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    

2-Two Year: Anniversary Articles *

Articles related to the two-year anniversary of Madeleine's disappearance will be posted here, as and when they are published

Maddy: two years of heartbreak -- and prayers, 18 April 2009
Maddy: two years of heartbreak -- and prayers Irish Independent
Saturday April 18 2009
A small banner has appeared on the homepage of the official Madeleine McCann website. It reads: Coming soon, new 'Never Give Up' t-shirts. Two years on from the disappearance of the three-year-old girl from her family's holiday apartment in Portugal, it has become her parents' mantra.
The news cameras have moved on and the police investigation has closed down. Madeleine's family appears to operate under some semblance of normality. Gerry McCann has returned to his work as a consultant cardiologist and he and Kate recently celebrated the fourth birthday of twins Sean and Amelie. Kate McCann never returned to her position as a GP, a decision probably informed by a number of factors, not least a desire to be at home with her two remaining children.
Yet as the two-year anniversary of the disappearance on May 3, 2007, draws close, it is clear that the Madeleine campaign simmers on and is continuing to provoke a strong reaction. The McCanns are booked for The Oprah Winfrey Show show on May 9, three days before what should be Madeleine's sixth birthday. This appearance on the world's most consistently popular chat show will bring the spotlight on the McCanns back into sharp focus.
The gentle probing of Oprah Winfrey is bound to be favourable to the McCanns' campaign. Gerry McCann found a less hospitable reception when he returned with a camera crew to the scene of his daughter's appearance on April 4 to film a reconstruction of the disappearance for a new Channel 4 documentary.
Locals in the town of Praia da Luz reportedly booed him on his visit -- the Maddy effect is being partly blamed for a downturn in tourist trade in the area. Indeed, 21 employees of the Ocean Club holiday village from which she disappeared are being laid off, with the redundancy letters making prominent reference to the negative publicity from the McCann case. A billboard appealing for help in finding Madeleine was defaced with paint just one day after it was erected this month.
A former police chief who was in charge of the Madeleine case for the Portuguese Policial Judiciara (PJ) has also been stoking the fire. Goncalo Amaral was removed from the investigation in October 2007 after claiming that the British police were doing whatever the McCanns wanted. He went into retirement and wrote a book about the case, Maddie: The Truth of The Lie, which claimed that Madeleine died in the family's holiday apartment. The book sold hundreds of thousands of copies when it was published in Portugal last July, but has yet to be published in Britain under threat of legal action by the McCanns. A documentary based on Amaral's book, repeating his attack on the McCanns, was broadcast on Portuguese television this week.
While all of these incidents serve to mark the two-year milestone of Madeleine's disappearance, none of them shed any further light on what happened to the little girl that night. There is a remarkable disproportion of publicity and theories to actual cold, hard facts.
So what do we really know about May 3, 2007? Aside from the several thousand supposed sightings of Madeleine everywhere from northern Europe to Africa in the months following her disappearance, the actual last confirmed sighting of the little girl was in the late afternoon of May 3, when the manager of a beachside restaurant saw Gerry McCann dance with his daughter as the family ate a meal together on the sun terrace.
At 6pm, Kate and Gerry brought the twins and Madeleine back to the family's holiday apartment at Ocean Club, to get them ready for bed. At half past eight, Kate and Gerry went for dinner with seven friends at a tapas bar about 120 metres away, leaving the children unsupervised with the door to the apartment unlocked. The McCanns and their friends said they took turns in checking on the children every 20 minutes to half-hour. When Kate McCann took her turn at 10pm, Madeleine had vanished and the bedroom window was wide open. She raised the alarm, crying "They've taken her! They've taken her!" and the police were on the scene within 10 minutes. The nightmare had begun.
Pretty much every development in the Madeleine case from that point on has been subject to speculation and conjecture. The only solid lead appears to have come from Jane Tanner, one of the friends the McCanns had been dining with that night, who remembered seeing a man carrying a child on the road near the McCanns' apartment at 9.20pm on the night she disappeared. Spots of dried blood found in the apartment long after the initial investigation have been used to add credence to the theory that Madeleine died in apartment 5A before her body was removed.
The PJ has spoken of credible leads from as far away as Argentina, but even Portugal's prosecution service has admitted that without the little girl's body, everything is extremely complicated. Heavy criticism of the Portuguese police division's work at the scene and the subsequent probe was such that the PJ's National Director Alipio Ribeiro resigned on May 7 last year, shortly after the first anniversary of Madeleine's disappearance, citing media pressure.
Certainly the close media scrutiny of the case became inextricably bound up with its progress. The suggestion that British-Portuguese national Robert Murat be questioned came to police from a Sunday newspaper journalist. He, the McCanns and the so-called Tapas Seven, with whom Kate and Gerry dined that fateful night, have all secured libel payouts from a number of newspapers. There were many -- allegedly deliberate -- leaks of supposedly confidential police reports and police interviews with the McCanns.
Then there was the confusion caused by the Portuguese criminal and judicial system, which works somewhat differently from ours. It allowed Kate and Gerry McCann to be officially given the status of arguidos or suspects in early September 2007, a label that was only lifted the following July, along with the arguido status of Robert Murat. Earlier than that, counsel for the McCanns had asked that they be given assistant status to the investigation, rather than witness, so that they would have more access to information about how the case was progressing.
There was also as much commentary about the McCanns themselves, as there was about the fate of their missing daughter. Some rounded on them for neglecting their children by leaving them alone in the apartment, while others argued a there-but-for-the-grace-of-God defence. They were lambasted for going jogging in the days following Madeleine's disappearance, for holding hands on their way to church vigils, for looking too composed, groomed, serene -- petty accusations that soon fed into more sinister allegations.
Even Irish Booker Prize winner Anne Enright was drawn into the fray after she wrote an essay for the London Review of Books, which seemed to attack the McCanns for not being likeable enough. In fact, she was highlighting how obsessing about the McCanns had become a national past-time; "Disliking the McCanns is an international sport," she wrote.
The anger Gerry McCann inspired by returning to Praia da Luz indicates that Madeleine's disappearance is still clouded by emotional responses. At least five private investigations, the official probes by British and Portuguese police, and a campaign funded by the public and rich donors like Richard Branson have yet to turn up vital new information.
On the other hand, the very purpose of the McCanns' continuing campaign is to keep their daughter's name and picture in the news by any means possible. Last month, Madeleine McCann was still in the top five most searched names in UK internet search engines. For the right or wrong reasons, the story of a little girl who vanished into thin air on a holiday continues to be a source of fascination. The likelihood, though, that this obsession can be converted into hard leads about her whereabouts is increasingly slim.
But for Kate McCann, the logic is simple: publicity helps keep awareness alive. And if one person spots a little girl with a teardrop-shaped defect in the pupil of her right eye, and thinks of Madeleine, then she might be one of the lucky few missing children who gets to come home.

Two years on, we must remember Madeleine McCann, 24 April 2009
Two years on, we must remember Madeleine McCann Liverpool Echo
Susan Lee
Apr 24 2009
"IS Maddie still missing?” asked the nine-year-old recently. For a while, a couple of years ago and then again this time in 2008, that was all my kids asked about; the disappearance of Madeleine McCann became almost the story of their childhood.
Where did I think she was? Who had taken her? Would she be found?
And then, like that must-have toy that loses its appeal, the name was dropped and little Maddie dropped off our personal news agenda.
But in the coming days the little girl with the tell-tale flash in her eye will return to the headlines and our TV screens.
The anniversary of her disappearance looms. Her parents are appearing on the Oprah Winfrey Show and Gerry McCann has been back to Portugal to make a documentary.
Interviews will be given, photographs taken and the facts of what happened in that apartment two years ago raked over once again.
Of course there will be those who roll their eyes and sigh out loud at what will undoubtedly be a new media frenzy.
The McCanns? Back again? Shouldn't they have moved on by now?
But let me ask you this: would you?
If it was your little girl who had vanished into the night wouldn't you want to know where she was, what had happened to her?
Wouldn't you pull your guts out trying to find her? And when would you give up and 'move on'? After two years? Five? 10?
Me? I'd never give up even when I became old and grey I'd still search on.
The McCanns haven't got Madeleine but they've still got hope.
And who would deny them that?

Still missing Madeleine, 24 April 2009
Still missing Madeleine The National
David Sapstead
Last Updated: April 24. 2009 10:47PM UAE / April 24. 2009 6:47PM GMT
Each day for months during 2007, it seemed impossible to pick up a British newspaper without seeing the doe-eyed, slightly quizzical smile of Madeleine McCann peering out at you.
Even now, two years after the blonde toddler vanished from her bed in a holiday apartment her parents had rented in the Portuguese resort of Praia da Luz, the McCann family can still make headlines.
Except not nearly as often. And sometimes in ways the McCanns do not like.
The tenor of the coverage has changed with little now being said about the continuing, worldwide search for Madeleine, perhaps because the results so far indicate that there is precious little to say.
But parents Gerry and Kate McCann still try to make the news. They know it is the best chance they have of re-energising public interest that might one day help discover the fate that befell their daughter on that awful night of May 3 2007.
Which is why a week on Monday, the McCanns will appear on American TV in their first interview with Oprah Winfrey, unveiling an artist's impression of how Madeleine, who was nearly four years old when she disappeared, might look now.
It will be one of a series of media events to mark the second anniversary, including a British TV documentary on May 7 that will recreate the night of the abduction and trace Mr McCann's return last month to Praia da Luz.
These days, though, many of the articles written, the words spoken and the pictures taken do not always reflect positively or even kindly on the McCanns and their quest.
Mr McCann's latest trip to the Algarve resort, for instance, did not go as scripted. He was jeered by locals – the same locals who had turned out in their hundreds two years before to help scour the town, its beaches and the surrounding countryside – because of the damage the "Maddie" affair had done to the resort's reputation and, consequently, its tourist trade.
Two weeks ago, Goncalo Amaral, the Portuguese policeman originally in charge of the search for Madeleine until he was thrown off the case after five months for suggesting the McCanns had the British police "in their pockets", featured in a controversial TV documentary in Portugal.
In it, he staged his own reconstruction, which suggested that the little girl had not been abducted at all but had died in a "tragic accident" in the holiday apartment and her death covered up.
Now the fund her parents set up to find Madeleine is running out of money. More than £2 million has been donated by the British public and benefactors, and another £875,000 has come in the form of libel awards from British newspapers who suggested the McCanns were involved in their daughter's disappearance.
Much of the money has gone to private investigators around the world who continue to follow up even the slimmest, most implausible lead in the hope of getting a break that will lead them to Madeleine.
"We have spent and will continue to spend a lot of money with the aim of trying to enhance the chance of finding her," Mr McCann, a hospital consultant in Leicester, has said in recent newspaper articles.
"It won't dry up in the next few months, but probably by the end of the year at the rate we are running.
"It's a possibility we might never see her again, but until we have absolute definitive evidence of what happened to Madeleine, we can't stop searching."
On the evening that would change their lives two years ago, Gerry and Kate McCann were dining in the Ocean Club resort with seven friends at a tapas bar about 120 metres from Apartment 5A, where Madeleine and her two-year-old twin siblings slept.
The children were unsupervised but the McCanns or one of their group of friends, who became known as the Tapas Seven, would walk from the restaurant, past the pool, to the ground-floor apartment to check that the children were OK.
At about 9.30pm, Matthew Oldfield, one of the friends, made the journey, unlocked the flat's front door and looked through to the children’s bedroom. He saw the twins but, because Madeleine's bed was out of his line of sight, did not see her.
It was all quiet and, assuming the children were all asleep, he returned to the tapas bar.
About a half-hour later, Mrs McCann went over to check. She went into the bedroom and, to her horror, found that Madeleine's bed was empty and the bedroom window open.
Charlotte Pennington, an Ocean Club nanny who was nearby, later recalled hearing Mrs McCann scream: "They've taken her, they've taken her. Madeleine's gone!"
According to the McCanns, the police were called within 10 minutes, making that phone call no later than 10.15pm. According to the police, the first call was made at 11.50pm, with Madeleine's disappearance recorded as being "by 10.40".
Later, Jane Tanner, one of the Tapas Seven, remembered seeing a man carrying a child walking along the road bordering the McCanns' apartment. The man, who has never been traced, was described as 170cm tall and aged between 35-40. Chief police officer Olegário de Sousa said the description fitted that of a suspect being hunted by Spanish police for the kidnapping of two children in the Canary Islands.
For all intents and purposes the criminal investigation has not moved on from that point.
Vital evidence may have been lost because forensic scientists did not begin taking samples from the apartment for several days, by which time dozens of people and even police dogs had trampled through the scene.
The Polícia Judiciária pursued two main lines of inquiries, according to the Portuguese media. One was that Madeleine had been abducted by an international paedophile ring; the other that she had been snatched by criminals operating an adoption network.
Searches of the area, including the sewers beneath Praia da Luz, revealed nothing and, after 11 days, the investigation turned to the house of Jennifer Murat, a British retiree living near the Ocean Club.
Her son Robert, now 35, who lived in England but who had dual UK-Portuguese nationality and visited his mother often, had been helping the police as a translator in the search for Madeleine.
Mr Murat was said to have been deeply concerned about the disappearance because, following his recent divorce, he had lost custody of his own three-year-old daughter, who bore a striking resemblance to Madeleine.
A British journalist, however, became suspicious of Mr Murat's motives and informed the police. On May 15, Mr Murat was arrested along with Sergey Malinka, then 22, a Russian who had helped design a website for Mr Murat.
Although Mr Malinka denied having contact with Mr Murat for more than a year, phone records showed that the two had spoken at 11.40 on the night Madeleine vanished.
Mr Murat was formally named as an arguido (suspect) on May 15. No evidence, though, was ever found against him and he was formally cleared of any involvement last year.
The weeks passed amid mounting international media coverage, much of it based on bogus rumours. There were supposed sightings of Madeleine in Morocco, Argentina and various parts of Europe, in addition to an apparently credible tip-off in the Netherlands that she was buried on a hillside 14 kilometres north-east of Praia da Luz.
But nothing was found and then, in September, Gerry and Kate McCann were formally named as arguidos by the Portuguese police, allegedly after traces of Madeleine's blood were found in the back of a car they had rented more than three weeks after the disappearance.
"The police don't want a murder in Portugal and all the publicity about them not having paedophile laws here, so they're blaming us," said Mrs McCann at the time.
There was, of course, no evidence against the McCanns. Tests later conducted in Britain on the samples found in the car turned up nothing conclusive.
Still, the McCanns had to endure their arguido status, and the public suspicion that came with it, until July last year. The Tapas Seven were reinterviewed and sections of the tabloid press, in both Portugal and Britain, began running lurid and wholly erroneous stories alleging involvement by Madeleine's parents and their friends.
"To see a front-page headline insinuating that you were involved in your own daughter's disappearance was incredibly, unbelievably upsetting," says Mr McCann.
"We saw pressure particularly on journalists to produce stories when, really, there was nothing much to report. Madeleine was made a commodity and profits were to be made."
More reasonably, perhaps, the McCanns have been widely criticised for leaving their children alone in the apartment while they ate with friends. The Ocean Club had a crèche and a babysitting service but the parents took advantage of neither.
Then, last summer, the Portuguese police admitted there was no evidence against anyone and effectively closed down their search for Madeleine.
For Kate and Gerry McCann, however, there can be no end to the search. A website and support group have been set up in Britain, along with a fund to finance a worldwide effort to trace the little girl. At one time, it stood at more than £2 million. Now it is down to about a quarter of that.
At least five groups of private investigators have been involved at various times but, still, the final sighting of Madeleine by a third party remains one by Miguel Matias, a restaurant manager.
He saw Mr McCann dancing with his giggling daughter when the family had a meal at the beach-side Paraíso restaurant earlier in the day on May 3 2007.
Since then ... nothing.
British journalists now question how long Maddie – a name her parents never use – can continue to command space in their pages.
Two people, though, are determined not to give up: Gerry and Kate McCann. "As Madeleine's parents, we cannot and will not ever stop doing all we can," they said in a statement this week.
"As the second anniversary of Madeleine's abduction approaches, we continue to remain focused on our aim – to find Madeleine and bring her back home safely.
"The search for Madeleine continues with the same strength and determination and, thankfully, there are many people who are continuing to help in a variety of ways.
"The reduction in media reporting does not signify a lack of effort – far from it. If anything, the search for Madeleine goes on with renewed vigour and great experience.
"We have quietly and persistently been working very hard: exploring all possible avenues in order to get that key piece of information. Someone, somewhere knows where Madeleine is.
"It is impossible for us to ignore the day-to-day heartache of missing Madeleine but there is a very important and positive fact that remains – in spite of all the investigative work done, there is still absolutely nothing to suggest harm to Madeleine and, therefore, a very real likelihood that Madeleine is alive and well.
"It is vital that we never, ever give up on Madeleine."

Two years after the disappearance of Madeleine McCann, her parents are desperately trying to keep her name and image alive, 26 April 2009
Two years after the disappearance of Madeleine McCann, her parents are desperately trying to keep her name and image alive The Scotsman
By Jeremy Watson
Last Updated: 25 April 2009 11:25 PM (Published Date: 26 April 2009)
THE beach is not busy, but it is healthily populated with spring sun-seekers lazing on the golden sands before the summer rush. The promenade-front bars and cafes hum with business as diners bask in the warmth of a late Algarve morning. The pretty fishing village of Praia da Luz is occupied with doing what it does best – providing holidaymakers from across Europe with a lazy vacation on one of the continent's most stunning coastlines.
Only inside the picturesque white-painted Catholic church of Nossa Senhora Da Luz, now so familiar from thousands of TV news bulletins and newspaper photographs, is there any sign that two years ago next Sunday the small community, residents and visitors alike, were hit by a cataclysmic event from which it has not yet fully recovered.
At the side of the altar is a poolside picture of Madeleine McCann, taken in the happy days before she disappeared from her resort bedroom on the evening of May 3. Lit by the reflected light flame of candles, it says simply: "Pray For Me."
On Sunday, as he did last year on the first anniversary of her disappearance, Father Haynes Q Hubbard, senior chaplain of the church where Madeleine's doctor parents Kate and Gerry McCann came to seek solace in the long weeks after their daughter went missing just 10 days before her fourth birthday, will hold a second "service of hope" in both Portuguese and English.
Haynes, understandably weary of fielding questions from journalists around the world, said last week it is the only thing he feels he can do: "We are doing it because nothing here has changed. It is two years on and Madeleine is still missing. But we should keep her memory alive."
More than 700 days since Madeleine disappeared from an apartment at the Ocean Club and from beside her sleeping younger brother and sister while her parents ate with friends in a Tapas bar just yards away, an answer to the mystery is yet to be uncovered.
This is despite one of the biggest searches for a missing child in history, involving hundreds of police and private detectives and an army of media from around the globe. No one involved in the case seems to be any wiser about what happened to Madeleine than they were in the minutes after she vanished, allegedly spirited away by an unknown abductor.

Computer-generated picture of Madeleine, aged 6 years-old

This weekend, the couple are in the US to record a one-hour special interview with Oprah Winfrey to be broadcast on May 3. Kate and Gerry will be quizzed by the US TV star in front of a live audience as part of their global campaign to keep Madeleine's name and image alive and to persuade police forces around the world to adopt more streamlined methods for issuing alerts when a young child goes missing.
Then, on May 7, Channel Four will broadcast a filmed reconstruction of the events of two years ago, in which 15 actors have been hired to play the parts of the principal characters. The crew and actors were given full access to the Mark Warner-run Ocean Club to make the film. A computer-enhanced image of what Madeleine could look like at age six has also been produced by forensic computer specialists used by the FBI to coincide with the broadcast. The angelic innocence remains along with the distinctive pigmentation stripe in her right eye that may, unfortunately, fade with age.
So, in the past two years has the McCanns' campaign on improving child safety achieved any results? And how long can such a campaign be sustained in the face of dwindling cash reserves?
In Praia da Luz, there is little open hostility to the McCanns, but feelings nevertheless run high among both the large expatriate community and local Portuguese residents who depend on tourism for a living. They feel that the media spotlight should be turned away from their village.
One English bar owner who helped in the initial search for the three-year-old girl, but did not want his name used, said: "We have to move on. Of course, everyone still has sympathy for the family; no-one is indifferent to what happened. How could you be? But we don't want Praia to be evermore associated with what happened. This was a nice and safe place before she went missing and it is a nice, safe place now.
"We all lost some business in the year after it happened and we did well to get through it. Our main problem now is the strength of the euro, so we don't really need any more negative publicity."
Images of missing Madeleine are now hard to find in the town. "There are a couple of billboards out at the moment linked with the TV reconstruction, but that's about it."
One sited on the main road into the village was defaced just one day after being erected. Paint was splattered across the poster and the Find Madeleine campaign number was obscured. When Gerry McCann visited earlier this month, along with Jane Tanner and Matthew Oldfield, two members of the 'Tapas Seven', to advise on the reconstruction, it was reported that Madeleine's father was heckled by former Ocean Club employees who had lost their jobs due to a downturn in trade.
Concerns over money are also besetting the Find Madeleine campaign. On his first return visit to Praia da Luz since his and his wife's official "arguido" suspect status was lifted last year, Gerry McCann revealed that the fund was running out. Earlier this year, newspaper reports said the fund had dipped to £600,000.
"There's still money in it," McCann said. "It won't dry up in the next few months, but probably by the end of the year at the rate we are running."
The published accounts from last year detail where the money, swelled by a £550,000 libel payment from a group of British newspapers found to have defamed the couple and a £375,000 award to the Tapas Seven, has gone. In the first year, it includes £250,000 spent on private investigators, including the Madrid-based Metodo 3 agency, whose head claimed he would find Madeleine within three months.
Another £133,000 went on campaign management at a time when the couple were being besieged by the world's media, largely spent on public relations advisers. Legal fees swallowed up £120,000, £88,000 went on posters and television and newspaper advertising. There were also the costs of the couple's travels to publicise their campaign for an improved child alerts system.
What the couple want is for the Amber Alert system used widely in the United States to be introduced across Europe. Their supporters have been critical of the 12 hours it took for Portuguese police to alert Spanish border officials located just two hours away by road that Madeleine was missing.
The system was introduced in the mid-1990s after the horrific capture and murder of a young Texan girl. Once police are alerted that a child has vanished, the details of the child are sent immediately to broadcasters and flashed up on motorway signs. It has been credited with saving the lives of around 400 children.
The McCanns lobbied the European parliament to introduce Amber Alert in Europe. Although the EU failed to order a union-wide system, it recommended member states to set up their own systems. France, Greece and, earlier this month, Ireland, have agreed to set up national Amber Alert systems, but, in the UK, the decision has been left to individual police forces.
For the McCanns, the EU recommendation was at least step forward in the absence of any information about Madeleine herself. Spokesman Clarence Mitchell, putting the best gloss he could on the EU decision, said: "Whether it is a centralised system or individual national alerts, all Kate and Gerry want to see is better and quicker cooperation between countries.
"When a child goes missing, every minute counts. Kate and Gerry will continue to push for the best possible alert system for children. How that happens is something for ministers to agree on."
Next weekend, the McCanns are expected to mark the anniversary at home in Rothley, Leicestershire, in private with their now four-year-old twins Sean and Amelie. Back in Praia da Luz, in the church where prayers have been said for centuries for missing fishermen, Father Hubbard is expected to once again read out Kate's message of hope that one day her daughter will be found. At 9.15pm, a new candle will be lit at the time her parents believe she vanished. "We continue to hope because there is nothing to the contrary," he said. "The only thing we can do is hold hands, weep and pray."
Where are they now?
Robert Murat
Employed by the Portuguese police at the scene as a translator, this property consultant who lived close with his mother to the Ocean Club was given "arguido" – official suspect – status by investigators. The status was revoked and Murat, 35, sued newspapers for £600,000 libel damages.
Goncalo Amaral
Amaral was the senior investigating officer but was turfed off the case after alleging Madeleine's parents were involved. Last year, he brought out his version of events in a book, The Truth Of The Lie, which was not published in English but has reportedly sold thousands of copies on the continent. He claims Madeleine died in a "tragic accident" in the apartment.
Jane Tanner
One of the 'Tapas Seven' whose testimony supports the theory that Madeleine was abducted. Tanner travelled to Praia da Luz this month to help with the reconstruction as she says she saw a barefoot girl being carried from the apartment but did not regard it as unusual at the time. Last year, she said: "I wake up to that image every day. I see him there, striding away, carrying Madeleine and I try desperately to remember more detail."

Crime without punishment, 29 April 2009
Crime without punishment TV 7 Dias (appears in paper edition only)
Madeleine disappeared and the authors of the crime remain at large. To the Portuguese authorities, the case seems to be closed, but without a corpse and without punishment, the people won't rest and want to make justice on their own. TV 7 Dias felt the revolt in Luz, a "haunted" village where nothing is like it used to be.
by: Maria Plácido, with Carla Bernardino
29th April 2009
Thanks to Astro for translation
Never before had a child been so avidly searched for. Madeleine McCann disappeared from apartment 5A at the Ocean Club, in Praia da Luz, Lagos, on the night of the 3rd of May 2007, and those who committed to recover her, on the days that followed the tragedy, now point the finger at the parents, who don’t move and don't convince anyone, anymore. For the people, Maddie is dead and buried… by the hands of her parents. And this crime without punishment generates a revolt that feeds off the theory of former investigator Gonçalo Amaral.
On the eve of the second anniversary of the disappearance of Gerry and Kate McCann's eldest daughter, the documentary 'Maddie – The Truth of the Lie', which is based on the book by the former coordinator of the searches, is another log for the fire of indignation that burns in Praia da Luz. The documentary, which was broadcast by TVI, was seen by over 2.2 million people. Now, TV 7 Dias visited the scene of the crime and felt the pulsing of revolt that Gonçalo Amaral calls "an uncomfortable feeling of impunity".
New data to reopen the process
The Portuguese police has closed the case, but neither the people nor the former investigator lower their guard. After the initial silence, the population of Aldeia da Luz starts to talk about the issue without barriers, and the former case coordinator lifts new clues that "will force the reopening of the process", he announces.
Gonçalo Amaral offers a glimpse of what is coming... "There are things that we need to clarify. It's important to understand the role of Mr David Payne in this story. He was on holiday with Maddie's family when the little girl disappeared, and right on the 16th of May, an English doctor told the British authorities that on another occasion, when she and her husband were on the beachside with the McCanns and their friends, that gentleman had made obscene gestures, of a sexual nature, about the girl... That doctor also said that David liked to bathe the little girls... Now, if he was part of the group of adults that went to check on Maddie and her siblings... he was one of the last people to see her alive. It would be important to find out how much time he spent with the little girl doing what, but information about this lady's statements only arrived in Portugal in October, at a time when I was not even on the case anymore. This is one of the various important things that were ignored. Someone pretended he didn't know about this..."
TV 7 Dias went to the crime scene and reveals other important details about the scenario where it all happened. We walked the distance that separates the restaurant where the McCanns were eating and the bedroom where the children were sleeping. And despite having been forbidden from capturing images that document the location, we must stress that from the table where Kate and Gerry ate and drank, it is impossible to see the window to the children's bedroom.
More: the Tapas Bar restaurant is located at the back side of the apartment and the window, as well as the main door, are located at the front of the building. In order to walk from the table to the bedroom, one needs to walk out of the Ocean Club's inner patio, walk down a few steps, walk through reception, walk around the apartment block, enter a corridor... a walk that takes six to seven minutes. And all of the lamps on the McCanns' apartment front had been broken for two days, which means that there was complete darkness. From the place where Maddie's parents dined, all that one can see is half the living room window, and to get there, one needs to cross the pool area, and then walk along a row of bushes (approximately 70 metres long). Still, anyone who would be looking in, couldn't see Maddie or her twin siblings, Sean and Amelie, on the opposite end of the house.
According to what TV 7 Dias could establish during this visit to the resort, the scheme of checking the children's bedrooms hides other curiosities. For example: a person who has followed the case since the first few minutes tells that a list with schedules and names of everyone who told the authorities they had peeked into the children's bedroom was found... "It's strange that they wrote that. It looks like a cheat sheet from a person who had been staging a theory...", the same source says.
Wine and seafood the following day
In Praia da Luz, opinions about what happened to little Maddie that night are divided, but the vast majority believes that she died, and holds the parents responsible. Almost nobody rises to defend the McCanns. For Maria Bandeirinha, the owner of a rent a car business, the parents' attitude is incriminating. "Kate passed by my door, laughing her head off, with a friend, days after her daughter disappeared. What mother has a child in an unknown location and feels like laughing? Looking back, I don't even know how she managed to convince the people that her daughter had been stolen from her… Just compare her with Rui Pedro's mother. I'm not going any further, because I'm a mother myself and I cannot imagine life for one minute, if I lost my daughter."
Maria Bandeirinha says that she had photos of the little girl on her shop window, but she tore everything off when she stopped believing the McCanns' innocence. "The other shop owners did the same. I'm increasingly on the side of Gonçalo Amaral. He knows the truth, and if he says that the little girl is dead, then she is. Kate and Gerry know it as well. Nobody believes this circus anymore."
From a source close to the Ocean Club, new reports about the day after Madeleine McCann's disappearance emerge. "After that tragedy, everything that they needed they received for free. The hotel staff did everything they could to offer them some comfort, in the middle of their supposed pain." And he continues: "When I saw them, the next day, I couldn't believe it! They had ordered food and drink... they had even ordered wine and seafood! Who is that hungry, after losing a child? Who can think of jogging every morning, like Kate did, or playing tennis with his friends, like Gerry did? Even the family that came down to meet them didn't forget their bathing suits..." TV 7 Dias tried to confirm these reports with the Ocean Club's management, but the law of silence reigns at the resort.
Public trial
For Gonçalo Amaral, there will be no peace or quiet until the case is solved. If there is a crime... there are perpetrators. The former investigator's restlessness is also the revolt of Luz's people. The only difference is that the people have made their judgment... Most of the residents want to see Kate and Gerry pay for their daughter's death.
"It's only natural for people to feel revolt. Everyone wants an end for this story. That is ultimately the only reason that led so many people to watch the documentary that is based on my book. Impunity has never pleased the people", Gonçalo recognises.
Paul, the owner of one of the restaurants that are located by the bay of Praia da Luz, is one of the few that still believe in the possibility that Maddie is alive. "This story has been badly told, directed and investigated. For me, the McCanns are guilty, but not over their daughter's death. They are guilty over the little girl's abduction, because they offered the criminals the possibility of carrying it out... Children can't be left alone at home! For me, she is alive, she was abducted and sold."
But almost everyone thinks differently. The same person who accompanied the McCanns, two years ago, now concludes: "I believe that they are guilty. I was with them and I saw the theatre that they put on... They were always looking good and fine and only when journalists approached, they would hang their heads low. At the beginning, people believed them, they suffered with their loss and felt solidarity, but presently, if they could, they would take justice into their own hands. Only a while ago, when Gerry came here, he was jeered at on the street and if people could, they would have beaten him up." Maria Bandeirinha adds: "Sometimes, popular justice would be a good thing. It would be swifter and easier. Nobody believes a word they say anymore. They still have some support in church, but the priests also know very well what happened that night."
The McCanns' documentary
Gonçalo Amaral's documentary is still widely present, but a reply is on the way. In early April, Maddie's father returned to the Ocean Club with Channel 4's cameras, for a detailed reconstruction of his version of events on the night of May 3, 2007. "He didn't stay at the Ocean Club, I don't know where he slept, and he could hardly set foot on the street, because people wanted to give him a beating... Then he had some ridiculous letters distributed, which were all over the place, shredded, on the next day", another resident of Luz told us, showing us a sample of the letter. Concerning the documentary, "it is most likely to be a pack of lies". Gonçalo Amaral agrees: "I don't care about the documentary. It's all lies!"
The programme will be broadcast on the 7th of May in the United Kingdom, and Portuguese stations fight to acquire it. "At the moment, the way that negotiations are, TVI is up front to get it", a source tells us. But the British couple's spokesman, Clarence Mitchell, asserts TV 7 Dias: "The deal is about to be closed and we think that SIC will broadcast the documentary that was recorded by Gerry. He is not at all happy about TVI broadcasting Gonçalo Amaral's documentary, which is full of errors and mistakes, and therefore he isn't interested in the documentary, which was recorded in Portugal, being broadcast by TVI", states the former aide to the British prime minister, Gordon Brown.
What is certain is that on the brink of the second anniversary of Maddie's disappearance, the waters are agitated with two explosive documentaries, Gerry's return to the crime scene and the news about Kate's physical and emotional frailty. The end of this case still seems far away.
'The Truth of The Lie' in more than 15 countries
Marta Vaz de Sousa, the head of Valentim de Carvalho Multimédia, took the documentary 'Maddie – The Truth of the Lie', that TVI broadcast, to MIP, in Cannes, and is preparing its sales. "There are more than 15 countries interested in it, business deals that could be closed within a week." But she does not comment on whether it will reach the United Kingdom. Clarence Mitchell, on the other hand, reacts and leaves a warning. "I doubt that anyone around here is interested in watching it and the station that broadcasts it will be sued by our lawyers!"

Questions still unanswered two years after Madeleine's disappearance, 01 May 2009
Questions still unanswered two years after Madeleine's disappearance Belfast Telegraph
Friday 1 May 2009
Two years after Madeleine McCann vanished, the world is hardly any closer to learning the truth about what happened to her on the night of May 3 2007.
Despite a massive police investigation that spanned the globe and huge media and public interest, the fate of the little girl who disappeared while on holiday with her family in the Algarve remains unknown.
Even the release of thousands of pages of witness statements and expert reports from the official Portuguese case files last August served only to deepen the mystery.
Prosecutors in Portugal ruled last July there was not enough evidence to bring criminal charges against anyone and shelved the inquiry.
They noted the investigation achieved "very little in terms of conclusive results", including establishing for certain whether Madeleine was alive or dead.
Madeleine's parents, Gerry and Kate McCann, treat this lack of concrete evidence positively and insist they have not given up hope of finding their daughter alive.
They say they take strength from cases like that of Natascha Kampusch, the Austrian woman who was kidnapped aged 10 and held hostage for eight years before escaping in 2006.
The couple are aiming to capitalise on the renewed public interest around the second anniversary of Madeleine's disappearance to make fresh appeals for information that could help find their daughter.
While the Portuguese authorities are no longer actively investigating the case, the McCanns have a small team of retired senior British police officers working for them.
The couple had the investigative files translated into English and painstakingly went through them looking for clues that might have been overlooked.
So far Mr and Mrs McCann have kept quiet about any possible new leads from the documents, but they will reveal some of them in a Channel 4 documentary to be broadcast on May 7.
They are also using a high-profile television appearance in the US on the Oprah Winfrey Show to publicise new computer-aged pictures of how Madeleine may look now.
The past 12 months have been frustrating for the McCanns, from Rothley, Leicestershire, as time passes without any firm news of their daughter.
Their two younger children, twins Sean and Amelie, are now older than Madeleine was when she went missing from her family's holiday flat in the seaside resort of Praia da Luz.
The couple were relieved when prosecutors announced in July that they were no longer "arguidos", or formal suspects, in the case.
But this was tempered by frustration that detectives were no longer actively investigating what had happened to the missing girl.
They also faced fresh allegations by Goncalo Amaral, the one-time head of the Portuguese police inquiry into Madeleine's disappearance.
Three days after the case was shelved, he published a book in Portugal called The Truth Of The Lie, in which he alleged the young girl had died in her family's apartment on May 3 2007.
Mr McCann, 40, is continuing his job as a consultant cardiologist at Leicester's Glenfield Hospital but Mrs McCann, 41, has not returned to her work as a GP.
As well as working with their own detectives on the search for Madeleine, the couple have also lobbied MEPs for a Europe-wide missing child alert system.
Meanwhile, many people in Praia da Luz have grown fed up of their unwanted association with Madeleine's disappearance as they feel it has put off holidaymakers and damaged their livelihoods.
Mr McCann was barracked by a small number of locals when he returned to the village at the start of April to assist the filming of a reconstruction for the new Channel 4 documentary.
As the McCanns mark the sad anniversary of their daughter's disappearance, to be followed by her sixth birthday nine days later, there are still many unanswered questions.
It remains to be seen whether the next 12 months will bring any more answers.

Timeline: Two years since Madeleine Mccann disappeared, 01 May 2009
Timeline: Two years since Madeleine Mccann disappeared Telegraph
These are the key events since Madeleine McCann's disappearance
Last Updated: 1:43AM BST 01 May 2009
:: May 3 - Kate and Gerry McCann, from Rothley, Leicestershire, leave their three children asleep in their holiday apartment in Praia da Luz while they dine with friends at a nearby tapas restaurant.
Nothing is amiss when Mr McCann checks on the youngsters at just after 9pm, but when his wife goes back at about 10pm she finds three-year-old Madeleine missing.
Jane Tanner, one of the friends eating with the McCanns, later reports seeing a man carrying a child away earlier that night.
:: May 5 - Portuguese police reveal they believe Madeleine was abducted but is still alive and in Portugal, and say they have a sketch of a suspect.
:: May 14 - Detectives take Anglo-Portuguese man Robert Murat in for questioning and make him an "arguido", or official suspect.
Officers also search the home he shares with his mother in Praia Da Luz, just 100 yards from where the youngster was snatched.
:: May 25 - Detectives finally release the description of the man reported by Jane Tanner three weeks earlier following pressure from the McCanns, their legal team and the British Government.
:: May 30 - Mr and Mrs McCann meet the Pope in Rome in the first of a series of trips around Europe and beyond to highlight the search for their daughter.
:: August 6 - A Portuguese newspaper reports that British sniffer dogs have found traces of blood on a wall in the McCanns' holiday apartment.
:: August 11 - Exactly 100 days after Madeleine disappeared, investigating officers publicly acknowledge for the first time that she could be dead.
:: August 31 - The McCanns launch a libel action against newspaper Tal & Qual over a front-page story which claimed police believe they killed their daughter.
:: September 7 - During further questioning of Mr and Mrs McCann, detectives make them both "arguidos" in their daughter's disappearance.
:: September 9 - The McCanns fly back to England with their two-year-old twins Sean and Amelie.
:: October 2 - Goncalo Amaral, the detective in charge of the inquiry, is removed from the case after criticising the British police in a Portuguese newspaper interview.
:: October 9 - The case is taken over by Paulo Rebelo, a senior detective with Portugal's investigative Policia Judiciaria normally based in Lisbon.
:: October 25 - The McCanns release a new artist's impression drawn by an FBI-trained expert showing the man described by Jane Tanner.
:: November 1 - Mr McCann returns to work as a consultant cardiologist at Leicester's Glenfield Hospital.
:: December 22 - Mr and Mrs McCann send a public message to their daughter, telling her: "Our only Christmas wish is for you to be back with us again."
:: February 4 - Portugal's top detective, Alipio Ribeiro, says in a radio interview that police were "hasty" in making Madeleine's parents suspects in her disappearance.
:: March 19 - Mr and Mrs McCann accept £550,000 libel damages and front-page apologies from Express Newspapers over allegations they were responsible for Madeleine's death.
:: April 7 - Three Portuguese detectives, led by Mr Rebelo, fly to Britain to re-interview the seven friends on holiday with the McCanns when Madeleine vanished.
:: April 10 - Speaking in Brussels, Mr and Mrs McCann call for a Europe-wide missing child alert system.
But this is overshadowed by a leak of the couple's first police interviews, which reveals that Madeleine asked her mother on the morning before she vanished: "Mummy, why didn't you come when we were crying last night?"
:: April 26 - In an interview for a BBC Radio 4 documentary, Mr McCann says he believes his daughter is still "probably alive" and that there is "absolutely zero" evidence to suggest otherwise.
:: April 30 - An ITV documentary reveals that the McCanns almost decided against leaving their children behind when they went out on the night Madeleine disappeared.
:: May 3 - A tearful Mrs McCann urges people to "pray like mad" for Madeleine as she and her family mark the first anniversary of the little girl's disappearance.
:: July 17 - Mr Murat receives £600,000 in libel damages from four newspaper groups over "seriously defamatory" articles connecting him with the child's disappearance.
:: July 21 - The Portuguese authorities shelve their investigation and lift the "arguido" status of the McCanns and Mr Murat.
:: July 24 - Mr Amaral publishes a book about the case, entitled The Truth Of The Lie, in which he alleges that the young girl died in her family's holiday flat on May 3.
:: August 4 - Thousands of pages of evidence from the Portuguese police files in the exhaustive investigation into Madeleine's disappearance are made public.
They reveal details of the lines of inquiry pursued by detectives, witness statements and scores of previously unknown sightings of the little girl.
:: January 13 - Mr McCann returns to Portugal for the first time since coming back to the UK without his daughter.
:: January 29 - Nearly £2 million was raised for the official fund to find Madeleine in the first 10 months after she went missing, Companies House accounts show.
:: March 24 - The McCanns launch a localised new appeal for information focused on the area in the Algarve where Madeleine disappeared.
:: April 4 - Mr McCann goes back to Portugal to help film a reconstruction of the events on the night his daughter vanished for a new Channel 4 documentary.
:: April 22 - The McCanns fly to the US to record an interview with celebrated chat show host Oprah Winfrey to mark two years since Madeleine's disappearance.

Why we should never give up on Madeleine McCann, 01 May 2009
Why we should never give up on Madeleine McCann Liverpool Echo
By Paddy Shennan
May 1 2009
ANOTHER year, another heartbreaking anniversary of anguish and longing.
The longing that, finally, after two unbelievably distressing years, a vital breakthrough is made which will lead to the happy ending everyone craves.
The safe return of Madeleine McCann to her family.
It will be two years on Sunday since Madeleine disappeared from the bedroom of a holiday home in the Algarve.
And once again, the word's media will, as is natural and inevitable with anniversaries, return to the story en masse.
This, of course, could be helpful to the McCanns who, this year, have sought to publicise their search by taking part in both the Oprah Winfrey Show in the States – a programme shown in 144 countries – and a Channel 4 documentary, which will feature a reconstruction.
But, for the McCann family – including devoted Liverpool-based grandparents Susan and Brian Healy – every day without Madeleine is essentially the same.
The world may, at times, look away and move on, but the heartache surrounding Madeleine's plight is a permanent fixture in their lives.
Since their daughter went missing, Kate and Gerry's pain has been added to by both the Portuguese police and elements of the media, which fuelled the bile and bitterness of heartless and unfeeling members of the public.
And now there is the frustration of knowing that there are people who believe this "story" has run its course.
Which is why Gerry's words – when he asks us to imagine a missing child being written off or forgotten about just because there’s been no "news" – strike such a powerful note.
Surely every parent in Kate and Gerry's position would be doing what they have been doing every day since their daughter vanished . . . leaving no stone unturned in their bid to find her and bring her home.
They will never give up on Madeleine, and neither should we.

What Happened to Missing Maddy McCann?, 01 May 2009
What Happened to Missing Maddy McCann? ABC News
Kate and Gerry McCann to Release New Photo of Their Missing Child as She Would Appear Today
LONDON, May 1, 2009
Nearly two years after a 3-year-old British girl named Madeleine McCann went missing from a Portuguese resort town, her parents vow to keep the search going. They have launched a new appeal for information about her whereabouts, including the creation of a new "age progression" photograph that shows Madeleine as she would look now, a few days shy of what would be her sixth birthday.
The picture, to be released during the McCanns' appearance on "The Oprah Winfrey Show" Monday, was produced by the U.S. National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.
On their Web site, Kate and Gerry McCann said, "It is impossible for us to ignore the day-to-day heartache of missing Madeleine, but there is, however, a very important and positive fact that remains -- in spite of all the investigative work done, there is still absolutely nothing to suggest harm to Madeleine and therefore, a very real likelihood that Madeleine is alive and well. We will never, ever give up."
It's been nine months since Portuguese authorities closed the case and cleared Kate and Gerry McCann -- both official suspects -- of any involvement in her disappearance. And there are reports that the money from the fund the family has used to publicize its efforts to find Madeleine has begun to dry up.
But if Madeleine's parents have wearied at all of the drawn-out search and the occasionally negative press attention surrounding the case, they don't show it.
Family spokesman Clarence Mitchell said the McCanns agreed to speak with Winfrey because of the global reach of her show, and the pretaped interview is said to be emotionally charged.
In another television appearance, Gerry McCann reportedly traveled back to the Portuguese resort town, Praia da Luz, where Madeleine disappeared, to participate in a reconstruction of the events surrounding her disappearance. According to the McCann's Web site, the "reconstruction of key sightings" will appear in a documentary, which the U.K.'s Channel Four will air May 7.
In addition, the McCanns are making a renewed effort to publicize the case in Portugal, launching a local campaign in and around Praia da Luz at the end of March.
"We have had leaflets delivered to local households as well as A-vans, buses and billboards with posters in Portuguese asking for people with information to come forward. The message is that we must not give up on Madeleine, and that if someone knows something, it is not too late to do the right thing," Gerry McCann wrote on the Web site.
He also expressed the hope that the Channel Four documentary would be broadcast in Portugal and "generate new leads," adding, "since the case has officially closed, it is vital for Kate and me that we continue to try to discover new information that may help us find Madeleine."
McCann was reportedly heckled by Praia da Luz locals during his visit to film the documentary, and he told a local newspaper that he understands the reasons for some of the negative press surrounding the family. McCann told The Portugal News that he "can totally understand that people want to move on. They don't want the media intrusion and the negative association with Madeleine's abduction."
"But," he said, regardless of how people felt about him and his wife, Kate, "the focus should be on an innocent child and that someone has taken her."
Cash Running Out to Fund Campaign: What Next?
The cash is running out to support the Find Madeleine campaign, Gerry McCann confided to The Portugal News. "It won't dry up in the next few months, but probably by the end of the year, at the rate we are running."
Figures released in March 2008 showed that the campaign fund had already fallen from a reported $3.7 million to $894,000.
Mitchell told reporters that were it not for newspaper libel settlements worth $1.3 million won by the McCanns, the money "would have probably run out some months ago."
The family insists it will continue to search for Madeleine, regardless of the status of the fund.
On "The Oprah Winfrey Show," Kate McCann shared her grief over her missing daughter and said that she visits her bedroom daily. "Not a day goes by when I don't think about her. I feel Madeleine is still close to me and alive."
Speaking to the The Portugal News, Gerry McCann said, "It's a possibility we might never see her again, but until we have absolute definitive evidence of what happened to Madeleine, we can't stop searching."
New Warning System
The McCanns have been campaigning for improved warning systems across the continent since Madeleine's disappearance, visiting the European Parliament twice last year to win support from parliament members.
The family had a small victory of sorts Thursday, when the European Commission pledged $1.34 million toward the creation of a Europewide "Amber Alert" style warning system to trace missing children.
In a statement released by Mitchell, the couple said, "We are really pleased that the European Commission has committed such a significant amount of funding to improve joint procedures whenever a child is abducted in Europe."
But, they added, "This is just the first step that needed to be taken toward achieving a European Amber Alert system, and we are determined that the momentum is kept going. There's still a long way to go."
Two years since Madeleine's shocking disappearance made headlines from the United Kingdom to the United States to as far afield as Morocco, the McCanns show no signs of letting up in their quest to find their daughter.

Don’t you dare tell me Maddie is dead, 01 May 2009
Don’t you dare tell me Maddie is dead Daily Mail
Last updated at 10:30 PM on 01st May 2009
As spokesman for the McCanns, it is Clarence Mitchell's job to answer questions and queries about their missing daughter, Madeleine. Annoyingly for him, the one that is hurled at him most often isn't presented as a question at all, but as a fact.
'All the time people say to me, "Of course she must be dead by now",' he reveals, admitting that it irks him intensely. 'I say, "Well, how do you know that? Prove it."
'It is just as illogical to say that she is dead as it is to say that she is alive. So what I say is that it is as logical to believe that she could still be alive until it is shown otherwise. Kate and Gerry are not naive or stupid. If, tomorrow, someone can prove categorically that she is dead, then they will accept that and move on. But, until they know, they are going to keep working on the basis that she is alive.'
It is for this reason that they were recently in Chicago for an appearance on The Oprah Winfrey Show to highlight the second anniversary of Madeleine's disappearance. The global queen of chat has long been after an interview, but Kate and Gerry always said no, says Mitchell, 'because they didn't feel it was appropriate to go on a show with a celebrity feel'.
What has changed? 'The time is right,' says Mitchell. 'Kate and Gerry want to use the second anniversary to get information out there and, in terms of global audiences, you don't get bigger than Oprah. No one really believes she is being held in the US, but the show goes out all over the world. Who knows where there might be a breakthrough?'
The family has agreed to being followed by a documentary team. They have also been working with a US missing persons agency on a photofit of Madeleine, showing how she might look now. They will also talk about the toll the last two years have taken on them, and whether they still believe there is a real chance of finding Madeleine alive. And the answer will be an overwhelming, 'Yes', says Mitchell.
'Of course, the worst-case scenario is that she is never found and it is never resolved. For Kate and Gerry that is the absolute nightmare, and they know it is a possibility.'
It's impossible to imagine what the McCanns have been through. Mitchell can only give a flavour of it, but even that is chilling. During our interview about his dealings with the couple, he talks of meetings with child-trafficking and sex-abuse experts, who have been pretty candid with the couple about the sort of fates that befall children who go missing.
'People don't pussyfoot around with them, and they get very cross if they try to. If they get a sense that people are saying, "We can't upset them", they say, "No. We need to know this".' He tells me that the most devastating moments have always come after hopes have been raised.
A flight they were on from Berlin to Amsterdam in June 2007 was delayed because a call had been taken from a mobile phone in Argentina, claiming to have information about Madeleine.
'No one ever called back. You presume it was a hoax, but the frustrating thing is that you never find out. But we have come so close to thinking we had found her. At one point a child was identified in Morocco and we genuinely thought it was her. There was an aircraft on standby to take us out there. I can't say too much about the case, but there was a little girl and she had been abducted, but it wasn't Madeleine. She had to be handed over to the authorities. That was devastating for everyone.'
Even now there are sightings. To date, there have been 'visions' from more than 3,000 psychics, as well as tip-offs of every kind from the public. 'If there is something concrete that can be followed up, it will be. Once I got a call from a man who had very specific information about a farm where he said she was being held. We traced the farm and everything was as he said it was. It was raided, but there was no sign of anything. Was that just a mistake, a grudge? We just don't know.'
As to the question of how the family are coping, again there is no easy answer. 'There are good days and bad days,' he says. 'Both Gerry and Kate, but particularly Kate, are best when there is something to do. She gets incredibly frustrated when nothing appears to be happening.'
In recent months, the need to be driving the search on has involved the couple poring over more than 30,000 pages of evidence from thepolice inquiry. 'It has become something of a second career for them. During the day, Gerry is at work and Kate has the twins, but at night the papers come out. Their desire to leave no stone unturned is just incredible to witness.'
Mitchell admits that he was as cynical as they come when he was first asked to get involved. He was working as a Government press officer at the time Madeleine went missing, having switched careers after 20 years at the BBC. In his time as a journalist, he had covered wars and natural disasters, coups and elections.
He tells me that he had always had the knack of being in the right place at the right time. When a plane ploughed into the M1 at Kegworth in 1989, he happened to be driving on the motorway at the time and filed a report from his car. He was one of the first reporters on the scene, too, when his friend and colleague Jill Dando was fatally shot on her doorstep.
So when the Government asked him to fly to Portugal to assist the McCanns with the ever-growing media operation, he was quick to put his journalist's hat back on. He was dubious about the case at first. Any journalist knows that when a child goes missing, whatever is said publicly, the police always look to the parents first, 'and I was no different,' he says. 'The sorts of questions I asked at the outset tackled that very issue, but I was assured that, as far as the Foreign Office was concerned, this was an extremely rare case of stranger abduction. They couldn't have been more convinced about that.
'When I got to Portugal, I saw why for myself. As a journalist, you like to think you can tell if someone is hiding something within the first few minutes of meeting them. In Kate and Gerry, I saw nothing that suggested they were anything other than distraught parents whose child had been taken. And to this day I've never ever seen anything that has made me doubt them. Not a scintilla.'
He watched in horror as public opinion split over the McCann case, partly as a result of them being declared suspects by the Portuguese authorities, partly because of the way they came across in the media. 'That was unfair. I listened to people saying, "Oh, Gerry is a bit rigid and Kate is a bit cold." Well, that's the way they are on camera, but off camera they are completely normal. It still angers me. Who is to say how anyone would react in that position?
'Now, there's frankly an online cottage industry of criticism of the McCanns, much of it utterly libellous and full of bile, prejudice, ignorance, misinterpretation and downright nastiness. And this idea of them courting celebrity is ludicrous. All I can say is that every time I have discussed doing some media with them, their first reaction is, "How will it help us find Madeleine?" That's how it has always been, and will continue to be.'
He felt so strongly about their innocence that he quit his Government job to support them full-time, his salary paid for by one of their millionaire backers. Does he feel some responsibility for the media operation being perhaps too slick? He sits back in his seat. 'How can you be too good at helping to find a child? With a missing child you have to get her face out there, that is it.'
How much longer can the hunt go on, though? Mitchell confirms that the Find Madeleine fund has been pretty much depleted. At current spending patterns, it will have dried up completely by the end of the year.
'But even if there is no money left it won't stop Kate and Gerry. It can't.'
Mitchell has two daughters of his own, aged 12 and three, and a ten-year-old son. They are used to him being away from home for long stretches. 'When I was reporting it was the norm for them not to see me for weeks on end, but even more recently it's been quite stressful on the family front. Our home is in Bath, but I have a place in London where I stay when I'm working. My wife has never wanted to live in London.'
He concedes that it is difficult, and that his wife is constantly asking him to be at home more. 'I try to be home as often as I can, but I'm not going to lie – and it has nothing to do with Madeleine – the career path I've chosen has made it difficult at times. I've always tried to make up for the time I'm away, though. When I was reporting, I'd get a decent amount of time off when I came back from a big job. The Government job was Monday to Friday, so I had weekends with them. Now, this is sort of erratic. We're trying to juggle it all.'
The more he talks about his new role, the more it becomes clear that it gives him even more satisfaction than frontline reporting did.
'Without being arrogant or boasting, I can turn things around fast, so I was the one who was always thrown on set whenever something was kicking off quickly. It is a very disruptive lifestyle, but I enjoyed the buzz as a reporter.
'The difficulty was where to go from there. I worked as a royal correspondent – I was deputy to Jennie Bond, which is a whole other story – and when she left they gave the job to Nicholas Witchell. Then I did a bit more presenting, but that didn't go anywhere either.'
Not least because he once fell asleep mid-shift, I suggest. He groans. 'Oh, not that one. I didn't actually fall asleep on air. I was between my segments on News 24 and had just put my head down on the computer. I woke up with a start a few minutes before I was due on, but, by the time I ran to the studio, they'd put someone else in the chair. I was standing there going, "Let me on, let me on", but they said no. I've never been able to live it down.'
Funnily enough, the disappearance of Maddie provided him with perhaps the biggest story of his career. 'I remember standing on the balcony in Portugal and looking down at the TV crews and media assembled below. In terms of the numbers of camera crews it was as big as anything I'd ever witnessed. And I thought I had seen everything.'
The irony, of course, is that Mitchell has never met the person who has come to define his life over the past two years. Does he actually feel as if he knows Madeleine? 'Absolutely, because the house is full of her,' he admits. 'She is talked about constantly. In the house there are lots of photos, many of which haven't been seen in the papers. And the family talk about her with such warmth that you do feel you know her.'
Inevitably, he takes her home, too. 'In your quieter moments you can't help but think of your own children. Yes, it does get to you, not least because when I get back my children ask, "Have you found Madeleine yet?" I have to say, "Not yet".'

David Jones had his suspicions about the McCanns but two years on, he confesses he was horribly wrong, 01 May 2009
David Jones had his suspicions about the McCanns but two years on, he confesses he was horribly wrong Daily Mail
Last updated at 10:50 PM on 01st May 2009
Tuning the car radio into a late-night BBC phone-in programme during a long motorway drive, a heated debate caught my attention.
'What sort of parents would leave their three-year-old daughter alone in an apartment and go off for dinner?' one angry caller would demand to know.
Then someone else would counter: 'They did nothing wrong. This could have happened to anyone.'
As I listened, it slowly became evident that the girl in question had vanished a few hours earlier from a holiday resort in Portugal, and that she seemed to have been abducted from her bed as she slept.
By the following day, the first heart-melting photographs of 'Missing Madeleine McCann' had been published in the newspapers, etching this grimly compelling story into the national consciousness.
And soon afterwards, I was dispatched to the Algarve to report the hunt for the snatched-away cherub.
Tomorrow marks the second anniversary of Madeleine's disappearance, yet this saga has since taken so many twists and turns, and invoked such prurient fascination, that it might have happened only yesterday.
Two years and millions of words later, the questions show no sign of abating. 'What do you think happened to her? Could she still be alive? Where is she now?' I am invariably asked, if ever I mention that I spent many weeks investigating the Madeleine McCann mystery.
Like every other reporter who has striven to solve this perplexing case, not to mention all those expensive private investigators and the inept Portuguese police, I am no nearer to knowing the answers today than I was on that May afternoon when I first arrived in Praia da Luz.
But over recent months, having sifted again through my notebooks, scoured the internet, revisited old contacts and observed Madeleine's parents, Kate and Gerry, campaigning relentlessly and indefatigably for their daughter's return, I have come to one definite conclusion.
It is that whatever became of the slumbering Madeleine on that dreadful Thursday night, her parents played no part in her disappearance.
In early September, 2007, during perhaps the most sensational week of the inquiry, Kate McCann was declared an arguida (an official suspect) by the Portuguese judiciary.
During her ensuing interrogation, she was treated in a manner which bordered on brutality - remorselessly bullied and hectored in a marathon grilling that would have tested anyone's inner resources to their limits, let alone that of a grief-stricken mother.
At that time, amid mounting speculation about the McCanns' possible culpability, I wrote an article that caused something of a stir and, I am told, exacerbated Kate and Gerry's anguish.
(It also angered my wife, who, with a mother's instincts, has steadfastly believed the McCanns from the outset.)
In that piece, which was based on the facts in my possession - aligned to gut feeling - I voiced the suspicions of many colleagues and a surprisingly large proportion of the watching public, by admitting that I had nagging doubts about the couple's innocence.
It was an honestly held opinion, but now, on the second anniversary of Madeleine's disappearance, I have to confess that I was horribly wrong.
Why, though, did I think back then that they might be in some way culpable, and why, two years after their daughter vanished, have I so radically changed my views?
As the spring of 2007 progressed, opinions about Kate and Gerry McCann polarised in an extraordinary way, and they found themselves the subject of intense scrutiny.
It was fuelled by their decision to launch an international media campaign, the likes of which had never been seen before, in the hope that it would keep Madeleine in the news and hasten her return.
They hired a succession of PR experts and private investigators, set up an internet site that kept people up to speed with every facet of the case via Gerry McCann's strangely breezy web diary, jetted around the world to appear on TV and even secured an audience with the Pope.
All this frenetic activity was paid for by a fund whose coffers were swelled by tycoons such as Sir Philip Green and Sir Richard Branson; and it made many people deeply uneasy.
Ironically, discussion of their campaign techniques also distracted the world from the very objective the McCanns and their supporters were trying to promote: namely, finding their missing little girl.
Observing from close quarters, I was among those who found it all rather unedifying. During those early months I was perturbed by the McCanns' demeanour.
Clinging for comfort to Madeleine's favourite soft toy, Cuddle Cat, Kate appeared unreachably distant.
Her husband, by contrast, seemed positively chipper, and there were days when the Leicestershire cardiologist almost appeared to relish his highprofile, globetrotting new role.
With hindsight this was a ridiculous and unjustifiable rush to judgment. For how can any of us know what constitutes 'appropriate' behaviour for parents robbed of a child so swiftly and left in limbo, unable to escape the darkest fears of their imagination?
As their spokesman Clarence Mitchell remarked to me this week, after it was suggested that Kate again appeared close to the edge on returning from an appearance on The Oprah Winfrey Show in America, the couple would have been damned in some quarters however they had reacted.
He was right, but I was not alone among those who allowed their personal observations of the McCanns to colour their opinions about the case.
And the more I examined the story, as they and their team presented it (in the absence of any information from the legally constrained Portuguese police), the more sceptical I became.
There were all manner of reasons why the suggestion that some fiend had simply carried off Madeleine into the night just didn't seem to add up.
For one thing, Praia da Luz is not some bustling, mainstream Mediterranean resort where a stranger could easily slip in undetected.
It is little more than a village, serviced by one main access road. In early May, it is particularly quiet (the more so now that many holidaymakers refuse to venture there).
Furthermore, the apartment the McCanns had rented was on the ground floor, on the corner of a well-lit street and passageway.
Although the McCanns and their friends - the so called Tapas Seven - were dining in a restaurant obscured by a 6ft wall, they were less than 100 yards away.
Examining this scene time and again, measuring out precise distances and times, it seemed inconceivable that anyone would have the audacity, let alone the wherewithal, to break into the flat and snatch a three-year old girl sleeping beside her younger twin siblings without being caught.
The alternative theories seemed equally outlandish. Some ventured that Madeleine had woken up bewildered in a strange country and wandered off to look for Mummy and Daddy, only to fall down the freshly dug roadworks by the apartment, which were filled in a few days later.
Or had she been snatched by paedophiles and smuggled out of Portugal, perhaps across the Spanish border an hour's drive away, or on a waiting boat - a possibility that gained credence after witnesses said they had seen a girl resembling Madeleine with a man near the harbour?
As this last scenario gathered momentum, I went to Morocco, following one of many supposedly reliable eye-witness sightings of the little blonde girl with a distinctive 'flash' in her right eye.
The trail led to a remote village high in the Atlas mountains, where Madeleine was believed to be held captive in some farmhouse - but, like so many other such claims in Belgium, Holland, Spain and, most recently Malta, it came to nothing.
In the meantime, the spotlight had fallen on Robert Murat, an entrepreneur of mixed British and Portuguese extraction whose mother lived just a few hundred yards from the McCann apartment.
In the estimation of one over imaginative reporter, he appeared to have acted strangely while working as an interpreter for Portuguese police investigating the disappearance.
Such was the police's desperation to solve a case that threw their deficiencies into stark relief that, without any discernible foundation, Murat was also made an official suspect.
Every aspect of his personal life was minutely examined, and when it was found that he had made a late-night phone call to a Russian computer nerd with whom he was friendly on the night Madeleine was taken, this was taken to be highly significant.
Murat was then the subject of all manner of lurid smear stories. Yet when I tracked him down at his sister's country guesthouse and became one of the few reporters to interview him at length, I did not recognise the man in these articles.
As he spoke lovingly about his own infant daughter, and described how it felt to be falsely accused of the most terrible crime imaginable, I became convinced of his innocence - and wrote as much.
Yet, at that stage, I still couldn't be so sure about the McCanns, and when Kate was arrested I came out and said so.
I asked Clarence Mitchell this week how they had reacted. 'Kate and Gerry didn't like the piece, but at the end of the day you have the legitimate right to question anything as a journalist.
'Given the flavour of what came out in the Portuguese media at that time it was understandable; regrettable but understandable.
'But when you meet them, and get to know them, you realise quite quickly that they aren't making this up. And when Madeleine is recovered, a lot of people will regret what they wrote.'
Sadly, I am not at all sure that she ever will be found.
Flawed as the Portuguese police case against the McCanns clearly was, it is not so much the hard evidence that now convinces me that I was wrong, but our old friend gut instinct, which in my case has completely changed after following the case from a distance for many months.
I have come to admire the McCanns for their cussed determination and refusal to alter course, despite all the criticism.
When I spoke to Madeleine's two grandmothers this week, that admiration was cemented. 'The whole family are physically exhausted. Kate, in particular, is very tired after coming home from America,' her mother, Susan Healy, told me from her Liverpool home.
'She has had a hectic couple of weeks and really needs to recharge her batteries, but I don't think she has thought about stopping. Not for a minute. I don't think either of them can stop - that's the awful thing.
'They are just stuck in a situation where they don't have a lot of control. The only control they have is to remind people that Madeleine is still missing. That is why they do it.
'You have to understand that everything Kate does - everything - is done because she wants her daughter back. That's the only question they ever ask themselves: will this help us find Madeleine? Nothing else is of any importance.
'If Kate ever gets to the end of the line - I mean, if they got to the stage where they thought there was nothing more they could do - then that would be very difficult. But it would appear that they haven't reached that stage.
'Madeleine is their daughter and they've simply got to carry on. I don't know whether they would call it optimism or not, but they have to keep hoping. If they shrugged their shoulders and said "OK, she's not alive any more," they would be letting her down, wouldn't they?'
In Glasgow, Mr McCann's mother, Eileen, told me much the same thing. 'There's nothing to say that Madeleine isn't alive, so why would they think otherwise?' she said. 'We never even discuss any other possibility.'
You can only applaud such spirit. But if, against all the conceivable odds, Madeleine really has survived, what has become of her?
This week, in a TV reconstruction of her abduction, the latest private detectives to be hired by the McCanns - two experienced former CID men from the North of England, whose no-nonsense approach contrasts sharply with that of their expensive and unproductive predecessors - may uncover fresh clues.
After sifting through reams of previously unexamined Portuguese judicial documents and reinterviewing key witnesses, there is talk of a new 'mystery man' apparently seen loitering near the apartment on that fateful Thursday night.
The programme will not solve the most enduring and troubling missing person inquiry of modern times, of course. Nor will it silence the whispers from those who still harbour lingering doubts about Mr and Mrs McCann.
Nevertheless, we can be sure that they will continue to carry their cross with stoicism.

Donegal town promises to keep praying for Madeleine, 02 May 2009
Donegal town promises to keep praying for Madeleine Belfast Telegraph

Madeleine in Donegal, Easter 2007 (April)

Madeleine (second from left) with (left to right) brother Sean, cousin Fiona McCann, sister Amelie and cousin Gregor McCann in Donegal
By Brendan McDaid
Saturday 2 May 2009
The Ulster community among whom Madeleine McCann's family spent their last complete holiday together will gather tomorrow to pray for her — two years to the day since she vanished.
The residents of the remote picturesque coastal town of Dungloe in west Donegal will gather to pray at St Crona's Church, where just over two years ago they had stood alongside Gerry and Kate McCann and their three children at Mass over Easter.
The McCann family had been visiting the area on holiday in April 2007 before stopping off at their family-owned pub in St Johnston on the Donegal side of the border, just a few miles from Londonderry city centre.
Madeleine and her family had been enjoying a holiday with over 40 relatives and friends in Dungloe and had also visited the neighbouring Gweedore region.
In pictures released following her disappearance, the three-year-old was seen with her cousins happily playing on the beach and enjoying an ice cream during the Easter break.
Local priest, Reverend Nigel O'Gaillachoir, said: "Last year we prayed for Madeleine and we will have prayers for her again this weekend. The family had been visiting the area and had attended services here."
Fr O'Gaillachoir said that the two year anniversary since little Madeleine's disappearance was a poignant time to remember other people who are missing.
"We will pray for anybody who is bereaved or lost or searching like this. Our hearts go out to them."
The McCann family have strong Donegal connections which stretch back over centuries and Gerry's family still owns a pub in St Johnston, where his father Johnny was born.
Joe Peoples, who took over the pub after Gerry's parents, Johnny and Eileen, moved away to start a new life in Scotland in the mid- 1960s, said the thoughts of local people were with the devastated family as they faced the second anniversary.
Mr Peoples, who is a friend of Eileen McCann, and who was visited by Gerry, Kate and their children during their visit two years ago, said: "Your head would be pickled thinking about it — there's not a day goes by when you don't think about it."
Madeleine was snatched from her bed as she slept in a holiday complex in Praia da Luz in Portugal on May 3.

The English care little, 03 May 2009
The English care little Jornal de Notícias
In Rothley, the McCanns' town, contrary to what happened on the first anniversary, there is no mass. In the rest of the country, disinterest reigns
by Rita Jordão, London correspondent
Thanks to Astro for translation
One year after Maddie's disappearance, the story that took place in the Algarve still interested half of the world.
Two years after, the same half of the world is tired. The couple that moved opposing factions for so long, which religiously defended or attacked the McCanns, took the case too far, and with the increasingly evident certainty that a satisfactory outcome will never be known, many have lost interest.
The media also lost most of its interest in a case that cost some British newspapers almost a million euros. Kate and Gerry, on their hand, continue to try to seduce journalists, one campaign after another. New images, new interviews (including an appearance in the United States, on Oprah Winfrey's show, one of the most watched programmes worldwide) and new documentaries mark the date. The parents don't hide their will to have Madeleine back, in the headlines of the same papers that they condemned, a year ago.
"Madeleine is still missing! She has the right to return to her family. We have the responsibility to continue searching and we ask you – please don't give up on Madeleine", a press release from Kate and Gerry stated. The parents assert: "Pain and anxiety don't dissipate but the will to find our daughter remains untouched".
Madeleine disappeared on the 3rd of May 2007, only days before she would become aged four. On Oprah Winfrey's talk show, Kate and Gerry revealed for the first time a new image that was created by a North American expert and which reconstructs Maddie's face at the age of six, like she would look today. But just like Gerry was jeered at during his return to Praia da Luz, there were many who opposed their appearance on the American programme. A petition on the English prime minister Gordon Brown's site appealed to the prohibition of such an appearance, while another petition manifests against the documentary, which will be broadcast on the 7th of May.
According to the parents, the reconstructive documentary presents "potentially significant and even suspicious events". "A large part of the information has not been revealed to the public until now, but there are several questions that remain unanswered. One of these questions may provide information that could lead to Maddie". This was the explanation that Kate and Gerry gave for their insistence in bringing a two-year-old case before the public.
The "Find Madeleine" fund, meanwhile, continues to pay for the expenses of several detectives who launched a new investigation in the search for Madeleine. The results continue to be the same as those that were obtained by Spanish firm "Método 3": leaflets, local and international campaigns, interviews.
All of this places some media attention around the couple, but instead of headlines, the McCanns now get mere references in papers that are again more concerned about the future of Cristiano Ronaldo and Gordon Brown, than about the missing girl.
In Rothley, Madeleine's home town where her parents reside, the support is still evident, but this year, contrary to what happened on the first anniversary, there won't be a special mass to mark the date. For the rest of the nation, on the other hand, after a love-hate relationship between the McCanns and the British people, today's leading word is truly indifference.

Madeleine ignored in her parents' town, 03 May 2009
Madeleine ignored in her parents' town Diário de Notícias
Two years later, everyone seems to want to forget the Maddie McCann case. Except for her parents, who bet on a new worldwide campaign after publicising an image of the child at the age of six and the broadcast of the Channel Four documentary, which was partially recorded in Praia da Luz
by Céu Neves
Thanks to Astro for translation
Rothley has recovered its quiet and is now far from the agitated months that followed the disappearance of Madeleine, two years ago today. And even the memorial that was built on the little town square has returned to its original purpose: to homage those fallen during the Second World War. An oratorio that was placed on the ground looks forgotten, on Friday, with two days to go until the 3rd of May. Until someone decides to light the candle and place a photo of Maddie. A photo reporter shoots his camera. He ends up confessing that he was the author of the staging. "I need a photo!", he justifies.
Apart from revealing the lack of ethics by this professional, the episode is an example of what is happening in this small village near Leicester. There is nothing that recalls Madeleine. It's a quiet place where residents stay at home. And even the owner of the Royal Oak, the bar on the square in front of the memorial, who was keen on keeping the flame for Madeleine, has surrendered as months went by. The disappearance of the 4-year-old girl, in Praia da Luz, in Portugal, is increasingly a memory and decreasingly a conversation subject. When asked if they talk about Madeleine, they reply: "Not really!"
Such is the case of Rachel, 41, a pharmacist. "It was a very sad situation and we felt solidarity with the McCanns, but we rarely discuss it. We can hardly imagine that it happened," she says. But according to her opinion, what should never have happened was that the parents left the children alone. The pharmacist has two daughters, aged 14 and 16, and stresses that she never left them alone when they were small.
Rachel doesn't want to state her surname, other residents don't even reveal their first name. "This is a small village, we all end up knowing who it is and I'm very critical about what the parents did. I go abroad often, and if I want to socialise, I take the children with me," a patron at the bar argues. He and the other two customers who smoke at the door confirm that the subject is no longer a conversation on the street, or a family debate.
But they all mention Maddie's disappearance when questioned about the 3rd of May. And Ivone Foster, aged 64, retired, and Michael Muehlensiepen, aged 48, a business manager, underline that they'll never forget what happened. "It's not talked about, which doesn't mean that we forget about it. And obviously we recall it more often as the date when it all happened draws closer. Apart from that, the newspapers keep reminding us," they say.
Yesterday, several British newspapers, from the Sun to the Times, placed an image of Madeleine, which was treated at the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, in Washington. Experts used photos of Kate and Gerry McCann when they were children, recreating Maddie's expression an the age of six, which is how old she would be if she was alive, as her parents say they believe she is. The photo is presented as the couple's hope to obtain information. "We're not looking for a girl aged four anymore – but six. This is crucial, we hope that this new image (…) helps people to see how Madeleine now may look," reads the latest message from Kate and Gerry on the site, in the hope that new data may emerge, says family advisor Clarence Mitchell.
The McCanns will spend the day in complete reclusion today and will only go out to attend mass, as Gerry McCann confirmed to DN, stating his unavailability to give interviews. With the justification: "We did what we had to do for now!". Secluded at home, the couple followed their neighbours' behaviour. To remain behind closed doors, with their two other children. All the same, except for the yellow and green ribbons that they placed on the gate and on the door, and the van with messages to find Madeleine. Still with the old photo.

Prayers on Madeleine anniversary, 03 May 2009
Prayers on Madeleine anniversary BBC News

Detectives Arthur Cowley and Dave Edgar
Detectives Arthur Cowley and Dave Edgar

Page last updated at 10:24 GMT, Sunday, 3 May 2009 11:24 UK
Prayers have been said in the McCanns' home village, two years since their daughter Madeleine went missing.
Gerry and Kate McCann are thought to be spending a weekend away from the spotlight while churches in Rothley, Leicestershire marked the anniversary.
Private detectives have spoken publicly about their inquiry for the first time.
The British former police officers said the answer still lay with someone in the Portuguese resort from which Madeleine disappeared, aged three.
Ahead of the anniversary the family released an age-progression image of how Madeleine - who vanished from the family's holiday apartment in Praia da Luz - may look now at nearly six years old.
'Pain and anxiety'
Detectives Dave Edgar and Arthur Cowley told a Channel 4 documentary, to be aired next week, that someone living in or around the Algarve resort knew what had happened to her.
Mr Edgar, a retired detective inspector with 30 years experience, said: "You don't start an investigation in Morocco or Spain or France or even Lisbon.
"This offence happened in Praia da Luz. It is a very self-contained resort, and that's where we've started and that's where I think the answer is."
The detectives disclosed that a witness statement released last summer corroborated the sighting by a friend of Madeleine's parents of a man carrying a girl in the area at the time she went missing.
They also said statements from files released last summer suggested the family may have been watched in the days before Madeleine disappeared.
Cutting Edge: Madeleine Was Here follows the two men as they try to piece together eye-witnesses accounts.
In Rothley, Rev Rob Gladstone from the parish church said prayers were held every week for Madeleine but there was extra thought on the anniversary.
He said there was no special service as the anniversary tied in with normal Sunday services.
Father Keith Tomlinson, priest at Rothley's Catholic church Sacred Heart, said mass was dedicated to the McCanns.
In a statement issued ahead of the anniversary, the McCanns said: "The pain and anxiety does not lessen, but our determination to find our beautiful daughter remains steadfast.
"We are no longer looking for a four-year-old little girl - but a six-year-old one. This is crucial.
"We are hoping that the new, age-progressed image of Madeleine aged six, produced by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children in Washington, will help people to see what Madeleine may look like today."
Despite numerous leads, the investigation into what happened to her has drawn a blank.

Village marks second anniversary of Madeleine McCann's disappearance, 03 May 2009
Village marks second anniversary of Madeleine McCann's disappearance Guardian
Friends and neighbours say prayers as family refreshes public's memory with new appeals and a documentary
Alexandra Topping
Sunday 3 May 2009 13.50 BST
Prayers were said in the McCanns' home village today to mark the two-year anniversary of their daughter Madeleine's disappearance.
Villagers gathered at churches in Rothley, Leicestershire, where the family live, to pray for Madeleine, who disappeared in Praia da Luz, Portugal, on 3 May 2007, a few days before her fourth birthday.
Her parents, Kate and Gerry McCann, are believed to have left the village to spend a weekend away from the public eye, with their four-year-old twins, Sean and Amelie.
Father Keith Tomlinson, the priest at the McCanns' Catholic church, the Sacred Heart, dedicated today's mass to Madeleine, who would now be almost six. The Rev Rob Gladstone, the vicar at Rothley parish church, said his congregation prayed for Madeleine every week, but would be giving extra thought to her today.
"In all our services we pray for missing children and particularly for the McCann family every week. We will give a bit more attention to this, but it has never gone away from here, it's still happening for us. Week by week we pray for the McCann family."
The McCanns have made renewed efforts in recent weeks to keep awareness of the campaign to find their daughter in people's minds, including the release of a digitally enhanced age progression image of how their daughter may now look, and an intimate interview with the US chatshow host Oprah Winfrey, due to be broadcast today.
In a statement issued ahead of today's anniversary, the McCanns said: "It is two long years since Madeleine was taken. It is two years since we were a happy family of five. The pain and anxiety does not lessen, but our determination to find our beautiful daughter remains steadfast. We are no longer looking for a four-year-old little girl, but a six-year-old one. This is crucial."
The McCanns' spokesman, Clarence Mitchell, said it had been difficult for the couple to see the image of how their daughter would look today, but felt it was important for as many people as possible to see Madeleine as she is now, rather than the three-year-old child seen in previously released photographs.
"This is the child that somebody who is close to Madeleine may spot, rather than the child in those other photos, and Kate and Gerry are incredibly hopeful that this will lead to the phone call that finds Madeleine and brings her home," he said.
The McCanns also hope a Channel 4 documentary about their daughter's disappearance, to be aired on Thursday, will refresh the memories of people who were in Praia da Luz two years ago.
The documentary, Cutting Edge: Madeleine Was Here, follows two private detectives, Dave Edgar and Arthur Cowley, as they try to piece together evidence given by witnesses.
Until now, the McCanns have not released any possible new leads from the documents, but are expected to reveal some new lines of inquiry in the documentary.
Edgar and Cowley, two former British police officers, told documentary makers they believed the answer to Madeleine's disappearance lay in the Portuguese resort.
Edgar, a retired detective inspector, said: "You don't start an investigation in Morocco or Spain or France or even Lisbon. This offence happened in Praia da Luz. It is a very self-contained resort, and that's where we've started and that's where I think the answer is."

Suddenly, in a past May, 03 May 2009
Suddenly, in a past May Público
By Kathleen Gomes
03 May 2009
Thanks to Astro for translation
It's not possible to enter Praia da Luz in a straight line. The road ahead is not for those who arrive, but rather for those who leave. The signs tell us to turn right, which is up. It's as if we went around the back before we enter, and the view is nothing like a postcard: a string of buildings that look little used, without life, literally on display for the English. They call this Praia da Luz, but the beach [praia] can't be seen from here. It's not visible yet, despite the natural inclination of the terrain being favourable. The buildings have blocked the sea out of view.
At the hotel, we ask for a map that we'll never use. Luz is only this: a village to which tourism happened. Manuel Borba, aged 72, the mayor for the last 16 years, corrects us with more bonhomie than impatience: the journalists have always mentioned a village, but Luz was upgraded to a small town in 2002. He didn't insist on it anyway. A journalist, nowadays, is a 'persona non grata' in Luz, a foreboding bird. Before the evening of the 3rd of May 2007, it’s unlikely that the locals had ever seen one up close.
Luz is a quiet place – tourists use to praise it for that -, without the minimum requisites for exceptional events (despite Paul McCartney's visit in 1969). But after a four-year-old English girl disappeared mysteriously, journalists and television crews from all over the world converged there over the following weeks. "Even a television from Chile!", says the mayor. Luz had its equivalent of a barbarian invasion. "There was an assault by the media", says Hanna Rio da Silva, aged 48, a self-titled Portuguese-New Zealander who has been living in the small town for six-and-a-half years and sells self-made jewellery in front of the beach. "One day, the beach was full, a group of reporters arrived and I saw people running away. What happened here was Hollywood. The treatment of the issue was revolting. Unfortunately, it was the investigation that suffered."
Maybe the inhabitants started out by becoming fascinated with the journalists' presence, or felt genuine pleasure in working with faces that they knew from national newscasts ("when they were here, I only spoke to the Portuguese, never to the English", a member of staff at the Luz Ocean Club, who wants to remain anonymous, states proudly). But the journalists ended up leaving, and Luz must have felt like a peasant girl that had been seduced and dumped by a city boy, her reputation shattered. It's still a quiet place, but it was never the same again.
"I went to Seville last year, and when I said that I came from Praia da Luz, everyone did: 'Oh.' If I said Portimão, Albufeira or Faro, they'd be none the wiser", explains Luc St John Webb, during a momentary break in his British sarcasm. Young Luc left Paris to head the Fortaleza Restaurant in Praia da Luz. "I thought I'd be bored after one week, but I've discovered that running a restaurant is exciting." The town's most pleasant terrace, overlooking the sea, is here. At the entrance, the blackboards call the customers in English ("Watch the furious waves from our covered terrace"), the same language that the waiters use to greet those who enter. Luc confirms that customers are almost all English.
English is also the common, and dominating, language at the Baptista Supermarket, which is more select that one usually finds outside big cities. The customers make their requests in English, there is a vast amount of English brands, and the British tabloids stand out more than the Portuguese press, at the news stand. On a Thursday morning, three English women looking like toxic Golden Girls smoke in front of their milk coffees, at a table on the supermarket's terrace. Jacqueline Taylor joins them – she's the only non-smoker. She exchanged Birmingham for Luz, seven years ago. In the 80s, she and her husband came to Albufeira and discovered Praia da Luz "accidentally" and "fell in love with it". "It was much smaller and very picturesque", she says. "People were charming. It looked like the right place." When her marriage ended, she moved over for good. Two years ago, she was a neighbour of Robert Murat, the first suspect in the case of the disappearance of Madeleine McCann. She's 66, with golden hair and small eyes, as if they'd been sucked in by the surrounding skin. Edna Craddock, who has extinguished her cigarette: "It's cheaper to holiday here than in England." Jacqueline notices that her friend's sentence has generated a question mark. "In England, if the weather is bad, which happens all the time, one has to pay for entertainment, so one is not left with nothing to do. And hotels are more expensive than here."
The English
The presence of the English in Luz dates back at least to the end of the 19th century. Of the three canned goods' factories that existed in the settlement, at least one would have been owned by English people as they were active in the Lagos area. Luc St John Webb also theorises that English families that had connections with the production and sales of Port wine found their way South, during the summer season. But it was in the 60s that the flow intensified and that which was happening in the Algarve could be called tourism. That flow remained in the families' DNA, passing on from one generation to the next. It's common to meet English tourists who knew Praia da Luz in their infancy, with their parents, and returned – now they are the parents themselves.
The first tourist resort, Luz Bay, was built by Portuguese, in the seventies. "It was the first to be built in the Algarve, possibly in the country", explains Porfírio Neto, the director's assistant at Luz Bay Hotel, which belongs to the same group. "Many famous people spent their holidays here. Amália..." This is the resort that is closest to the beach, two storey houses, with Algarvian barbecues and a Greek whiteness. In the morning and at the end of the day, the streets denounce the sweet smell of honeysuckles. The fashion stuck: in 1982, three English partners living in Portugal, one of whom from an ancient Port wine producing family, opened the Ocean Club. The most recent resort, which was developed by an Irish company, opened in 2007. A post-modern Pompey in terracotta hues. "Luxury villas" 200 metres away from the beach.
"There is no urban development plan. There was some lack of coordination", the mayor recognises. According to him, the last population census, in 2001, showed that 70 percent of the houses are not inhabited for most part of the year.
"Do you think these buildings are ugly?", Luc St John Webb asks, intrigued, as if the idea was inedited. "You should see Portimão or Albufeira."
Jacqueline Taylor, on another terrace: "The construction here is horrendous. The firms are so greedy, they seem to be grasping all the land that they can. And many of those houses remain empty."
An Oscar for the McCanns
The Ocean Club is going through its most desolate period. There are three, maybe four bodies in the sun – the rest is empty sun chairs around the empty pool. The poolside bar where Gerry and Kate McCann dined with their friends on the night that their daughter disappeared looks inactive. A customer asks in English: "Can we eat something?" because it's doubtful that one can eat anything. The back of the apartment that was hired by the McCanns is visible from here. Closed shutters, the ground floor looks like an armour, closed upon itself.
The Ocean Club was once one of the major employers in the area. In 2007 it had 130 staff members, in 2008 it had 60. Presently they are 48, but around a month ago the management announced the dismissal of 21 workers, by letter, mentioning the impact that the Maddie case had on occupancy rates. Some of those who are leaving told the papers that they are considering the possibility of suing the McCanns. But for the moment they make a vow of silence. "They don't speak before they receive their compensation", an employee explains. Those who are staying don't talk, fearing reprisals.
In early April, Gerry McCann returned to Praia da Luz to film the reconstruction of the night of his daughter's disappearance for Channel Four, and was jeered by locals. "Yes, there was great solidarity [with the couple] at the beginning, but then people started realising that there was something weird," the Ocean Club worker says. Suspicion towards the McCanns now seems to be a collective activity in Luz, even as every person alleges individual proof, his or her own version of what someone describes as "the McCanns' puppet show".
The Ocean Club member of staff: "Their daughter disappeared on a Thursday and on Monday he was already playing tennis with his friends, very happy. She would go jogging, and the journalists all went after her. She did it on purpose."
Cândida Domingos, a member of staff at the primary school: "There was never a tear. It's very suspicious for a mother who loses a child to be on television talking at one hundred percent. I think she is more of a suspect than him."
A woman who reads Correio da Manhã at the café table: "After that happened, I saw her eating on the terrace of the Chinese restaurant. If it was me, I think I'd stay at home, covering my face. And I don't even have children. But I do have nephews."
Another local witness: "They're great actors. I don't know how they missed the Oscar. After two days, my theory wasn't that of other people anymore. I walked by Gerry McCann and he was laughing his head off, on the phone."
Two years later
With the second anniversary of Maddie's disappearance drawing closer, the campaign that appeals to information that may lead to her whereabouts has been renewed. The posters that were put up in Luz were torn down and the outdoor on the road that leads into the small town, with the child's face and a piercing "Help me!", has been tinted with white paint. The local population received a letter that is related to that same campaign, with questions about the disappearance – "On the night of Madeleine's disappearance, did you see or hear anything strange?"; "At the time, did you contact the police and tell what you knew?"; "Do you know someone who might hold information that could help?" – and asserting "total secrecy and anonymity" to anyone who gives information. "God forgive me, but I shredded the letter at once," says the woman who was reading Correio da Manhã. "now they want us to search, after two years?"
"There are many things that they do now which make no sense", says Maria, aged 74. "They should have done it right away. Now, it's nothing but soup after the main course." The local pronunciation is a sort of more agile Alentejo accent; here, some vowels are opened like it's done on the islands.
Scenes of class fighting in Praia da Luz: "If this happened to a Portuguese, there wouldn't have been this turmoil. If it had been my child, this wouldn't have been like it was. Because I'm poor and they are rich," Cândida Domingos concludes.
The mayor, sitting in his office, which was headquarters for the joint searches: "The investigation should have gone through until the end. But, so much television, so much ink, and this is the result?"
The only place where the appeal to find Maddie persists inside the small town is the Duke of Holland, a restaurant/bar that smells like an English pub. A poster on the window: "Please find our Madeleine." It's one of those places that seem to have been made to exist only at night, because the light of day has a hard time getting in and the air never recovers, as if it was hung over. The English employee consults the manager and then calls the owner saying that there is a journalist that saw the poster and came in asking questions. Official position, dictated by the blonde employee, after hanging up: "The reason why the poster is there is because a child hasn't been found yet". No journalists, please. "There was lots of bad press and people are tired", the employee closes, and kills, the subject. There is another place where Maddie's image remains affixed: near the church altar, glued to a red heart and a hand-written bilingual pledge: "Rezem por mim / pray for me". Underneath, two lights are lit in a sort of jukebox of artificial candles.
Less tourists
Praia da Luz was always chosen by families, the locals say. As distances are village sized, the car is not needed, "one just walks down to the beach," someone says. "It's not the tourist that wants discos, noise," Porfírio Neto notes, tracing the profile of the summer tourist that comes here. "It's more of the tourist that comes for a rest."
On the first year after the events, less children could be seen in Luz, Jacqueline Taylor recalls. "In the early days, parents walked around holding their children all the time," says a resident who wishes to remain anonymous. "They had them on a leash!", Luc St John Webb says with irony.
Kelly Fisher, aged 26, a supermarket cashier in Somerset, walks her six month old son in a baby buggy at the beachfront. "I was here with my parents when I was small. The environment is nice. What happened was a rare event, once in a lifetime. All that one has to do is to watch over the children." A young German couple carrying a baby are coming out of the church: "Yes, friends of us mentioned that [Maddie's disappearance], but we had already booked," she says. "But I don't even know where that happened. Was it here in town?" We say yes and she looks incredulous.
"There's still people who say: 'Praia da Luz? Isn't that where that thing happened to Maddie? Then we're going elsewhere'," the Ocean Club worker says. It's a "black cloud" that won't dissipate.
"Many people in England had never heard about Praia da Luz," says Jacqueline Taylor. "It didn't become known overnight for being a beautiful, quiet holiday spot. It became famous for the wrong reasons." And does that have negative consequences on the tourist flow? "It's not because of Maddie that the tourists won't come," suggests shop owner Gabriela Silva, aged 43. "Business is low, but we're also in a crisis," says the owner of a restaurant where English people are 90 percent of customers. "And before the Maddie case, we were stagnant already."
The inflow is "slightly lower" at this time of year because the pound has devalued, defends Luc St John Webb. "The pound was at 1,60 [euros] and now it's 1,06 [euros]." At the toxic English women's table, under the midday sun, the cadavers of recession in their country are counted: supermarket chain Woolworths, the historic auto industry. They unburden: "We'll be poor in a short while."
At Luz Bay, Porfírio Neto asserts that the effect is zero. "We've had the hotel always full. Many of our customers return, they know the area well, they know that the case had nothing to do with the locals."
And does anyone still ask questions about Maddie? "Nobody. As if nothing had happened."

Two Year Anniversary: Theories

Mark Williams-Thomas appears again with his theory that Madeleine was snatched after leaving the McCanns' apartment. 

A Statement Of The Obvious?, 30 April 2009
A Statement Of The Obvious? Sky News
Martin Brunt
April 30, 2009 10:44 PM
Madeleine McCann's parents had nothing to do with her disappearance, she was probably abducted after she left the apartment, the Portuguese police did a poor investigation and the dogs' evidence was dodgy.
No, not my conclusions, but those of British criminologist and ex-cop Mark Williams-Thomas.
His findings, on the second anniversay of her disappearance, are based on the translation of 10,000 police documents, including witness statements, DNA reports and photographs.
He says he was helped in his review by criminal profiler Professor David Wilson and a woman who speaks Portuguese.
Is this:
a) Critical analysis which "throws new light on the disappearance", as Mark claims?
b) A statement of the bleedin' obvious?
Please discuss.

The two Sun articles, below, disputed the McCanns' 'abductor in the apartment' theory and promptly disappeared...

Maddie 'seized looking for parents', 01 May 2009
Maddie 'seized looking for parents' The Sun (no longer available online)
Published: 01 May 2009 (appeared online 30 April 2009)
MADELEINE McCann was probably abducted as she went looking for her parents, an expert claimed yesterday.
Criminologist Mark Williams-Thomas said it was unlikely that an abductor entered Maddie's holiday flat in Praia da Luz, Portugal.
He said she may have been seized by an opportunistic paedophile as she ventured out in search of her parents, who were dining at a nearby tapas bar.
He reckons Maddie arranged her toys on her bed and left apartment 5a at the Ocean Club through an unlocked patio door. And he believes an abductor would not have arranged the toys as they would have wanted to escape quickly.
Ex-detective Mr Williams-Thomas, who has studied 10,000 Portuguese police files, added that a paedophile entering the flat may have chosen to take one of Maddie's younger and more defenceless twins Sean and Amelie who were asleep.
He said: "Based on case file evidence it is more likely she was abducted after she had left the apartment."
Maddie vanished just days before her fourth birthday.
Dad Gerry, 40, and mum Kate, 41, of Rothley, Leics, mark the second anniversary of her disappearance this weekend.
They have launched their own inquiry after Portuguese police ended an investigation widely regarded as flawed.

Kate's tears for missing Maddie, 01 May 2009
Kate's tears for missing Maddie The Sun (no longer available online)
Published: Today (01 May 2009)
THESE photos show Kate McCann's tears as she told TV's Oprah Winfrey she did not recognise photos of how missing daughter Maddie would look now.
Kate, 41, and husband Gerry, 40, appeared on the US chat queen's show, due to air May 4, to mark two years since Maddie vanished on holiday in Portugal — just days before her fourth birthday.
Computer-generated images of Maddie aged five in a blue dress flashed on to a giant screen as the show was recorded in front of a studio audience in Chicago.
The pictures were created by experts at Virginia's National Centre for Missing and Exploited Children.
Audience member Chris Myers, 43, who watched the live show last week said: "Kate told Oprah she felt Madeleine was still alive.
"Oprah and Kate were very emotional. Kate broke down on two occasions."
The show comes amidst new claims that Maddie was probably abducted as she went looking for her parents.
Criminologist Mark Williams-Thomas said it was unlikely that an abductor entered Maddie's holiday flat in Praia da Luz.
Mr Williams-Thomas said Maddie may have been seized by an opportunistic paedophile as she ventured out in search of her parents, who were dining at a nearby tapas bar.
He reckons Maddie arranged her toys on her bed and left apartment 5a at the Ocean Club through an unlocked patio door. And he believes an abductor would not have arranged the toys as they would have wanted to escape quickly.
Ex-detective Mr Williams-Thomas, who has studied 10,000 Portuguese police files, added that a paedophile entering the flat may have chosen to take one of Maddie's younger and more defenceless twins Sean and Amelie who were asleep.
He said: "Based on case file evidence it is more likely she was abducted after she had left the apartment."
They have launched their own inquiry after Portuguese police ended an investigation widely regarded as flawed.

Madeleine: 'Major Flaws In Police Probe', 01 May 2009
Madeleine: 'Major Flaws In Police Probe' Sky News
12:08am UK, Friday May 01, 2009
Madeleine McCann may never be found due to major flaws in the police investigation into her disappearance, according to a leading child protection expert.
Mark Williams-Thomas, a former police detective, has written a damning report, which highlights several police failings in the hours after Madeleine went missing.
There was no perimeter set up around the crime scene and no immediate search of the surrounding area which could mean vital evidence was lost.
Mr Williams-Thomas told Sky News: "Crime scene analysis and a finger-tip search would have revealed significant clues.
"They may not have ended up finding her but these factors would have had a major impact on the situation."
The former detective was also critical of the police's expertise in handling a case of this magnitude.
"The man in charge of the investigation had no qualifications or training in searching for missing people," Mr Williams-Thomas claims.
"There aren't many crimes of this sort in Portugal, they should have appointed a more experienced officer, who could have run the investgation more effectively."
He says that a sterile inner cordon was not created in the apartment, and as a result major evidence could have been missed.
Mr Williams-Thomas also feels that the Portuguese police failed to use the media to help with the investigation.
A description of Madeleine and what she was wearing was not released early in the investigation.
He said: "The media plays a significant role because it's the best way to communicate information to a mass audience.
"The police rarely solve cases on their own, they rely on public information to piece it together."
The report also says that Kate and Gerry McCann made suspects, or arguidos, as a result of ambiguous evidence.
"The evidence clearly shows there was no link to the parents," he said.
"The police should have ruled them out early on, rather than after exhausing all over avenues."

Cops failed to probe £1m Maddie ransom, 01 May 2009
Cops failed to probe £1m Maddie ransom Daily Star

Madeleine McCann

By Jerry Lawton
1st May 2009
Police hunting Madeleine McCann ignored a £1million ransom demand from a man who said he had her, a shock report claimed last night.
The man asked for the money in a call to a staff member at the Portuguese holiday apartment where the four-year-old was last seen nearly two years ago.
He left the message on a phone belonging to a worker at the Ocean Club resort in Praia da Luz – with a child's voice speaking English in the background.
Police put a trace on the phone but the caller never rang back.
The bombshell was revealed yesterday in a new report by criminologist Mark Williams-Thomas, a former UK detective who has worked on the case since Maddie vanished on May 3, 2007. "The demand was received via a voicemail," he said. "Although an intercept was placed on the line, no further calls were received."
Mr Williams-Thomas believes Madeleine was snatched after waking in the apartment and going to look for her parents.
But his report concludes that the girl is probably now dead.
He has sent the report to Madeleine's parents Kate, 41, and Gerry, 40, of Rothley, Leics, who last night declined to comment.

Madeleine: How hunt was 'flawed from the start', 01 May 2009
Madeleine: How hunt was 'flawed from the start' Daily Express
By David Pilditch
Friday May 1, 2009
A TOP British criminologist last night launched a scathing attack on the investigation into the disappearance of Madeleine McCann.
Former Surrey Police detective and child protection expert Mark Williams-Thomas revealed the full extent of the blunders which meant potentially vital clues were lost.
And he told how a £1million ransom demand was not properly investigated.
Mr Williams-Thomas, who carried out an independent review of the investigation, said the ransom demand came seven weeks after Madeleine vanished from Praia da Luz in Portugal on May 3 2007.
He found details of the demand "hidden away" in official police files.
Mr Williams-Thomas wrote: "This demand was received via a mobile phone voicemail from an adult male, where an English child was clearly speaking in the background.
"Although an intercept was placed on the line of the resort employee who received the voicemail, no further calls were received and this resulted in no further investigation."
Mr Williams-Thomas published his report yesterday after studying more than 10,000 documents including statements and photographs.
He said police documents highlight a catalogue of basic errors which meant the probe was flawed from the start.
He concludes that the failings led to detectives unjustly building a case against Madeleine's parents Kate and Gerry.
He said: "The police targeted the McCanns after they had failed to identify any possible suspects during their initial investigation and when they came under increasing pressure to resolve the case."
The report is being sent to Portuguese authorities with recommendations for changes which could ensure future cases are handled differently.
The report reveals that:
The man leading the initial search for Madeleine had no formal training or knowledge of up-to-date techniques.
No proper house-to-house inquires were carried out in the first few days of the case.
The crime scene was not properly sealed off to preserve potential forensic evidence and no co-ordinated fingertip search was carried out of the area around the apartment.
The only CCTV camera in the area was not recording.
Police did not have a media strategy to circulate descriptions of suspects. In the vital hours after Madeleine disappeared police failed to release any information or appeal to the public for information.
Witness sightings of potential suspects were given little consideration.
Detectives over-relied on and misinterpreted evidence found by British police dogs who were brought in three months after she disappeared.
Portuguese police have no database or register of known sex offenders.
Mr Williams-Thomas said: "If another child goes missing in their country, I would hate for them to deal with it in the same way.
"If nothing else this offers an independent review exonerating the McCanns."
He said he believed Madeleine woke up and was abducted after walking out of the apartment to look for her parents. But last night sources close to the family said the evidence showed she was taken from inside the apartment.

'Madeleine Snatched Outside Her Apartment', 01 May 2009
'Madeleine Snatched Outside Her Apartment' Sky News
12:53pm UK, Friday May 01, 2009
Madeleine McCann was probably abducted after walking out of her holiday apartment in search of her parents, a former detective has said.
Criminologist Mark Williams-Thomas said it was unlikely she was snatched directly from the apartment at the Ocean Club in Praia Da Luz, Portugal.
He said Madeleine was probably taken by an opportunistic paedophile as she looked for her parents while they ate with friends at a nearby tapas bar.
And he said the available evidence leads him to believe the three-year-old arranged her toys on her bed and left through the unlocked patio door.
Mr Williams-Thomas said the case bears striking similarities to the murder of Sarah Payne, who was abducted in West Sussex nine years ago.
He said: "Is it unreasonable to presume that Madeleine woke up and then went in search of her parents at a restaurant within a holiday complex that she had grown familiar with over the course of her holiday?
"Neatly tucking up her toys - as her parents had done to her - she slipped out of the apartment through an insecure patio door.
"This seems all the more credible given what we know happened to eight-year-old Sarah Payne who was abducted in July 2000, even though she was only out of sight of her family for a matter of seconds."
Mr Williams-Thomas made his comments after reviewing more than 10,000 documents amassed by Portuguese police during their investigation.
He has also criticised the Portuguese police investigation, saying it was deeply flawed.
He said officers failed to secure the crime scene, there were botched searches, and the detective in charge had no training in missing persons cases.
Mr Williams-Thomas also believes the police failed to use the media properly and should have ruled out Gerry and Kate McCann as suspects, or arguidos, a lot earlier.
"The evidence clearly shows there was no link to the parents," he said, adding that valuable time was wasted checking them out.
Mr and Mrs McCann are today releasing a photo of how Madeleine may look now if she is still alive. It is expected to be published at 4pm this afternoon.
On Sunday, it will be two years since she vanished from the family's holiday apartment in the Algarve and she would now be coming up to nearly six.
The "age progression image" will is to be unveiled on Oprah Winfrey's US chat show.
The McCanns, from Rothley in Leicestershire, still believe there is "a very real likelihood" Madeleine is alive and well.
The new photo will be used on posters in a fresh drive to find the missing youngster.

With thanks to Nigel at McCann Files


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