Police are investigating the death of one of the first private detectives who was hired by the parents of missing girl Madeleine McCann.
Kevin Halligen, 56, was found dead at his girlfriend’s Surrey home after feeling unwell, Sky News reported.
Police said that his death was “unexplained,” and they will send a report to a coroner.
Kate and Gerry McCann, the parents of the girl who went missing in 2007, hired Halligen’s firm, Oakley International, about a year after the girl went missing. The parents became impatient with the failure of the Portuguese police to find the child.
Adrian Gatton, a TV director and investigative journalist, confirmed Halligen’s death to the Press Association, adding that he wasn’t in good health.
Gatton, who knew Halligan well and made a documentary film about him, said that he became an alcoholic, according to The Independent. He said, “Although his death is certainly not foul play, as has been suggested, there are certainly a lot of people who wished him ill. But he was also unique.”
“I knew chapter and verse about his life and career, but my interest was really to try and get to the bottom of why he did what he did,” Gatton said.
“There was blood around the house, probably caused by previous falls when he was either drunk or blacking out,” he said, according to the BBC. “His house was full of empty drink bottles. A lot of people wished him ill but his death is almost certainly related to alcoholism.”
A Surrey Police spokesman told the broadcaster, “We were called to an address in Cobbett Hill Road, Normandy, on Monday following a report of a man in his 50s having been taken unwell, who subsequently died.”
“The death is being treated as unexplained and a file will be passed to the coroner’s office in due course.”
— Laffin@Mirror again (@veniviedivici) January 14, 2018
According to The Independent, the McCanns hired Halligan’s firm for $680,000, but they ultimately terminated the agreement when they found he didn’t fulfill certain obligations. He was then extradited to the United States over an unrelated scam and pleaded guilty in 2013.
But he claimed to have never misused funds to find the girl.
“It is gross distortion of what was actually happening,” he said. His comments were broadcast in a Channel 5 documentary.
“The print media, in particular, took this line that really nothing was being done, [that] I was living the high life on the proceeds of the McCann case,” he said. “Trust me, I didn’t buy so much as a new suit. The money, all of it, is fully accountable.”