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    

Kate McCann *

Mother of Madeleine McCann

Kate's first words to her mother, Susan Healy, after Madeleine's disappearance were: "She's gone, mum. She's gone." 

Kate in Brussels

Informe Especial interview CTN interview (full article below)
Kate said: "It really isn't easy," coping. "Some days are better than others. ... There's days when you think, 'I can't do this anymore,' and you just want to press a button, and we're all gone, and it's all finished, and we're all together and gone. Wherever. But you can't, you know. Just occasionally you'll have a -- if you're having a really bad day, which we do. And you can't help but think that."
This is an extremely disturbing quote.
What is Kate saying when she says that she sometimes wants to "press a button", the result of which would be that they were "all gone, and it's all finished"? It would appear to imply the families communal death through the quick and painless means of pressing an imaginary 'suicide' button.
If that is what she means, then there must be serious concern for the safety and welfare of the twins should the McCanns eventually face charges over Madeleine's disappearance.
She continues by saying that they will be "all together and gone". The only way they could be "all together", in such a scenario as she describes, is if she knows that Madeleine is already dead.

Never give up on Madeleine Daily Mirror (full article in Anniversary Articles (Press) by Fiona Phillips 03 May 2008)
"We have had moments," Kate told me, "where it all gets too much and you think 'I would just love to pull the duvet over and it's all over.'"

Kate tells of nightmare Daily Mirror (full article below)
'Breaking down in tears, distraught Kate said of the Portuguese police: "They want me to lie - I'm being framed.
"Police don't want a murder in Portugal and all the publicity about them not having paedophile laws here, so they're blaming us."'
Why is Kate referring here to murder? Has she made a huge freudian slip?
If she insists that Madeleine was abducted, then why didn't she say: "Police don't want an abduction in Portugal and all the publicity..."?

Kate McCann in front of an image of Madeleine

Maddie visits Kate in the night, 19 October 2007
Maddie ghost visits mum Daily Star (Express Group have removed all online links)

19 October 2007

Tormented Kate McCann told last night how she is visited in the night by the spirit of her missing daughter Madeleine.

The anguished GP says she is regularly woken up by visions of the four-year-old in her bedroom. Kate, 39, revealed the visions to her mum, Susan Healy, who was worried about her daughter’s lack of sleep

Susan had assumed Kate and husband Gerry were being kept awake by her two-year old twins, Sean and Amelie. She was stunned when Kate revealed it was missing Madeleine who was haunting her.

Susan, said: "She told me she has difficulty sleeping and wakes during the night. I asked: 'Do the twins come and wake you up?'

Kate said: "No, it's Madeleine. She comes in.'"

In brief

Kate McCann arrives at Portimao for questioning

Kate Marie McCann 
Mother of Madeleine Beth McCann
Date of birth: 05 March 1968
Place of birth: Allerton, Liverpool, England
Maiden name: Kate Marie Healy
Date of marriage: 1998
Education: Notre Dame Catholic High School, Everton Valley, Liverpool (11-18 years)
Employment: P/T GP (General Practitioner) in Melton
Kate studied medicine at the University of Dundee, in Scotland. She initially specialised in gynaecology but later changed to become an anaesthetist.
She first met husband Gerry McCann at the Western Infirmary in Glasgow, Scotland.
It is reported that she made the decision to work as a GP because the hours would be more suitable and flexible to arrange around a family.
It was after she returned to the apartment at 10.00pm that Madeleine was discovered missing. Like virtually everything in the case, there has been much debate and denial about what was actually said when she raised the alarm. Common belief is that she shouted 'They've taken her' and this has caused much debate over why she chose those particular words and who 'They' could be.

Kate McCann: You have all given me strength, 27 July 2007
Kate McCann: You have all given me strength Liverpool Echo
JUL 27 2007
IN a heartfelt letter to the ECHO, the Liverpool-born mother of missing four-year-old Madeleine McCann has thanked the people of Merseyside for giving her the strength to carry on.
Kate McCann says: "I would like to say a huge 'thank you' to all the people in Liverpool and Merseyside who have supported Gerry and I, in different ways, over the past few months. Our family as a whole has gained a great deal of strength from such kindness and it has been particularly important to me that my mum and dad have experienced such solidarity and support.
"It is through such goodwill that we have been able to keep on going, even through our darkest moments."
Kate wrote her message yesterday, 12 weeks to the day after her daughter was abducted from the family's holiday apartment in Praia da Luz, in the Algarve.
In the letter, she adds: "We continue to hope and pray that our beautiful little Madeleine will be back with us soon and able to continue bringing such joy into many people's lives."
Madeleine's disappearance has sparked an international police hunt – and countless false dawns and false alarms, including a series of alleged sightings of the youngster and, at one stage, a hoax tip-off which led police to search an area of land just a few miles from where Madeleine was snatched.
The little girl's parents, meanwhile, have tirelessly sought to raise worldwide awareness about their daughter’s disappearance.
Kate's mum and dad, Brian and Susan Healy, have also been given strength by people from Merseyside – and beyond.
One letter, from a 15-year-old girl in Ireland, is typical of the response they've had. In part, it reads: "I cannot begin to imagine the pain and suffering you and your family are going through, but I do have a four-year-old brother and if he went missing it really would be a nightmare.
"Madeleine's disappearance has left a huge hole in my heart; I pray for her safe return every morning and night. You, the grandparents, and Gerry and Kate are amazing people and very, very brave.
"I would swap places with Madeleine if it meant she could come home to her family ... if she is anything like her amazing and brave grandparents and parents she will be strong and brave. STAY STRONG! Lots of love, Claire."
Robert Murat, a 33-year-old British expatriate who was recently questioned again by police in Portugal, remains the only official suspect in the case. He has repeatedly denied any involvement.
We'd rather our suffering go on than have an ending that's just too hard for us to think of
TWELVE painfully long weeks. Eighty five heartbreaking days. And an aching, anguish and agony which shows no sign of ending.
Life may have since moved on for others, but the world stopped turning for the family of missing youngster Madeleine McCann, including her Liverpool grandparents Brian and Susan Healy, on the nightmare night of Thursday May 3.
When I first visited Brian and Susan's Allerton home, it seemed as if the entire world’s media was covering their horror story. News of Madeleine's abduction in Portugal wasn't just being reported on the hour every hour, but virtually non-stop around the clock.
But recently, it's felt as if almost the entire world's media has been looking the other way.
"Time has stood still for us," Susan told me yesterday. "The longer it goes on the worse, I think, it becomes. At first you get swept along by all the support, but now I’m thinking 'How long will this go on?' and 'How long can you put your life on hold?' Doubts creep in, because we are only human.
"And the big question is 'How are we going to get Madeleine back?' And we can't answer that."
At this point, Brian says softly: "We’re just hoping for a miracle now."
He adds: "I have thought it gets a bit easier, but not completely. I will go out and see something in a shop and think 'I'll get that for Madeleine' – and I’m stopped short. It’s a horrible feeling."
And don't let anyone tell these remarkable people that what they need is news of ANY description.
Susan stresses: "We'd rather go on suffering in the way we are than have an ending that is too hard to even contemplate. No news is better than terrible news."
When there has been no news coming out of Portugal, some newspapers have opted to print negative, non-stories. And Susan says: "These can be quite hurtful, but we’re confident we have the support of 90% of people."
She adds: "Regarding the detrimental comments that have been made, I don’t know whether these people have looked at themselves and questioned why they are making them. We're only concerned with getting Madeleine back, that's all we want to concentrate on – being negative won’t help get her back."
Brian and Susan haven't experienced ups and downs during the last 85 days – just different types of downs. The alleged sightings of Madeleine have been particularly frustrating, with Susan saying: "You do grasp onto things, even though Kate and Gerry warn us there is probably no substance to them.
"And, after certain reports, we'll get texts from friends saying 'Can we be excited about this?'"
Brian adds: "I've heard people say on the news 'We're coming to a critical stage' – but it turns out not to be."
Kate's parents, meanwhile, plan to fly out to Portugal again in the near future, to be with Kate, Gerry and their two-year-old twins, Sean and Amelie – although it seems unlikely that their daughter will be returning to the UK any time soon.
"Emotionally, Kate is not ready to return," says her mum. "Whether it will happen in time I don't know, but it certainly won't happen in the immediate future. She’s quite adamant. It's just the act of getting on a plane and leaving Portugal without Madeleine – she’s just aching for Madeleine."
It might feel, at times, as if the world is looking the other way, but everyone wants the same thing for the McCann and Healy families ... a happy ending to a heartbreaking story.
MADELEINE McCann’s grandparents are also keen to thank the people of Merseyside for their incredible support.
Brian and Susan Healy have been overwhelmed by people's generosity of spirit and thoughtfulness.
The couple say: "We are so grateful to the churches of Liverpool, Crosby and Formby, including Father Desmond Keegan of Bishop Eton, and Father Paul Seddon, the priest who married Kate and Gerry and baptised Madeleine.
"We also thank all the schools throughout Merseyside who have supported us and the businesses in Allerton and across Merseyside that have raised awareness, support and made donations.
"And we are grateful to the local authorities for the support of their councillors and staff, together with the police, including community officers, and airport staff.
"We also thank Everton and Liverpool football clubs and their supporters; friends and neighbours, old and new, and all the local people who have taken Madeleine into their hearts and given us amazing support.
"Then there are all the British holidaymakers and business travellers who have taken posters abroad to publicise Madeleine's plight. And we would like to urge future holidaymakers to do the same to increase awareness – please continue to spread the word and please continue to pray for Madeleine.
"Thank you all so much."

Kate McCann: 'I'm not going home without Madeleine', 29 July 2007
McCann parents face loss their own way Herald Sun (no link)
Article from: David Jones in Praia da Luz
July 29, 2007 12:00am
ON WEDNESDAY evening, Gerry McCann flew back to Portugal after a hectic three-day trip to Washington in the US - the latest and farthest-flung staging post on his mission to champion the cause of abducted children and maximise publicity for his missing daughter, Madeleine.
The 39-year-old heart consultant was exhausted.
But onlookers remarked that he appeared buoyant for the first time in the three months since his four-year-old daughter was taken from the family's Algarve holiday apartment where she was sleeping with her younger twin siblings while her parents were at a nearby restaurant.
Ultimately, of course, the McCanns will measure success and failure solely on whether Madeleine is returned safely.
However, according to Justine McGuinness, a Liberal Democrat UK parliamentary candidate who was recently appointed the Find Madeleine campaign manager, Mr McCann felt the venture had gone "extremely well".
Watching him assume his unwanted ambassadorial role, including meeting aides of the US President's wife, Laura Bush, at the White House, with such purpose and vigour, it was impossible to avoid contrasting his demeanour with that of his wife, Kate, who waited - forlorn, as ever - in the blisteringly hot Algarve.
For Madeleine's mother, the only white house that matters is the secluded villa in Praia da Luz, which has become the family's refuge since they escaped from their resort complex apartment, now a place of dark memories.
Each morning, Kate returns to the scene of Madeleine's abduction to drop off her two-year-old twins, Shaun and Amelie, at the creche.
On Thursday, after she had settled them in, I happened upon her, walking down to the shore.
There she sat alone on the rocks, clutching Madeleine's pink Cuddle Cat toy as always, and gazing out at the Atlantic.
If her husband had manufactured a veneer of durability for the US TV cameras, Mrs McCann's emotions were laid bare.
Thinner than ever, she has developed a stoop, as though the emotional burden she carries is strapped across her shoulders.
How was she bearing up, I asked tentatively, shaking her limp hand and wishing her well.
She forced a faint smile. "Yeah ... well ... thanks," were the only words she could summon.
Mr McCann's mother, Eileen, confirms the impression that 86 days after this highly publicised child abduction, Madeleine's parents are reacting in markedly different ways to their loss.
"Kate is really down; not one bit better than she was (when Madeleine was taken). I think she's actually going backwards," she said from her home in Glasgow, where she has just returned after a fortnight in Portugal.
"All she keeps saying is, 'I need Madeleine back'."
"But Gerry is a lot better. He's thinking in terms of missing children.
"Madeleine is a missing child and so that's what he's focusing on."
Eileen revealed that the couple suffered periodic feelings of guilt but do not blame each other.
"How many people have stayed in their back gardens and put children to bed?" she said.
While the investigation continues, the McCanns are in limbo.
Gerry, who is on unpaid leave from Glenfield Hospital, Leicester, has spoken about returning to Britain.
But his 39-year-old wife refuses even to countenance leaving Praia da Luz.
Whenever the subject is broached, her response is always the same.
"I'm not going home without Madeleine."

Madeleine mum's agony, 04 August 2007
Madeleine mum's agony Daily Mirror

[Note: Appeared on front page of paper edition under headline: 'My Dark Moments by Kate McCann']

04 August 2007

COURAGEOUS Kate McCann has admitted to close family and friends that in her darkest moments she fears the worst for missing Madeleine.

Kate and husband Gerry will next week mark 100 days since the four-year-old vanished.

And in that time, all throughout their brave campaign to publicise Madeleine's plight, they have been resolute in their insistence she is still alive.

But Kate has told friends: "There are dark moments when I fear the worst and start panicking.

"But we have to remain hopeful. We love Madeleine very much and she knows that.

"I just can't contemplate walking back into the family home without Madeleine."

Gerry's elder sister Trish Cameron yesterday said that Kate and Gerry describe the moment when they are overcome with feelings of despair as "the wobbles".

Trish said: "They have their weaker moments at different times but basically they support each other as we supported them and they supported us. Gerry and Kate call them the wobbles.

"They'll say 'I'm having a wobbly day or a wobbly moment' and we would all know what they mean and help them cope.

"Gerry and I are pretty close and if he needed a good cry to get it out of his system we would go to another room away from the children and just talk. And then I would leave him.

"You get these dark thoughts because you can't keep them out all the time but if they take hold they can pull you down." Trish's husband Sandy added: "If you let the dark thoughts take you over then you cease to function."

Nurse Trish, 47, and teacher Sandy, 46, rushed to Portugal to be at Kate and Gerry's side within hours of Madeleine's disappearance from an apartment in the resort of Praia da Luz on May 3.

They have been with the couple ever since - sharing all the hopes and disappointments in the weeks that followed.

Kate has told friends that the the nightmare of Madeleine's abduction has made her bond with Gerry even stronger.

She said: "Our relationship is as strong as it has ever been.

"We never row and have an equal partnership. Gerry is focused and is a naturally optimistic person. But I find it much more difficult."

Kate, a GP from Rothley, Leics, constantly thinks about Madeleine and cannot cope with the thought of living a normal life without her. She told the friend: "I can't even begin to imagine enjoying myself.

"Members of the family have been out and tried to urge us on but I can't let go.

"I feel happier staying in in the evening thinking about Madeleine, rather than going out having fun.

"For the twins it has been a huge holiday but not for me."

Yesterday the McCanns travelled from Praia da Luz to the southern Spanish city of Huelva to put up posters of Madeleine and pray in the cathedral for her safe return.

* A SURVEY says almost one in ten worried parents have scrapped foreign holiday plans in the wake of Madeleine's abduction.

And more than 40 per cent who do take their children abroad over the summer admit they will be feeling anxious the entire time they are away, claim market researchers OnePoll.

I'm sorry Madeleine, 05 August 2007
I'm sorry Madeleine Sunday Mirror
POLICE MOVE IN.. AS KATE TELLS OF PAIN Every hour I ask myself 'Why did I think she was safe?' We have doubted what we did & I do feel regret we weren't there
Lori Campbell In Praia Da Luz, Portugal
Heartbroken mum Kate McCann quietly sobs as she speaks for the first time of her guilt about leaving little daughter Madeleine alone the night she was snatched. "I feel desperately sorry to her that we weren't there," she says.
"Every hour now, I still ask myself, 'Why did I think that was safe?' But it did feel safe and so right. I do feel regret. I've gone through all my life and said I never want to have any regrets, but you can't not regret something like that."
Speaking without her husband Gerry at her side for the first time, Kate, 38, reveals how she is haunted by the unbearable regret that she wasn't there to protect her daughter.
In an emotional interview, in which she repeatedly breaks down in tears, Kate says that if she could tell her four-year-old daughter anything now, it would be that she loves and misses her.
Clutching the pink Cuddle Cat toy which has been a constant source of comfort to her since it was left lying in Madeleine's bed the night she was taken, Kate says: "I want to tell her we love her very much. She knows we're looking for her, that we're doing absolutely everything and we'll never give up."
Kate reveals how their happy girl had told her she'd had the best day of her life before she fell asleep on the evening she disappeared.
Madeleine had spent the day at a kids' club near the family's holiday apartment in Praia da Luz in Portugal, swimming, face-painting and colouring-in with other children.
But Kate now plays over in her mind the heart-wrenching words which could tragically be the last Madeleine ever said to her.
She says: "As I put her to bed, she smiled at me and said, 'Mummy I've had the best day ever. I'm having lots and lots of fun'."
Kate reveals Madeleine had been practising a dance at the club which she was looking forward to showing her mum the following day - "but I never got to see it".
After putting Madeleine and two-year-old twins Sean and Amelie to bed, Kate and Gerry joined friends at a tapas restaurant 50 yards from their ground-floor villa.
They took turns to check on the children every half-hour. But when Kate returned at about 10pm, she discovered Madeleine was gone.
Recalling the moment she found her daughter's bed empty, Kate says: "There was 20 seconds of disbelief where I thought, 'That can't be right'. I was checking for her. Then there was panic and fear. That was the first thing that hit. I was screaming her name. I ran to the group. Everyone was the same. It was total fear.
"I never thought for one second that she'd walked out. I knew someone had been in the apartment because of the way it had been left.
"But I knew she wouldn't walk out anyway. There wasn't a shadow of a doubt in my mind she'd been taken."
Kate says she saw that Madeleine's toy Cuddle Cat had been left behind, but was careful not to touch it in case it held a clue to who took her.
She says: "I knew straight away a crime had been committed, we had no doubt about that. We were very conscious of not touching things."
Speaking with moving honesty, Kate reveals how she asks herself every day whether she and Gerry were wrong to leave their children alone.
She says they felt so safe at the "family-friendly" resort they didn't think twice about leaving Madeleine and the twins - and she reveals how they'd left them alone every evening as they ate dinner in the week until Madeleine was taken on a Thursday night.
But she admits it was a decision that torments her with every waking moment. "We've doubted what we did," Kate says. "It's hard to answer the question, 'Were we wrong to leave them?' If I'd had to think for one second, 'Should we have dinner and leave them?' I wouldn't have done it.
"It didn't happen like that. I didn't have to think for a second, that's how safe I felt. It's not like we went down town or anything. That night runs over and over in my mind and I'm sure people will learn from our mistake, if you want to call it that. I love her and I'm a totally responsible parent and that's the only thing that keeps me going."
Her eyes falling to Cuddle Cat, which she has reluctantly washed after it became filthy from her carrying it around, Kate adds: "I feel desperately sorry to her that we weren't there."
But Kate says she and Gerry have never blamed each other for that night. She says: "We have a strong relationship. We don't row. We talk a lot and that is vital at the moment."
Kate, a GP, can't imagine ever returning to the family's home in Rothley, Leics, without Madeleine as it holds too many memories of the bright and playful youngster.
She says: "I can't bear the thought of it. We had lived in that house for a year and it was a really happy home. When we left it the last time we were so excited. I can't think about going back without her."
Speaking at a charity headquarters in Lagos, a 10-minute drive from the apartment where Madeleine was kidnapped, Kate says she had asked Gerry, 39, not to join her. She wanted to express her feelings as a mother, and to say thank you to all the mums who have sent her letters of support. Kate says: "Sometimes I want to speak, but I just can't. It's not natural for me. Gerry's used to having to speak at conferences and it's harder for me. I've had so many letters from mothers, really kind words. They have said, 'Kate, we've done this a hundred times over ourselves'. I wanted to say thank you for that support and reassurance."
Kate tells how she and Gerry had the agony of celebrating Madeleine's fourth birthday without her, eight days after she went missing.
She says: "She was due to have a party in the nursery, including her best friend. That went ahead and quite rightly. But it was hard to ignore the reason why they were there, because Madeleine wasn't. Not having her there was such a huge void."
Kate now wears a silver locket round her neck with a picture of Madeleine inside and the words "Tower of Strength" engraved on it.
She says a friend gave it to her because "that's what Madeleine was to us, a tower of strength".
The McCanns have moved from the apartment two doors from where Madeleine disappeared to a villa just outside the resort as they continue their campaign to find her.
And Kate says they are still clinging to the hope she will join them there. "We unpacked some of Madeleine's things. I've kept her clothes together. She has lots of presents to open that people have sent - mostly people who don't know her."
Kate also speaks for the first time of her first visit back to the UK for a family baptism two weeks ago.
She says: "The hardest thing wasn't being in the UK, it was to be with such close family and for Madeleine not to be there. She's such a big part of our lives."
Conscious to speak of her in the present tense, she adds: "Despite her small size she just has this huge presence. She brings a lot of joy."
She says the twins often ask about their older sister. "They know she's not there and they do miss her," Kate explains. "But on a day-to-day basis they are happy. They're lovely, like a little double act, they're so funny."
Smiling, she adds: "They talk about Madeleine's things and if they get a biscuit they say, 'One for Sean, one for Amelie, one for Madeleine'.
"There was an empty seat on the plane on our trip to the UK and Sean said, 'That's Madeleine's seat'. Amelie asked me afterwards, 'Where's Madeleine? I miss my big sister'.
"Amelie will point at the Cuddle Cat and say, 'Madeleine. Her Cuddle Cat. Looking after it'. She's probably heard me saying that. It catches me."
Kate reveals she still battles with nightmarish thoughts that Madeleine might be dead. "I still have moments of panic and fear. It's not as intense and unrelenting as the first five days. We have hope now and it's important to hold on to that."
And she says she is still not considering returning home to the UK. "It's a gut feeling. I'm aware there are probably things that would be easier at home, but at the moment this is the right thing for us."
With next Saturday marking 100 days since Madeleine was snatched, Kate reveals her heartache at each passing day without news of her.
She says: "I'm still hoping we're not going to get there. Every day I'm hoping we won't get to the next day without her. It's a long time. But we have to keep going for Madeleine."

CTN interview, Informe Especial - Late August
Mom: Madeleine Had "Sense Of Danger" CBS News
British Girl's Parents In Last Interview Before Being Named Suspects In Her Disappearance
Published: Oct. 5, 2007
(CBS) "Every day, it's very hard without Madeleine, and we all miss her so much. It certainly feels like there's a big void in our life without her."

Little Madeleine McCann's mother, Kate McCann, summed up the feelings of her and her husband, Gerry McCann, Madeleine's father, in an interview in late August. It was done in Lisbon, Portugal, with reporter Mirna Schindler of Chile's Television Nacional, for "Informe Especial" -- their 60 Minutes.

Madeleine vanished from her parents' vacation villa in Portugal five months ago, and Kate and Gerry, who live in England, have been named suspects in the disappearance by Portuguese authorities. They adamantly deny any involvement.

The Television Nacional interview was the last they gave before being named suspects. British and Portuguese law bars them from granting interviews, now that they're officially under suspicion. But they did give an interview to a local British newspaper recently.

The Early Show has exclusive United States rights to the Chilean network's interview, and is showing it in two parts. One aired Friday, and the other will be broadcast Monday.

Gerry McCann told Schindler, "I'm sure most people can imagine how bad it was that first night ... how terrifying it was and, as most parents would say, the parents' worst nightmare.

"The key thing that we're trying to do is trying to channel all of our emotions and energy into influencing a search for Madeleine, and that's what drives us forward."

Madeleine is "pretty," Kate said. " ... She's very sociable, very engaging. She's bright and funny. She does have a sense of danger there."

"Mm-hmm," Gerry agreed.

"Even though she's very young," Kate continued. "She does have a sense of danger."

"We're clearly biased," Gerry admitted, "but Madeleine is as close to the perfect child as you could get, you know, for someone who is so young, less than four when she was taken. She really is amazing. Nothing like this has ever happened -- and I mean, going with anyone she didn't know, for example."

The McCanns say they had left Madeleine and her younger, twin siblings asleep in the rented villa while they had dinner nearby. Despite an extensive search and international publicity effort led by Kate and Gerry, no confirmed trace Madeleine has turned up.

What, Schindler asked, was the first thing that crossed their minds when they came back to the room from dinner and realized that Madeleine wasn't there?

"I knew straight away she'd been taken," Kate replied.

"At the first moment?" Schindler asked.

"Well," Kate responded, "put it this way: I mean, she hadn't walked out of the apartment."

"When I got there," Gerry said, "and Kate told me, and when I looked at the scene as well, I had absolutely no doubt. But, you know, our immediate reaction was to double and triple check, and we did do that, both in the apartment and in the vicinity. And then we said, 'Call the police.' And one of our friends alerted both the resort manager and the police."

Are they relying on the expertise of Portuguese police?

"Well, we have to rely on them," Gerry answered. "They are the investigating police force. Of course, the investigation, we've stated all along, has the most likely chance of us finding her.

"There's still no evidence of serious harm to Madeleine that we know of, and that gives us hope and gives us hope that she could still be alive."

Kate said, "It really isn't easy," coping. "Some days are better than others. ... There's days when you think, 'I can't do this anymore,' and you just want to press a button, and we're all gone, and it's all finished, and we're all together and gone. Wherever. But you can't, you know. Just occasionally you'll have a -- if you're having a really bad day, which we do. And you can't help but think that."

Kate constantly carries around a stuffed animal she said "was Madeleine's favorite cuddly toy, and, you know, she took it to bed with her every night, or if she was tired or not feeling very well, she always had it as a comfort. And, I suppose, it was special to Madeleine, so it's special to me, really, and I just feel a bit closer to her" holding it.

Kate tells of nightmare, 09 September 2007
Kate tells of nightmare Daily Mirror
Lori Campbell In Praia Da Luz
Shell-shocked Kate McCann has given a dramatic, impassioned interview to the Sunday Mirror to denounce claims that she killed her own daughter.
Breaking down in tears, distraught Kate said of the Portuguese police: "They want me to lie - I'm being framed.
"Police don't want a murder in Portugal and all the publicity about them not having paedophile laws here, so they're blaming us."
Kate was speaking on Friday morning - after her first police interrogation this week, but before police officially classed her a suspect in her daughter Madeleine's disappearance.
And she addressed head-on the extraordinary allegation that she accidentally killed Madeleine, then hid the body and engaged in a monumental cover-up to pretend she had been abducted.
Furious at the astounding claims, Kate, 39, said of the police: "They are basically saying, 'If you confess Madeleine had an accident, and that I panicked and hid the body in a bag for a month then got rid of it in a hire car, I'd get two or three years' suspended sentence.'
"I was even told, 'Think about it - Gerry would even be able to work again'. I was told that I could say I was stressed and I sedated Madeleine and it could be the best option for me. It is ridiculous. The worst nightmare".
Devout Catholic Kate revealed that the Portuguese police have even taken her Bible away - in the apparent belief that a crumpled page from it relating to a dead child indicates a guilty conscience.
Kate 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.
"I mean how ridiculous is that? My faith is sorely tested."
Under Portuguese law, she can say no more until her suspect status is lifted - making her interview with us her only and final comment on the mind-boggling police allegations.
Kate spoke to the Sunday Mirror as she was being hauled back in for her second quizzing on Friday morning.
Later on Friday, she was officially classed a suspect - as was her husband Gerry, in the early hours of yesterday morning.
The couple have dutifully never discussed the police investigation until now, in accordance with Portuguese law - but besieged Kate felt that she had no option but to speak out.
Police offered the "confession" deal through her lawyer before Friday's police interview. Breaking down in tears, the GP from Rothley, Leics, said defiantly: "They're telling my lawyer this could be the best option for me and I was advised that, if I deny it, I'm now at the point of no return. But I will never lie for them."
She said her desire not to give in to police pressure was fuelled by the McCanns' burning desire for Madeleine to be found. "And I think, 'Sod us, what about Madeleine? This would mean people stop looking for her'." She added: "We were under 24-hour constant scrutiny after Madeleine was taken. Where would I have hidden a body? We had no vehicle even then."
Meanwhile, the Sunday Mirror has learned that Kate and Gerry, a surgeon, have made a pact not to cry in front of Portuguese police - however upsetting the questions they face.
"They have promised each other that they will not let the police break them," a friend said. "No matter how intolerable the questioning, they will maintain their resolve."
The police case against Kate and Gerry revolves around claims that traces of Madeleine's DNA were found in a Renault Scenic car hired for the McCanns by a representative of holiday firm Mark Warner 25 days after their daughter's disappearance.
Kate said: "The police are going to say they have found bodily fluids from Madeleine in the car. It's impossible. We hired the car three-and-a-half weeks later."
In fact, when Kate was grilled for the second time, police repeatedly told her they had found blood in the Renault car but wouldn't say it was Madeleine's.
Sources close to the family say that, if Madeleine's DNA was in the car, it would be quite possible the traces got there from Madeleine's clothes and toys which the McCann twins Sean and Amelie had been playing with.
Her Dna would also be on her parents' clothes from where they cuddled and played with her. Kate said: "Five weeks ago, they took away all our clothes, items people had sent out for us."
A police dog sniffed out traces of corpses on Kate's clothes, it is said. "Apparently the dog started barking at my jeans and in the apartment," said Kate.
Friends have pointed out that GP Kate was present at several deaths before she went away on holiday.
"It was us who instigated and pushed for the searches," said exasperated Kate. "Would we have done that if we had something to hide? The British police have been great, they are totally behind us."
But she can no longer contain her fury at the Portuguese police's behaviour.
Kate fears the cost of the inquiry means police in Praia da Luz are anxious to get it over as soon as possible. "The Portuguese police are running out of budget for this investigation and want it to end," she said. "The British have been paying."
The McCanns' relations are at their side, but Kate fears for her 67-year-old dad Brian Healy, who suffers from Parkinson's. "This is so hard on them," she said.
So fearful are the McCanns that they are being framed they got a message through to Gordon Brown's office on Friday about the cruel twist of events.
It is believed a British consular official contacted police in Portugal to protest at the confession deal being put to Kate.
The McCanns have also asked if the American FBI could undertake a review of the case - but have been told it won't be possible.
Kate McCann gave this interview to The Sunday Mirror on Friday morning, hours before being made an arguida - official suspect - in the Madeleine inquiry.
The passage of the Holy Bible that fascinated Portuguese police came from The Old Testament. In Samuel, Book 2, Chapter 12, Verses 15-19, David's child is stricken with illness after he "scorns" the Lord.
David fasts for seven days, refusing to get up off the ground, to try and gain redemption - but eventually his child dies.
His servants have a dilemma as to whether to tell him as they are afraid that "he may do himself some harm". Eventually he guesses.
Police took Kate's Bible away because they said the page with the passage on was crumpled - evidence that she had been reading it.

Kate's temperament, 12 September 2007
'Gerry is not Madeleine's real father': The Portuguese media's latest attack on the McCanns Daily Mail
Last updated at 01:03am on 12th September 2007
Detectives trying to prove that Kate McCann killed her daughter have painted the 39-year-old doctor as a violent mother prone to "hysterical reactions" and losing control.
The allegations were leaked to Portuguese newspapers hours after Mrs McCann and her husband Gerry left the country under a cloud of suspicion about the disappearance of four-year-old Madeleine.
Quoting police sources, the papers alleged that Mrs McCann became "visibly out of control" under questioning by police, and that witnesses had described her as "violent" and "aggressive" towards her children.
It was claimed that she routinely put Madeleine and the two-year-old twins to bed in the family's holiday apartment "while Gerry played tennis and lay by the pool".
The reports also quoted witnesses who have given statements to police.
Pamela Fenn, who was in an apartment above the family on May 3 - the night Madeleine disappeared - is quoted as saying she believed Mrs McCann sometimes became violent and "out of control" in the room below.
She claimed that "the little girl's screams calling for her daddy were very audible".
Another witness is quoted as saying that Mrs McCann "seemed to have moments of aggressiveness towards her children" and that her husband, "though more absent, had more emotional control".
Mrs McCann is said to have strongly denied both these allegations in police interviews.
The damaging picture painted by Portuguese newspapers emerged as police sought to convince the public prosecutor that they have a strong enough case to charge Mrs McCann over the murder or accidental death of her daughter.
The McCanns have repeatedly insisted they are loving parents who had nothing to do with Madeleine's disappearance. They are convinced police are trying to frame them.
But the allegations, strongly denied by the family, risk poisoning public support for the couple and stopping donations to the "Find Madeleine" campaign they set up.
Portugal's secrecy laws prevent police from talking about the investigation, but the leaked material appears to contain specific information about interviews conducted with the McCanns last week.
It was claimed that Mrs McCann became "hysterical" at times during her 13 hours of interrogation and refused to reply to some of the questions.
It was alleged that she offered no explanation for why Madeleine's DNA appeared to have been found in a car the couple hired 25 days after she vanished.
Nor is she said to have given any satisfactory answer to whether she had slapped her daughter, or whether she sedated the children.

'Our friend Kate McCann, the perfect mum,' two of her closest friends speak out, 16 September 2007
'Our friend Kate McCann, the perfect mum,' two of her closest friends speak out Daily Mail 
Last updated at 18:09 16 September 2007
Calm, laid-back, loving and happy. Away from the headlines and the horrors, this is how Kate McCann's friends knew her to be with her children.
Yesterday, at the end of a week in which Kate has been described as 'struggling' to cope with three 'hysterical' children and short-tempered with Madeleine, two of her oldest friends, Linda McQueen and Nicky Gill, have spoken out in her defence - and told of her heartbreak and devastation.
Nicky said: "The things that have been said are unfair and hurtful. It's frustrating for Kate and Gerry that anything is taking the focus away from Madeleine and away from the search for her.

Good with children: Gerry and Kate McCann, holding Linda's baby Ellie, Kate's goddaughter
Good with children: Gerry and Kate McCann, holding Linda's baby Ellie, Kate's goddaughter

A previously unpublished picture of Madeleine, as supplied by the McCanns' friends
A previously unpublished picture of Madeleine, as supplied by the McCanns' friends


"At the bottom of all this, Kate is a mother who has lost her daughter and she needs all the help she can get. Kate is a warm, loving, loyal friend.
"We're her friends. We'll do whatever it takes. We'll continue to support and help right to the end."
The 39-year-old personal trainer, who lives in the Liverpool suburb of Childwall, has known Kate since they met at the age of six on their first day of school.

A rare smile from Kate McCann as she chats with friends outside church this morning
A rare smile from Kate McCann as she chats with friends outside church this morning

Innocence: A young Kate McCann, right, takes her first communion with lifelong friend Nicky Gill
Innocence: A young Kate McCann, right, takes her first communion with lifelong friend Nicky Gill

Madeleine McCann with her twin siblings
Madeleine McCann with her twin siblings


"If anybody was meant to have three children under the age of three, it was Kate," she said. "She's so cool, calm and laidback. I never saw her run ragged once. She was just so happy."
Nicky also defended Gerry, who had been described as 'absent' when it came to child care. She said: "Gerry is a fabulous dad. He's a working father but very hands-on. He's like a fourth kid, rolling around with them in a very rough-and-tumble way, and with a fabulous sense of humour.
"He and Kate balance each other really well. They have a very special relationship."

Gerry McCann with Linda McQueen, a close friend of Kate McCann's
Gerry McCann with Linda McQueen, a close friend of Kate McCann's

A family photo of Kate McCann as a child, pictured (left) with friend Nicky Gill outside a zoo
A family photo of Kate McCann as a child, pictured (left) with friend Nicky Gill outside a zoo


Linda McQueen, a 45-year-old teacher from Formby, Merseyside, has also known Kate since they were children. She said: "The family had a great routine - their mealtimes, bedtimes and bathtimes in particular were great fun.
"We holidayed with them as part of a big group earlier in the year. It was just lovely."
Having a large family was, Linda explained, something of which Kate always dreamed. "They were up and down about whether they could have children and then they went through IVF so Madeleine, all of the children, was a dream come true."
Nicky added: "It seems so cruel that this happened to them just when they had all they wanted."

Kate McCann on her wedding day with her goddaughter Ellie
Kate McCann on her wedding day with her goddaughter Ellie

Kate and Gerry McCann at the wedding of a close friend
Kate and Gerry McCann at the wedding of a close friend


Both women have been in close contact with Kate and Gerry since Madeleine disappeared from their villa in Praia da Luz on May 3. Yesterday Linda recalled how she had spoken to Kate at about 2am on the night Madeleine vanished.
"She just said, 'Somebody's taken Madeleine, somebody's taken Madeleine.' She sounded shocked and frantic and was just trying to get everything up and running to find her. It was just awful. This cold, icy feeling came over you."
Nicky spoke to Kate the next day, by which time "she was exhausted, physically and emotionally".
The McCanns have been criticised by some for a 'too slick' publicity campaign to try to find their daughter.
But Linda said: "Kate and Gerry were so traumatised that they went into a cocoon in the first couple of days. But all the advice they were being given was, 'Get Madeleine's face out there.' So that's what they did. They will do whatever it takes to find her."
Nicky said: "I think Kate has done extremely well. It's horrendous. She is the kindest, most caring person. But the frustration is that every day spent talking about Kate and Gerry is another not finding Madeleine."
Linda added: "They're an amazing couple. They have their vulnerable times and their dark moments.
"But Kate can't let Madeleine down and we'll get through it.
"I think it's only a small minority who are critical of Kate. The rest are sticking with us and keeping Madeleine in their prayers.
"We need to refocus on Madeleine. That's the most important thing to Kate - to get the focus back on Madeleine."

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."
(article then continues on re-interviews, dog indications etc, see here for complete article.)

Maddy's mum: Why I'm innocent, 19 September 2007
Maddy's mum: Why I'm innocent Daily Mirror
From Martin Fricker in Rothley, with additional reporting by Ryan Parry
Kate McCann has endured an unimaginable hell. First she loses her beloved daughter Madeleine. Then she is cruelly suspected of killing her.
Now the brave mum of three is coming out fighting to prove to the world that she and husband Gerry are totally innocent.
It is believed the entire Portuguese case rests on DNA evidence from body fluids which allegedly suggests that Madeleine's corpse was carried in the boot of the McCanns' hired Renault Scenic.
But the McCanns say the fluids probably came from Madeleine's unwashed pyjamas and sandals which were carried in the boot when the family was moving apartments.
They could also have come from dirty nappies belonging to twins Sean and Amelie who have similar DNA to their four-year-old sister.
Additionally at least 30 people connected to the family, including close relatives, used the Renault before police searched it.
The combined weight of such evidence is enough, the McCanns believe, to expose the prosecution case as hopelessly flawed.
Archaic Portuguese laws prevent them from speaking in their own defence.
But yesterday Kate showed the couple's fresh confidence by insisting they were happy to return to Portugal at any time.
Speaking at her home in Rothley, Leics, she said: "We will go back voluntarily when we wish to. We aren't seeking to run.
"If police make a request to interview us we'll comply with it. But we've never said that we'd only go back if police ask us. There's no question of us not going. There are lots of reasons - spiritual, emotional and social - to return to Portugal at any time, quite apart from any travel requirements of the investigation.
"We have friends over there who we may wish to visit as well as the continuing liaison with legal advisers.
"Portugal is a place we can go back to at any time. But there's nothing planned at the moment."
The couple keep in regular contact with Portuguese lawyers and even have a daily press digest sent to them by a local translator.
Kate said: "She's told us she has no doubt about our innocence and that she's not just saying that because she's translating for us.
"She's also of the view that everyone she has spoken to in Praia da Luz also believe we didn't do it."
Kate and Gerry, both 39, hired the Renault 25 days after Madeleine vanished from their holiday apartment on May 3.
Bodily fluids, believed to be urine and sweat, were found in the boot of the car during a review of the case by British police.
Forensic tests showed they had an 80 per cent match to Madeleine's DNA.
Portuguese detectives are working on the wild theory that the McCanns accidentally killed their daughter, possibly by overdosing her with sleeping pills.
They then used the car to dispose of the body.
But the car was used to move items, including Madeleine's clothes and belongings, before it was searched by police.
A source said: "Kate and Gerry are innocent and they're more confident than ever of proving that.
"The evidence against them is flimsy at best.
"Who is to say what happened when they moved to the new apartment? Everything, including Madeleine's sandals and the twins' nappies, were dumped in the car. Bags of stuff were thrown in. Anything could have found its way there. Gerry folded down the rear seat to cram it all in.
"These items will have included traces of skin, sweat and bodily fluids. DNA could easily have been transferred in such circumstances.
"What people have got to ask themselves is just how many people were associated with that vehicle over a 10-week period.
"How many family, friends and campaign workers, how many blood relatives, how many drivers?
"I know of at least 30 people associated with that vehicle in the relevant time. People also need to consider what was carried in that car for innocent reasons.
"When viewed as a whole by any rational person these reasons raise fundamental questions about the reliability of any so-called evidence."
Portuguese police are also basing their case on the reaction of two British sniffer dogs that allegedly detected the smell of death in the Renault and Madeleine's holiday apartment.
But Kate and Gerry have been told police will struggle to use the evidence in court.
A source close to the couple said: "British police have told us the dogs should be used for intelligence gathering and not evidentially.
There are also questions over such dogs in general. As far as Kate and Gerry are aware, the only evidence the police have are the bodily fluids and the dogs.
"Nothing was said to either of them in police interviews about hair in the boot or elsewhere."
The source added that there was still a chance the couple could face charges but said Kate and Gerry were more confident than ever.
The insider said: "They're feeling quite strong and think they're getting good advice.
"However, if they're charged they'll go back. They aren't afraid of returning to Portugal. They're preparing to defend themselves. Kate was shocked when it was suggested they could be charged. But they have one advantage - they know they're innocent."
Speaking outside the McCanns' home their new spokesman Clarence Mitchell said the couple were "utterly" innocent and any suggestion that they harmed Madeleine was "as ludicrous as it is nonsensical".
Mr Mitchell added: "Indeed, it would be laughable if it wasn't so serious."
Mr Mitchell worked with the McCanns in Portugal in May and helped spearhead the launch of their global publicity campaign to find Madeleine. Three Portuguese detectives have reportedly flown in to the UK with a list of fresh questions for Kate and Gerry.
A source was quoted: "They will not be asking the McCanns questions directly but will be providing a list of questions that they want Leicestershire police to ask."
But a spokeswoman for the family said last night: "To date we've had no contact from them, no request, nothing like that.
"If they are on their way, they have in no way let the family or the legal team know."

Kate McCann knew Madeleine was snatched because her sheets weren't messy, 14 October 2007
Kate McCann knew Madeleine was snatched because her sheets weren't messy Daily Mail
Last updated at 23:38 14 October 2007
Kate McCann knew her daughter had been snatched because her body's imprint was left on her bed sheets, friends have said.
She had tucked Madeleine up in bed and when she returned to the apartment the sheets were still neatly in place.
"A child of that age wouldn't have been able to get out of bed without moving a thing," the friend said. 'Someone had carefully lifted her out.'
That is why the McCanns are sure Madeleine did not wander off alone.
The little girl's Cuddle Cat, which she always took to bed, was found on a ledge at adult height.

Kate McCann's parents hit out at "scurrilous rubbish" being printed about their daughter, 16 October 2007
Kate McCann's parents hit out at "scurrilous rubbish" being printed about their daughter Liverpool Daily Post
by Paddy Shennan, Liverpool Echo
Oct 16 2007
In an EXCLUSIVE interview, the grandparents of Madeleine McCann tell Paddy Shennan of the terrible toll on their family as their daughter remains a suspect in the toddler's disappearance
KATE McCann's parents today hit out at the "scurrilous rubbish" being printed about their daughter – and said she feels she is being persecuted because of her appearance.
"She said last night 'If I weighed another two stone, had a bigger bosom and looked more maternal, people would be more sympathetic'," Madeleine's grandmother, Susan Healy, said today.
"I think it's terrible that she's having to think like that.
"She does feel persecuted, not by the general public who have been extremely supportive, but by some sections of the media, and I just feel it's important I let people know she is not this person who is in control all the time.
"Kate is a very sensitive, caring person and one of the most maternal people I know – she puts me to shame. Her life revolves around her children but now she's got to the point where she feels she is being persecuted, in her mind, if her twins, Sean and Amelie, cry in public – it's absolutely crazy."
She adds: "All this stuff is going on inside my poor daughter who's not done anything wrong. She and Gerry went to a restaurant which was just metres away from their apartment and part of the holiday complex – it was a terrible mistake but they did it out of naivety."
Although Susan and Brian Healy still cling to the hope that their four-year-old granddaughter will be found alive, they dread their worst nightmares coming true amid reports that police in Portugal are trawling a reservoir.
In a wide-ranging, often emotional and tear-filled interview, the couple, who live in Allerton, also reveal that a meeting of family and friends is taking place in Formby today to discuss the next stage of the campaign to keep the search for Madeleine in the public eye.
It's now 166 days since Madeleine was last seen alive and Susan and Brian admit that the enormous strain is telling on all the family.
Kate's health and well-being has given particular cause for concern, and her mum reveals: "She and Gerry do have counselling – Kate saw a counsellor at the end of last week. It's the same person they saw in Portugal and I know it does help them.
"But I think they continually go back to the feeling that they can't afford to go to pieces because they have to keep trying to get their daughter back – that overrides everything else they are feeling."
Susan cannot say how, or if, any of the family will cope if there remains no news – or the worst possible news arrives. But she stresses: "Anyone would crack eventually. It's like having a perfect family and seeing it torn to shreds."
There have been concerns about Kate's appearance and apparent weight loss, and her mum says: "She's always had that kind of build and has never carried any weight. But she does look very traumatised. It must be unbearable for her to think about the possibility of never seeing Madeleine again, or that it's going to be another six months before she sees her again."
Regarding reports that police are focusing on a reservoir around 15 miles from Praia da Luz, Susan says: "It is scary and if it really is going on, I'll be holding my breath."
But the couple are hoping that the appointment of Paulo Rebelo, Portugal's second most senior police officer, to lead the investigation in place of the much-criticised Goncalo Amaral, will give fresh impetus to the hunt.
And Susan says: "We've no idea when Kate and Gerry may have their suspect status lifted, but we hope it will be soon. Until it is, they are not allowed to defend themselves in public – and that is dreadful.
"They need to be exonerated as soon as possible and there are people who will then need to apologise to them – but whether that happens in the real world, I don't know."
Susan says she has had difficulty sleeping, while Brian reveals: "Anger keeps me going, so I'm doing pretty well because there has been a lot to be angry about."
But despite all the agony and anguish, Susan says: "We need people to realise that nothing has changed since day one. Madeleine is still missing and the police haven't found anything to indicate she isn't alive, so we have got to go on looking.
"Kate and Gerry are as innocent as you or I, or anyone reading this. The perpetrator or perpetrators are still out there. We still pray that someone will open a door and say 'Here she is – it's all been a terrible mistake'.
"In my heart of hearts I still feel we will get Madeleine back, although I naturally get scared when I hear about the police carrying out searches."
Brian adds: "I've heard nothing yet to convince me that Madeleine isn't alive and I am clinging onto the hope that we will get her back."
But he and Susan are realistic enough to accept that some people are not only convinced that their granddaughter is dead, but that Madeleine's own parents were responsible.
Susan says: "Strangers are still coming up to us and saying 'We don't believe a word of what we're reading, you know' – that happens again and again and it's important for us to hear that.
"I also know that if you throw enough muck at people, some of it can stick. But you've got to credit people with having the intelligence to work out that there has been a lot of scurrilous rubbish written."
Each new claim or accusation aired in the tabloids – the majority emanating from Portugal – appears more outrageous than the last. They include:
* "Gerry McCann isn't Madeleine's real dad".
"It's total rubbish," says Susan. "We just don't know where this sort of thing comes from. It would be simple for Kate and Gerry to go to the clinic where they had the IVF and prove this is a lie but I think they feel it would be demeaning, while it would also put the clinic under enormous media pressure."
* "Kate and Gerry drugged Madeleine – and their twins, Sean and Amelie – with sedatives."
"They don't like taking tablets themselves and the only thing they have ever given their children, if they were teething or had a temperature, is Calpol. They didn't give them anything that night."
* "Seven children were sleeping in Kate and Gerry's apartment on the night Madeleine went missing."
Susan says: "Again, it's nonsense and I don't know where this has come from – or why it's only now it's been suggested."
Although not backed up by any hard evidence, stories first printed in Portuguese newspapers – which include quotes from alleged "sources" – are picked up by the British press and then dissected on the internet.
Susan says: "I don't go onto the internet, but I know some people will get pleasure from picking up on, and discussing, the negative side of things – however, it's hard enough for us to read that people are convinced Madeleine is dead."
She adds: "There are obviously different types of people in the world, but I think the good outweigh the bad."
While Brian reveals: "When we have been with Kate and Gerry in Leicestershire, I have opened the boxes of mail. There would be hundreds and hundreds of items and while there would be the occasional crank letter, 99.5% of them would be from well-wishers."
Such support has been worth its weight in gold, but still the nightmare which began on the evening of Thursday May 3 continues...
When will it end?

Kate McCann: 'I'm being persecuted because of my looks', 18 October 2007
Kate McCann: 'I'm being persecuted because of my looks' Daily Mail
By Liz Hull
Last updated at 00:37 18 October 2007

'Persecuted': Kate claims her looks have led to stinging attacks
'Persecuted': Kate claims her looks have led to stinging attacks

Kate McCann believes she has been persecuted because she does not look like a typical mother, her family revealed yesterday.
The GP told relatives she has been portrayed as a bad parent because she is slim and does not look traditionally maternal.
In an astonishing outburst she told her mother: 'If I weighed another two stone, had a bigger bosom and looked more maternal, people would be more sympathetic.'
Mrs McCann has faced five months of barbed comments about her composed appearance during the international manhunt to find her missing daughter Madeleine.
There were claims that Portuguese detectives first suspected she was involved in her daughter's disappearance because their wives said she looked too controlled and did not weep enough to be the distraught mother of a missing child.
Yesterday her mother Susan Healy said the 39-year- old was "one of the most maternal people I know".
She claimed Mrs McCann had fought to present 'a brave face' to the world but was 'destroyed inside' by her fears about missing Madeleine.
In a frank interview given to her local paper, the Liverpool Echo, Mrs Healy defended her daughter and son-in-law against claims that they left their children with four others, sedated them, and even wild allegations that Gerry McCann was not Madeleine's biological father, which she described as 'scurrilous rubbish'.
She said Mrs McCann had been approached by strangers in the street berating her for being 'out and about' while Madeleine was still missing.
"Kate does feel persecuted," Mrs Healy, 61, said. "It's important I let people know she is not this person who is in control all the time.
"She is a very sensitive, caring person and one of the most maternal people I know - she puts me to shame.
"Her life revolves around her children. But now she's got to the point where she feels she is being persecuted if her twins, Sean and Amelie, cry in public - it's absolutely crazy.
"All this stuff is going on inside my poor daughter who's not done anything wrong."
She added: "Kate just doesn't understand why people have turned against her.
"She feels she's being attacked because she isn't crying every time she is pictured.
"She's being targeted because she manages to put on a brave face. People say she has a stern look but inside she's a wreck. My daughter has lost the most precious thing in her life and she is destroyed inside - we all are."
Forensic psychologists are said to have analysed Mrs McCann's demeanour at the request of Portuguese police.
Leaks from inside the investigation have claimed that her controlled public appearance, and even her carefully applied make-up, indicate a "cold and manipulative" personality.
Mrs Healy, of Allerton, Liverpool, said the couple admitted they were wrong to have left Madeleine and their twoyearold twins alone in their holiday apartment while they went out for dinner. But she insisted they were innocent of any crime, saying: "It was a terrible mistake but they did it out of naivety."
Mrs Healy categorically denied that the McCanns and their friends left seven of their children together in the holiday apartment, or that the couple had sedated any of their children.
"Kate and Gerry don't like taking tablets themselves and the only thing they have ever given their children, if they were teething or had a temperature, is Calpol," she said.

Kate McCann is right - just because she's slim and pretty doesn't mean she's a killer, 18 October 2007
Kate McCann is right - just because she's slim and pretty doesn't mean she's a killer Daily Mail
Last updated at 00:30 18 October 2007
Kate McCann looks exactly like most of the mothers I see waiting at school gates near where I live: casually-dressed, pleasantly dishevelled, with a lithe prettiness which is miles from made-up glamour.
Without the central tragedy of her life, would you give her a second glance in the street? If you did, you'd probably think in passing: 'She looks nice.'
Yet Kate McCann this week told her mother that she believes she has been persecuted because of the way she looks. That she has been portrayed as a bad parent because she is slim, and doesn't look like a comfortably rounded hausfrau cutting cookies with one hand while a baby is glued to her ample bosom.
Apparently she said: 'If I weighed another two stone, had a bigger bosom and looked more maternal, people would be more sympathetic.'
Can this be true? We live in the Yummy Mummy era, when glamour and mumsiness are allowed to stroll hand-in-hand down the high street, and countless columnists have called into question the old stereotypes of capable 'Fifties, pinnyclad motherhood'.
Hence the 'slummy mummy' who muddles along, makes mistakes and knows a dash of lipstick will make her feel better.
And for most of us, it's all just fine. We live in a tolerant age when we don't demand conformity to the stereotypes any more.
But perhaps - given Mrs McCann's comments this week - some of us do.
Certainly it's very hard to untangle the issue of looks and behaviour, since what we are like is partly expressed in how we look.
We have to analyse Kate McCann's heartfelt outburst in relation first to her experience in Portugal, and then to how it's been for her since she returned home.

Self-control: Kate McCann fears Portuguese police suspect her because she doesn't weep enough
Self-control: Kate McCann fears Portuguese police suspect her because she doesn't weep enough

I can't be the only one to think it appalling that Kate's own mother, Susan Healy, has been forced to defend her grieving daughter, asserting that: 'She is a very sensitive, caring person and one of the most maternal people I know' - as if somehow Kate was in the dock.
Yet she has felt the need, and it looks as if Kate herself suddenly saw an uncomfortable truth at the heart of the issue. That - fairly or unfairly - how she looks (both physically and in the way she behaves) has affected the world's view of her as a mother.
Right from the beginning, it is said, the Portuguese police suspected her because their wives were telling them she looked too controlled, did not weep enough.
Here we have the first cultural difference. In Mediterranean countries there is no tradition of the stiff upper lip. Yet it must have been more than that.
Anyone who has travelled in Spain, Portugal, Italy or Greece knows how young mothers quickly come to look like overblown roses, their child-bearing settling comfortably around their hips.
It's hard not to imagine Portuguese women murmuring to their husbands that this British woman is - yes - much too skinny. Unnatural.
They would be instinctively prejudiced against Kate for not looking like them, as well as because her self-control was alien to a culture which traditionally hangs its emotions out like washing on lines.
But did the Portuguese attitude insidiously affect the views of the wider world, tapping into innate expectation of how mothers are 'supposed' to be?
Looking at the way the story unfolded, you can't avoid the feeling that other women resented her, too.
Was this partly because men were clearly fascinated by her in a way that would not have been the case had she been plump and plain?
Bluntly, would her picture have appeared quite so often in the media had she not been easy on the eye?
In short, these powerful reactions to her - though they seem to be very different in men and women - have led to this situation in which she has become the story.
Many people murmur that they are tired of seeing the McCanns. Yet to blame Kate for that is utterly unjust.
Personally, I have always seen Kate McCann as almost withering away before our eyes, all her suffering contained in the hollows of her cheeks, the tension in the hand which grips Madeleine's precious Cuddle Cat, the stiff line of her shoulders which matches the crease that runs from nose to mouth, ageing her prematurely.
Even though she has a model's build, I simply can't see her as sexy.
But then, I'm not a man.
I was sitting in a hotel in August watching a discussion about the McCanns on Fox News. Three glossy, designer-clad, over-made up American harridans tore Kate apart - for leaving her children while she ate and drank, for looking so calm despite the fact that her child had gone, for having endured IVF treatment and then appearing to be as casual as Britney Spears.
It was so monstrous I found myself shouting abuse at the TV.
Would they - sitting in such harsh judgment - class themselves as perfect 'Moms'? Were their children left with nannies while they had their hair done and presented TV programmes?
No matter - I suspect it was indeed something about this English woman's demeanour which brought the knives out. Not the fact that she was slim, for they too were whippet-thin. But that the English blonde was too contained.
I simply don't believe they would have been so judgmental about the issue of eating tapas a short distance from where the children slept unwatched had Kate McCann been filmed beating her breast, shrieking her guilt to the skies, as if on American daytime TV.
Yet Shakespeare reminds us that we cannot 'find the mind's construction in the face'.
It takes us back to the question: what does a 'real mother' look like? A woman as intelligent as Kate McCann must know that plump women can be terrible mothers.
But I sympathise with her painful awareness of a prejudice that must bewilder her.
I want to tell her, for a start, that many of us have left our children in situations which (with hindsight) could have been disastrous, and it's only the grace of God which saved us from what was surely a one-in-a-million tragedy.
I want to say that countless people (especially those of us who have thought our children near to death) admire that desperate, necessary self-control.
And as someone whose maternal qualities were once called into question because I worked in newspapers, liked a glass of wine and teetered about in high heels wearing lots of slap, I want to reassure her that in the end, only you can truly know what kind of mother you are.
And when she kisses her twins goodnight, I am sure they know it, too.

Kate's hurting but isn't suicidal, 29 October 2007
Kate's hurting but isn't suicidal The Sun
Published: 29 Oct 2007
KATE McCann's angry mother yesterday dismissed reports in the Portuguese media that her daughter was suicidal.
Susan Healy admitted Kate had been under "immense pressure" over daughter Maddie's disappearance – but said: "She would never contemplate ending her life, for two reasons.
"One, she still wants to find Madeleine, and two, for the sake of her other children, Sean and Amelie."
Susan hit out after a Portuguese magazine claimed she was worried about Kate killing herself.
Newspaper 24 Horas's Sunday supplement ran the headline "Kate's mother fears she will kill herself".
But yesterday Susan, 61, said the publication "twisted" her words after she expressed concern that 39-year-old Kate was under huge pressure after being vilified as false and cold.
Susan, of Allerton, Merseyside, was referring to Kate's first tearful public breakdown during a TV interview with her and husband Gerry, 39, last week.
She had said her daughter was criticised for "faking" when she cried and yet was labelled "cold" when she did not.
Susan had added: "With such cruelty, I don't know if any human can take such pressure.
"I don't know how long she can hold up for.
"I am afraid, I am very afraid. I don't know how she is handling all this."
The 24 Horas magazine interpreted that as: "Susan Healy is afraid that the fact the public doubts Kate's innocence can lead her to doing something silly."
Susan had broken down describing Kate's ordeal since Maddie vanished from a holiday apartment in Praia da Luz on May 3.
She said Kate has insomnia, needs counselling and her family dare not leave her alone.
Yesterday the McCanns' spokesman Clarence Mitchell said: "It is beyond offensive to suggest that Kate is suicidal.
"She is, however, a woman under immense pressure and her mother is perfectly entitled to defend her."

Back in Rothley, 05 January 2008

Kate's Darkest Days Sunday Express (Express Group have removed all online links)

Saturday January 5,2008

By Anna Pukas

According to Gerry’s sister, Tricia Cameron, Kate has been contacted by a children’s charity to do some work for them. The approach came after Kate attended a lunch for the organisation Missing Children International while still in Portugal.

"She hasn’t made up her mind yet," Tricia added. It appears to be understood within the family that whatever she decides, it is highly unlikely that Kate will return to her old job.

She used to be a keen runner and she kept up her jogging in Portugal as it relieved the stress. For a brief while after they came home to Rothley, Kate and Gerry would drive to a local beauty spot and go for a long run together. But it didn’t last and Kate has not been seen out running for almost three months.

She used to go to Dawn Newcombe’s hair salon in Rothley to have her hair cut and highlighted. Now she can’t face it. "She finds it really difficult and doesn’t want to be the focus of everyone’s attention," says one of the stylists.
"She did bring the twins in before Christmas to have their hair trimmed but it was very hard for her. She was almost in tears as she watched them and my heart went out to her. In the past, Madeleine would have been running around or the twins would have been running about while she had her hair cut. The constant strain on poor Kate is unbearable."

She used to enjoy taking Madeleine to Templars coffee shop for hot chocolate topped with marshmallows and cream. She has not set foot in the place since returning to Rothley. These days when she leaves the house it’s invariably for one of just two reasons: to take the twins to nursery on Wednesdays and Thursdays in neighbouring Queniborough – where the McCanns lived until 2006 and where they still have many friends – or to attend mass.

Both devout Catholics, the McCanns attend a Sunday morning service at Sacred Heart Catholic Church, a short walk from their 500,000 detached house. Kate usually takes the twins to mass on Tuesday mornings, too.
The rest of the time she is at home, tucked away in a cul-de-sac with other similar, new-build "executive" homes.

There she looks after Sean and Amelie, preparing their meals, reading to them or watching TV or their favourite DVDs together; the twins, who will be three on February 1, are especially fond of Wallace And Gromit and Postman Pat.
If they are busy playing outside in the garden, or making dens in their bedroom, Kate might pick up a book or a women’s magazine; she rarely reads newspapers these days, preferring to be kept abreast of developments by the family’s spokesman, ex-BBC reporter Clarence Mitchell, who drives up for the day from his home in Bath about twice a week.

At 6.30pm, Kate runs a bath for Sean and Amelie and they all sing together. It is both a loving, bonding ritual and a bitter reminder of the missing component: Madeleine.

"It is heart-breaking," says Gerry’s mother Eileen. "The three children were bathed together every night and always had lots of fun. The twins ask for Madeleine and Kate reminds them that she’s still missing. Then they get back to splashing each other and they forget about Madeleine."

But Madeleine remains very much a part of her family. There are photo­graphs of her all over the house and the twins refer to her often. Before Christmas, which the McCanns spent with Kate’s cousin in Skipton in the Yorkshire Dales, they would ask if Santa was bringing Madeleine home. Kate’s mother Susan recalls a recent visit to a farm.
"The twins said: ‘Mummy’s going, Daddy’s going, Sean and Amelie going but Madeleine not going, Madeleine looking’. It’s heartbreaking but it shows they are aware everyone is still looking for Madeleine and that, wherever she is, she can look at them, too."

Meanwhile, little Amelie has abandoned her own Snuggles cat toy and taken to carrying around Cuddle Cat, her sister’s favourite soft toy.

After their bath the twins have "quiet time", when they’re allowed to watch a favourite film before choosing a story book as they are put to bed at 7.30pm. Then, once they are asleep, Kate has her own quiet time when she goes into Madeleine’s bedroom, which has been left untouched. There, sitting among the toy boxes and pink furnishings (Madeleine’s favourite colour), she weeps for her missing daughter and says a prayer for her safe return.

By contrast, Gerry McCann is rebuilding an exterior life. On Monday he will resume working full-time at Glenfield Hospital in Leicester, where he is a 75,000-a-year consultant cardiologist. He has been working three days a week since early November. Colleagues there hold a vigil for Madeleine in the hospital chapel every Friday and have raised thousands for the Madeleine fund, which has topped 1million.
Eileen McCann says: "Gerry feels it is the right time to focus full-time on his job. But it doesn’t mean he is giving up on his search for Madeleine. Kate supports his decision."

At least once a week, usually on a Monday, Gerry plays golf at Rothley Park Golf Club and then pops in for a pint at the Woodman’s Stroke pub in the village. He also takes the twins to the park. Occasionally on Sundays the whole family goes off to visit friends David and Fiona Payne eight miles away in Leicester. However, apart from their weekly walk to church, it has become very rare to see Gerry and his wife out together – not that anyone should read anything into that. Kate insists: "We are stronger than ever."

The only disagreements are over publicity. Kate would rather keep the lowest of profiles while Gerry believes the media can help them. A family source said: "It’s the only time there’s any friction between them. Kate gets upset by what’s written and she lets it be known. She may come across as weak and weepy but she’s strong inside. Even Gerry’s mum says he’s not as strong as everyone thinks."

The couple have always said they are ready to return to Portugal but their continuing arguido status makes this less likely. So for now – and perhaps as far into the future as she can see – the only meagre solace Kate McCann can find is to sit in Madeleine’s room and weep and pray for her lost daughter.

Additional reporting by
Tracey Kandohla

How is Kate coping? 20 January 2008
McCanns split by agony of Madeleine Sunday Express (Express Group have removed all online links)
Sunday January 20, 2008
By Tracey Kandohla
The lives of Kate and Gerry McCann are moving in ''opposite directions'' because they have developed strikingly different ways of coping with the disappearance of their daughter Madeleine.
Kate is living the life of a semi-recluse as she focuses on being a stay-at-home mother, virtually shutting herself off from the supportive community around her.
Gerry, meanwhile, has thrown himself into working full time as a heart specialist during the week, while running the campaign to find four-year-old Madeleine in the evenings and at weekends.
Now friends fear that the strain they have been under for the last eight months is putting a substantial burden on their once idyllic marriage.
Outwardly, Gerry appears to be as strong as ever but Kate is more fragile and is becoming increasingly angry and frustrated by the lack of a major breakthrough.
A friend said: ''Kate is in a much worse frame of mind than Gerry is. She always looks so haunted. They are totally united in everything they do in their search to find Madeleine. But they are heading in opposite directions in their way of handling it.''
Kate has shown no desire to go back to her part-time job as a GP and cannot contemplate her dream of having another child while Madeleine is still missing.
To occupy her tormented mind, she devotes her time and energies to caring for twins Sean and Amelie and has been busy planning a birthday party for them on February 2. The twins will be three the day before.
Emotionally she is split in two by the event – genuinely excited and happy for her twins, while at the same time knowing that for a large part of that day her mind will in reality be centred on her absent child Madeleine. Like Christmas, it will be an emotional milestone, a hurdle to be overcome as well as an event to enjoy.
''The mental and emotional agony they’re going through is unbearable,'' said another friend. ''We worry that’s it’s putting a strain on their relationship.''
While Gerry is slowly adjusting to life without his daughter, Kate battles for a sense of normality and has become almost reclusive, haunted by visions of Madeleine.
She recently admitted: ''I still have moments of panic. Madeleine is irreplaceable and I just want her back. It’s not about me, it’s not about Gerry, it’s about Madeleine. Every day I’m hoping we won’t get to the next day without her.''
Every night Kate, 39, goes into Madeleine’s pretty pink bedroom and prays for her. Often she weeps for her cherished daughter. And during the night she wakes up and senses that Madeleine has come back to her.
Her mother Susan Healy revealed: ''Sometimes she sees visions of Madeleine. Then she realises Madeleine is still missing and Kate is absolutely devastated, hysterical and bereft.''
Kate refuses to believe Portuguese police claims that Madeleine is dead, desperately clinging to the hope that one day the family will be reunited.
One commentator recently said that Kate has been physically transformed by grief and that her back, shoulders, hands and mouth are now ''reshaped into the angular manifestation of a silent scream''.
Kate’s mother-in-law Eileen McCann admitted: ''A piece of Kate’s heart has been torn away and I worry about how she is coping. She looks so frail and so desperate.
''They are determined to give the twins as normal an upbringing as possible in the circumstances.''
But maintaining a normal face is proving to be increasingly difficult as a hidden anger swells inside Kate. A family source said: ''She is angry about all the untrue, hurtful allegations being made in Portugal. And she is frustrated because the whole investigation is taking so long. She may come across as weak and weepy but she’s strong inside.''
Each day Gerry dresses in a smart suit to go to work at Leicester’s Glenfield Hospital, while casually-clothed Kate makes meals for the twins, tidies the house and on Wednesdays and Thursdays does the nursery school run.
A local mother used to help her with domestic duties and babysitting but it is understood Kate no longer uses her services.
Since returning home from Portugal four months ago, the family has had a constant stream of relatives and friends visiting. They also help out with cooking and cleaning.
Kate spends much of her time behind closed doors at her 500,000 detached house in Rothley, Leics. She spends hours sifting through the masses of mail that still arrives every day.
Cash donations, from 10 to 100, presents for Madeleine and boxes of rosary beads and other religious artefacts are sent from around the world. Devout Catholics Kate and Gerry take great comfort in praying for Madeleine at the Sacred Heart church, just a five-minute stroll from their home.
It is one of the few times Kate is seen in public. She attends mass every Sunday with her family and often takes the twins to a Tuesday morning service.
Kate has abandoned the village routine she once shared with Madeleine. She no longer has her hair styled at Dawn Newcombe’s salon, which she regularly visited with Madeleine. Her mother normally takes the twins for haircuts when she is staying.
When Kate joined her shortly before Christmas, she fought back tears as she watched the youngsters take turns to sit in the seat Madeleine used to have.
One of the stylists said: ''She was almost in tears as she watched them and my heart went out to her.''
Kate also avoids her favourite coffee shop, where an excited Madeleine once sipped hot chocolate topped with marshmallows.
The couple are both official suspects but vehemently deny any involvement in their daughter’s disappearance.
[ Gerry fears he will never see Madeleine again, saying: ''I know now, probably, the chances of getting Madeleine back are slim.'']

How Kate lives now, 20 August 2008
How Kate lives now Now magazine (no online link, appears in magazine only)
Now's revealing insight into how Kate McCann's coping without her daughter
People threaten to kill them but life goes on
Feature: Tanith Carey
Edition date: 25 August 2008, Published date: 18 August 2008
The 30,000-page Portuguese police dossier on the disappearance of Madeleine McCann has dominated headlines for the past four weeks. And barely a day goes by without the press picking up on a new criminal e-fit or fresh 'Maddie sighting' previously kept quiet by investigators. But while the media has been quick to criticise Portuguese police, little has been said about how Maddie's mother Kate is coping with the latest revelations.

Now Has been allowed an exclusive glimpse at life behind the closed doors of the McCann's 500,000 home in Rothley Leicestershire. A close friend revealed how Maddie's parents roles have now reversed, with Kate, 40, leading the hunt for their daughter while heart surgeon Gerry, also 40, returns to work full time at a local hospital.

'Overall, Kate's a shy and quiet person who doesn't like attention', her friend says. 'Previously, Gerry did all the talking, but recently Kate has become the driving force of the campaign to find Madeleine. Yes, she has good days and bad days. When they're bad, she'll sleep during the day or leave the house to be with friends.'

But the release of the dossier and the decision by the Portuguese police to clear the McCanns of any suspicion has given Kate new resolve. The GP has given up her career indefinitely to dedicate her life to finding Maddie. Her days begin at 4am when she starts work on the campaign from her office at the front of their house.

'She's constantly at her computer, emailing contacts, investigators and politicians. She's prepared to start from scratch,' says her friend.

Kate and Gerry McCann are spending their recent 550,000 newspaper group libel payout on paying private detectives across Europe to follow up new leads.

'Kate's organised and incredibly dedicated,' says her friend. 'But don't imagine she's glued to the TV reports all day. She never looks at newspapers. The only people she listens to are those whose job it is to find her daughter. There have been many reported sightings in recent weeks, but Kate never allows herself to step on to that roller-coaster because none of them is confirmed.'

'Since Maddie vanished from the family's holiday apartment in Praia Da Luz, Portugal, in May last year, Kate has fought to give her two other children a normal life. But now the twins Amelie and Sean have turned three - the same age as her eldest daughter when she disappeared - Kate draws comfort from them being settled at home'. Says her friend: 'She takes them to school, to swimming lessons and to see friends in the village. For months, Kate felt guilty if she so much as allowed herself to laugh without Maddie, but the twins have always been able to raise a smile in her.'

But, understandably, as they grow up it gets harder for Kate. 'As the twins get older and ask more questions, Kate's always frank about the fact that Maddie's gone and the family are doing everything in their power to find her,' says her friend.

'In fact, she recently made a decision to put up lots of new pictures of Madeleine around the house. But it still breaks her heart when Sean and Amelie innocently include Madeleine in their games and chat to their big sister on their toy mobile phones.'

The door to Madeleine's bright pink bedroom remains firmly closed. But it's here each evening that Kate comes alone to say a prayer for her lost daughter, surrounded by her teddies and Barbie dolls. 'Of the pair, Kate's the more religious. It's what's kept her going,' says her friend.

During the days, she rarely ventures out, ordering shopping online and preffering her hairdresser to visit her home. But the public still get through. Every day, more letters of support, books, biblical references and prayer cards arrive at the house. To date, there have been more that 4,000 messages from psychics alone. The letters are filed into boxes marked 'nutty', 'psychics, visions, dreams' and 'nasty'. It's the third category that has prompted Kate and Gerry to have panic alarms fitted at their home.

'Kate can now get a flavour of these nasty letters within a few seconds,' says her friend. 'They go straight in the box. But if they contain a concrete threat, they go to the police. Of course it's scary that people are threatening to kill them, but life must go on'. Kate gets away from it all at an isolated beauty spot nearby where she goes on long, stress-relieving jogs through the countryside.

Leaving the protection of Rothley makes her feel vulnerable. 'She and Gerry can be sitting in a car at traffic lights and turn round to see people just gawping at them,' says her friend. 'Recently, they'd only been in a London sandwich bar for two minutes when they found out that the press has already been tipped off about their whereabouts.'

Many marriages would've crumbled under such intense pressure, but the McCanns remain strong. 'You just have to look at their body language,' says their friend. 'Gerry always has a protective arm around Kate. If anything, this has brought them closer together. Of course there are tensions in a campaign like this, but I've never seen a cross word between them. What unites them is Madeleine. They take turns to be strong for each other.'
The letdowns in the case
Dossier reveals the full extent of the blunders by Portuguese police
  • E-fits of two men who were spotted by tourists hanging around the McCanns holiday apartment were never make public.
  • The police failed to preserve the crime scene. Detectives spent hours poring over footprints which turned out to belong to their own officers. Forensic samples sent for analysis included ash from cops cigarettes.
  • Two days passed before police obtained a list of other holiday makers at the complex-by which time many of them had already flown home.
  • Police allowed four other families to stay in the flat after Maddie went missing, contaminating vital evidence.
  • Detective took a day to tell border guards and 14 hours to inform coastguards that Maddie had disappeared.
  • Amsterdam shopkeeper Anna Stam claimed that she met a child who looked like Madeleine just three days after the disappearance. The girl said 'My name is Maddie. They took me from my holiday.' Anna's claim was never investigated.

Madeleine McCann Case - Flash! magazine, 30 April 2009
Madeleine McCann Case Flash! magazine (appears in paper edition only)

Maddie's mother does not leave the house and the father grows ever more distant from his wife
Even the neighbours have dissociated themselves

Two years after the child's disappearance, Madeleine's grandmother Susan tells Flash! she "lost both her daughter and granddaughter that wretched night."

30 April 2009
Translation by Dr Martin Roberts

Kate McCann has become very solitary. The twins, Four-year old Sean and Amelie, are her favourite company now. She leaves the house just for them, Flash! was told by a source close to the family in Rothley, England, home of the parents of the missing child, who disappeared in the Algarve on May 3, 2007. Two years on, this fateful date coincides with Mother's Day. "I never again saw Kate's true smile. Two years later and she's still very reticent about leaving the house. She only goes out to visit the hairdresser and to take the twins to school or elsewhere. She goes to the hairdresser while her children are swimming, says the source 'phoning from Rothley.

The life of Maddie's mother now consists of little else; that and going out jogging once in a while. Kate has changed a good deal since her daughter's disappearance. She's stopped work as a doctor and dedicates herself to her children. Gerry has gone back to work. "He's much busier than she is. He goes to work by bicycle and comes home late," says the same source. He resumed activities. As for the isolation of Kate "It's dividing them more and more." "It's obvious their marriage has suffered with all of this," emphasising that they appear closer to each other when they are with the twins. Besides, "Amelie looks more like Maddie every day." The twins are now the same age as Maddie was when she disappeared.

Kate's mother told Flash! that her daughter and son-in-law are fond of each other despite everything: "Gerry and Kate are very good friends. They care for each other and suffer together. They continue life together for Sean and Amelie's future happiness."

Even the Rothley community has distanced itself from the pair, just like the people of Luz. "When they go to Mass, some of the older folk continue to offer support, but generally the town's population is colder towards them." Nowadays the McCanns are not a part of the area's social scene, unlike before. "They are insular." According to the source the residents are tired of the media, that's why they distance themselves. At most the house is visited by close family and three others "of the group of nine friends (seven friends) who were with them in the Algarve when Maddie disappeared, that is David and Fiona Payne and Jane Tanner, as they are connected with them."

"Kate never did intend to commit suicide"

Lacking support from the community and friends, the former involvement of Gerry and without her daughter Madeleine, Kate feels very much alone. "It is noticeable that Gerry feels rather better than she does about things." And yet, "she never attempted suicide" as was claimed. Both the source and Kate's own mother Susan Healy have told the magazine that. "That's absurd. You cannot begin to imagine what it takes for me to respond to that. My daughter has gone through a lot these two years past. Living's not easy when you don't know where your daughter is, my granddaughter Madeleine, but she would never attempt suicide. She loves Sean and Amelie. They're her reason for living," said Kate's furious mother. Once calm, albeit still preoccupied for her daughter, Susan Healy continues: "I cannot say things are good. I lost my daughter at the same time as I lost my granddaughter that wretched night two years ago. I shudder to think of it, the more so when it's said she's tried to kill herself."

Nor does another source close to the family believe it: "She didn't manage to return to work, to her normal life. She's obviously depressed, but I don't believe she would attempt suicide. She's a rational mother above all who would always think of Sean and Amelie, even in those darkest moments." According to this female friend, Kate has also cut down on her own medication. "She's already given up anti-depressants. Now she takes something with the same benefit but gentler. Despite everything she's gained a little weight and is concerned to look good when she leaves the house." As to the forthcoming date of 3 May, husband and wife are most likely to remain in England with the family. Anyway, for Kate, "Returning to Portugal's unthinkable at the minute. I can't." More self-assured, Gerry McCann has returned twice already to our country. As he often emphasised, he and Kate are determined to find their daughter Madeleine, now six years old.

Yes to Oprah

After declining several invitations to appear on the "Oprah Winfrey Show," the McCanns finally decided to say yes to the world's most powerful presenter. The interview with the couple - part-recorded on the Friday - will be broadcast on 4 May and, according to Clarence Mitchell, spokesperson for the McCanns, "they will not be paid." "They accepted because it is a programme seen in 144 countries, which can help in the search for Madeleine." Participation in this interview programme - the most watched in the United States - is seen by many as an act of desperation by the couple in the face of the arguments that surround the Maddie case. Oprah however refused to extend an invitation to Goncalo Amaral, the former PJ inspector in charge of the case, and although he asked to be present Oprah did not wish it.

With thanks to Nigel at McCann Files


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