Private detective in Madeleine McCann case found dead

Madeleine McCann disappeared from Portugal in May 2007, a week before her fourth birthday.
Madeleine McCann disappeared from Portugal in May 2007, a week before her fourth birthday. Photo credit: Getty

A private detective hired to investigate the disappearance of Madeleine McCann has been found dead in "unexplained" circumstances.

Madeleine McCann disappeared from Portugal in May 2007, a week before her fourth birthday.

Kevin Halligen, 56, was one of the first private detectives hired to the high-profile case in 2008.

He fell unwell at a home in Surrey, England, and died last week, reports The Telegraph.

He had previously been accused of siphoning £300,000 (NZ$567,700) in public donations to the McCann case in order to pay for first-class travel, luxury hotel rooms, a chauffeur and a mansion.

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

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

Newshub.