The purpose of this site is for information and a record of Gerry McCann's Blog Archives. As most people will appreciate GM deleted all past blogs from the official website. Hopefully this Archive will be helpful to anyone who is interested in Justice for Madeleine Beth McCann. Many Thanks, Pamalam

Note: This site does not belong to the McCanns. It belongs to Pamalam. If you wish to contact the McCanns directly, please use the contact/email details    

Reports Post-Arguido (September 2007) *

A collection of interesting press reports from 07 September onwards

The McCanns leave Portugal, 09 September 2007
The McCanns leave Portugal, 09 September 2007

Why aren't the McCanns more keen for their friends to speak out on their behalf?, 08 September 2007
Why aren't the McCanns more keen for their friends to speak out on their behalf? Mail on Sunday
Last updated at 23:56 08 September 2007
They are the key witnesses to Madeleine's disappearance - the friends of Kate and Gerry McCann who could help unlock the mystery of what happened that fateful night.
But despite their knowledge they have strangely said virtually nothing in four months.
As the McCanns embarked on a global publicity campaign to find their daughter, the group of friends closest to the couple - and who were dining with them on May 3 when Madeleine vanished - were reluctant to talk.
That was only too evident when there was a report that a female member of the close-knit group might have seen Madeleine being carried away from the family's holiday apartment.
It was said the witness had become racked with guilt because, thinking the toddler was the man's own child, she had made no attempt to stop him.
She reported her sighting to Portuguese detectives but, despite the massive media campaign, refused to talk publicly about what she had seen.
Anxious to confirm the report at the time, The Mail on Sunday asked one of the McCanns' friends, Dr Fiona Payne, for an interview.
Initially she strongly indicated that she was prepared to talk to this newspaper but changed her mind when the McCanns inexplicably advised her against it.
Dr Payne and her husband David, a senior research fellow at Leicester University, and Mrs Payne's mother Dianne Webster had been dining with the McCanns at the tapas bar near their apartment when Madeleine vanished.
The Paynes have two children, but were said to be the only ones in the group using a baby monitor that night.
They were among those who stayed on in the Algarve to support the McCanns for several weeks after Madeleine's disappearance.
Dr Payne has made no ontherecord comments apart from saying people should not attach "any significance" to claims against the McCanns being reported in the Portuguese press.
Dr Russell O'Brien, who also dined with the McCanns that night, has only said that suggestions that Kate and Gerry had been involved were "completely untrue and extremely hurtful".
He is understood to have left the table some time after 9pm to attend to his own daughter, who had become ill with vomiting.
Another member of the McCanns' party, recruitment consultant Rachael Oldfield, has supported the couple and also told people to ignore what they read in Portuguese newspapers.
In the first week of the investigation, a doctor at whose Midlands surgery Kate McCann worked as a part-time locum told The Mail on Sunday he wanted to offer £100,000 for information leading to Madeleine's safe return.
The wealthy GP, who is also a property developer, asked to remain anonymous. He became emotional as he told our reporter that Madeleine's disappearance had reminded him of when his brother's daughter had once gone missing for 20 minutes.
But later he oddly became reluctant to discuss the matter and became hostile towards approaches from this newspaper.
The doctor's wife expressed fears that if his identity was revealed, his wealth might encourage somebody to take their three young daughters hostage for ransom.
She claimed her husband had to take a week off work because his surgery had been besieged by calls from the media.
Yesterday, the doctor and his wife refused to comment on the latest developments in the case.

How couple helped to build 'brand McCann' into global phenomenon, 08 September 2007
How couple helped to build 'brand McCann' into global phenomenon Timesonline
Skilful media handlers recruited celebrities and world leaders to a campaign driven by parents' acceptance of the press as partners
Dominic Kennedy and David Brown
September 8, 2007
The naming of Kate McCann as a suspect in the disappearance of her daughter is all the more shocking since she has become a symbol of mothers of missing children everywhere.
World leaders and celebrities, from the Vatican, the White House and Downing Street downwards have all been recruited to the "find Madeleine" campaign.
The global missing-persons movement has adopted as its most powerful emblem the mystery of the pretty blonde child who disappeared into the night.
As the McCanns have toured Europe and beyond, relentlessly urging the public to find their little girl, families' fears that their own children may be abducted have worsened.
Nobody could guess, when the news broke on May 3 that a British child had gone missing, that the riddle would eclipse any crime story of the internet age. What became "brand Madeleine" arose from a combination of brilliant media-handling skills and, for the first time, interactive websites telling editors how much the public craved such a story.
If the Portuguese police were sluggish about starting to search for the missing girl, nobody could accuse British spin-doctors and reporters of being slow off the mark in their hunt for headlines.
The McCanns dominated the news quickly. As doctors and young parents living a quiet provincial life, they had no experience of dealing with the media.
Fortunately, the Mark Warner organisation that runs the holiday camp where Madeleine disappeared was represented by one of the best PRs in the business.
Alex Woolfall is crisis management head at Bell Pottinger, the public relations outfit headed by the original sultan of spin, Lord Bell. Mr Woolfall's main clients have included that other global brand Coca-Cola.
For the first fortnight after Madeleine disappeared, he was on the spot in Praia da Luz, acting as gobetween for the family and the growing pack of journalists.
"We were aware from the outset that there was a huge amount of media interest and they were very keen to see the media as a partner," he said in an interview.
"They find themselves having to ask themselves 'What can we possibly do that means we will be able to sleep tonight, knowing that we have done everything today that we could have done?'."
In an unprecedented move, the Government took over news-handling on behalf of the McCanns. Sheree Dodd, a former Daily Mirror journalist and long-serving senior spokeswoman for the Government, was dispatched to Portugal. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office announced that she was being deployed as "press officer responsible to act as media liaison officer for the McCann family".
After a couple of weeks, she was replaced by an even more prominent political figure. Clarence Mitchell, a former BBC News presenter now working as a senior government spin-doctor, became the voice of the McCanns. He was described formally as providing "consular support in exceptional circumstances". His costs came to just over £6,000, and Ms Dodd's are likely to be similar.
A Foreign Office source said: "This has been a completely new situation. We had to do something."
Mr Mitchell was regarded by journalists as an impressive and helpful figure who was sensitive to the needs of the locals as well as the British.
At first, reports suggested that the McCanns would be reluctant to leave Portugal without getting Madeleine back. But they were persuaded to undertake a foreign tour featuring an audience with the Pope, Mr Mitchell sitting close by.
A clever brand image was created. Madeleine has an unusual iris in her right eye that would make her unmistakable even if she were disguised.
Wristbands were issued with the words "Look for Madeleine". The letters "oo" were designed to resemble the distinctive shape of the girl's eyes.
Madeleine's case was seized upon by organisations promoting the search for missing people.But adverse reaction began when a cinema advertisement was screened before the latest Shrek film. Parents complained that their children were being frightened.
To date, the Find Madeleine campaign, which has a much-visited website that seemed to be struggling under the weight of demand yesterday, has raised more than £1 million. Mr McCann posts a regular blog. Its last entry, from Wednesday, is quite ominous and suggests that the media may have been tipped off about looming developments.
"We were surprised to find increased media presence in Praia da Luz again today," he wrote. "All the excitement seems to be over the results of the recent forensic tests."
Justine McGuinness, a public relations expert, has been recruited, with the help of a headhunter, to become the McCanns' private spokeswoman in Praia da Luz.
The media feeding frenzy is driven in part by the popularity of Madeleine McCann stories on news websites. For many of the past 128 days, her name has been the most-searched item.
It's not surprising, then, that the Daily Express has put Madeleine's picture on its front page almost every day. Its previous favourite cover girl was that other British blonde who came to grief mysteriously in foreign parts: Diana, Princess of Wales.

Now we're fighting for our lives, 09 September 2007
Now we're fighting for our lives News of the World
By Sarah Nuwar
09 September 2007
ANGUISHED dad Gerry McCann fought back last night after he and wife Kate were named official suspects over Maddie, and declared: "We're entirely innocent. But now we're fighting for our lives."
The 39-year-old heart surgeon vowed to take on the Portuguese legal system and insisted: "We did NOT kill our daughter! We WILL clear our name and we will NOT give up on Madeleine."
And it was revealed early today that the couple are to leave Portugal this morning, with their two-year-old twins, Sean and Amelie.
The McCanns spokesman said: "It is emphasised that their return is with the full agreement of the Portuguese authorities and police."
Earlier Gerry confessed the couple are bracing themselves for still more shock twists in the four-month investigation. And he revealed how he:
BACKS wife Kate 100 per cent.
FEARS cops are under too much pressure to come up with a result.
HARBOURS serious doubts about the Portuguese legal system— which tried to wheedle a confession out of Kate by offering her a light jail sentence.
KNOWS that, amazingly, under local laws they may have cobbled together enough to charge them.
Despite his refusal to buckle under the growing pressure, Gerry admitted: "We thought we were in our worst nightmare but now it just keeps getting worse and worse.
"It's such a vulnerable position. It's appalling. We've never had to say it until now...but we did not kill our daughter. I never believed it would come to this.
"But when the paranoia sinks in, you're under severe pressure and things are going down a certain line, then it does look bad.
"In a system that you don't know and you don't really trust it's incredibly frightening."
Gerry spoke out after he and Kate endured a tense grilling by detectives and were officially labelled ‘arguidos'—Portuguese for suspects.
The couple were quizzed in the town of Portimao—30 miles from the Praia da Luz holiday apartment where Madeleine vanished on May 3—for a total of 24 hours.
Legally, Gerry is now barred from talking about the detail of the inquiry.
He is not allowed to explain why police now suspect him, or rebuff the new evidence they believe they have unearthed more than 100 days after Maddie went missing.
Although he is "absolutely confident" there is no evidence to link him and Kate with any suspicion of murder, Gerry admitted the latest twist of events had left him with "anxieties".
"I don't need to tell you how things don't stack up," he said.
"I know 100 per cent Kate could NOT have done anything. I know that's true from what I did that night.
"And in terms of what Kate knows about me, I was away from her for just ten minutes."
Gerry and Kate, who continues to hold on to Maddie's favourite Cuddle Cat toy for comfort, have always said that they put their three children to bed in the apartment at 7pm.
They told police that at 8.30pm they went for a meal with a group of friends in the family resort.
Each adult in the party of nine took turns to check on the children.
Gerry denied he would have had time to hide a body, if as police suggested, he or his wife had killed Maddie by accident.
"As I said, I was away from the table for ten minutes," he said. "Six minutes of that was spent speaking to another guest I met as I came out from checking on Madeleine.
"All of this can come out. And it doesn't stack up." But friends fear there is now evidence that raises suspicions about the McCanns' chronology of events.
They worry that any apparent discrepancies in timings are being given undue weight by police.
Nevertheless they are convinced such doubts can be blown out of the water.
And Gerry could only say: "I hope that the due diligence and processes will win through in the normal way and not the need for a result."
He said the Portuguese police's attitude towards him and Kate had shifted in the last five weeks.
There has been a steady stream of slurs against them in the local and national Portuguese press.
The Leicester couple's family in the UK believe these came directly from police sources.
The McCanns now fear the cops may be about to arrest and charge them. Gerry told us: "Our lawyer said the weight of it is that, under the Portuguese legal system, they've got enough to move forward against us."
Then he revealed they may consider flying in a crack legal team from the UK to assist their Portuguese advisor.
But he confessed he is frustrated they are not allowed to use any of the £800,000 Madeleine Fund— boosted by celebrity appeals including Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling and soccer star David Beckham—to pay their mounting legal bills.
"It seems like a disaster that we've got this huge donated fund and now we're not allowed to use it for legal costs because we're under suspicion," said Gerry.
"I never really imagined we'd be in this situation.
"And it could get worse I suppose. But ultimately if it comes to that, sooner or later, there'll be a formal process whereby we can rebut things in court. Then it will all come out.
"We'd have to be patient but ultimately we'll have the opportunity to have all of the evidence examined and discover the whole picture about what happened.
"And that's what's sustaining me. At least now we've got a clearer view of what we're up against whereas what we had before was smear and innuendo.
"We know what we have to fight now. The problem is we DO have a fight, but before I wasn't quite sure.
"You get paranoid when there's a political shift. Because of the amount of pressure there's been on the Policia Judiciaria, and all the criticism, you always wonder how far they'll go.
"Now I've seen what they've got I'm actually clearer in my mind why they've shifted and treated us so differently.
"I'm still concerned with their perception of the evidence, but that's for us to sort out with legal support." Gerry then voiced their other big concern now that the spotlight has turned on him and Kate.
"It's a real double-edged sword," he said. "While this investigation focuses on us it's NOT focusing on looking for Madeleine."
He admitted the last few days of gruelling police interviews had been draining on the couple.
But he said that despite everything Kate was coping under the strain.
"I'm thinking clearer this morning," he added. "What we're negotiating with the police is to be allowed to go home to the UK.
"We're desperate to get back for the kids' sake and for emotional reasons.
"It's not that we're running away. If there are two people in the world that can't run away it's us. Anyway, we have to move accommodation because the lease on our villa is up this week.
"The trouble is I don't know how long all this is going to take. It's four months already. Everything is slow. It's just the culture. Kate's not too bad, though. In fact, she's pretty resilient.
"But when we were trying to decide whether to return to Britain that's when this smearing started in the papers. And Kate just thought, ‘They want us out!'
"I said, ‘Kate, there's no point in staying if it's counter-productive.'
"She realised that was right but the thought of returning home brought back all the emotions of pain almost as bad as the first few days after Maddie vanished. That sense of loss and the thought of never seeing her again.
"Kate gets that more than I do. It's still intermittent grief and pain."

Kate's fear of being locked up, 09 September 2007
Kate's fear of being locked up News of the World
09 September 2007
ANGUISHED mum Kate hugged her two-year-old twins close and said a tearful goodbye as she was called in for her SECOND tough interrogation by Portuguese cops.
She had already endured an 11-hour grilling on Thursday and feared she might not be coming home from Friday's session.
A friend revealed: "Kate was petrified that the detectives would charge her over Maddie's disappearance and keep her in prison.
"When she left for the police station on Friday she had no idea whether she'd be seeing little Sean and Amelie later that day or weeks down the line.
"So she went to see them at their crèche and said goodbye, she gave them both a big kiss and cuddle. It was a very emotional journey and her goodbye with Gerry was very personal, too.
"It wasn't so much the words he used, but the look of resilience he gave her. He was saying to her 'Don't let them get you down, we can do this.'"
And the pal said that Kate did him proud as she remained defiant throughout the five-hour interview and even turned the tables on the officers, asking them to produce their evidence.
The source said: "Once Kate was formally named as a suspect she had the right to remain silent. But when the police started laying it on thick, she hit back and demanded to be shown what they'd got to support their theory that she and Gerry had killed Maddie then covered up the crime.
"Kate's determined not to be pushed into saying anything that isn't true.
"It was very intense but she stood her ground."
Gerry emerged from his grilling at the police station just after midnight on Friday and a family friend revealed he found the ordeal and allegations distressing.
"But he was determined not to give the police the satisfaction of seeing him break down," said the friend.
"He held firm and answered all the questions. He wasn't going to cry in front of them."
But the tears flooded out when Gerry arrived back at the family's villa in the early hours of yesterday for an emotional reunion with Kate.
The pal said: "There was an explosion of anger. They're in a state of disbelief and shock at what's happened. But they are just trying to remain focused on finding Madeleine."

Timeline inconsistencies, News of the World 09 September 2007 (link)
The Lost Half Hour
By Lucy Panton
PORTUGUESE police are concentrating on what they claim is a missing half hour in accounts of the night Madeleine disappeared.
The McCanns told detectives they believed they arrived at the Tapas restaurant at 8.30pm.
But months into the investigation, Portuguese detectives now allege they did not turn up until almost 30 minutes later.
Friends' statements show there may be differences of opinion over what time Kate and Gerry arrived with some of the pals stating it was just before 9pm.
Police want to quiz the couple again over what they call the "missing half hour".
A police source said: "We believe the timetable of events that evening is crucial to the inquiry. We want to know how they could make such a mistake over the time they arrived."
Early on in the investigation the McCanns said they got to the restaurant at 8.30pm.
Based on arrival timings given by their dining companions, that would mean the tragic couple arrived first before their friends.
But police sources say statements given by those pals show the McCanns arrived just before 9pm—and that by then all of their friends were already there.


The statements claim that Russell O'Brien, Jane Tanner, Matthew and Rachel Oldfield were first to arrive at around 8.45pm.

At 8.55 David and Fiona Payne were said to have turned up with Fiona's mum, Diane Webster.

Some statements indicate that the McCanns turned up two or three minutes after the Paynes.

If these new timings are accurate police are questioning why Gerry would go back and check the children just 5 minutes later.

He is reported as saying he checked the apartment and all three children were sleeping at 9.05pm.

This was confirmed when on his way back he stopped to speak to Jeremy Wilkins, another guest at the resort he had met playing tennis earlier in the week.

At 9.10pm Jane Tanner said she crossed Gerry's path on her way to check her own children.

Around that time she says she saw a man carrying away a child she now believes was Madeleine.

She describes the man as aged 35, dark-haired. wearing beige trousers and black shoes. She said the girl, who appeared to be sleeping, was toddler age, bare-footed and wearing pink pyjamas like Madeleine's.

No one else out that night reported seeing this man.

Portuguese cops have piled on the agony for the McCanns by retracing their steps and naming them both as official suspects. They believe the couple may have been involved in the disappearance of three-year-old Madeleine. And they think one may be covering up for the other.

Officers are probing a "three-hour window of opportunity" on the theory that during this time Madeleine was killed in the apartment and her body hidden somewhere nearby.

It starts the last time the children were seen alive by anyone but their parents and ends when Kate and Gerry were seen in public.

The last time Madeleine was seen alive was by staff at the Ocean Club creche at 6pm.

The McCanns were then alone with their children for almost three hours at the most if they did arrive at the Tapas restaurant at 9pm.A police source said: "The couple are being monitored to see how they react to every new piece of information they receive.

"The pressure has slowly been mounting on the McCanns over the last month as new information has been fed into the inquiry." Sources say the couple have been kept under surveillance following the discovery by a dog of the smell of death in their apartment on August 1.

Police now claim they have detected blood in a Renault Scenic car hired by the McCanns 24 days after Maddie's disappearance.

During questioning, GP Kate was asked why she had washed Madeleine's favourite toy "Cuddle Cat". Cops believe she has was trying to hide forensic evidence of her daughter's death.


The police claim the smell of a corpse was found on Kate's T-shirt, jeans and on Cuddle Cat.

Kate says she washed the toy on August 5—four days after police dogs picked up "the scent of death".

She insists she washed the toy simply because it was covered in dirt and sun tan lotion.

Portuguese police are relying heavily on a Cracker-style profiler who has been studying the McCanns' behaviour. The profiler has reportedly claimed that he suspects that the couple, from Rothley, Leics, could be "distracting" themselves from the horror of what they might have done by getting involved in the massive media campaign.

Doubts have also been cast over the lack of emotion and the controlled composure of the couple since their daughter disappeared.

The profiler has told cops that this matches that of a couple who are united and focused in a bid to cover up a tragedy.

But former Chief Inspector Albert Kirby, who led the hunt to trap the killers of toddler James Bulger, said: "There is very little time for the McCanns to have murdered their daughter and disposed of her body.

"And they would have had to carry her body a short distance away and concealed it without anyone spotting them. The body would have also had to remain concealed and unfound for a long time despite the police search.

"The Portuguese police must believe that one of them managed to conceal the body in a flat or a bush."

Brit police watch and listen next door, 09 September 2007
Brit police watch and listen next door The People

Exclusive by Andrew Gregory
9 September 2007

British detectives secretly listened in as Portuguese police grilled Kate McCann over daughter Maddie's disappearance, The People can today reveal.

They hid in a room next to the interview suite at the police station to watch the mother's every response to her gruelling interrogation.

It is understood the Brit officers even fed the local cops with questions through tiny earpieces - and used body-language experts to monitor Kate's reactions.

The People has discovered that Kate and husband Gerry were made official suspects after:

Local cops set up surveillance teams to monitor their movements 24 hours a day for three weeks.

Kate was hauled back in for a tough second interview after they claimed she had dramatically CHANGED her version of events.

The body-language experts compiled a secret report which is thought to suggest her demeanour indicates she has something to HIDE.

Emails and computer data are thought to have been closely examined.

The dramatic twists in the case of four-year-old Maddie come after Portuguese investigators received guidance from Britain's FBI, the Serious and Organised Crime Agency.

A dossier of covert electronic and physical evidence coupled with forensic reports led to the McCanns both being labelled suspects.

A source close to the inquiry revealed: "Following the request by the Portuguese to the British police to get involved the pace of the investigation has massively increased.

"Many of the failures made by local cops have been highlighted by the Brits and they are now working hard to find out what exactly happened to Madeleine."

The source explained: "It is common practice for those closest to a missing person to be watched closely and the McCanns are now no different.

"They, like all suspects, are being closely monitored as no stone is left unturned."

But GP Kate and cardiologist Gerry, both 39, fear they are being FRAMED over the disappearance and possible death of Madeleine - missing for 129 days. Police launched their round-the-clock surveillance operation last month.

The couple were taken in for further questioning last week after it was claimed that forensic experts had found traces of Madeleine's blood in the boot of a Renault Scenic car hired 25 days AFTER she went missing.

Detectives suspected Kate might have accidentally killed her daughter in the family's holiday flat in Praia da Luz and hid the body - which was later moved in the car.

Kate was grilled by Portuguese police for 11 HOURSon Thursday and for FIVE MORE HOURS on Friday.

It is understood she was forced to return for the second day of questioning at the police station in Portimao after cops claimed she changed her story - making them suspect she was being untruthful.

The British cops are also thought to have arranged for Kate's demeanour to be constantly monitored for any tell-tale signs during the long sessions of questioning. The People can also reveal that body language experts from Bramshill Police College in Basingstoke, Hants, put together a report on the McCanns' behaviour after studying hours of TV footage.

The specialists scrutinised every interview - live and recorded - given by the couple since May 3.

A secret dossier of the findings has been handed to detectives leading the investigation.

It is believed the report concludes that Kate's body language and facial expressions in interviews show she has something to hide. Our source said: "Technology and policing methods have advanced so much in the last few years that officers can now call on all sorts of techniques in their investigations.

"Reading suspects' body language and their facial expressions is one such device. Both Kate and Gerry would have been looked at and their actions analysed."

But the source stressed: "It must be made clear that their movements could indicate they have not done anything untoward rather than helping to prove they have." Since Madeleine disappeared the anguish of her parents - who also have two-year-old twins - has been laid bare for the world to see.

At the first press conference, after the tot had been missing for only a few hours, the couple were visibly shook up and stressed.

Gerry did all the talking. Kate stood with her head bowed, clutching her husband's arm and saying nothing.

Since then, the confidence of the parents has grown. They put their careers on hold as they organised a massive and slick publicity campaign and even met the Pope. The McCanns rarely faltered as they gave interviews to media from around the world.

But as the Maddie investigation enters a dramatic new phase, the couple have now dropped plans to return home to Rothley, Leics.

Pals say they will stay in Portugal to clear their names.

A spokesman for the Portuguese police refused to comment last night on British involvement in the case.

But a source said: "We will continue to work with the British until we reach a satisfactory outcome."

The McCanns return to Britain, 10 September 2007
The McCanns return to Britain Belfast Telegraph
[Published: Monday 10, September 2007 - 07:38]
The eyes of the world might have been on their homecoming, but the end-of-holiday mundanities were the same as any when Kate and Gerry McCann tried to put Portugal behind them on their return to Leicestershire yesterday.
First, there were their two-year-old twins to stir from half-sleep after the drive home from the airport. It was left to Kate to unbuckle Amelie and carry her to the oak front door which the GP had last passed through joyfully, with three children in tow and a beach holiday in sight, on a spring day more than three months ago.
There was some help with their four large black suitcases from the Special Branch officers who had chauffeured them the 16 miles from East Midlands airport to Rothley.
But only Mr McCann seemed to have the know-how to unfasten the two child seats from the unmarked police car. Palpably exhausted, he spent three minutes grappling with them – close enough to one of the 100 journalists at the gate to hear his live running commentary, while a TV network's helicopter buzzed overhead. Just a few more dreadful moments in a passage of his life which has been full of little else in recent months.
The McCanns, awakening to their first day in Britain without Madeleine today, are "quite upbeat and quite buoyant" to be home, according to one family friend – their return giving them "a new confidence" that they will clear their names despite their status as arguidos (suspects) in the police investigation into Madeleine's disappearance. But the break in Gerry McCann's voice as he spoke in the heat of the apron at East Midlands airport, his son Sean in his arms, provided a different perspective on quite what it meant to leave Britain with three children and return with two.
"Despite there being so much we wish to say, we are unable to do so, except to say this: we played no part in the disappearance of our lovely daughter Madeleine," he said.
As the 39-year-old spoke, the mysteries surrounding the Portuguese police investigation were as baffling as ever, with reports in the Portuguese press suggesting yesterday that a judge had rejected a police application to keep the couple in Portugal.
Members of the McCann family disclosed on Friday that police had told the couple their suspicions that Kate accidentally killed Madeleine stemmed from an apparent trace of the child's blood found in the back of a Renault Scenic car they hired 25 days after her disappearance. It was said to have been detected by the Forensic Science Service (FSS) in Birmingham.
But FSS sources have now cast doubt on that and suggest that DNA samples found in the back of the car were too degraded to provide a complete match with Madeleine's DNA. Portuguese police are awaiting the results of further tests being carried by the FSS.
The McCanns' decision to return to Britain came at the 11th hour. Although a rental agreement on the house they have used in Praia da Luz was due to expire next week, they initially decided after the events of last week to extend their stay in Portugal. In the words of one family friend, they did not want to appear to be "running scared" and as late as Saturday, their resolve was intact. But the growing backlash against them in Portugal and the increasing unpredictability of the police investigation drove their decision, disclosed in the early hours of yesterday, that it would be better for them and their children if they left.
If the beach holiday had run its natural course, they would have returned on a Thomsons flight to Coventry, months ago.
Instead, yesterday's journey started with them driving themselves up the Algarve's A2 motorway, with photographers in pursuit, before catching the 9.30am easyJet flight 6552 to East Midlands. They were given a VIP room during their brief time at Faro airport and were afforded what privacy is available on a budget flight – the two front rows were cleared on the aircraft for their group – though that did not stop curious holidaymakers approaching them with questions as they endeavoured to settle the children.
The couple's family had done what they could to assist their return to their home, Orchard House, a detached mock-Victorian property on a five-year-old housing development. Mrs McCann's uncle, Brian Kennedy, carried in a bag of provisions shortly before they arrived. The front lawn was freshly cut and the laurel hedge neat. A yellow ribbon was visible on the Vauxhall Corsa parked outside the double garage.
But the short drive from airport to house was full of dreadful reminders for mrs McCann, returning to Rothley for the first time. From her seat behind the driver in the Special Branch Ford Galaxy, she might well have seen the image of her child in the local newsagents' window advertising Madeleine " bands of hope". Or else the cluster of cameras around the eternal flame for Madeleine which burns across the road from the newsagents.
Every other telegraph post advertised last Saturday's funfair at the local Bunny's Field – an event which, had fate taken a different course, the five McCanns might have attended.
At the house, Mr McCann asked Mr Kennedy to communicate that there would be no more statements unless the police investigation develops in some way. And so it was left to this most loyal supporter of the couple, who has had his own wife's illness to contend with of late, to communicate the enormity of recent events. "It has been the most trying three or four days of their lives," Mr Kennedy said. "They are very tired, shattered – as anyone would be."
The events of the past few days have affected the people of Rothley, too – with a sense that ambiguities now exist where they didn't before. "I don't know what I think because I don't know the facts," said one villager, who would not be named.
When Madeleine first went missing, that kind of statement would have been considered a profanity in a village where the war memorial was festooned with yellow ribbons and flowers.
"There's a surprising amount of uncertainty among people here," said a local newspaper journalist. "There was anything but, in the early days. We couldn't even gauge people's opinions about whether they felt there was an element of neglect [in the McCanns' leaving Madeleine unattended] without upsetting people."
But empathy for Mrs McCann and what she is going through was also in evidence. "I've been begging them to leave," said Tracey Warburton, from Birmingham, who travelled to the Algarve to join the search for Madeleine, in the early days of the inquiry, and who met Mr McCann in the process. "The last time she [Mrs McCann] drove that road [home] she had her baby with her," Ms Warburton pointed out.
James McDonald, a villager who works at the Leicester Royal Infirmary, said there was "a feeling of warmth" in the village and the hospital. " There's a sense for me that they're kindred spirits, being medics," he said.
Other villagers fear the couple's return will presage an unwelcome switch of media focus from the Algarve to Rothley. "I saw the TV helicopter at the golf club this morning," said Norman Ellis, 62. "It's unsettling. For a time we thought it was a police chopper. It's all taken us a bit by surprise."
Among neighbours, there was also uncertainty about how to approach the couple. Nigel Warner, a financial services executive who lives in the same cul-de-sac and who had grown accustomed to seeing the McCanns with their children in the 18 months since the doctors moved into the village, will wait until the time is right before delivering a card in support.
"I'll be guided by anybody who talks to them first," he said. "No one wants to stand on anybody's toes."
At the McCanns' house, there were friends on hand to help them pass what must already seem like endless hours and deal with the enormity of what they have experienced. "It's just good to have them back," said one friend, Amanda. "We're going to rally round as much as we can, and whatever Kate and Gerry need, we'll be there for them."
There was also a sense that the twins, at least, were relishing the return to normality which their parents crave for them. Both took great delight in removing from the window sill a long line of cuddly toys.
But life is far more uncertain for their parents. Though the couple's Portuguese lawyer expects no developments for several days and has returned to Lisbon, evidence could be passed, in their absence, at any time to the public prosecutor in Portimao, where they have been questioned. The police investigation "is not over by any means", police spokesman Olegario Sousa said. For the McCanns, there is nothing to do but wait.

Belfast Telegraph 10 September 2007 (link)
Scapegoats? McCanns reject 'compelling' new police evidence
Family says the naming of Gerry and Kate McCann as suspects jeopardises the hunt for their child

Monday, September 10, 2007

Portuguese judicial sources have defied mounting criticism of their investigation to indicate that police were amassing "compelling" evidence against Kate and Gerry McCann.

They rejected claims that the couple were being framed for the disappearance of their daughter Madeleine and denied the investigation had been badly compromised early on.

Although serious questions have emerged over whether the crime scene and the hire car could have been cross-contaminated and so forensic evidence undermined, the couple who were declared official suspects by Portuguese police on Friday, said that they fear being turned into scapegoats for failings in the police investigation. Yesterday they appealed for the police in Portugal to resume the hunt for the missing four-year-old.

On Saturday night Gerry McCann maintained his and his wife's innocence, telling the News of the World newspaper that they did not kill their daughter. " We're entirely innocent," Mr. McCann said. "I don't need to tell you how things don't stack up. I know 100 per cent that Kate did not do anything. I know that's true from what I did that night. And in terms of what Kate knows about me, I was away from her for just 10 minutes."

The Portuguese police will reportedly receive new forensic evidence from the couple's holiday apartment either tomorrow or Tuesday. The couple are expected to appear before the public prosecutor in the next few days. The McCann's lawyer has reportedly warned the couple that the weight of police evidence is now such that charges could be brought against them. Kate McCann was last night said to be distraught and exhausted after 16 hours of questioning during which police repeatedly showed her video footage of sniffer dogs allegedly finding the scent of a body in the family's hire car.

In the resort where they lost their child, sympathy for the McCanns was threadbare last night. One British mother in Praia da Luz said: "We've been coming here for four years, and I'm convinced it's the safest place in Europe. If you keep your kids with you and you're a responsible parent, there's nothing to fear."

Several British parents in Praia da Luz criticised the McCanns. One mother from Lancashire said: "To lose your child in a place like this... to leave them alone... why would you do that? It's not what any normal parent would do with a three-year-old."

The McCann family expressed horror and anger at the Portuguese police investigation, according to friends. One, Jon Corner, said: "The process I think is designed to be intimidatory, but Gerry is frustrated by the line of questioning and where the inquiry is going. He's also fighting and I think he's determined that the search for Madeleine is not going to be derailed by this."

Madeleine vanished from the family's holiday apartment in Praia da Luz in Portugal's Algarve on 3 May. The couple deny any involvement in her disappearance and no charges have been brought against them.

Brian Kennedy, Kate McCann's uncle, said: "We believe she is still alive. The efforts of the police should be diverted still to trying to find Madeleine. Everybody who knows the family well will tell you exactly the same thing. The notion that even accidentally they killed their daughter, hid her body, then put her body in a car hired 25 days later while the glare of international publicity is on them, and when they are always with friends and family, is fatuous beyond words. I just find the notion repulsive."

John McCann, Gerry McCann's brother, labelled the police actions "crazy" . He said the idea that blood found in a hire car could link Mrs McCann to Madeleine's death "made no sense". He said there was growing frustration with police methods and called for them to get their investigation back on track.

The McCanns yesterday abandoned plans to return home to the UK this week, according to friends of the couple. They will remain in Portimao to help police rather than return to their home in Rothley, Leicestershire. The lease of their accommodation in Portimao expires on Tuesday and friends expected the couple, together with their other two children, Sean and Amelie, to return home.

However, the couple have changed their plans after Portuguese police named them as suspects. No bail conditions, travel restrictions or charges have been imposed on the couple, who were questioned separately for more than 24 hours.

Gerry McCann's sister, Philomena McCann, said of the accusation against them: "I've never heard anything so utterly ridiculous in my entire life."

Mrs McCann was booed when she attended the police interview and there has been increasing criticism of the couple in Praia da Luz. Some local traders believe their continued presence in the holiday resort and the media attention it is receiving are causing harm to the local economy.

Despite facing increasing criticism for the manner in which they have investigated the disappearance, Portuguese police and legal sources yesterday indicated they were amassing compelling evidence against the couple.

From the questions posed to the McCanns it became clear that detectives were working on the theory that Mrs McCann allegedly killed her daughter by accident and covered up the death by claiming she was abducted. The test results from the Forensic Science Service in Birmingham further strengthened their theory. Mr McCann's alleged role is not clear, but police believe he was an accessory to his wife's actions.

Under Portuguese secrecy laws police cannot comment on ongoing investigations but the Portuguese newspaper Diario de Noticias, citing informed investigation sources, said the couple had both admitted to giving Madeleine and their other two children a sedative on the night she vanished. Family sources said the couple had never hidden the fact they had given their children recommended doses of Calpol, a well-known, commercially available painkiller.

Police indicated the discovery of traces of Madeleine's DNA in a hire car rented by the couple 25 days after her disappearance was central to the new direction the investigation was taking. The discovery of her DNA was confirmed by the UK's forensic science laboratories in Birmingham, one of the world's leading DNA centres.

In British investigations forensic scientists say they are informed by police if there is a danger of cross-contamination by people attending a crime scene, suspects or police officers. They said they had not received any warning of cross-contamination from the Portuguese authorities. They refused to disclose whether the DNA traces were obtained from blood or from other sources which may indicate whether Madeleine's body was physically in the vehicle, as has been suggested by detectives questioning Mrs McCann.

Forensic experts have also warned that evidence obtained from the use of cadaver-smelling dogs is open to challenge. According to the McCann family, detectives asked why a British-trained dog detected traces of a corpse on Mrs McCann's clothing and on a Bible in the apartment. Mrs McCann, a GP, has said she was present at six deaths before her holiday. Despite it being said that dogs' noses are anywhere between 1,000 and 10,000 times more effective than humans', and despite the dogs' training to detect traces of everything from drugs to cancers, experts warn that there are still difficulties using evidence uncovered by dogs.

"There are times when the dog is just uncomfortable and not as well focused, and if they're not focused they're not as effective," said Jane Servais, a US cadaver dog expert who has assisted police and the FBI in several cases. "That is when, as a handler, you've got to pull them out. "

She said the FBI and Interpol were trying to improve and standardise the training and performance of corpse sniffing dogs and their handlers. Evidence obtained by a cadaver-sniffing dog has been rejected by a US court after a judge ruled that the dog involved was simply too unreliable, having failed to detect the odours of human remains on more than half the occasions when it was subsequently tested.

McCanns' phone line tapped, 10 September 2007
McCanns' phone line tapped Channel 4 News
By Simon Israel
Last modified: 10 Sep 2007
The statements and evidence which have been gathered by Portuguese Police over the last 132 days is colossal, amounting to thousands of pages.
But they contain not just the much-discussed forensic reports of blood stains and other material but also, Channel 4 News understands, transcripts of recorded phone conversations the McCanns have had with others over many weeks. There is also evidence from emails they have sent and received.
We also understand that Portuguese police have been in daily contact with the forensic laboratories in Birmingham seeking further reports.

We believe that an expert in blood-splatter analysis can determine if dried blood is from a live or a dead person.
It just may be that that is the difference between what was found in the apartment and in the boot of the car the McCanns hired twenty-five days after Madeleine disappeared

A decision is expected from the Portuguese courts within the next few days as just to where this case goes next.

The District Attorney will receive a dossier and then decide whether to issue charges against any or all of the three aguidos - that is Kate and Gerry McCann, and Robert Murat - or request further police investigations for anything up to eight months.

What he will not do is close this case - for there is still a missing child.

Maddy's 'body fluids' found in car boot, 11 September 2007
Maddy's 'body fluids' found in car boot Metro
Tuesday, September 11, 2007
Samples of 'bodily fluids' taken from a car hired by Kate and Gerry McCann had a 88 per cent match to their missing daughter.
But senior sources linked to the investigation said the DNA was not from blood, according to reports.
Police are now working on the theory that Madeleine McCann's parents hid their daughter's body in boot of their hire car, newspapers in Portugal claimed today.
The sample was taken from the boot, where the spare tyre is kept, the sources said.
Police also said they found so much of Madeleine's hair in the car that it could not have been transferred from a blanket or clothes and must have come directly from her body.
One reporter at the briefing said there was a feeling among the Portuguese media that a significant development was imminent.
The reporter said: "Where there's smoke, there's fire, and we're very definitely seeing smoke - something's going on."
Portuguese police could not immediately be contacted for comment.
Police are also particularly interested in searching around the church because the road was being dug up when the young girl disappeared, the Correio da Manha reported today.
The McCanns have again said today they are 100 per cent innocent despite being official suspects.
Police have claimed that forensic tests have found three DNA matches to the missing girl.
One came from the window sill of the family's holiday apartment in Praia da Luz and two from the Renault Scenic car the McCanns hired 25 days after the girl disappeared.
The DNA found in the vehicle has shown two matches to Madeleine's DNA – one partial but one full, according to reports in Portugal.
Experts said the match would not have been transferred to the car from something Madeleine had had earlier contact with.
It was previously claimed fluids with an 80 per cent match to Madeleine's DNA were found underneath upholstery in the boot of the car.
However, the sample was too badly deteriorated to make a 100 per cent match possible, according to Portuguese newspapers.
Reports of the second match, this one 100 per cent, came last night after police handed over a dossier of evidence to Algarve-based public prosecutor Jose Cunha de Magalhaes e Meneses.
The file follows the interrogation last week of Mrs McCann and her husband.
Portuguese police are thought to believe the DNA test results strengthen their argument that Madeleine's body was carried in the car.
But forensic scientist Alan Baker said the tests 'would not confirm if Madeleine was dead'.
McCann supporters had suggested the DNA was innocently transferred via Madeleine's favourite 'Cuddle Cat' toy or contact with other members of the family.

Ten key elements in McCann dossier, 12 September 2007
Ten key elements in McCann dossier Telegraph
By Gordon Rayner and Caroline Gammell
Last Updated: 2:04AM BST 12 Sep 2007
Neither the McCanns nor their legal team have been told the contents of the dossier of evidence presented to a judge.
They will only find out why police believe they are responsible for their daughter's disappearance if and when they are charged.
However the dossier is almost certain to contain 10 key elements:
1 Forensic evidence:
Last month samples were taken from the McCanns' holiday apartment and their Renault Scenic hire car and sent for analysis to the Forensic Science Service in Birmingham. After the test results reached Portugal last week, the McCanns were re-interviewed and declared formal suspects or "arguidos".
Reports alleged that the samples included large amounts of Madeleine's hair, as well as bodily fluids, recovered from the car boot.
2 Toxicology reports:
The Forensic Science Service is understood to have carried out toxicology tests on the samples to check whether Madeleine may have been drugged or poisoned.
Detectives are said to have asked the McCanns whether they sedated their daughter.
3 Interview transcripts:
The McCanns have been interviewed repeatedly by police since Madeleine went missing 132 days ago.
Last week, Kate McCann was questioned for 16 hours over two days. Detectives are reportedly unconvinced by the answers the McCanns gave to several key questions. The couple are also said to have exercised their right of silence on some questions.
4 Statements from the McCanns' friends:
The police must establish that there was an opportunity to kill Madeleine and for her parents to dispose of her body before charges can be considered. The statements of the seven friends who were with them on the night Madeleine went missing will be crucial in determining their movements.
5 Statements from other witnesses:
Dozens of other witnesses, many of them locals, have provided statements about what they saw on May 3 and how the McCanns behaved on holiday. They may include evidence from Pamela Fenn, who was in an apartment above the McCanns, and another witness who has allegedly described the way Kate McCann dealt with her children.
6 Phone tap evidence:
Police are said to have been bugging the McCanns' phones and intercepting their emails for weeks. Reports in the Portuguese press have suggested that some of their conversations may have contradicted statements they gave to police. One newspaper suggested that the phone taps had helped satisfy police that the couple believed their daughter was dead. Gerry McCann has told friends: "The police are listening to every word we say."
7 Background reports:
Portuguese police are reported to have spent considerable time investigating the McCanns' family background in a search for any evidence that they may have mistreated their children or have any hidden motive for wanting to harm them. Portuguese newspapers have reported something which the family have dismissed as an attempt to smear them.
8 Surveillance:
The McCanns are believed to have been under discreet video surveillance.
9 Videos of police 'cadaver' dogs:
Dogs trained to detect decomposing bodies are reported to have reacted to the "smell of death" in the McCanns' apartment, in their hire car and on Kate McCann's clothes. Police showed Mrs McCann videos of the dogs barking when they checked the car.
10 Timeline:
The police will have compiled a comprehensive timeline of events to explain who was where at what times.

'Find the body and prove we killed her', 13 September 2007
Find the body and prove we killed her Sunday Express (Express Group have removed all online links)
Thursday September 13, 2007
By Padraic Flanagan in Praia da Luz
THE parents of missing Madeleine McCann yesterday challenged the police: "Find the body and prove we killed her."
The couple, who are suspected over the child's deathd the disposalf her body, issued the startling ultimatum as the public prosecutor in Portugal sent the police case against them to a judge.
It is thought that the McCanns' high-powered lawyers have told them that without a body it will be extremely difficult for the authorities to press charges.
A close friend said: "The legitimate question to ask Portuguese police is: 'Where is the body? Where is the evidence that Madeleine is dead? We have got no idea'."
The change in the family's tone – just days after the McCanns were still pleading for the search for Madeleine to continue – surprised sources close to the investigation.
"It seems remarkable that just days after the McCanns were saying they thought Madeleine was still alive and missing, now they're talking about a body," a source said. "I don’t know if this is really the McCanns speaking or just one of the people working on their publicity campaign but it is not the kind of comment to impress a team of detectives who think you’re guilty."
The case against the McCanns detailed in the dossier of evidence now before Judge Pedro Miguel dos Anjos Frias appears to rest mainly on potentially damaging forensic test results.
These are said to include Madeleine's DNA in traces of bodily fluid, as well as a mass of hair, discovered in the McCanns' hire car which was rented 25 days after she went missing on May 3.
Portugal's attorney general Fernando Jose Pinto Monteiro has indicated the police investigation into Kate and Gerry, both 39-year-old doctors, has not ended and suggested stricter bail conditions could be imposed on the couple.
Public prosecutor Jose Cunha de Magalhaes e Meneses, based at Portimao on the Algarve, on Tuesday ordered the 10 lever-arch police files in the case to go before the judge. 
Mr Jose Pinto Monteiro announced last night that he was appointing a second public prosecutor to the case.
Luis Bilro Verao, from the Evora district in central Portugal, will oversee the work of Portimao-based Mr Cunha de Magalhaes e Meneses. 
A friend of the McCanns said the family had been advised that the prosecutor was probably either seeking further guidance from the judge or applying for the authority to carry out more searches. The friend said the McCanns' new legal team, based in London, was working around the clock to "get up to speed on the case". 
The McCanns' Portuguese lawyer, Carlos Pinto de Abreu, yesterday hit out at Portugal’s justice system in a scathing interview with a local newspaper. 
"It is more appropriate to break down the patience of a believer and the reputation of an innocent man than to identify those responsible," he said. 
A family friend said the speculation appeared to be taking its toll on the McCanns, who left Praia da Luz to return to their family home in Leicestershire at the weekend. 
The source said: "Two days ago Gerry was telling everyone: 'I'm as strong as an ox'. Yesterday he was not quite as ebullient. They fear they will be summoned back at some stage.
They are innocent; they did not kill Madeleine and dispose of her body." It was expected that fresh searches would be ordered in Praia da Luz. Policia Judiciaria spokesman Olegario Sousa refused to confirm or deny the sites, but there was no sign of searches at the church yesterday.
Gerry's brother John McCann said: "There is so much speculation going on as to what the actual information the Portuguese police have.
"If they have got something that suggests Madeleine really is dead then for goodness sake tell the family who have the strongest feeling for this."

Parents say "Find the body; prove we killed her", 13 September 2007
Parents say "Find the body; prove we killed her" Daily Mail (online link no longer available)
Thursday September 13, 2007
• Portuguese prosecutors plan to read Kate's personal diary to prove she killed Madeleine
• 4,000 page Madeleine file 'could take weeks' to process
• Bail conditions could still be imposed on the McCanns

• McCanns decide not to use £1m fund for legal battle
The McCanns have issued a challenge to Portuguese police investigating Madeleine's disappearance saying: "Find the body and prove we killed her."
It is understood their lawyers have told them that without a body it will be extremely difficult for the authorities to press charges.
A close friend said: "The legitimate question to ask Portuguese police is: 'Where is the body? Where's the evidence that Madeleine is dead? We have got no idea.'"
Meanwhile, it was revealed today that Portuguese prosecutors are planning to use Kate McCann's personal diary to help prove she killed Madeleine.
Sources close to the investigation say police believe that entries in the diary will bolster their case by revealing Mrs McCann's allegedly volatile state of mind in the days after Madeleine's disappearance in May.
In particular, they believe that the evidence could show to a court why an apparently devoted mother could have killed her child and engaged in what police believe is an elaborate cover-up.
In a bid to clear their names, a friend said today that the McCanns were considering commissioning independent forensic tests on the car where Madeleine's DNA has supposedly been found.
The car is currently being kept in a safe area while the family decide their course of action.
Mrs McCann and husband Gerry today left their Leicestershire home for the first time since returning from the resort of Praia da Luz.
They drove their two-year-old twins Sean and Amelie to play at a nearby park for an hour. Mrs McCann, 39, looked tired and drained.
Today's revelations follow an emergency application by Portugal's public prosecutor to take possession of an unnamed item - now understood to be Mrs McCann's diary - within 24 hours.
Although the diary, which Mrs McCann has kept updated since the four-year-old vanished on 3 May, is already in the police's hands, legal rules mean they need judicial authorisation to use it in any trial.
The judge, Pedro Miguel dos Anjos Frias, has a day to grant the request, which is thought to be highly unusual, but is expected to approve the application.
The source said: "Police want to seize Kate's diary to see if it can reveal what really happened on the night."
Separate sources are also reporting that police also want to confiscate Madeleine's toys, including her favourite Cuddle Cat, which Mrs McCann has clung on to ever since her daughter vanished.
Police will want to examine the toys for forensic evidence to see how much DNA they contain of Madeleine and whether that would be sufficient to be left in the boot of the McCanns' hire car.
The case against the McCanns detailed in the police report rests mainly on potentially damaging forensic test results which alleges Madeleine's DNA, contained in traces of bodily fluids, as well as her hair was found in the McCanns' hire car 25 days after she went missing on 3 May.
Portugal's attorney general has indicated the police investigation into Kate and Gerry McCann had not ended and indicated bail conditions could be imposed on the couple.
It's now thought it could take week for the Portuguese judge to go through the 4,000-page dossier of evidence against Kate and Gerry.
Jose Cunha de Magalhaes e Meneses, a public prosecutor based in Portimao in the Algarve, yesterday ordered the 10 lever-arch police files in the case to go before a criminal instructional judge.
A friend of the McCanns, citing a number of legal sources, said the family had been advised that the prosecutor is probably either seeking further guidance from the judge or applying for the authority to carry out more searches.
Today's demand came as the McCanns challenged Portuguese police: "Find the body and prove we killed her."
It is understood that lawyers acting for Kate and Gerry McCann have told them that without a body it will be extremely difficult for Portuguese authorities to press charges.
A close friend today said: "The legitimate question to ask Portuguese police is: 'Where is the body?' Where's the evidence that Madeleine is dead? We have got no idea."
The friend said the McCanns' new legal team, based in London, was working around the clock to "get up to speed on the case".
Legal sources say that without a body the case against the McCanns is weakened.
A 4,000-page police dossier on the case has now been handed to the judiciary. It is possible the judge could bring charges within days. But he could also order police to carry out more searches, conduct interviews or impose stricter bail conditions.
The fact police want to seize toys so long after the inquiry began will raise eyebrows and add to concern about the quality of the investigation. Cuddle Cat has been washed in recent weeks while other vital evidence may have been lost.
The McCanns' Portuguese lawyer Carlos Pinto de Abreu today hit out at Portugal's judicial system in a scathing interview with a local newspaper. "Justice in Portugal is slow and incapable of producing proof," he said.
"It is more appropriate to break down the patience of a believer and the reputation of an innocent man than to identify those responsible."
Another family friend said the growing speculation is taking its toll on the McCanns who left Praia da Luz, the resort where four-year-old Madeleine went missing, to return to their family home in Leicestershire at the weekend.
The source said: "Two days ago Gerry was telling everyone: 'I'm as strong as an ox'. Yesterday he was not quite as ebullient. They don't know where this is going. They fear they will be summoned back at some stage.
Presumably Portuguese authorities are looking at a trial. Gerry has remained consistent that they can explain everything that needs to be explained and will do so. They are innocent; they did not kill Madeleine and dispose of her body."
The McCanns fear they are losing the public relations battle which has seen them turn from being victims of a terrible child abduction to formal suspects in the police investigation.
Their campaign manager Justine McGuinness leaves her post on Saturday, having only ever been contracted until that date. The McCanns are now being advised to assemble a new media team to try to create more positive headlines.
But this will prove costly and the McCanns, said the source, may have to look at taking money out of the Madeleine Fund, which so far has raised more than £1 million from public donations. Such a move would risk a backlash that money raised to find Madeleine should be spent on PR.

Police want McCanns' diary and laptop, 13 September 2007
Police want McCanns' diary and laptop Daily Mirror
Police demand 'evidence' from McCanns
By Lucy Thornton 13/09/2007
For four months, heartbroken Kate McCann has spent up to an hour a day confiding her private hell to a black ringbound diary.
It has been a small but vitally important way of helping her cope with the loss of four-year-old daughter Madeleine.
Now even this intimate record has been dragged in by Portuguese police in the hope it will yield clues to Kate's emotional state.
Prosecutors applied yesterday to seize the diary as well as husband Gerry's laptop on which he has written a daily blog.
They want to compare Kate's entries in the days after Madeleine vanished to the couple's statements and movements.
They also hope the entries will help them understand the couple's "habits" as they try to bolster their theory that Kate accidentally killed her daughter and Gerry, 39, helped move the body.
It was reported yesterday that the diary was already in the hands of the authorities, but police could not see it without being granted special permission.
Meanwhile papers asking British police to seize Gerry's white laptop will be put before judge Pedro Miguel dos Anjos Frias today.
A source said: "Police want to know what kind of emails Gerry exchanged with certain people. They think Gerry controls Kate and want lots of things, including letters and personal items."
It emerged that several friends of the McCanns who were with them the night Madeleine disappeared would be questioned again over the next few days and weeks.
Portuguese newspaper Diario de Noticias named Russell O'Brien and Jane Tanner.
Jane, 36, from Exeter, claims to have seen a man walking from the McCanns' holiday apartment in Praia da Luz with a child wrapped in a blanket.
Dr O'Brien, 36, has previously called claims that he was to be named as a suspect as "completely untrue and extremely hurtful".
Yesterday there was speculation that digging was planned around the village church of Nossa Senhora da Luz, possibly centring around a disused cemetery. The McCanns were given a key to the church shortly after Madeleine vanished.
But doubt was cast on reports that detectives wanted to impound Madeleine's favourite toys, including her Cuddle Cat, for further forensic tests.
Kate, 39, has kept the Cuddle Cat constantly by her side as a poignant symbol since Madeleine vanished 133 days ago.
The toy has already been tested by Portuguese scientists who used it to obtain a sample of the youngster's DNA.
Any further tests would done by a laboratory with greater expertise.
But the Forensic Science Service - which found Madeleine's hairs, blood and bodily fluids in the McCanns' rented Renault Scenic and apartment - has not been put on stand-by to receive any fresh samples.
Kate washed the Cuddle Cat five days after Madeleine went missing saying it was smeared with sand and sun cream.
Gerry's sister Philomena said it was cleaned again two months ago because it was filthy after being carried around.
Police sources questioned Kate's decision to wash the toy so soon after Madeleine's standby to receive fresh samples. Kate washed the Cuddle Cat five days after Madeleine disappeared, saying it was smeared with sand and sun cream.
Philomena said it was cleaned again two months ago because it was filthy after being carried around.
Police sources questioned Kate's decision to wash the toy so soon. A former Scotland Yard detective said: "It's the last thing I'd expect a mother who is devastated at losing her child to do."
A judge began examining the 4,000 page dossier handed over by prosecutor Jose Cunha de Magalhaese Meneses. It is believed to call for Kate to be accused of Madeleine's "accidental homicide".
The McCanns, who are back home in Rothley, Leics, were declared formal suspects last week.
They insist they had nothing to with Madeleine's disappearance and believe they are being set up to cover up for a bungled inquiry.
Attorney General Fernando Jose Pinto Monterio announced he was appointing a second public prosecutor to the case.
The McCanns' lawyer Carlos Pinto de Abreu blasted Portugal's judicial system. He said: "It is incapable of producing proof. It is more appropriate to break the reputation of an innocent man than to identify those responsible."
I have been in two minds all the time lately about this but still something says to me they have not done it. They are still guilty of leaving those children on their own but the truth will out eventually and hopefully Maddy will turn up.

Madeleine 'killed by overdose of sleeping tablets', 14 September 2007
Madeleine 'killed by overdose of sleeping tablets' Daily Mail (article no longer available online) 
Last updated at 00:16am on 14th September 2007
Madeleine McCann died from an overdose of sleeping pills, it was claimed yesterday.

French investigative reporter Guilhem Battut said a report outlining how the four-year-old met her death was already with Portuguese prosecutors.

The newspaper France Soir said it contains scientific analysis of the bodily fluids found in the boot of the car hired by Kate and Gerry McCann which "prove that the little girl had ingested medicines, without doubt sleeping pills, in large quantities".

British forensic experts expressed severe doubts about the claim. They said the fluid was only a partial match to Madeleine's DNA and the sample was not strong enough to determine the presence of drugs. Even so, the report will come as a grave blow to the McCanns.

It supports theories published in Portugal that Mrs McCann was involved in Madeleine's death and her husband helped her dispose of their daughter's body.

The couple's supporters have dismissed these as "rumour-mongering" fuelled by sources in the floundering police investigation.

But this is harder to apply to France Soir and Battut's frontpage story.

A source at the newspaper said 'We are not simply repeating rumours carried in other papers.

"This is not a theory, but a fact contained in hard evidence in the hands of the Portuguese authorities.

"It's all very well putting theories and opinions forward, but in the end this case will be decided on evidence. As journalists, we have been trying to establish what evidence is available."

Although Battut would not reveal his sources, his newspaper claimed he had "senior Portuguese contacts".

Battut is an experienced investigative journalist who has worked on a number of major inquiries, including the death of Prince Diana.

Alan Baker, of the independent forensic science organisation Bericon, confirmed it would be possible to test decomposing bodily fluids - including urine or vomit - for the presence of drugs but said it would be "very difficult" to quantify the amount.

"These samples are likely to be far from ideal," he said. "If it is just a smear or dried deposit, you could detect the drug but not how much."

Sources said strands of hair were still being analysed for drugs.

The French accusation came as a mystery benefactor - understood to be a wealthy British businessman - agreed to meet the McCanns' legal costs.

British experts also attacked the forensic evidence trumpeted by Portuguese police as proof of the McCanns' involvement. They said it was so 'flawed and unreliable' it could never be relied on in a fair trial.

In Portugal, police were reported to be drawing up a list of 40 questions they want to put to Mrs McCann.

She could be called back to be reinterviewed, or the questions could be put by detectives in this country.

The McCanns were visited by social workers at their family home in Rothley, Leicestershire yesterday.

Two officials from Leicestershire Social Services spent an hour interviewing them as their two-year- old twins Sean and Amelie played in the garden.

The visit - said to have been at the McCanns' invitation - followed a meeting of Leicestershire's child protection team and police earlier this week to discuss whether it was safe to leave the twins with their parents, who are suspects in a missing child inquiry and may face charges over her disappearance.

The couple, who were described as 'horrified' at the prospect of their children being taken away, quickly arranged for social workers to call and see how they are caring for the twins.

Social services is obliged to investigate any case where parents are suspected by police of harming their children and it is understood the McCanns were questioned about leaving the children alone in their holiday apartment while they went out for dinner.

A spokesman for the McCanns said last night: "The meeting was absolutely fine.

"It was very much at Gerry and Kate's instigation that they meet with social services so early on after returning to Leicestershire."

Portugal's ambassador to the UK said last night he hoped relations between the countries would not be damaged by the Madeleine investigation.

Antonio Carlos was speaking at the Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh, where a session of questions on his country's current presidency of the EU was interrupted by queries about the McCann case.

Asked whether he thought relations would be harmed, Mr Carlos said: "I hope not - our two countries are the oldest alliance. We are doing our utmost to solve the problem together with the support of the British police."

'Portuguese police believe Madeleine's body dumped at sea in bag of stones', 14 September 2007
'Portuguese police believe Madeleine's body dumped at sea in bag of stones' Daily Mail (article no longer available online) 
14 September 2007
• 'Police fear Madeleine's body will never be found'
• Portuguese newspaper says 'she was dumped at sea'
• Detectives investigate 'existence of accomplices'
• Police and sniffer dogs to re-examine caves

Portuguese police fear they will never find Madeleine McCann's body, it was claimed today.

Detectives convinced the four-year-old is dead are said to believe her remains are now gone for ever and a vital piece of evidence may be missing in any prosecution against parents Gerry and Kate.

Investigators think her body was most probably dumped in a bag weighed down with stones and thrown off a British-owned yacht at high sea, according to reports in Diario de Noticias.

The Portuguese daily newspaper said police had already investigated the vessel, owned by an English sailor in Lagos near to the McCanns holiday resort of Praia da Luz.

It headlined a front page picture of Mr and Mrs McCann with their twins, Sean and Amelie, "The police think it will be impossible to find Madeleine's body".

Inside under a page six lead headlined, "The police admit the body doesn't now exist", it claimed: "The Judicial Police admits Madeleine's body 'may not exist' so as to hide for ever evidence about what happened on the fateful night of May 3.

"Within this scenario, one of the most credible possibilties would involve the body having been thrown in a sack of stones at high sea from a yacht, namely the yacht of an English sailor in Lagos marina who was put under investigation by the authorities around the time official suspect Robert Murat's computers were being analysed."

The McCanns have already been advised by their UK lawyers that the Portuguese authorities would have difficulty prosecuting them if they do not find their daughter's body.

Portuguese police are thought to have admitted privately they fear no judge will allow the case to go to court without the key piece of evidence.

Investigating judge Pedro dos Anjos Frias is believed to have been asked by public prosecutors to authorise new searches.

Diario de Noticias said investigators were continuing to discreetly "observe and analyse" land to the south of the Ocean Club resort where the McCanns were staying and specifically the coast between Praia da Luz and the neighbouring town of Burgau.

It also claimed searches of the area would begin next week, with police accompanied by sniffer dogs re-examining caves and searching for places where earth had been moved.

The McCanns have faced a barrage of allegations from the Portuguese press - all said to come from "police sources" banned under Portuguese law from discussing the case.

In another lurid headline today Correio da Manha said, "Police investigate the existence of accomplices".

It claimed: "The Judicial Police believe Kate and Gerry could have had the help of a third person in hiding Madeleine's body... or at least, that some of the friends who were with them on holiday in Praia da Luz could have helped them to cover up the lie."

The paper also said police had now ruled out as a suspect a man the McCanns' friend Jane Tanner said she had seen running away from their holiday apartment soon after Madeleine disappeared with a child wrapped up in a blanket.

The tabloid said: "Correio knows the Judicial Police are aware that man wasn't carrying any child and therefore is not in any way linked to Madeleine's kidnap."

Rival tabloid 24 horas claimed Kate McCann would be reinterviewed in the next few days by investigating judge Pedro Dos Anjos Frias, although it provided no official confirmation to back up its claim.

Close friends of the couple are expected to be interrogated by detectives in coming days.

The Daily Mail's sister paper, the Evening Standard, revealed that senior police sources have said officers want to question further at least some of the seven friends who were holidaying with the McCanns when Madeleine vanished from the family's apartment on 3 May.

It is thought Russell O'Brien and his partner Jane Tanner are among those who will be quizzed.

Questions will be asked on alleged confusion over timings as the party sat down for dinner at a tapas bar, yards from where Madeleine was sleeping in the Mark Warner complex.

Ms Tanner has already told police she saw a man carry a child from the apartment wrapped in a blanket. Mr O'Brien said he left the dining table at one point to look after his young daughter, who was ill.

It is understood the friends could be asked to return to Portugal early next week. Portuguese police are also looking at either travelling to Britain, or using British officers to carry out the interviews.

The move comes amid growing anger among those close to the McCanns who claim police have bungled the inquiry and are now making Madeleine's parents "scapegoats".

Mr McCann's sister said today that her family would be willing to sell their homes to pay the couple's legal fees.

Mr and Mrs McCann hired a top legal team in London after last week's marathon grilling in Portugal about the possibility that they were involved in their daughter's disappearance.

Ms Philomena McCann, who lives in Ullapool, said that the extended family would do all they could to support the couple both emotionally and financially.

"These things happen. Money and property is not as important as family and love, is it? Not to me anyway."

Ms McCann, who lives in Ullapool, was also asked about reports that former News of the World editor Phil Hall could be set to take over as their media representative.

PJ investigates existence of accomplices, 14 September 2007
PJ investigates existence of accomplices Correio da Manhã (online link since removed)
Investigation: There could be more arguidos
14 September 2007
Thanks to 'astro' for translation 
The Policia Judiciaria believes that Kate and Gerry may have had the collaboration of a third party in covering up Madeleine's cadaver. Or, at least, that one of the friends that were with them on holidays in May, in Praia da Luz, may have helped them covering up the lie.

Authorities thus believe that the McCann couple couldn't hide Madeleine's corpse over so many months and hide her death without the help of another person. Even more so as right after the girl went missing, attention was completely focused on the couple, and their steps were watched almost on the hour by a batallion of journalists.

Also as CM could discover, there are details in the statements from the McCanns' friends that don't add up. Doctor Russell O'Brien, for example, started out by saying that on the night of the disappearance he had gone into the child's bedroom while visiting his own children, but denied this later on. He then said he did not enter the McCanns' apartment, having merely checked there was no noise inside. He had presumed the children were asleep, not fulfilling the alleged requests from the parents.

The rest of the friends also contradicted themselves in their various statements, namely about the timings at which each one left to check on the children and about who was the last person to see Madeleine.

There is another testimony from an English woman who was part of the group and who guarantees she saw a man in a back area of Praia da Luz, carrying what she presumed to be a child. Her deposition was initially valued and strengthened the kidnapping theory, given the fact this woman knew all the members of the group that was staying at the Ocean Club, thus dismissing the possibility of an accident and concealment of a body.

CM knows that, in this case, PJ admits that the aforementioned man didn't carry any child after all, and is therefore unrelated with the kidnapping of Maddie.

In order to clarify all these doubts, authorities will probably require the questioning of the English citizens again. That questioning has to be made by English authorities, which makes the investigation more difficult. PJ cannot follow the depositions, and inevitably a lot of information will be lost. But there is no way around this diligence, given the fact that authorities don't have enough elements to allow for another scenario, namely the constitution of arguido. Simultaneously, other diligences will be requested.
McCanns never made confessions

Kate and Gerry never made any confession to the catholic priest in Luz, during the four months of anguish they lived in the Algarve. Before going back to England, the catholic couple delivered the church keys to the Anglican priest who is a friend, and didn't say goodbye to the Catholic priest that supported them on the day after the girl's disappearance.

"In the last few days, they did not look for Father Jose Pacheco and they made no effort to say goodbye to him", a source from the parish told CM. The keys to the church, which the members of the parish decided to lend to the couple a few days after Maddie's disappearance, "so they could pray", were returned to the Anglican priest who also holds mass in the same church, and who befriended the couple. Haynes Hubbard said on television yesterday: "I agree that the parish lent them the church keys". But he didn't reveal that it was to him that the couple returned them.

The Bishop of Algarve, in a communication that is published on the diocese's site, assured that he did not ask the priest in Luz to request the McCanns to return the keys to the church before they returned to England. D. Manuel Quintas guarantees he never made that request, even more so as "that was an initiative of the local community". It was the first public position taken by the Diocese since May 30. The Pastoral Counsel of Luz Parish deliberated, yesterday, that the action of delivering the key was "spiritual and moral and always considering the couple's suffering".
English Government cuts McCanns off
The first call that Gerry made on the night of the crime was to Alistair Clark, a good friend from university days and a diplomat who is close to Gordon Brown. Clark made contacts at the highest level and - before Policia Judiciaria - already Sky News and the British Ambassador were being informed about the abduction.

Ambassador John Buck was in the Algarve and Brown also gave his personal number to Maddie's father in the various phonecalls they exchanged. But, as CM could establish, the present head of the British governemnt is now "rather disturbed" with the inquiry's direction and, last weekend, removed the direct connection from the couple.

Gerry in outburst after Maddy sleeping tablets overdose claims, 14 September 2007
Gerry McCann in outburst after Maddy sleeping tablets overdose claims Belfast Telegraph 
Friday, September 14, 2007
By Claire McNeilly
Gerry McCann today slammed as "ludicrous" accusations that he and his wife played any role in the disappearance of their daughter Madeleine.
His unexpected outburst comes after a spate of unconfirmed allegations including reports that tests on a liquid found in the family's hire car suggest the four-year-old might have overdosed on sleeping tablets.

Toxicological analysis showed Madeleine consumed a "significant" quantity of the pills, the French newspaper France Soir reported yesterday, citing unnamed sources in Portugal.

But Mr McCann said that he and his wife knew they were innocent - but were frightened and had been "backed into a corner".

"There are large craters in every one of these theories, in these just ludicrous accusations," he told a friend quoted in The Sun.

"As far as Kate and I are concerned, there is no evidence to suggest that Madeleine is dead.

"We are 100% together on this, not one grain of suspicion about each other."

Meanwhile, Kate's father, Brian Healy, also spoke out to confirm that she and Gerry had been considering trying for a baby before Madeleine vanished.

"Having another child was something they've been thinking about," he told the Daily Mirror.

"But that was before Madeleine went missing.

"Now all they want is Madeleine back, and they're not thinking about anything else.

"Children are the most important thing in their lives."

The news comes as Portuguese police prepare to reinterview Kate over Madeleine's disappearance - so they can ask her over 40 questions she previously refused to answer.

It has been 134 days since the little girl went missing from her family's Algarve holiday apartment in Praia da Luz.

Shock reports in some of the other national newspapers also suggest that the little girl died of a sleeping pill overdose.

A damning police dossier is said to show that body fluids found in the boot of the Renault Scenic rented by parents Kate and Gerry, both 39, suggest she was drugged, according to the Daily Express.

Meanwhile, sniffer dogs have allegedly detected blood in an apartment close to the flat where Madeleine went missing, it was claimed in the Daily Mirror.

But, in a desperate bid to prove their innocence, reports in the Daily Mail indicate that the couple have challenged the police to produce their daughter's body as proof they killed her.

These astonishing allegations have thrown Kate - who remained silent when detectives initially put the questions to her in the presence of her lawyer, according to the Portuguese newspaper Publico - back into the spotlight. It is understood that police are now preparing to reinterview her, possibly in Britain or at headquarters in Portmoa, Portugal.

They also want fresh interviews with some of the friends on holiday in Portugal with her and Gerry.

Mrs McCann's private diary documents her struggles to look after her " hysterical" children and reveals details about the night Madeleine went missing, it was reported yesterday.

The diary is among a number of personal items prosecutors want from the young girl's parents, sources close to the investigation said.

Mrs McCann was frequently seen writing her journal in private moments after Madeleine went missing from the family's holiday apartment in the Algarve resort of Praia da Luz on May 3.

Unconfirmed reports in Portuguese newspapers suggested that her journal portrays Mrs McCann as being worn out by Madeleine's "excess of activity ".

She also complains her husband does not help with family chores, meaning that the burden of looking after their twins falls on her, according to the Correio da Manha.

Although Kate McCann does not confess to any crimes in the diary, it is considered "fundamental" to the investigation, the paper said.

A McCann family spokeswoman refused to confirm or deny any of the reports.

Madeleine's granny believes she was drugged, 14 September 2007
Madeleine's granny believes she was drugged Derry Journal

By Staff reporter
Published Date: 14 September 2007
Last Updated: 13 September 2007 6:13 PM

The Donegal-born grandmother of missing Madeleine McCann says she believes the four-year-old was drugged and abducted when she was taken from the Praia De Luz holiday apartment in May.

Eileen McCann, who has strong family ties in the Donegal village of St. Johnston where the family holidayed earlier this year, says that, if Madeleine had been taken by someone she didn't know, she would have screamed the place down.


"I really believe they gave her a drug. There is no way they carried her out of there without her wakening," she said.

The four year-old's grandmother says the support the family have received from Derry and Donegal has been a great source of comfort.

"We always keep in touch and we are always there for one another," she said.

"All the people in St Johnston who know me since we've been living there and my children... they know my children wouldn't do anything that is wrong."

And Mrs. McCann rubbished claims that DNA evidence found in a car hired by Madeleine's parents after she had disappeared proved that the four-year-old's body had been in the car.

"The thing is that little Amelie is wearing Madeleine's sandals and she is in and out of the car. Cuddly toys are in it. Madeleine's toys are in it. Madeleine's tops are in it that Amelie is wearing. It's nonsense," she said.

She says the past week has been dreadful.

"My son and Kate would never even slap their child, never mind do anything to harm her," she said.

"They are running away from nobody because they are innocent," she said.

Eileen McCann stressed that they were still receiving a huge amount of public support.

Both Kate and Gerry McCann, Madeleine's parents, remain official suspects into the disappearance of their daughter.

Madeleine: McCanns consult American lawyers over 'cadaver dog' evidence, 16 September 2007
Madeleine: McCanns consult American lawyers over 'cadaver dog' evidence Daily Mail
Last updated at 18:07 16 September 2007
Kate and Gerry McCann's legal team have consulted the lawyers of an American man accused of murdering his estranged wife in a case where cadaver dog evidence was key, a source said today.
Two British sniffer dogs, one capable of detecting blood and human remains, were brought to Portugal in early August.
The cadaver dog picked up a "scent of death" on everything from Mrs McCann's clothes to missing Madeleine's favourite soft toy Cuddle Cat, according to reports.
During police interviews the McCanns were shown a video of the animal "going crazy" when it approached their Renault Scenic hire car, newspapers have claimed.
Leaked reports from the investigation have suggested Madeleine's parents could have accidentally killed her and then disposed of her body using the car.
Although they do not know the full details of Portuguese prosecutors' case against them, the McCanns are concerned it may rest on the dog's reaction.
They want to highlight the judge's dismissal of cadaver dog evidence in the high-profile Eugene Zapata murder trial in Madison, Wisconsin.
The couple's lawyers have already contacted Zapata's defence team, who are now sending their large file on the matter to Britain.
Zapata's estranged wife, flight instructor Jeanette Zapata, was 37 when she vanished on October 11 1976 after seeing her three children off to school. Her body has never been found.
Detectives suspected Zapata of involvement in her disappearance but did not charge him because of a lack of evidence.
Police decided to conduct new searches using cadaver dogs, a new investigative technique, when an old friend of Mrs Zapata contacted them about the case in 2004.
Zapata, 68, was charged with first-degree murder last year after the dogs indicated they sniffed human remains in a small basement "crawl space" at the former family home in Madison and other properties linked to him.
But Dane County Judge Patrick Fiedler ruled last month that the evidence that led to the charge could not be put before the jury.
He said the dogs were too unreliable in detecting the odour of remains and noted that no remains were actually found.
The judge agreed with an analysis of the three dogs' track record by Zapata's defence team that found they were incorrect 78 per cent, 71 per cent and 62 per cent of the time.
According to the Wisconsin State Journal, Mr Fiedler told the court: "The state has failed to convince me that it's any more reliable than the flip of a coin." Zapata denies murder, and the jury in the case went out on Friday to start considering its verdict.
A source close to the McCanns' solicitors said: "The legal team are in touch with the lawyers who represented the defendant in the case.
"The court papers, giving the legal submissions, are on their way to the McCann team for consideration.
"At the moment there are no formal charges and therefore there is no formal allegation against which the McCann team can work. We are having to work a little bit in the dark.
"But given that we understand the central plank of what the police are alleging involves sniffer dogs - albeit British ones which are said to be particularly good - this is important and relevant, and will be raised with the police and brought to the judge's attention."
Note: Eugene Zapata later confessed to the crime. The report concerning Zapata's guilty plea can be viewed here.

Madeleine: 'Body thrown into the sea', 16 September 2007
Madeleine: 'Body thrown into the sea' Sunday Express (no online link)
16 September 2007
Police fear that the body of Madeleine McCann will never be found and only a confession by her parents can convict them of killing her.
The startling revelations came as officers told of their worries that her body was dumped far out to sea in a bag weighted down with stones. Detectives are convinced she is dead and believe her remains are now gone for ever, a vital piece of missing evidence which seriously weakens their case against Kate and Gerry McCann.
For the first time, police chiefs in Portugal are admitting that the allegedly damning DNA evidence they have gathered in the couple's apartment and hire car may not be enough to bring charges against them. A senior source in the Policia Judiciaria, which has led the investigation into the disappearance of Madeleine on May 3, 135 days ago, said only a confession could now bring a conviction.
Investigators believe the body of the youngster, who would now be four years old, was most probably thrown off a British-owned yacht out at sea after being moved from a hiding place. They are now working on the theory that Kate and Gerry McCann, both 39-year-old doctors, received help from accomplices to move the body and cover up the crime, despite intense scrutiny.
The seven friends on holiday with the McCanns at the Ocean Club complex in Praia da Luz are expected to be questioned again by detectives investigating the accomplice theory. All the friends deny any wrongdoing.
The news came amid startling developments yesterday, including the apparent discovery of blood in an apartment next door to that used by the McCanns. Detectives believe the apartment holds the key to where Madeleine's body could have been stored in the hours after she went missing.
The discovery was revealed after reports claimed that Madeleine died following an overdose of sedatives. Police are working on the theory that the youngster was repeatedly drugged by her parents – an allegation Kate and Gerry McCann vehemently deny.
Detectives have asked British forensic experts to look for evidence the toddler was given pills on the night she disappeared and earlier occasions.
As Kate and Gerry McCann left their £600,000 home in Rothley, Leics, for a meeting with their solicitors in London, a senior Policia Judiciaria officer told of his misgivings about the case. The officer, who declined to be named, revealed that the absence of a body meant detectives only had forensic evidence and information from interrogations to build a case.
The admission comes only two days after the McCanns went on the offensive after being named official suspects, issuing a challenge to detectives: "Find the body and prove we killed her."
The senior officer in the Policia Judiciaria admitted that the McCanns' stance could destroy the case because detectives have "nothing concrete". He admitted officers were still struggling to piece together events on the afternoon and evening of May 3. In particular, detectives have so far been unable to uncover the chain of events from 2pm until 10.41pm when the police were eventually called after Kate McCann said her daughter was missing.
"There are a lot of clues, signs and indications, but without more elements it's impossible for us to determine what happened in those vital hours," the officer said. "Even if the blood and traces gathered in the car or the apartment were confirmed to correspond 100 per cent to the little girl's DNA, that wouldn't prove anything.
"Those elements could only confirm – and at the moment we don't even have that – that the little girl was in the apartment, which is plainly obvious, and in the car. In either of the cases, nothing would prove homicide, just that the body of the little girl had been transferred in the vehicle."
The officer admitted that a number of fundamental questions remained to be answered, confirming the views of the McCanns' high-powered legal team that the Portuguese authorities are a long way from presenting a strong case.
The officer went on: "We don't know if Madeleine is dead and, if she is, how it all happened. Was she strangled? Could she have been beaten? They are all questions only the parents could clarify in an eventual confession."
Kate and Gerry McCann strenuously reject claims of being involved in Madeleine's death and disposing of her body, and challenged detectives on Wednesday to find their daughter and prove they killed her. A close friend said: "The legitimate question to ask Portuguese police is: Where is the body? Where is the evidence that Madeleine is dead?"
The case against the McCanns detailed in a dossier now before Judge Pedro Miguel dos Anjos Frias appears to rest mainly on potentially damaging forensic test results. These are said to include Madeleine's DNA in traces of bodily fluid, as well as a mass of hair, discovered in the McCanns' hire car which was rented 25 days after she vanished.
Portugal's attorney general has indicated the investigation still has some way to go and suggested stricter bail conditions could be imposed on the couple. On Tuesday public prosecutor Jose Cunha de Magalhaes e Meneses ordered the 10 police files in the case to go before the judge.
In an effort to find a body, it is expected that fresh searches will be ordered in Praia da Luz, focusing on areas where roadworks were taking place when Madeleine disappeared. Officers are also expected to begin searching several sea-front locations, including caves and grottoes.
Police have already investigated a vessel owned by an English sailor in Lagos, 15 minutes' drive from Praia da Luz. A source close to the case said: "One of the most credible possibilities would involve the body having been thrown in a sack of stones from a yacht."
The yacht which came under police scrutiny was investigated after a computer owned by the only other suspect, expat Robert Murat, 33, was analysed and found to mention the sailor. Other theories suggest Madeleine's body was disposed of at one of several waste incinerators.
The McCanns have already been advised by their British lawyers that the Portuguese would have difficulty prosecuting them if they do not find their daughter's body. Portuguese police admit they fear no judge will allow the case to go to court without that key piece of evidence.

Kate McCann: My struggle to control 'very difficult' Madeleine, 17 September 2007
Kate McCann: My struggle to control 'very difficult' Madeleine Daily Mail
Last updated at 19:06 17 September 2007
Kate McCann has revealed that she struggled to control Madeleine McCann after the birth of her and Gerry's twins, it was revealed today.
Missing Madeleine would run around 'screaming...shouting for my attention', the mother-of-three said.
In an interview given to a Portuguese magazine before she was named as a suspect in the case of the four-year-old's disappearance, Kate also said the first six months of Madeleine's life were "very difficult" and that the girl had suffered from colic.
The revelations come as police said they were trawling through Kate's medical records amid suspicions in Portugal that she may have had a history of depression.
The detailed analysis of her medical notes could provide them with significant evidence against the GP, who is a suspect in the case of Madeleine's disappearance.
Speaking about Madeleine's upbringing, Kate, a 39-year-old GP, told Portugal's Flash! magazine: "She cried practically for 18 hours a day. I had to permanently carry her around."
This period explained "the strong bond between mother and daughter", she said.
Although the arrival of the twins Sean and Amelie shook up Madeleine's life, she accepted them very well, said Kate.
"She managed to deal perfectly with this new reality, although she herself at the time was still a baby.
"The worst thing is that she started to demand lots of attention, especially when I was breast-feeding them.
"She would run up and down screaming in the background, shouting for my attention."
Mrs McCann also insisted that she and her husband were "truly responsible parents" and had committed no crime.
Speaking of the night Madeleine disappeared, she said: "I was sure immediately that she didn't walk out of that room. I never doubted that she had been taken by someone.
"I went through a phase of guilt for not knowing what happened to her. I blamed myself for thinking that the place was safe.
"But the certainty that we are truly responsible parents has helped me carry on.
"I know that what happened is not due to the fact of us leaving the children asleep. I know it happened under other circumstances."
Asked about whether she and her husband were responsible for their daughter's disappearance, she said: "It cannot be considered a crime. Someone committed one, but not us."
Portuguese newspapers continued to report today that Mrs McCann will be re-interviewed in the UK this week by British police on behalf of the Algarve authorities.
But a spokeswoman for the McCanns said the couple had to date received no request for new interrogation.
The judge in the case, Pedro Daniel dos Anjos Frias, rejected prosecutors' request to have the McCanns brought back to Portugal for further questioning, the Correio da Manha said.
He insisted that the fresh interviews should be carried out by British police in the UK, according to the paper.
The re-interviewing will only take place when further DNA testing in Birmingham is completed, either tomorrow or Wednesday.
A letter of appeal will be sent to Britain, setting out all the questions Portuguese detectives want to ask the couple, along with the evidence supporting their hypothesis, the Correio da Manha reported.
A source told the paper there was only a "very low" probability that Portuguese officers would be allowed to sit in on the interviews.
A McCann family spokeswoman said today: "We have been in touch with the lawyers to try and get a steer on what is in the Portuguese papers.
"They assure us we have had no request to date for any further questioning, either from the Portuguese police or in the UK."
She could not say whether the McCanns' legal team was expecting the couple to be re-interviewed.
Since Kate and Gerry McCann were named as official suspects last week, there have been suggestions in Portugal that Madeleine was given drugs on the night of her disappearance.
The accusations have been strenuously denied by the couple but have not been ruled out by police. Although the order to seize medical files came from the Portuguese authorities, the background searches are being carried out by Leicestershire police.
A copy of Mrs McCann's diary has also been seized by police, who are now waiting for permission from the judge to seize and dismantle the McCanns' hire car so they can search for "traces of skin".
It has been reported that DNA evidence with a match to Madeleine was found in the Renault Scenic 25 days after their daughter vanished.
Yesterday it emerged the McCanns are trying to knock down potential evidence retrieved after two British sniffer dogs, capable of detecting blood and human remains, were used in the investigation in August.
One of the dogs picked up a "scent of death" on items ranging from Mrs McCann's clothes to Madeleine's favourite soft toy Cuddle Cat.
Leaked reports from the investigation have suggested that Madeleine's parents could have accidentally killed her and then disposed of her body using the car. Although they do not know the full details of the Portuguese prosecutors' case against them, the McCanns are concerned that it may rest on the dog's reaction.
The couple's legal team has now consulted the lawyers of an American man accused of murdering his estranged wife in a case where "cadaver dog" evidence was central. They want to highlight the judge's dismissal of such evidence in the high-profile Eugene Zapata murder trial in Madison, Wisconsin.
Mr Zapata's estranged wife, flight instructor Jeanette Zapata, was 37 when she vanished in October 1976 after seeing her three children off to school.
Her body has never been found. Detectives suspected Mr Zapata of involvement in her disappearance but did not charge him because of a lack of evidence.
Police decided to conduct new searches using cadaver dogs and Mr Zapata, 68, was charged with firstdegree murder last year after the dogs indicated that they had scented human remains in an underfloor crawl space at the former family home and other properties linked to him.
But the judge ruled that the dogs' ability to detect remains was too unreliable, noting that no remains had actually been found.

Madeleine McCann 'died from overdose', 17 September 2007
Madeleine McCann 'died from overdose' Telegraph
By Gary Cleland
Last Updated: 2:09AM BST 17 Sep 2007
Madeleine McCann died from an overdose of sleeping tablets, reports in a French newspaper claimed yesterday.
Guilhem Battut, an investigative reporter for the French tabloid France Soir, said Portuguese police had given prosecutors a file detailing how they thought Madeleine had died.
Battut - an experienced journalist who has worked on a number of major inquiries - claims police believe that evidence found in the McCanns' hire car will "prove that the little girl had ingested medicines, without doubt sleeping pills, in large quantities".
A source at the newspaper claimed: "We are not simply repeating rumours carried in other papers. This is not a theory, but a fact contained in hard evidence in the hands of the Portuguese authorities.

"It is all very well putting theories and opinions forward, but in the end this case will be decided on evidence. As journalists, we have been trying to establish what evidence is available."
DNA evidence which has reportedly been found in the hire car includes hair, blood and bodily fluids which match Madeleine's.
Police are said to want to examine the vehicle again. It is currently being kept in a safe place by the family who are considering having their own tests carried out on it as they strive to prove their innocence.
Portuguese police are said to be drawing up a list of 40 new questions that they want to put to Mrs McCann. But British forensic experts expressed doubts over the claim.
Alan Baker, of the independent forensic science organisation Bericon, said: "These samples are likely to be far from ideal. If it is just a smear or dried deposit you could detect the drug but not how much."
Last night friends of the family dismissed the latest speculation. Gerry McCann reportedly told a friend: "There are large craters in every one of these theories, in these ludicrous accusations.'
"As far as Kate and I are concerned there is no evidence to suggest that Madeleine is dead. We are 100 per cent together on this, not one grain of suspicion about each other."
A close friend of Mrs McCann's said: "She is a gentle mother who loves her children very much.''

Tonight with Trevor McDonald; The McCanns: Questions of Evidence, 17 September 2007

Tonight With Trevor McDonald

Kate amd Gerry McCann

The McCanns:
Questions of

Published: Monday, 17
September 2007, 11:34AM

ITV1 Monday 17th September, 8pm

As Madeleine McCann's parents face possible charges in connection with her disappearance, the Tonight team puts the Portuguese police's evidence under the microscope.

A top British forensic scientist has rubbished newspaper reports that samples of Maddie's hair could prove she overdosed on sedatives.

Allan Jamieson, who has testified as a defence witness about the reliability of DNA at high-profile cases such as the Omagh bombing trial against Sean Hoey, said that it is not possible to detect a one-off dose of sedatives in a hair sample as it would not have been in the body long enough to be present in a hair follicle.

In an exclusive interview with Tonight with Trevor McDonald, he says: "I understand there has also been some talk about toxicology in the hair as well. It's reasonably well known you can use hair to look at the drug use of an individual over a period but that really wouldn't extend to just a few minutes of use before the hair was sampled."

He adds that it would only be possible to detect sedatives in the hair if someone had been dosed with them for over a period of time. And even in that case, it would not prove whether or not the person had died.

When asked if someone ingested the sedatives on a regular basis, would that show up in the hair, Jamieson replied: "Yes, you might be expected to see over a period that showing up in a hair sample. Again it depends on the amount. The drug and the period that is actually being looked at."

When asked is there any way you could tell from a hair sample that a person had died from taking that drug, Jamieson replied: "No I don't think so. The effect of the drug is much quicker than its metabolism into the hair."

When asked: "Even over time, you would never see that?" He replied: "Well I'm not aware of any way you could say. Let me explain how it gets into the hair. As the hair is growing the metabolite or the drug is actually integrated into the hair structure. Now the hair is growing routinely say at 1mm a day. Well that is a very short piece of hair if you imagine how long the hair has grown in a few minutes even if you were getting all of the drug integrated into the hair. There would hardly be enough to measure there so it just seems unlikely that that would be a mechanism for establishing that someone has died of a particular drug at that particular time. I certainly don’t know of anyone who would do that."

He is then asked: "Is it nonsense to say you can tell from a hair sample whether it has come from a body or a living person."

Jamieson replies: "I am not aware of any way that you could tell that so in my opinion it would be nonsensical to say that you can tell that. Certainly in a recent death as opposed to somebody who has been dead hundreds of years. But certainly I am not aware of any mechanism to do that."

Jamieson, who was the director of the Forensic Institute in Edinburgh and the chair of the Standards Committee and Education Group of the Forensic Science Society until 2005, also says that it would be impossible to detect a sedative in a dry sample of blood.

He says: "If you have a volume of blood then you can calculate the concentration in the blood but if all you have is a dried blood spot, then you wouldn't know the volume of blood that created that therefore you would not know the concentration of drug in the blood. And that is important in terms of its toxicological effect."

The Tonight team also asks: "What about blood samples. Is there any way of telling whether the blood has come from a living person or has somehow leaked from a corpse?"

"Well blood from a living person you would expect to be neat blood. When someone dies the body begins to break down and it is possible that that blood could become mixed with other body fluids but how you would establish that it had become mixed with other body fluids I don't know how you would do that."

Jamieson is one of a series of experts that appear in a Tonight with Trevor McDonald programme, which examines the reported Portuguese police case against Gerry and Kate McCann.

The programme looks at the foreign press and their reaction to the McCanns. It looks at the admissibility of DNA evidence and the limits of forensic sniffer dogs used in the Portuguese police's investigation. It asks why British forensics were involved so late in day and sheds light on the Portuguese police's track record in dealing with missing children.

Madeleines parents: 'British police are bugging our phone calls and emails', 20 September 2007
Madeleines parents: 'British police are bugging our phone calls and emails' Daily Mail
Last updated at 08:52 am on 20th September 2007
(Later updated at 12:14 20 September 2007 - with 'DNA IN A BIN BAG' section removed)
Kate and Gerry McCann are convinced they are being bugged by British police.
They believe their mobile phone calls and emails are being monitored by detectives collecting evidence on behalf of the Portuguese investigation.
As a result they and some of their friends and supporters go to great lengths to avoid being overheard when they are discussing sensitive issues in the case of missing Madeleine, meetforing face-to-face or talking on landlines which they believe to be harder to intercept.
Their suspicions were first aroused by questions they were asked by Portuguese police which were based on information that could only have come from private conversations.
During lengthy interviews when they were first made suspects, they were asked questions which implied they had conspired during mobile phone conversations to hide who was at the dinner party - and when - on the night that Madeleine disappeared.
They are also thought to have been asked why the toddlers Cuddle Cat toy was washed twice - information that could well have come from surveillance of phone calls.
Although the couple have been back home in Rothley Leicestershire for 12 days they fear the practice is continuing. A source close to the family said:
"The assumption is that it is taking place. Everyone involved is very careful, particularly with their mobile phone calls and what they say.

"There was an assumption from the early days that their mobile communications were unsafe and could be listened to.
"They believed it in Portugal and they believe that is still happening now that they are back home.
"Gerry will often refuse to talk on a mobile phone - he prefers to use landlines as he considers that they are safer. They feel they are being watched at all times."
The source added: "It would be entirely wrong to say that their phone conversations are in any way furtive as a result of this.
"They are entirely innocent and have nothing whatsoever to hide - but they are being understandably cautious about what they say on the phone and in emails.
"They would obviously not want to disclose the way in which they plan to conduct their defence."
Leicestershire police yesterday refused to comment on the allegation.

But a senior police source said: "It is highly likely to be happening. There would need to be high-level meetings before anything like this could be done.

"But if I were someone in Government I would have got it done anyway to make sure that we knew as much as possible, given that the case involves UK citizens."

Dr Russell O Brien and Jane Tanner who were both on holiday with the McCanns have spoken to friends of their belief that their phones were tapped in Portugal.

Portuguese detectives have reportedly admitted monitoring the emails of Robert Murat the British expat in Praia da Luz who became the first suspect in the case.

However this is the first time that anyone involved in the case has claimed the practice is taking place in Britain. A spokesman for the McCanns refused to comment.

Police fitted a tracking device to the McCanns' hire car, it was claimed last night to monitor their precise movements in the days after they came under suspicion.

A gadget the size of a wallet is capable of transmitting a signal to satellites - like a Sat Nav system in reverse - enabling police to watch where the couple go.

It is claimed the device was installed in the Renault Scenic during the 48 hours the police had the car in early August to gather forensic samples. It could have been placed in the boot or attached using a magnet under the bonnet.

It explains why detectives returned the hire car to the McCanns after their tests rather than impounding it.

"The police are not fools - they did not give the car back without reason," said a Portuguese source with knowledge of the investigation.

"They wanted to see where it would go and would have used a tracking device."

Portuguese detectives have taken a step closer to being able to search the McCann family home.

Policia Judiciaria detectives believe something inside the Leicestershire house could yield a vital clue and have sought approval from the judge in the case to ask British officers to carry out the raid.

Yesterday Judge Pedro Miguel dos Anjos Frias agreed to the request.
Portuguese police would have needed to apply directly to the Home Office for permission to bug a UK citizen's telephone or emails.

They would have filed a Mutual Legal Assistance request, which is the only formal way for a foreign police force to obtain evidence from another country.

Providing that the request is legal under UK law - the relevant law in this case would have been the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act - the request would then be passed to the Home Secretary for final approval.

British police would also need Home Office permission to carry out telephone and computer taps.

Between January 2005 and March last year, the Home Office approved 440.000 requests for permission to intercept personal communications.

Most of these would be seeking telephone numbers one particular phone has called. Only a very small proportion would have been for permission to listen in on a call or read an email.

DNA evidence in the case against the McCanns could have come from leaking rubbish bags it was claimed last night.

Friends of the couple say they routinely used their hired Renault Scenic to ferry bin bags from their home to the rubbish collection point.

One friend said bags could easily have split spilling fluids from nappies or waste food into the car.

Portuguese police claim to have found bodily fluids containing Madeleines DNA in the vehicle.

The friend said: "When the McCanns got to their villa there were not any proper dustbins there and they had to take the household waste to a communal disposal area.

"The site was about half a mile away and the McCanns drove the rubbish in the car.

"The vehicle was used as a rubbish lorry for the family so there could potentially have been contamination from the bags.

"Who is to say that the nappy bag did not leak and leave the twins DNA somewhere?"

The evidence of bodily fluids in the Renault constitutes a key plank of the Portuguese case against the McCanns.

Madeleine McCann: the key questions, 21 September 2007
Madeleine McCann: the key questions Timesonline
David Brown and Steve Bird examine the puzzles and mysteries at the heart of the four month investigation
September 21, 2007
Why are the "Tapas 9" key to solving the Madeleine mystery?
Kate and Gerry McCann were dining with seven British friends at a tapas restaurant in the Ocean Club resort when Madeleine was reported missing. The friends are crucial witnesses but have said very little publicly. Police sources have claimed there are inconsistencies in their statements to officers. The friends are Matthew and Rachael Oldfield, Russell O’Brien and his partner Jane Tanner and David and Fiona Payne and her mother Dianne Webster.
Did any of them see anyone taking Madeleine?
Jane Tanner told police that she saw a man walking away from the McCanns' apartment at 9.15pm. Sources close to the couple have previously said that the man had a child wrapped in the blanket and was walking in a southerly direction. However, the London Evening Standard reported yesterday that Ms Tanner had seen man carrying a girl dressed in Madeleine's distinctive pink-and-white pyjamas walking eastwards, towards the house of the official suspect Robert Murat, 33.
Do police believe this was a man abducting Madeleine?
Detectives refused to publicise the sighting for three weeks. Another witness, Jeremy Wilkins, is reported to have told police that he was in the area talking to Mr McCann and did not see the mystery man.

Did anyone else in the Tapas 9 notice anything strange?

Matthew Oldfield said he had checked on the McCanns’ apartment at 9.30pm. A source close to the McCanns had said he did not look into the bedroom where Madeleine was sleeping with the two-year-old twins Sean and Amelie. But the Evening Standard report claimed he saw the twins but did not have a view of Madeleine’s bed.

Was there anything strange about the room after Madeleine disappeared?

Mrs McCann was sure Madeleine had been abducted because the bedroom window was open and the security shutter was forced open, a source close to the family has insisted. Tests on the shutter showed no sign of forced entry. However, another friend claimed yesterday that the shutter had been left open.

When will the Portuguese courts decide what to do in the Madeleine case?

Pedro Daniel dos Anjos Frias, a criminal instructional judge in Portimão, has decided that there is no need for the McCanns to be reinterviewed at this point, hence the prosecutor’s statement last night. The threat of them having to return to the Algarve in the near future has been lifted. The judge must complete his rulings by today on a variety of issues. It is believed that he has already authorised the use of Mrs McCann’s diaries as evidence.

Could the couple still be charged soon?

Unlikely. LuÍs Armando Bilro Verão, the lead public prosecutor, must now decide if there is sufficient evidence to bring charges against them, if he needs to request the PolÍcia Judiciária to carry out further investigations or if the case against them should be dropped.

Why is it all taking so long?

Portuguese detectives are still waiting for the results of tests on samples being carried out by the Forensic Science Service laboratory in Birmingham. They are also believed to want to carry out further searches in the Algarve and possibly at the McCanns’ home.

So how long will the McCanns have to wait?

The couple can remain as arguidos, or official suspects, for eight months before the Portuguese police have to apply for a four-month extension. After this time they automatically cease to be suspects, but there is no requirement for the prosecutor to clear them formally.

Robert Murat, a British self-employed property consultant on the Algarve and the only other official suspect in Madeleine’s disappearance, has been an arguido for four months.

Why has there been so much confusion?

Portugal’s strict laws of judicial secrecy mean that nobody involved in a criminal investigation is allowed to reveal any of the evidence in the case. However, Portuguese police sources are regularly quoted giving incriminating details about the McCanns’ role in their daughter’s disappearance. Friends of the couple have increasingly been attempting to challenge these reports with their own interpretation of events. Both sides are actually breaking the law and could face up to two years in jail.

Who is who in Team McCann

Clarence Mitchell

Former BBC journalist appointed on Monday as Kate and Gerry McCann’s official spokesman. Represented them in May and June after being sent to Praia da Luz by the Foreign and Commonwealth Offic

Michael Caplan, QC

One of few solicitors to be appointed QC, expert in extradition and international criminal law. Prevented extradition to Spain of former Chilean president General Augusto Pinochet

Angus McBride

Leading criminal solicitor with expertise in dealing with media and protecting reputation of individuals subject to media or criminal investigation

Carlos Pinto de Abreu

One of Portugal’s best-known lawyers with reputation for taking on controversial cases. Lodged McCanns’ libel action against Portuguese newspaper which said they were police suspects

Esther McVey

Former GMTV presenter and Conservative parliamentary candidate, trustee and spokeswoman for Madeleine Fund. Has known Mrs McCann since they did their A levels together

Father Haynes Hubbard

Anglican priest at church of Nossa Senhora da Luz (Our Lady of the Light) in Praia da Luz and his wife, Susan, have become close friends and confidants of McCanns

Calum MacRae

18-year-old internet expert runs Find Madeleine website which has attracted more than 400,000 unique users and helped to raise more than £1 million in donations for campaign

Philomena McCann

Mr McCann’s sister, a headteacher, has been key family member to publicise hunt for Madeleine and to defend her parents

Trish and Sandy Cameron

Mr McCann’s sister and brother-in-law have been frequent visitors to the couple in Praia da Luz and Rothley. About 30 other relatives and friends also visited them in Praia da Luz

Why are the McCann’s early television interviews being scrutinised?

Commentators have seized on the lack of emotion shown by Kate and Gerry McCann during a series of televised statements and interviews in the weeks after Madeleine’s disappearance. It is claimed that this was an unnatural response and indicated that the couple were hiding something. In fact, criminal profilers had advised them to display no overt emotion in case Madeleine’s abductor “got off" on the sight of her parents in obvious distress. Off camera, they were deeply distressed and received help from counsellors.

How can the police establish Mrs McCann’s state of mind?

Prosecutors are reported to want access to Mrs McCann’s medical records to see if there is any history of illness such as depression which could explain why she would kill Madeleine. They are also said to want British police to carry out investigations into the couple’s relationship and personal history.

Could Mrs McCann’s handwriting be used as evidence?

A judge has authorised police to seize Mrs McCann’s diary and detectives want a graphologist to study the handwriting, it was reported yesterday. Alberto Vaz da Silva, a criminal psychologist and a handwriting expert, told the newspaper 24 Horas: “It would be possible to discover the temper and the character of the person in question. You can see if someone is lying or hiding something.” However, handwriting evidence is usually used only for forensic science purposes, not to determine a person’s emotional state.

Why could Mrs McCann’s newspaper interview lead to jail?

Mrs McCann could be prosecuted under Portugal’s laws of judicial secrecy for telling the Sunday Mirror that police had seized her bible. She said: “One of the pieces of evidence is that a page from a passage in Samuel about having to tell a man his child is dead is crumpled - so I must have been reading it.” The 24 Horas newspaper said that the public prosecutor could accuse Mrs McCann of breaking the secrecy law, which carries a maximum two years' jail sentence. Varradas Leitao, a member of the Superior Council of the Ministerial Publico, said: “A witness or an arguida, the law is the same for everybody. You cannot divulge procedural acts.”

What are the police doing to find Madeleine or her body?

Portuguese police are reported to be preparing for a new series of searches using sniffer dogs and infra-red equipment in an area between Praia da Luz and the village of Burgau, about two miles to the west. It has also been suggested that they will search the church in Praia da Luz and the town of Arao, where a big operation was carried out after an anonymous tip-off to a Dutch newspaper.

Who is advising Kate and Gerry McCann?

British lawyers Michael Caplan, QC, an expert in international law, and Angus McBride, a solicitor who specialises in protecting the reputation of individuals subject to media or criminal investigation. They have also hired a Portuguese lawyer, Carlos Pinto de Abreu, who filed the libel action against a newspaper which said the police suspected them of involvement in their daughter’s death.

How can the couple win the battle of public opinion?

Clarence Mitchell, 46, has been appointed as their official spokesman. He resigned yesterday as head of the Government’s Media Monitoring Unit and had previously been seconded to the Foreign Office to help the McCanns in the weeks after Madeleine’s disappearance.

What can Mr Mitchell do to help the McCanns?

His job at the Cabinet Office has given him contacts among senior members of the Government and Civil Service. He also has extensive contacts with journalists in both Britain and Portugal and more than 20 years’ experience as a reporter.

Are the McCanns paying for his services?

No. He has been employed by one of their wealthy backers and will continue to work for that person after the Madeleine case is over.

What action will the police take this week?

Portuguese detectives are due to arrive in Leicester to work with a British police team investigating Madeleine’s disappearance. It has been reported that Kate McCann could be interviewed again this week. A Portuguese judge must decide by Thursday whether to approve requests by Portuguese police to secure more evidence.

Who’s advising British police on the case?

Tony Connell, a member of the Crown Prosecution Service’s special casework unit, has been advising the “Gold Group” of senior detectives at Leicestershire Police, which is investigating the Madeleine case. Mr Connell led the review which led to the conviction of Damilola Taylor’s killers.

Could the McCanns be prosecuted in Britain?

It is possible to prosecute a British citizen for a murder or manslaughter abroad under the Offences Against the Person Act 1861. This was last done in 2005 when Christopher Newman was convicted at the Inner London Crown Court of murdering Georgina Eager in Dublin.

Can the public support Kate and Gerry McCann’s legal battle?

A fighting fund to help to pay their legal costs is expected to be announced within the next few days. A source close to the family told The Times: “It will be getting set up and formalised as a proper fund. It has to be meticulously thought through.”

Why is the McCanns’ hire car pivotal to the investigation?

Portuguese police claim they have found traces of Madeleine’s hair and bodily fluid in the boot of the Renault Scenic, indicating that it was used to transport Madeleine’s body after her death. Scientists have said that it should be possible to establish whether the hair came from a dead or living person.

Does this mean the scientific results hold the key to the case?

Not necessarily. Kate and Gerry McCann used the Budget rental car to move apartments, taking with them all their children’s toys and clothing, which would have contained large amounts of genetic material. It was also used by friends, relatives and people who worked on the campaign to find their daughter.

Where is the car now?

When the McCanns left Britain they drove the car to the airport. They have since said they will hold on to the vehicle to get their own independent scientific examinations done.

Under what circumstances was the car searched?

Police seized the car last month and took it to an underground car park opposite their offices in Portimão. Police sources say this is an unusual place to carry out such a delicate search.

Is there any other explanation about how the material could have got there?

If the DNA samples did come from Madeleine’s corpse it would seem an amazing coincidence that the McCanns hired a car used by their daughter’s abductor and killer. However, friends of the McCanns claim that the couple are being framed. It has also been suggested that the samples may have been labelled incorrectly.

Why do Portuguese police want to read Kate McCann’s personal diaries?

Detectives want to check for inconsistencies with the information previously given to police and for clues about the personal relationship between Mrs McCann, her husband and other members of the party who went with them to Portugal. Mrs McCann was seen regularly writing several pages a day in the diaries.

What evidence could be held on Gerry McCann’s laptop computer?

Mr McCann sent and received dozens of e-mails almost every day from friends and people involved in the campaign to find his daughter. It may be possible to retrieve those e-mails, which detectives hope could provide information about the events surrounding Madeleine’s disappearance and the couple’s connections with other people.

Why does a Portuguese judge need to authorise the seizure?

Portuguese police must get an authorisation from a judge to request items which are abroad or to retain items taken without the owner’s permission. Mr and Mrs McCann are believed to have taken most of the objects home to Britain. There are also reports in Portugal that police seized a copy of Mrs McCann’s diaries before the couple left the country to ensure they could not be destroyed. A judge must be asked to authorise a seizure without the owner’s consent within 24 hours.

Why didn’t the Portuguese police seize these items in Praia da Luz?

It may be that the items left Portugal some time ago when Mr or Mrs McCann made previous trips to Britain, or a friend may have taken them. The couple left the Algarve on Sunday morning at very short notice. They notified the Portuguese authorities but perhaps police did not have the opportunity to ask a judge to authorise the seizure of items without the couple’s consent.

Has the judge been asked to authorise any other seizures?

Portuguese papers reported yesterday that officers wanted to obtain Madeleine’s favourite soft toy, which Mrs McCann took home. It is also claimed that police seized the Renault hired by the McCanns 25 days after Madeleine’s disappearance. The car contained samples of the girl’s hair and “bodily fluids”.

What else has the judge been asked to do?

It has been reported that detectives want to search the church in Praia da Luz where the couple regularly prayed after Madeleine disappeared. They would only require an order from the judge if the priest or bishop in charge refused to authorise the search. It has also been suggested that police want to search a cemetery beside the church and to excavate roads where sewers were being replaced at the time of Madeleine’s disappearance.

Who is revealing details about scientific evidence?

By law Portuguese police are prevented from revealing details of investigations. However, some officers have been secretly briefing Portuguese journalists.

What scientific evidence have police collected?

In a briefings on Monday night detectives said that they found traces of “bodily fluids” in the car which had probably come from Madeleine with a large amount of Madeleine’s hair in the boot of the car.

Why are the “bodily fluids” significant?

When pathologists refer to bodily fluids they usually mean the putrefying substance created during the decomposition of a body tissue and blood. This “fluid” is evidence that a corpse has been present, but DNA samples are required to identify the body. It is unclear what “fluids” have been found. It might be traces of urine, dried blood or vomit, which would not conclusively prove Madeleine had died.

Does a large quantity of hair prove that Madeleine’s body was in the car?

No. The hair must show evidence that it came from a decomposing body. Other hair could be “transmitted” from items of Madeleine’s clothing and belongings.

Is anyone else confirming these reports?

Sources in Britain who are assisting the Portuguese investigation have agreed that there is “significant” scientific evidence linking Mr and Mrs McCann to their daughter’s death. However, Portuguese officers took the highly unusual step of publicly denying a report which was allegedly based on sources in Britain.

Does the scientific evidence prove that Madeleine was killed?

Because the samples have degraded over time the scientists can never be 100 per cent certain that they came from Madeleine.

What happened in the four hours before Madeleine was reported missing?

Kate and Gerry McCann claim that while they dined at a restaurant with friends regular checks were made on Madeleine and their two-year-old twins, Sean and Amelie, at their nearby holiday apartment. Mr McCann told police he saw his daughter asleep at about 9pm. A friend, Matthew Oldfield, entered the apartment at about 9.30pm but did not look in the bedroom Madeleine and the twins were sharing.

It is not known if anyone apart from Mr and Mrs McCann saw Madeleine alive between 6pm and 10pm, when she was reported missing by her mother. The timing is crucial but would be only circumstantial evidence in any prosecution. Although a small child could be killed quickly it would take time to hide a body so that it was not discovered in the biggest search in Portuguese history.

Why did Kate McCann cry out “They’ve taken her?” when she discovered Madeleine missing?

Portuguese police are reported to find it suspicious that Mrs McCann immediately believed that more than one person had taken her daughter. This could suggest that she knew who had taken Madeleine, perhaps people who thought they were helping Mrs McCann by removing her daughter’s body.

Alternatively, it could be an off-the-cuff remark by an hysterical mother or perhaps was misheard or misunderstood in the confusion of the night.

What were the movements of the McCann’s friends on the night Madeleine disappeared?

The McCann family had stayed at the Ocean Club resort with three other British couples and their five children, and a single woman. Russell O’Brien, a doctor from Exeter, left the restaurant for half an hour to look after his own daughter, returning shortly before Madeleine was reported missing.

His wife, Jane Tanner, was the only witness to report a man carrying away child from the McCann’s apartments. There is confusion about when members of the party arrived at the tapas restaurant and left to check on their own sleeping children.

How much alcohol did the McCanns and their friends drink on the evening Madeleine disappeared?

Kate and Gerry McCann and their friends are reported to have told detectives they shared four bottles of wine, with another two barely touched before Madeleine was discovered missing.

However, it is claimed detectives have recovered a bill showing they downed eight bottles of red wine and six white during the afternoon and evening.

Why was Madeleine’s bedroom window and shutter open?

Kate and Gerry McCann told police that the window shutter in Madeleine’s bedroom, which could not been seen from the restaurant, had been forced open.

Police tests showed the heavy metal shutter had not been forced up from the outside, so must have been pulled open from inside the room. Assuming that the abductor entered through the apartment’s unlocked patio windows, why would he or she not leave by the same way or the use the front door?

Or was the window opened to make it appear as if an intruder had used it to enter the bedroom?

Why did Madeleine’s sister and brother sleep through her “abduction”?

Sean and Amelie were heavy sleepers who were not disturbed by their sister’s abduction, claim their parents. However, they also slept through their mother’s hysterical response to Madeleine’s disappearance and the presence of dozens of people who joined the search before being carried out by a female police officer. Kate and Gerry McCann have strenuously denied sedating their daughter.

Why were the McCanns allowed to leave Portugal if they are suspects?

The Portuguese authorities allowed the McCanns to return to the UK after they agreed to reside only at their home in Rothley and to return for further questioning if necessary.

Portuguese law states that after someone is declared a suspect, police have eight months to conclude the investigation into that individual. If they require further time officers can apply to the courts for a four-month extension.

If the McCanns refused to comply with a request to return to the Algarve for interview, Portuguese police could issue a European Arrest Warrant under which extradition can be carried out within six weeks.

Why has it taken so long to find the evidence that could implicate Kate and Gerry McCann?

The material was only collected at the end of July and early August in a review of the investigation carried out by Portuguese detectives with the help of British police and two sniffer dogs. Many of the samples are very small, containing just a few cells, while others are of poor quality because of damage by cleaning or simply the passing of time.

A full report of the findings will not be ready for weeks, but many results have already been passed to the Portuguese authorities.

What evidence were police looking for?

Detectives are searching for any evidence that proves Madeleine is dead or contradicts the accounts of Mr and Mrs McCann and other witnesses.

What is the most important forensic evidence?

It appears the Forensic Science Service believes it has discovered compelling new evidence, possibly from more than one source. Portuguese detectives told Mrs McCann repeatedly that they found traces of Madeleine’s blood in a Renault Scenic hired three weeks after she disappeared, suggesting that the missing girl’s parents used the vehicle to carry her body. It is possible to tell if the blood came from a living person or from a corpse, and even the time of death. However, some reports suggest that the quality of the blood sample was too poor to confirm the origin while others have denied any blood was found in the vehicle and claim it was other “bodily fluids”. Unless a body had been placed in a freezer, it would have badly decomposed during the warm weather; leaving a mass of traces invisible to the human eye.

Does any trace of Madeleine in the hire car prove she was killed?

No. Mr and Mrs McCann hired the car to buy new clothes in the town of Portimão a day before they flew to Rome to see Pope Benedict XVI. They then used it regularly for family outings and to collect friends and relatives from Faro airport. They continued using the car until shortly before flying home yesterday. Kate and Gerry and their two-year-old twins would have often carried in the car items used by Madeleine. These items could easily certainly carry Madeleine’s hair and minute traces of skin, dried blood, saliva and vomit. The same could be said of the holiday apartments used by the McCanns and their friends in the Ocean Club resort. However, if the blood came from Madeleine’s corpse the only other highly unlikely explanation would be that a previous hirer had moved the body.

One report suggested yesterday that Madeleine’s DNA had been found on the floor of the McCanns holiday apartment, but because of degredation it was based on an incomplete picture, with only 15 of the 20 genetic markers usually used for such analysis.

What is the DNA evidence that has supposedly been found by the Portuguese investigators?

Newspapers in Portugal have been reporting that “biological fluids” with an 80 per cent match to Madeleine’s DNA have been found underneath upholstery in the boot of the McCanns’ rented Renault Scenic. Some media reports claimed that another DNA sample with a 100 per cent match to that of Madeleine’s profile had been found in the car.

What would this tell us?

Perhaps nothing. If it was sourced from something such as a hair follicle or skin cells then that could have been one of Madeleine’s hairs that had stuck to the clothes of a family member or her “cuddle cat” toy that her mother carries. If it was from Madeleine’s blood or corpse, that could be more significant. The most important issue is the size of the sample found. If there was a substantial amount of material it is unlikely to be from accidental contamination and would indicate that Madeleine had been in the car.

Can investigators establish if the DNA sample comes from someone who was alive or dead?

Unlikely, according to British experts. A DNA profile does not change just because someone dies. You can tell if DNA has degraded but that can happen if, for example, it had been exposed to sunshine.

Does an 80 per cent match with biological fluids indicate that Madeleine was definitely in the car?

No. The sample will have been tested against a definite sample of Madeleine’s. A 80 per cent match indicates that profilers could find only 16 of the 20 markers usually used for such analysis and suggests that the biological traces are tiny and degraded. Additionally, the twins Sean and Amelie could share a high percentage of DNA characteristics as most siblings do.

What complicates the matter further is that all three of the McCanns’ children were born through IVF and it is unknown whether the couple’s sperm and eggs were used for conception.

What about the discoveries of the “cadaver” sniffer dog?

Mr and Mrs McCann were shown a police video of a sniffer dog used to find corpses “going crazy” when it approached the hire car. Reports also claim that is discovered the scent on the vehicle’s key fob. Mrs McCann is reported to have explained that in her work as locum GP she came into contact with six corpses in the weeks leading up to Algarve holiday.

This seems a high number for a locum GP working just a couple of days a week but would be easy to check against surgery records.

The crucial difficulty with the sniffer dog “evidence” is that it cannot distinguish between corpses. This type of dog is trained to find bodies, not identify where dead bodies have been. Crucially, they can become excited by other scents.

Any evidence of Madeleine’s death on Cuddle Cat?

The cadaver dog is alleged to have become excited when shown Madeleine’s favourite soft pink toy, called Cuddle Cat. The cat had become poignant symbol of a mother’s loss as Kate McCann carried it with her at all time from the night of Madeleine’s disappearance.

She washed it four days after the police tests, claiming it had become dirty. The toy was potentially crucial evidence and should have been seized by police very early in the investigation.

What evidence can be found in Mrs McCann’s Bible?

Mrs McCann, a devout Roman Catholic, claims that police told her that a crumpled page in her Bible was evidence that she was involved in the death of her daughter. The page contained a passage from Samuel II, chapter 12, verses 15-19, which recalls how man’s child is stricken with illness after he “scorns” the Lord.

The man fasts for seven days, refusing to get up off the ground, to try to gain redemption — but eventually his child dies. Mrs McCann claims that detectives told her that damage to the page proved she had been reading it.

Why are the McCanns suspects in their daughter’s killing?

Portuguese police refuse to say why the couple have been made official suspects. Under Portuguese law police can not question someone as if they had committed a crime unless they are a “suspect”. It could simply be that police wanted to ask the couple about the evidence they had collected, and that the seriousness of the process has been misunderstood and exaggerated by cultural and language differences. The McCanns believed that they were about to be charged with Madeleine’s death, but it does not appear police disclosed any crucial evidence to them.

All parties have strenuously denied any wrongdoing.

Madeleine: The Missing 7 Hours, 22 September 2007
Madeleine: The Missing 7 Hours Daily Express (no longer available online)
Saturday September 22, 2007
By David Pilditch and Martin Evans
Madeleine McCann was not seen by anyone except her parents for seven hours in the time leading up to her disappearance, it was sensationally claimed yesterday.
Baffled detectives in Portugal are focusing their inquiry on the lost hours and believe the period holds the key to the investigation. Police sources revealed that despite exhaustive inquiries they cannot confirm the whereabouts of part-time GP Kate, 39, and her daughter after 1.29pm on May 3. The source said Kate's movements were unaccounted for until she sat down to have dinner with friends at a tapas restaurant within their holiday complex at around 8.40pm.
Police are probing a series of alleged inconsistencies in the statements of Kate and husband Gerry – who have been named as official suspects – and their holiday friends. Officers believe Kate killed her daughter by accidentally giving her an overdose of sleeping pills.
They are working on the theory that consultant cardiologist Gerry, also 39, helped to cover up the crime and dispose of Madeleine's body. They believe the McCanns "cooked up a story" that Madeleine had been kidnapped to throw them off the scent.
The last photograph of Madeleine was said to have been taken by Kate at 2.29pm on May 3. The image showed Madeleine – wearing a sun hat and with beads in her hair – laughing as she dangled her feet in the swimming pool at the Ocean Club resort where the family were staying. But the Daily Express can reveal the timing device on the camera showed the picture had been taken at 1.29pm.
There was no time difference between Portugal and Britain and the family explained the discrepancy by insisting the settings on the camera were wrong. But one expert explained that the shadows in the photograph showed it must have been taken earlier than the family had claimed.
The mystery deepened yesterday  after the couple dismissed claims they had taken their children to a local restaurant at 5pm that day. Other members of their holiday group took their children for supper at the Paraiso Restaurant on the beach in the Algarve resort of Praia da Luz.
Staff there were certain they saw the couple there along with Madeleine and their two-year-old twins Sean and Amelie. Owner Miguel Matias handed over CCTV footage to police which they believed would prove the family had been there. The evidence would have helped support Kate and Gerry's alibi that they were not involved in Madeleine's death.
But yesterday a source close to the family said: "They weren't there. They didn't go to the restaurant that day. They did not go there at all until after she had vanished."
Police yesterday confirmed they had been handed the footage but refused to reveal the content. Sources in Portugal insist the only witness to Kate's movements that afternoon was her husband.
Yesterday it was claimed that statements given to the police by the McCanns about their movements also differed from those of their seven friends.
Portuguese newspaper 24 Hours reported that one of the McCanns' friends had told police the party had not seen Madeleine all afternoon. Former British detective Mark Williams-Thomas, who worked on the Sarah Payne murder inquiry, said: "The last person to see Madeleine is absolutely vital to this investigation.
"If the police are saying the last picture of Madeleine is the last time she was seen, then they have to establish what went on in the hours in between and when she was reported missing."
Police sources in Portugal claimed that originally Kate told them she was at the pool all afternoon. Gerry said he had taken part in a tennis event at the Ocean Club complex with the other men in the group – all doctors who had first met while working in Leicester. One source added: "Kate said she was at the poolside all afternoon but we are not satisfied with this. Until now we have no witnesses to confirm that. This is the main focus of our investigation at the moment.
"Where was Kate between the time she took the picture of Madeleine and the time she went to dinner with her husband in the tapas bar? We now believe Madeleine could have gone missing during this period. We are very doubtful that Madeleine disappeared when the McCanns were at dinner."
As the focus of the inquiry shifted, a source close to the McCanns issued an apparently new version of events of what happened the afternoon Madeleine disappeared. The source insisted the couple told police Madeleine had spent time during the afternoon at the Ocean Club resort's creche.
The source said: "Kate was never alone with Madeleine that afternoon. After the photograph was taken at the swimming pool Madeleine went to the kids club. There are records for that, written records, and witnesses.
"Madeleine was there while Kate and Gerry played tennis with the club professional and other witnesses."
Detectives in Portugal are said to have "serious concerns" over other crucial contradictions in the McCanns' statements. When Madeleine disappeared, friends told how Kate was certain she had been abducted after finding the patio doors had been opened and the shutters tampered with.
But now a member of their group has revealed the couple had not locked the patio door when they left Madeleine and the twins.
The friend said that when Kate discovered Madeleine missing at 10pm she ran back to the restaurant shouting: "Madeleine’s gone, Madeleine's gone." It is dramatically different from the account said to have been given to Portuguese police. They were told Kate had said: "They've taken her, they've taken her."
Detectives in Portugal viewed this as suspicious, as Kate had apparently  already ruled out the possibility that her daughter had wandered off. They are treating it as possible evidence that she was already engaged in a cover-up.
The revelations come as members of the couple's holiday group appeared  to be once again shifting the focus on to Robert Murat, 33 – the only other official suspect in the case. One member of the group, Jane Tanner, 36, told police she saw a man carrying a child wrapped in a blanket near the Ocean Club apartment complex on the night Madeleine disappeared. Miss Tanner said she saw the suspect rushing downhill towards the Baptista supermarket.
But she has now told police the man was heading in a completely different direction – towards the home of Murat.
Murat was also placed in the frame by three other members of the McCanns' party. Rachael Oldfield, 36, Dr Russell O'Brien, 36, and Dr Fiona Payne, 34, claim they saw Murat near the McCanns' apartment on the night Madeleine vanished – evidence which apparently shattered Murat's alibi that he spent the evening at home with his mother before having an early night.

Madeleine's father's chilling belief: 'Kidnapper was hiding in flat when I checked on her', 22 September 2007
Madeleine's father's chilling belief: 'Kidnapper was hiding in flat when I checked on her' Daily Mail
Last updated at 15:42 22 September 2007
Madeleine McCann's parents say they believe that an intruder hid inside their holiday apartment before snatching their daughter from her bed.
Gerry McCann says he is convinced that, when he checked on Madeleine at 9.05pm on the evening she disappeared, the abductor was somewhere inside the ground-floor flat.
He thinks that the intruder - who would have entered the flat through an unlocked patio door - would have pounced almost immediately after he left.
It would have taken seconds to scoop up the little girl and escape through a bedroom window.
If Mr McCann's theory is correct, it means that he would have been within yards of his daughter's abductor - and could easily have stumbled upon him or her.
Yesterday a friend of the family claimed that having thought back over the events of May 3, Mr McCann recalls noticing that Madeleine's bedroom door was open when he went to check on her.
He thinks that the door was left open because the intruder did not have time to shut it when he heard Mr McCann approaching.
According to the friend, the intruder would have hidden himself somewhere else in the flat - possibly the bathroom or the master bedroom -whilst Mr McCann checked on his children.
As soon as he left, the kidnapper struck.
The McCanns are convinced Madeleine was being watched during the course of their week-long holiday in the Algarve.
She went missing on the sixth day of their break and they are convinced she was stolen to order.
The Evening Standard yesterday revealed that Kate McCann first realised something was wrong when she went to open the bedroom door to check on her daughter at 10pm.
She said a blast of wind from the open window in the bedroom caused the door to slam shut as she held it.
Discovering that Madeleine was not in her bed, she then frantically searched the apartment three times - spending as much as 10 minutes doing so - before racing out screaming: "Madeleine's gone, Madeleine's gone."
The girl was six days short of her fourth birthday when she went missing.
The McCanns now believe the abductor got in the apartment more than an hour before the alarm was raised.
Mr McCann checked on the children at 9.05pm and saw Madeleine asleep in her bed with the twins Sean and Amelie in cots beside her.
But the door to the bedroom was open and although Mr McCann thought nothing of it at the time, he is now certain he had previously shut it.
A source close to the family today told the Standard: "When Gerry went to check on Madeleine he realised the bedroom door was open. Gerry is firmly of the view the abductor was already in the apartment.
"When he went in he saw Madeleine was asleep but the bedroom door was slightly open. He thought, 'That is odd' because he had left it firmly closed. But all the children were asleep. So he just went in and closed the door again and came out at about 9.10pm.
"Gerry is convinced the man must have been hiding and once Gerry went out through the patio doors the only way out for the abductor was through the window.
"The front door was locked so the kidnapper took Madeleine and climbed out of the window.
"The theory is the man came in through the patio doors, knowing he has a few minutes until the McCanns' next check. The rear doors are out of sight from the tapas bar where the McCanns and their friends are eating.
"The abductor goes in and he hides and when Gerry goes into the bedroom, he just thinks he didn't close the bedroom door properly.
"When Gerry leaves, the man realises he only has a few minutes. He thinks the only way to get out without being seen is through the window," the source added.

McCanns filmed at cafe on day Maddy disappeared, 22 September 2007
The Paraiso restaurant
The Paraiso restaurant


McCanns filmed at cafe on day Maddy disappeared Irish Independent
Saturday September 22 2007
A BEACH-side restaurant was today at the centre of claim and counter-claim over the movements of the McCann family on the day that Madeleine went missing.
Staff at the Paraiso restaurant in Praia Da Luz say they saw Gerry and Kate McCann there with Madeleine between 5pm and 6pm on the afternoon of May 3, less than four hours before she disappeared.
Gerry was said to have been dancing happily with Madeleine on the sand directly in front of the restaurant, which sits on stilts on the beach.
Staff later recognised the McCanns from television in the middle of the week following Madeleine's disappearance and called the Policia Judiciaria (PJ) who took the footage away.
The apparent sighting could be proof of where the McCanns were that day, eliminating claims there were a "missing six hours" in their account.
But the McCanns insist they were not at the restaurant.
Mr McCann is believed to have played tennis all afternoon before changing and going to meet friends for a tapas dinner at around 8.20pm.
Mrs McCann has told police she spent time by the pool in the Ocean Club complex where they were staying that afternoon.
The staff's accounts of the restaurant visit have featured in media reports both in Portugal and the UK.
But the McCanns' spokesman Clarence Mitchell said: "We cannot and will not comment on matters that go to the heart of the police investigation; however, my understanding is that these particular reports are inaccurate."
One of the McCanns' friends is reported to have said that others in the group went there to feed the children before putting them to bed, although the McCanns were not there.
But today a source at the restaurant said staff were sure it was the McCanns and had watched the footage with PJ officers to check before handing it over.
He said the footage showed Gerry McCann dancing with Madeleine in the beach.
"One member of staff remembered later that he saw them and we went to check the CCTV that they were here," he said.
"On the machine it was saying the same date (May 3) between five and six. The date was on the machine at the time.''
He added that police had checked if the footage showed the McCanns before taking it.
"I gave the PJ the video, I didn't know if it was them or not so we watched to check that it was them, otherwise we would have been giving them something that was not interesting," he said.
He conceded that the timer on the machine could have been showing the wrong date, possibly from a day earlier that week.
But it is understood the McCanns' position is that they did not go to the restaurant at all that week, although they did visit much later during the time they stayed on in Praia Da Luz.
Nevertheless, the restaurant source insisted: "The machine could have been on the wrong date, I can't promise it was the right date -- but it was them.''
He added: "I have heard the friend said they (the McCanns) weren't here -- if they weren't, they weren't; but as far as I'm concerned, they were.''
However, he conceded that the images were grainy.
Holding up a newspaper, he said: "The image isn't very good quality . . . you can't see faces exactly like you see on this, it's difficult.''

"The children in the group had dinner at Paraiso, but the McCanns were not there," says anonymous McCann friend, 23 September 2007
New Video, Old Suspect in McCann Case ABC News
PRAIA DA LUZ, Portugal, Sept. 23, 2007
With Portuguese officials still tight-lipped on the case of British toddler Madeleine McCann's disappearance in May, word is emerging of a video that showed Maddie dining out just hours before she vanished, while a suspect is denying a published report that police told him they had eliminated him from suspicion.
Robert Murat, 33, the first person to be declared a suspect in the toddler's disappearance, told ABC News Saturday that he believes he's still under suspicion.
"The reports are completely incorrect," Murat said in a telephone interview from his home in Praia da Luz. "I have not been cleared because I have not been officially informed by police."
Madeleine's Last Images?
The renewed media focus on Murat came shortly after ABC News and other media outlets learned a beachside restaurant's closed-circuit camera allegedly photographed Madeleine McCann and her siblings dining just hours before the girl, who now would be 4, went missing.
The images of the McCanns and their friends at the Paraiso restaurant around 5:30 p.m. on May 3, which were said to be turned over to police, would be the last known images of Madeleine before her disappearance.
Eyewitnesses and the video -- as described to ABC News by Paraiso's owner Miguel Reyes -- appeared to refute another published Portuguese report in which an anonymous source claimed a group of friends did not see the McCanns at the restaurant. Kate and Gerry McCann, Maddie's parents, who also have been declared suspects by Portuguese authorities, have claimed they were at the restaurant early on the evening their daughter went missing.
"I was not here that night," Reyes told ABC News, "but I reviewed the footage from that night myself and both the McCanns were here with their friends, and so were their children."
Saturday's edition of 24horas, a local Portuguese daily, reported that a friend on holiday with the McCanns who asked not to be identified said none of the seven friends traveling with the McCanns saw Madeleine during the entire afternoon of May 3.
"The children in the group had dinner at Paraiso, but the McCanns were not there," the source allegedly told the paper, adding that they only saw Kate and Gerry again for dinner in the Tapas restaurant at about 8:30 p.m. that night.
"The group went [to Paraiso] many times," the source added, according to the article. "But I am certain that on the day of May 3, Kate and Gerry were not there."
However, 24horas' source stressed that he or she did not believe the McCanns were at all involved in the disappearance of their daughter.
The report that Murat was cleared appeared in the Portuguese weekly "Sol." The paper reported investigators working on the case told Murat they are convinced he had nothing to do with Madeleine's disappearance, but that he would need to remain an official suspect until the end of the investigation as a formality -- because to retract Murat's "arguido" status would mean excluding evidence gathered during his investigation that may prove relevant in hunting down additional suspects.
Portuguese police became suspicious of Murat, a British expat who lives with his mother in a house barely 100 meters from the apartment from which Madeleine disappeared, after he showed an unusual interest in the case, hanging around the crime scene and offering his services as translator to police.
Permission to Speak Denied
As news reports were called into question, Portuguese officials remained largely mum on McCann's disappearance.
Requests by Pedro Anjos Frias, the judge assigned to the case, to the Council of Superior Magistrates (CSM) in Lisbon for permission to speak publicly about the case were denied this week. An official CSM statement said the "caso Madeleine" was "still in the investigative stages" and that "any eventual information or clarification during the judicial proceedings would be given by the Council itself -- which for the time being it did not deem it necessary."
However, in what the McCann's supporters hailed as a major victory in their struggle to prove their innocence, Portuguese prosecutors announced Wednesday that they did not have enough evidence to warrant any further questioning of the McCanns, now back home in Britain, over the disappearance of their daughter.
Luis Bilro Verão, a senior prosecutor assigned to the case, said: "No new evidence justifying new interrogations have been obtained following the interrogations carried out the 7th of September."
He went on to say that he was satisfied with the McCanns' existing bail conditions -- namely that the couple were required to submit their current address to Portuguese officials and to inform them of any change of residence. However, he noted Wednesday's statement left the door open in case any fresh evidence came to light, adding that inquiries into the case were ongoing and that officials would not exclude any line of investigation.
Reaction from the McCann's spokesman, Clarence Mitchell, was swift.
"On the face of it, it does appear encouraging," he told reporters. "It is a step in the right direction."
The McCanns were named suspects in early September after tests on DNA samples found in their rental car pointed to possible involvement in Madeleine's disappearance, but they have always maintained their innocence.
Police Have Video
Reyes says he was surprised that no one ever asked him for the video from the night of Madeleine McCann's disappearance, and he told ABC News he handed over personally to police about three days after the toddler went missing.
"When I realized the family had been here that night, I watched the video, and took it to the police who were conducting investigations near the Ocean Club here in Luz," he said.
"I did not even have time to make a copy," he said. "They have the only original."
Employees at Paraiso also claimed the McCanns' were at the restaurant as they claim on the night of May 3.
"They were definitely here," said João, a waiter at Paraiso. "I saw them with Madeleine and the twins."
George, another waiter there, also confirmed the McCann family was there the night of Maddie's disappearance.
"When I saw the reports of a missing girl the next day, I remembered her; the parents, their friends and the children got here around 5 pm," he told ABC News. "They stayed about an hour but only the children had dinner, while the adults had a beer, but not a whole lot to drink."
Before the alleged existence of the Paraiso video, the last known photo of Maddie was taken by her mother at the Ocean Club's pool, indicating that the four-year old was alive and accounted for until 2:30 p.m. that day.
Another eight months lie ahead for Portuguese authorities to decide whether or not to charge the McCanns. In the meantime, it's going to be a long road ahead, said Carlos Anjos, president of the Union of Criminal Investigators.
"Unless we find Maddie's body," Anjos told reporters, "we don't know if the investigation will even be able to prove that a homicide ever took place."

McCanns are lying, 24 September 2007
'McCanns are lying'  Daily Express (no longer available online)

Daily Express: 'McCanns are lying', 24 September 2007

By David Pilditch and Martin Evans in Praia da Luz
Monday September 24,2007

Portuguese police believe Gerry and Kate McCann are using friends to hide their role in killing Madeleine.

The Daily Express can reveal that their seven holiday friends may now be named as suspects as police believe they are hiding the truth about Madeleine's death.

The dramatic move comes as it was reported that former chief suspect Robert Murat is to be told he will not face charges over the four-year-old's disappearance. Ruling him out of the four-month investigation will leave Kate and Gerry McCann as the sole suspects. Last night police sources said the decision could have a devastating impact on the McCanns' defence.

In an astonishing twist, British expat Murat could be used as a key prosecution witness against the McCanns.

Almost the entire police case against Murat was built on evidence from the couple's holiday friends. Investigators believe the McCanns "cooked up a story" that Madeleine had been kidnapped to throw them off the trail and enlisted members of their party to provide them with an alibi. They also believe the group tried to turn the focus of the investigation towards Murat.

Yesterday it was revealed that police are questioning new witnesses who cast doubts over the evidence of members of the holiday group. The McCanns and their friends told how they took turns to check on their children every 30 minutes as they ate at a tapas restaurant on May 3, the night Madeleine vanished.

But one Portuguese newspaper reported that employees at the restaurant insisted that only Dr Russell O'Brien, 36, and hospital consultant Matthew Oldfield, 37, left the dinner table that evening. Another witness has come forward to refute the testimony of a third friend Jane Tanner, 36, who told police she saw a man carrying a child rushing from the Ocean Club complex at around 9.15pm on May 3.

Yesterday it was reported in Portugal that a new witness, an unnamed Irishman, told police he was in the same spot as Miss Tanner at the same time and saw no one. He is the second independent witness to dispute her story and police sources said they viewed Miss Tanner’s evidence as "unreliable" because of inconsistencies.

Officers are concerned that she apparently changed her version of the sighting. She originally claimed she saw the suspect rushing towards the Baptista supermarket in Praia da Luz. She told police the child was wrapped in a blanket.

A second independent witness reported seeing a similar man with a child in a blanket near the town's church heading towards the beach. The route he took matches the alleged trail of death discovered by British sniffer dogs who detected the scent of a corpse.

But Miss Tanner has now told detectives that the man was heading in a different direction – towards Murat's home. Police regard her account as one of a series given by the McCanns and their friends to convince them that Madeleine had been kidnapped.

Officers believe former hospital anaesthetist Kate, 39, killed her daughter by accidentally giving her an overdose of sleeping pills. They are working on the theory that consultant cardiologist Gerry, also 39, helped to dispose of Madeleine's body.

Police are awaiting results of toxicology tests carried out on bodily fluids with an 88 per cent match to Madeleine's DNA found in the boot of a hire car the couple rented 25 days after she went missing.

Dr O'Brien, along with Mr Oldfield's wife Rachael, 36, and another friend Dr Fiona Payne, 34, said they saw Murat near the McCanns' apartment on May 3 and their claim appeared to shatter Murat's alibi.

Detectives interrogated the McCanns at police headquarters in Portimao 17 days ago over the discrepancies. The couple were told separately later that day they were being named as suspects or arguidos.

Last night another member of the McCanns' holiday party was reported to have stepped into the mystery. The move came after it was revealed that police in Portugal were focusing their investigation on a "lost seven hours" on the day Madeleine disappeared.

Now Dr Payne's husband – medical researcher David, 41 – has claimed he saw Madeleine being put to bed when he visited the McCann flat at 7pm. Before his new testimony, police sources admitted they could not confirm the whereabouts of Kate and Madeleine after 1.29pm that day.

Kate's movements were said to be unaccounted for until she sat down to have dinner with Gerry and their friends at around 8.40pm.

But the McCanns believe Mr Payne's testimony will be crucial in proving their innocence. That would leave just an hour and a half in which they were supposed to have killed their daughter and disposed of her body.

But last night a source in Portugal said police were viewing alibis provided by the McCanns' friends with suspicion. They are convinced that some or all of them may have known what happened to Madeleine and may have helped to cover up her death.

The source said police had not ruled out the possibility of naming them all as suspects – and they could face being charged as accessories.

The source said: "It has long been considered a number of people may have been involved in this unfortunate case."

In Portugal yesterday it was revealed that detectives have seized a British police manual from the McCanns. Officers believe the book could be used as a key piece of evidence in building a case against them.

A Portuguese police source said: "It is certainly not the sort of reading material you would expect a couple to take on a relaxing family holiday".

The Defenders, 28 September 2007
The Defenders Evening Standard (paper edition)

With thanks to '
santi' for document

'Maddie's body was kept in fridge', 29 September 2007
'Maddie's body was kept in fridge' The Sun
By CLODAGH HARTLEY in Praia da Luz
Published: 29 Sep 2007
PORTUGUESE cops came up with their sickest slur yet against the McCanns yesterday – claiming little Maddie's body may have been kept in a FRIDGE before being dumped.
They are working on the extraordinary theory that Kate killed her daughter accidentally and that dad Gerry helped her cover up.
And they make the bizarre claim that Maddie's body was somehow stored in a fridge in one of the apartments at the holiday complex where she went missing in May.
Detectives believe they moved the four-year-old's body between apartments in the Portuguese holiday resort of Praia da Luz.
They are said to be focusing on a "mysterious and fatal period" of 90 minutes when they claim Kate was alone in the apartment with her children while Gerry played tennis.
Detectives are convinced Maddie was killed "before dinner" and that her body was "passed through various locations" before going into the boot of the couple's hired car.
Police sources revealed: "They are locating apartments with fridges."
The McCanns' spokesman Clarence Mitchell last night dismissed the latest slurs as "utterly ridiculous" and begged for an end to the smear campaign.
He said: "Each and every one of these nonsensical allegations causes real pain and hurt for both Gerry and Kate. It makes a most awful situation far, far worse."
Since naming them as official suspects, Portuguese police have leaked several allegations against Kate and Gerry, both 39-year-old doctors from Rothley, Leics.
They claimed they could have disposed of Maddie’s body on a "suspicious" trip to Spain on August 3. And they say Spanish police were also examining CCTV footage of the day trip to the city of Huelva just over the border.
But yesterday Spain's civil guard denied any involvement, adding weight to the McCanns' insistence that they are being smeared by unnamed police sources.
Spokesman Antonio Castilla said: "We are not investigating the McCann parents in any way, shape or form. The reports are false."

With thanks to Nigel at McCann Files


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