The German Public Prosecuting authorities have today said they believe Madeleine McCann is dead and are treating her case as a murder investigation.

Last night it was revealed that a new suspect had been linked to the disappearance of the three-year-old seven years ago.

Detectives have revealed that a German prisoner has been identified as a suspect by the Metropolitan Police but they have not revealed his name.

The 43-year-old is currently in jail for an unrelated offence but was in Praia da Luz on the Algarve coast at the time Madeleine vanished on May 3 2007.

In a statement today, the German Public Prosecutor confirmed that authorities there believe Madeleine is dead and the case is being treated as murder.

He said: "We think Madeleine McCann is dead."

He added that the news suspect is a convicted sex offender who is currently in prison.

The state prosecutor is now appealing for witnesses.