked for a string of titles including the Observer, the Daily Telegraph and the Daily Express.
His political career began in 1973, when he won the Isle of Ely constituency for the Liberals. He transferred to North East Cambridgeshire after boundary changes, but lost the seat in 1987. That same year he was given a knighthood.
His five children include PR businessman Matthew Freud and TV presenter Emma Freud. The late painter Lucian Freud was his brother.
Freud died at his desk in 2009 aged 84 – nine days before his birthday.