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

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06 May 2007 - Media Reports/Videos *


Kate and Gerry outside the church in Praia da Luz

Kate and Gerry McCann talk to the waiting media outside the church in Praia da Luz

Kate speaks publicly for the first time, 06 May 2007

Kate and Gerry talk outside the church on 06 May 2007

Sunday 06 May 2007 (Mother's Day Service)

Transcript by Nigel Moore

"Gerry and I would just like to express our sincere gratitude and thanks to everybody, but particularly the local community here, who have offered so much support. We couldn't have asked for more. I just want to say 'Thank you'. Please continue to pray for Madeleine. She's lovely."

"From today's service, the thing that we are going to take from this is strength and courage and hope, and we continue to hope for the best possible outcome from this for us... and for Madeleine. Thank you."

Prayers for Madeleine at Mother's Day service, 06 May 2007

Prayers For Madeleine At Church

The parents of Madeleine McCann attend the church near the resort where their daughter went missing on Thursday evening.


Heartache On Mother's Day In Portugal

Kate and Gerry McCann have spoken emotionally about the hope and strength they're gaining from public support. It's been three days since they last saw daughter Madeleine. They attended a mass where the theme was motherhood. Ian Woods reports.


It's Maddy's birthday on Saturday and we're still making her a Dr Who cake, 06 May 2007
It's Maddy's birthday on Saturday and we're still making her a Dr Who cake Daily Mail
Last updated at 10:36 06 May 2007
Just as she did last year, a family friend is making a special birthday cake for Madeleine.
Only this year she is hoping the little girl, who turns four on Saturday, will be home to taste it.
Madeleine's great-uncle, Brian Kennedy, said the cake has a Dr Who theme because the toddler is such a big fan.
'Last year the friend made Madeleine a cake with a Wallace And Gromit theme,' he said. 'This year she's making a Dr Who one and we have told her to carry on making it.'
It typifies the response of Madeleine's family, who remain in Britain: they are striving to remain positive and strong, yet they live with pain and uncertainty.
They will the phone to ring with good news, yet at the same time they fear it ringing - because it might just be heartbreak on the end of the line.
As Mr Kennedy, a retired headmaster, said yesterday: 'We fear the worst but we are hoping for the best.'
Mr Kennedy said prayers were being said in the family's home village of Rothley, Leicestershire, and he and his wife, Janet, attended a prayer meeting last night at the village church, close to the McCanns' home.
Mr Kennedy, who lives just a few roads away from Madeleine's parents, added: 'It is a very difficult time. You lose a child for a few minutes and you worry about them.
'They are highly responsible parents who are absolutely devoted to their family. I can only imagine what they are like at the moment.'
He added: 'Madeleine is a lovely girl, an intelligent, bright child. We are the only close relatives the family have in the area and we see them most weeks. You won't find more caring parents.'
Last night more relatives flew out to Portugal to help the search, as most of the rest of the family gathered at Mr McCann's mother's home in Glasgow.
Mr McCann's sister-in-law Diane, 39, said: 'Gerry is trying to keep things together. All three children are their pride and joy but Madeleine was the first. They'd spent five years trying for a child through IVF treatment before Madeleine appeared.
'It's the sort of situation no parent would ever want to find themselves in and we just hope and pray Madeleine will be found.'

Sniffer dogs tracked Maddy to supermarket, 06 May 2007
Sniffer dogs tracked Maddy to supermarket Daily Mail
Last updated at 10:37 06 May 2007
A key witness has told police she saw two people in a car acting suspiciously near to the supermarket where tracker dogs lost Madeleine's scent giving rise to fears she was transferred to a vehicle.
Joyce Joyce, from Dublin, who is in her 60s, saw the black saloon less than 30 minutes before the toddler went missing.
Mrs Joyce's husband, semi-retired businessman Bob, said: 'We have an apartment close by. At around 8.30pm on Thursday Joyce saw a black saloon car reversing sharply close to where Madeleine went missing. Joyce hadn't seen the the two occupants before and they were acting in a very strange way. I reported the sighting to police but they didn't seem that interested. But I went back to see detectives the next day and, thankfully, they took a long statement from my wife. They are now investigating everything and seem to think our information is important.'

Mother's tears for missing daughter, 06 May 2007
Mother's tears for missing daughter Daily Mail
Sunday May 6, 2007
The mother of three-year-old Madeleine McCann has wept for her missing daughter at an emotional Mother's Day service.
Kate McCann and husband Gerry were joined by family members from the UK at a Portuguese mass in the resort of Praia da Luz three days after the youngster disappeared.
Their visit to the church fell on Mother's Day which is marked in Portugal with flowers which are laid at the feet of the Virgin Mary during the service.
In an emotional mass, Madeleine's mother was quietly presented with a bunch of five roses by 14-year-old Altar girl Emily Seromenho, whose own mother is English.
As part of the custom local children arrived at church with flowers, which they presented to their own mothers during the service.
At the end of the service, Mrs McCann then lined up with Portuguese mothers and walked to the Altar laying her flowers at the foot of the Virgin Mary.
Pausing momentarily and gazing up at the statue Mrs McCann rejoined her family and prayed silently for Madeleine's safe return.
At least 150 worshippers packed the small 16th Century Church for Sunday mass. During the service priest, Father Jose Manuel Pacheco, told the family that the entire community was with them.
As he began the service, which was conducted in Portuguese, he spoke briefly in English saying: "We are here like all Sundays and today we have a very big intention, we want to be with this family, the family of Madeleine."
Mrs McCann carried a small pink, stuffed kitten which she has carried every time she has been since in public since Madeleine's disappearance. As the service began she knelt silently holding the soft toy, kissing its head repeatedly.

Mother prays for girl's safe return, 06 May 2007
Mother prays for girl's safe return Daily Mail
Sunday May 6, 2007
The mother of missing Madeleine McCann knelt and wept in church as she prayed for her safe return.
Kate McCann lined up with Portuguese women to lay flowers at the altar of the village church in Praia Da Luz on the Algarve at a poignant service to honour motherhood.
Accompanied by husband Gerry and relatives who have flown out from the UK Mrs McCann attended mass with the local community to pray for Madeleine's safe return three days after her disappearance.
The three-year-old went missing from the family's holiday apartment where she was sleeping with her younger brother and sister, twins Amelie and Sean, while their parents just yards away.
Portuguese police have said that they believe she was snatched but offered hope saying they think she is still alive. With police stopping cars on nearby roads, search teams scouring the surrounding countryside and airports across the country on alert, officers say they believe she is still in Portugal.
In a public display of unity, the family attended the church of Nossa Senora Da Luz, on the day the congregation were marking mother's day.
After the service Mrs McCann stood to address reporters, breaking down with emotion.
She said: "Gerry and I would just like to express our sincere gratitude and thanks to everybody but particularly the local community here who have offered so much support. We couldn't have asked for more. Please continue to pray for Madeleine."
Her husband told how the family still had hope.
"From today's service the thing that we are going to take away is strength and courage and hope and we continue to hope for the best outcome from this for us and for Madeleine."

Portugal police focus on kidnap suspect, 06 May 2007
Portugal police focus on kidnap suspect The Irish Times
Last Updated: 06/05/2007  10:33

The net is closing today on the person police believe abducted three-year-old Madeleine McCann from a Portuguese holiday apartment.

Madeleine's father last night made a fresh emotional plea for help in tracing his daughter. Following criticism of aspects of how the case had been handled he also expressed the family's thanks to the police for their efforts.

Appearing before a bank of cameras and a crowd of reporters Dr McCann stood arm in arm with his wife Kate who was again clutching a pink teddy bear as she was when the family were first seen in public following the disappearance which police are now treating as an abduction.

A colleague of Madeleine's mother Kate has offered a Stg£100,000 reward. Detectives in the Algarve said they were hunting a "suspect" after evidence appeared to rule out the possibility that Madeleine had gone missing by herself.

Moments before making his statement, Dr McCann appeared first alone before returning to the family's temporary holiday apartment and re-emerging arm in arm with his wife. He said: "First of all we would like to thank everyone here in Portugal, the UK and elsewhere for all your support during this extremely difficult time for our family.

"We are pleased that the family liaison officers from Leicestershire are now working closely with the Portuguese Police in keeping us informed.

"We have no further information regarding the investigation but appreciate the significant effort everyone is making on our behalf.

"We would again like to appeal for any information, however small, that may lead to the safe return of Madeleine.

"Finally we would like to thank the media for respecting our privacy especially that of Madeleine's little brother and sister."

While Portugal's Judicial Police refused to give precise details of who they were hunting, they revealed that they believed Madeleine was still alive.

Madeleine went missing from her family's rented holiday apartment in the Algarve village of Praia Da Luz on Thursday night while her parents, Gerry and Kate, were eating dinner less than a minute's walk away. The couple said they had been making regular trips back to the apartment from a tapas restaurant opposite to check on Madeleine and their twin son and daughter Sean and Amelie.

Hundreds of tourists, British expats and Portuguese residents joined a search for her. Guilhermino Encarnacao, director of the Judicial Police in the Faro region, said detectives believed she could still be in the country, even still in the Algarve.

Her parents, from Leicester, are being supported by a team of British police who flew in yesterday as people travelled from up to an hour away to join the search for Madeleine.

Britons join search for lost toddler, 06 May 2007
Britons join search for lost toddler The Sunday Times

Police profile abduction suspect as hunt for missing toddler widens

John Follain, Praia da Luz and Jon Ungoed-Thomas
May 6, 2007

She should have returned home safely this weekend. Instead, on the boulevards and whitewashed apartments of the Algarve yesterday, pictures of Madeleine McCann's three-year-old face were fluttering in the warm coastal breeze.

Along with her parents, Gerry and Kate McCann, who are both doctors, and her close-knit extended family, it seemed that everyone in the resort of Praia da Luz was keeping a vigil for her safe return. They were praying that she would be home to blow out the candles on her birthday cake next Saturday.

"Everyone knows what it's like when a child goes missing for a short while and you worry like mad," said Brian Kennedy, Kate McCann's uncle. "As the days go by it gets harder because you start by hoping for the best and then begin to start fearing the worst.

"Friends are planning a party for her birthday on Saturday and baking her a cake on the Dr Who theme because it's one of her favourite programmes. I've told them to continue with those plans. We've got to remain optimistic."

Guilhermino Encarnacao, head of the judicial police in Faro, said that Madeleine had been abducted from the Ocean Club complex on Thursday evening. She is believed to have been taken as she slept alongside twins Sean and Amelie, her two-year-old brother and sister, in their apartment in the Mark Warner complex. Her parents had been dining with friends at a tapas bar nearby, checking on the children every half hour.

An image of a suspect was being drawn up by police. Encarnacao believed the three-year-old was still alive. Searches were going on including at two campsites a few miles away.

In a televised statement broadcast across Portugal yesterday, Gerry McCann, a hospital cardiologist from Leicestershire, appealed for the safe return of his daughter.

"Words cannot describe the anguish and despair that we are feeling," he said. "Please, if you have Madeleine, let her come home to her mummy, daddy, brother and sister."

McCann and his wife, both 39, yesterday walked hand in hand through the apartment complex. They had lunch with the twins at the same tapas bar as the evening before. McCann returned alone to the apartment, emerging with a suitcase and a bucket and spade for the twins.

A friend at the resort, who did not wish to be named, said: "It's a nightmare. Every time the parents see Madeleine's face on television they fall apart. We all do. We haven't slept for 24 hours. Please God they find her. The longer it goes on, the worse it is. All we can do is pray."

Police were conducting checks at airports and more than 150 officers were searching the area. Hundreds of tourists, British ex-pats and local Portuguese were also helping with the search.

Madeleine's relatives and crime experts now suspect that she was targeted by someone who had been watching the family during their holiday. Roy Ramm, a former Scotland Yard commander, said: "This is somebody who has planned this abduction quite carefully. He has probably looked and observed this child during the day."

McCann, a consultant at Leicester's Glenfield hospital, and his wife, a part-time GP, were on a week-long holiday with three other couples and five other children when Madeleine was abducted shortly before 10pm on Thursday.

The children could have been left in a free crèche in the complex. A babysitting service was also available for between €12 (£8) and €15 an hour.

But the McCanns were eating only about 150ft from their apartment. It is thought they felt they were close enough to watch over their children.

Hotel sources said the apartment's french doors – which faced the restaurant where the McCanns were eating – were unlocked by the couple. Their line of view was, however, obscured by bougainvillea and palm trees.

At 9.30pm Gerry McCann checked his children and they were sound asleep, with Madeleine lying with her comfort blanket. Thirty minutes later his wife returned and found Madeleine gone and the shutter of the rear window open.

Trish Cameron, McCann's sister, said: "Kate came screaming back to the group crying, 'They’ve taken her, they’ve taken her'. Gerry was crying and roaring like a bull."

John Hill, the Ocean Club manager, said the alarm was raised by the family between 10pm and 10.15pm: "The staff, many guests and the best part of the village started looking right away, a total of 40 to 65 people. The police were called and started taking details from the family and then took the decision to escalate the search."

Silvia Batisa, head of administration at the complex, helped to comfort the family and interpret their interviews with the police: "The parents were devastated, in a panic. They wanted more police and dogs immediately. Kate said all the time, 'Please find my daughter' and 'Madeleine is beautiful'."

She recalled that the twins were still asleep in their two cots and there was the small, bright pink wool blanket that Madeleine likes to hold when she sleeps. "We walked out quickly so as not to wake up the twins. The parents immediately said, 'She’s been kidnapped'," said Batisa.

Paul Moyes, 58, from Middlewich, Cheshire, was among those who helped to look for the missing child: "At 11.30pm there was a knock on the door and there was a distressed gentleman saying that a child had been abducted and could we help with the search. Everybody got involved."

It is not known how the abductor entered the flat. Staff believe it was likely that entry would have been through the french doors because the shutters would have been damaged if they had been prised open.

From the outset, the McCanns were convinced their daughter had been abducted. There have been complaints from relatives that the police were slow to respond to the situation.

Speaking from her home in Glasgow, Philomena McCann, Madeleine's aunt, said: "The local policeman was doing very little. The area was not cordoned off for hours and hours. Kate and Gerry [were] frustrated at the lack of activity. [The police] tried to downplay the enormity of it and said Madeleine had perhaps wandered off. That is the most ridiculous suggestion."

Nigel Ragg, head of marketing at Mark Warner Holidays, defended the police operation. "It was felt by our staff that the police reacted quickly. The search was escalated throughout the evening," he said.

The McCanns, who are both Roman Catholics, met as medical students at Glasgow University and were married nine years ago. They spent a period working in Holland and moved to their home in Rothley, Leicestershire, about two years ago.

Father Keith Tomlinson, the priest who baptised the twins a year ago at the Sacred Heart church in Rothley, the family's church, said: "They are a lovely family. This is a terrible time and our hearts here are with them. We will be praying for them.

"They came here most weeks and brought Madeleine. She is a nice bouncy happy little girl. They are friendly and open and obviously love one another and you sense that this is a husband and wife who are united in love and who adore their children."

Julio Barroros, the local mayor, said: "We all hope that Maddy will come home for her family and that England can breathe when she appears."

Additional reporting: Will Iredale

Child watch

British law does not set out the minimum age when parents can leave children alone, but it does stipulate that it is an offence if doing so might put them at risk, writes Jonathan Leake.

Experts are divided on just what this means in practice. The National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children believes that babies and toddlers should never be left alone, whether asleep or awake, even for a few minutes.

Madeleine McCann, the three-year-old apparently snatched from her bed, was in an apartment in a Portuguese holiday complex while her parents dined and checked on her at least every half hour.

"It doesn't take long for unsupervised young children or babies to injure themselves," said Chris Cloke, head of child protection awareness at the charity. "Put simply, it is too risky to leave them alone at all at such a young age."

Other experts take a more flexible view. "It's the context that is important," said Professor Carolyn Hamilton, who runs the Children's Legal Centre, a charity concerned with law and policy. "This couple had . . . clearly made a responsible assessment of the risks and decided that they were minimal. They could not have predicted the possibility of abduction."

Accidents are the biggest cause of death for children over the age of one. In 2005 about 250 children aged under 15 died in Britain and more than 2m were taken to hospital, with about half of accidents happening in the home.

However, many accidents happen while children are under supervision and are caused by, for instance, lack of stair gates.

Ben Needham, who vanished on the Greek island of Kos in 1991 aged 21 months, was being supervised by his grandparents who lost sight of him for only a few minutes. He has never been found.

Maddy: police 'know who took her', 06 May 2007
Maddy: police 'know who took her' The Sunday Times

John Follain, Praia da Luz
May 6, 2007

Police have produced a drawing of a suspect thought to have abducted three-year-old Madeleine McCann as she slept in a Portuguese holiday apartment.

Detectives believe Madeleine was taken by someone who may have stalked her family during their holiday on the Algarve. They are working on the assumption that she is still alive and are concentrating their search within two or three miles of where she was taken.

Guilhermino Encarnacao, the director of judicial police in Faro, said the initial drawing of the suspect was not being released to "safeguard the child's life". Officers are understood to have interviewed witnesses who may have seen the abductor.

Encarnacao appealed to the kidnapper for the safe return of the child. "Bring her back just as she is, because you're still in time," he said.

Last night Madeleine's parents, Gerry and Kate McCann, both doctors, appeared for a second time to make a new appeal for information. Kate McCann, again clutching a white teddy bear, stood arm and arm with her husband as he said: "We would again like to appeal for any information, however small, that might lead to the safe return of Madeleine.

Madeleine disappeared on Thursday evening just before 10pm as she slept with her two-year-old twin brother and sister in the family apartment at the Ocean Club resort in Praia da Luz, which is run by the Mark Warner holiday company. Her parents were eating nearby at a restaurant with friends.

Officers have received more than 30,000 calls offering information. About 150 investigators have been deployed in Portugal and are liaising with British police and Interpol.

Madeleine's aunt, Philomena McCann, said relatives were clinging on to hope. "It's really important to keep your emotions in check because the last couple of days have been like a rollercoaster," she said.

Gerry McCann, 39, said: "We cannot describe the anguish and despair we are feeling as parents of our beautiful daughter Madeleine."

Hundreds of holidaymakers, British expatriates and local residents yesterday joined the hunt for Madeleine, which included local campsites.

The couple will attend morning mass at the Church of Our Lady of Light in the town.

Every mother's nightmare, 06 May 2007
Every mother's nightmare The Sunday Times

India Knight
May 6, 2007

You read all the papers as a matter of course if you do this job – the good, the bad and the ugly.

Occasionally there are headlines that make me feel so nauseous and distressed that I can't make myself read the accompanying articles, even though I know that telling my editor I haven't - can't - read certain stories, let alone write about them, makes me sound feeble in the extreme.

There was one recently about some depraved women who had made their babies fight each other; even though I avoided reading any of the actual coverage and put my fingers in my ears when the case was reported on the news, the headlines were such that the story kept popping into my head and making me feel sick.

It happened again on Friday night, when we were at a friend's house and a copy of a London evening paper was lying about. There was an adorable blonde toddler on the front page; the headline included the words "missing" and "kidnap".

I felt a great wave of nausea and a sort of blind empathic terror and pushed the paper away. It didn't do any good – I lay in bed some hours later thinking about the story and unable to sleep.

Ridiculously, I went and fished my three-year-old daughter out of her bed and brought her down to mine at about 1am, prodding the poor child awake to tell her how much I love her.

Now I have made myself read the coverage of the abduction of Madeleine McCann, aged three, from her bed at an upmarket holiday resort in the Algarve. I have watched unbearable footage of her distraught parents, Gerry and Kate, both 39-year-old doctors from Leicester, appealing for her return. I know that Madeleine and her siblings, two-year-old twins Amelie and Sean, were longed-for children that were born as a result of IVF.

The line that is sticking in my head comes from a newspaper report that quotes Mr McCann's sister, Trish Cameron, describing the phone call she received from her brother. "He was hysterical and crying his eyes out," she said.

Describing what had happened – the couple were having supper 200 yards away from their accommodation, where they had left their three sleeping children, whom they checked on every half an hour – Ms Cameron said: "Katie came screaming back to the group crying 'They've taken her, they've taken her'. Gerry was crying and roaring like a bull." It's her description of that roar of pain that sends shivers down my spine and will lodge itself in my head for several weeks to come.

The resort the McCanns went to belongs to the Mark Warner holiday group, which specialises in providing family-friendly holidays to the middle classes. You know the kind of thing - children's clubs, crèches staffed by trained nannies, swimming pools heaving with toddlers, smiling, sun-baked parents rolling their eyes at each other over their children's little misdemeanours.

Part of the appeal of such holidays is the feeling of safety they engender. You get to whatever resort you've booked and are pleased to discover it populated by recognisable types - cheerful family groups, all of them enjoying holidaying with their children, none of them the kind of people who wallop their weeping kids in Sainsbury's. You heave a sigh of relief. "Everyone is like us," you think. "Nothing bad could happen here."

So you let your children roam, you relax in the sunshine, you think that when they're asleep you'll just head on over to the bar and have some tapas and do exactly what the McCanns did - check on them every now and then. I've never done this myself with such small children - I'm too paranoid about choking and suchlike - but more or less everyone else I know has: the feeling of safety such holidays engender make it not just easy but perfectly reasonable-sounding. Which it is: sleeping children, locked door, benign environment - what could possibly go wrong?

And what couple, preparing for a holiday, hasn't had the conversation about how old children need to be before you can leave them sleeping for a couple of hours? It's a parental rite of passage: we've all done it. We all need to do it: haring around after small children in the heat all day deserves a couple of hours of wind-down adult time by the evening.

As I write, the Portuguese police have confirmed that Madeleine has been abducted; they also say they believe she is alive and somewhere within a three-mile radius. While this is relatively cheering to know, it does nothing to alleviate the feeling of horror.

We can imagine, without any effort at all, what a beloved three-year-old must be going through, snatched in the night, taken God knows where, for God knows what purpose. That's another thing: your thoughts don't stay still with this kind of scenario, they get darker and darker as the hours tick by.

You feel that awful impotent anger and start reexamining your views on capital punishment. And all the time there is that low-level nausea fighting with the urge to leave News 24 on in the background, just in case something good happens.

Keeping hold of your sanity as a parent depends on believing that the world is fundamentally benign. We all know that there exist mad people whose pleasure it is to harm children, but we also like to believe that they are not in our orbit. We spend a lifetime creating safe, happy environments for our children and keeping badness at bay.

The reason why Madeleine's abduction is so distressing - more distressing, I am ashamed to say, than the tens of thousands of incredibly distressing things that happen globally on an hourly basis - is the sudden collision of the safe world with the terrifying, dark, malign version.

We can give money to the latest appeal for Darfur and we can be angered and appalled by the situation there and in half the world, but the badness and the pain are not part of our recognisable world. Suffering on an enormous scale is shocking and terrible, but not as instantly recognisable as the suffering of a family just like ours, of a child like the one having her afternoon nap upstairs as I type.

I used to feel bad about this, believing it to be a monstrous kind of egocentrism and a spectacular failure of imagination, but I don't any more. It comforts me to know that this morning, millions of people will be praying, in whatever way, for the McCanns and for Madeleine's safe return.

Perhaps that is clutching at straws. I hope with all my heart that it isn't.

Emotional appeal by parents of missing Madeleine, 06 May 2007
Emotional appeal by parents of missing Madeleine Liverpool Daily Post
By David Higgerson
May 6 2007
THE parents of Madeleine McCann, the three-year-old snatched from her parents holiday apartment in the Algarve, have made a fresh appeal for information.
Madeleine's mother, Kate McCann, a GP originally from Allerton, and her father, Gerry, also said they appreciated the "significant efforts" being made to find Madeleine.
Earlier in the day, Portuguese police said they believed Madeleine had been snatched, adding that have a suspect in mind and believe the toddler is still alive and in the area.
She vanished from a holiday apartment within the Mark Warner's Ocean Club in the Algarve resort of Praia de Luz on Thursday night, while her parents were at a restaurant.
Speaking outside their apartment with his wife, Mr McCann said: "We have no further information regarding the investigation but appreciate the significant effort everyone is making on our behalf.
"We would again like to appeal for any information, however small, that may lead to the safe return of Madeleine."
In a statement on Friday Mr McCann made a first appeal for help and spoke of his family's "anguish and despair".
Guilhermino Encarnacao, director of the judicial police in the Faro region, said officers were working on the assumption Madeleine was being held between 3km and 5km from the resort.
He said police had taken about 30 calls from potential witnesses and have created an artist's impression of a suspect.
Relatives have flown to the Algarve to be with the couple, now living in Leicestershire, who were holidaying with their three children.
Shortly before leaving with wife Susan to be with his daughter in the Algarve, Madeleine's ashen-face grandfather, Brian Healy, spoke on the doorstep of his Mossley Hill home to tell how he and his family were "worried sick".
Mrs McCann’s father said: "It's a very distressing time."
Mrs McCann is a former pupil of Notre Dame High School, in Everton, before she left the city to pursue her medical dream.
That dream eventually led her to meet husband Gerry, from Glasgow, a consultant cardiologist.
Although the pair moved round the country, and even lived in Amsterdam at one point, to further their medical careers, they were regular visitors back to Merseyside, especially after the birth of Madeleine, their eldest child.
Their holiday to the Algarve was taken with eight other families, all from Leicester's medical circles, and the party were eating at a tapas restaurant 200 yards away from the room in which Madeleine and her brother and sister slept.
The McCanns made sure the toddler, who turns four next week, and her two-year-old twin brother and sister, Sean and Amelie, were sound asleep, and that their apartment was locked up.
But between their checks at 9.30pm and 10pm the apartment was broken into through a window and Madeleine was taken, according to the young girl's aunt, Trish Cameron.
Jon Corner, founder of Liverpool-based River Media, is godfather to the McCann's twins and his wife has known Mrs McCann since they were both three.
The co-founder of city centre-based River Media, and a father-of-three himself, said: "Kate phoned me in the early hours totally devastated.
"She just told me that Maddy had been abducted, that the shutters of the apartment had been forced and someone had taken her.
"Maddy was asleep in the room with Sean and Amelie and whoever has taken her has gone straight past the sleeping twins, left them completely alone and snatched Maddy.
"Kate is just so distressed. She doesn’t know what to do.
"It has knocked me and everyone else for six. It doesn't actually seem real."
Mr Corner said he saw the couple when they brought the family up to Merseyside for the christening of his last child at the end of March.
Madeleine, who turns four next Friday, was last seen by her father at about 2100 local time on Thursday.
When Mrs McCann went to check on her about an hour later, she found the bedroom's outside shutter and window had been opened and her daughter missing.
Police were notified and resort staff and guests helped the McCanns search the complex grounds into Friday morning.
Pictures of Madeleine have been widely distributed, and ports and the Spanish police put on alert.
British Ambassador John Buck, who is with the McCanns in the Algarve, said they had been joined by three family liaison officers from Leicestershire Police.

We have evidence indicating a kidnap - police chief in Portugal yesterday, 06 May 2007
We have evidence indicating a kidnap - police chief in Portugal yesterday Sunday Mail
By Lynn McPherson in Praia da Luz
May 6, 2007
Detectives hunting little Maddie say she was snatched from her bed
FEARS that a British girl missing in Portugal had been abducted escalated yesterday as police said they had evidence and a suspect.
Madeleine McCann, three, disappeared from her apartment on the Algarve on Thursday night, while her parents ate at a restaurant 150 yards away.
Her Scots dad Gerry and mum Kate had locked sleeping Maddie and twins Amelie and Sean in their bedroom.
Last night Faro police chief Guilhermino Encarnacao said: "We have evidence which indicates a kidnap."
He said they had a suspect and believed Maddie was alive and within three miles of the resort in Praia da Luz.
She had been on holiday at the Mark Warner's Ocean Club with her doctor parents Gerry and Kate and their two-year-old twins.
Encarnacao said police had "a profile" for a suspect but declined to give details "to safeguard the child's life".
He denied police had been slow to respond to the suspected abduction - getting to the scene within 10 minutes of the alarm being raised.
Around 150 agents are investigating in Portugal and they are in contact with British police, Europol and Interpol.
Police had received 30,000 telephone calls after Maddie was reported missing.
Maddie's mum and dad - who met in Glasgow - made an emotional appeal late on Friday night at the luxury resort 120 miles south of Lisbon.
The couple, who live in Leicestershire, urged anyone with information to contact police as intensive searches around the resort continued.
Gerry, 38, said: "Please, if you have Madeleine, let her come home to her mummy, daddy, brother and sister.
"We cannot describe the anguish and despair we are feeling as parents of our beautiful daughter Madeleine.
"We request that anyone with any information relating to Madeleine's disappearance, no matter how trivial, contact the Portuguese police and help us get her back safely."
Relatives of the McCanns travelled from Glasgow to Manchester early yesterday to fly to the Algarve and offer support to Maddie's parents.
She went missing as they dined while taking turns to check on their children.
The Ocean Club resort has a creche service but the couple had left the kids sleeping in their apartment.
Heart surgeon Gerry checked on them about 9pm. When his wife looked in about half an hour later, Maddie was gone.
She found the bedroom's outside shutter had been opened - fuelling fears someone had taken the girl.
The McCanns, who are on holiday with a number of other families, were joined by tourists, hotel staff and police as they searched in vain through the night. Sniffer dogs are said to have lost Maddie's scent at a supermarket 400 yards away.
Posters in English and Portuguese were put up around the resort and pictures of Maddie have been been distributed. Ports and airports were on alert.
The family's original holiday apartment was being treated as a crime scene and police were running forensic tests.
Yesterday, Gerry returned to the apartment alone. He left carrying a suitcase and a bucket and spade. After leaving the twins in the care of relatives, the shattered couple walked through the complex hand in hand.
They later had a meeting with British ambassador John Buck and three family liaison officers from Leicestershire police.
Earlier Madeleine's great aunt Nora defended the couple's decision to have a meal while their children were in the apartment.
She pointed out that it was clearly visible from the tapas restaurant where they dined. She said: "They are doctors. They are intelligent people."
Maddie's aunt Phil McCann told yesterday how she has already bought her niece a birthday present.
Maddie will be four on Saturday.
Phil, 43, from Ullapool, revealed she was "elated" that police believe Maddie is still alive.
She said: "She's a normal wee lassie, full of life. She's fascinated by pink like most wee girls. She's a real Barbie girl.
She's got a wee pink bike with pink ribbons. We were due to go and visit them this week until this happened.
"I bought her a Scooby Doo scooter for her birthday."
The last time Phil saw her was when 46 friends and family holidayed in Ireland at Easter.
She said: "She's just learned to swim from taking lessons and in Donegal, she had her water wings off for the first time. "She is a confident wee girl who is wary of strangers."

Police say Madeleine abducted as they target prime suspect, 06 May 2007
Police say Madeleine abducted as they target prime suspect Independent
Photofit of British girl's kidnapper prepared as airports alerted
By David Randall
Sunday, 6 May 2007
Police yesterday revealed that Madeleine McCann, the three-year-old British girl who disappeared from a luxury resort in southern Portugal on Thursday night while her parents dined at a restaurant, had been abducted - but they refused to divulge any details of the evidence as a desperate search continued.
The police said they had a prime suspect and were drawing up a photofit as detectives mounted spot checks at airports and railway stations to try to prevent Madeleine being taken from the country.
Local police chief Guilhermino Encarnacao told a news conference yesterday: "We have evidence that indicates a kidnap." He said calls reporting possible sightings of the girl had been received from all over Portugal. Police said they now had a drawing of a suspect based on evidence from witnesses at the resort.
Last night, Madeleine's parents made a second tearful appeal for their daughter's return, which was aired live on Portuguese and British television. Madeleine, who will be four on 12 May, was staying with her parents in the ground floor of a five-storey block at a Mark Warner resort in Praia da Luz, 120 miles south of Lisbon.
Thursday evening began as just another relaxed time for Gerald and Kate McCann; he a heart surgeon in Leicester, she a GP in Melton Mowbray. Early in the evening, they put the children to bed, with Madeleine in her pink Winnie the Pooh pyjamas and the two-year-old twins in cots either side of her. All three were IVF babies.
Just after 8pm the pair went out to a tapas restaurant some 60 metres away from their holiday apartment. They did not opt to use the resort's babysitting service or evening drop-in crèche. Instead, as they dined with their party of fellow medics from Leicester, they walked over and checked on the children every half an hour.
At around 10pm Kate went back to the flat to see if the children were still safely asleep. But she found Madeleine's bed empty, and the window and its shutters open. She left the building screaming and ran to her husband crying: "They've taken her! They've taken her!"
The distraught parents, friends, resort staff and fellow holidaymakers immediately organised a search of the complex, its buildings and pool. Police were called, and at midnight they arrived and took charge of what already looked ominously like a crime rather than an inquisitive, restless child wandering off. No valuables were taken from the flat, and there were signs that its shutters had been opened - perhaps forced - from outside.
Sniffer dogs arrived and picked up Madeleine's scent. They tracked it to a supermarket car park around 350 metres away. There it disappeared. Early on Friday morning came reports of a motorist seeing a couple leading a child along a road - perhaps inevitably described as "suspicious-looking".
By Friday, the full elements of a missing child case were in full swing. Streets and lanes were sealed off, Madeleine's description and picture were circulated, forensic teams took fingerprints, National Republican Guard patrolled, and police, holidaymakers and locals combed the area aided by a helicopter and boats.
And then there was the necessary - but barely watchable - appeal from the two parents, sunken-eyed with anxiety and fear. Gerry McCann, his voice catching with emotion, said: "We can't describe the anguish and despair we are feeling... Please, if you have Madeleine, let her come home to her mummy, daddy, brother and sister."
Britain's ambassador to Portugal has travelled to the Algarve, while Leicestershire Police sent three Family Liaison Officers to support the family and liaise with police. A number of relatives also flew out.
In the UK, police were guarding the couple's five-bedroomed Leicestershire home while relatives talked with disarming candour. Madeleine's aunt, Philomena McCann, criticised Portuguese police: "We're just not getting any information. My brother is at his wits' end. His wife can barely stand up. She can't sleep, she can't eat."
Yesterday, senior regional official Antonio Pina said police were fully deployed and operating with "absolute co-ordination".
Trish Cameron, another aunt, was reported as saying: "In hindsight, yes, Gerry and Kate wish they hadn't left the children alone, but it's hard on holiday. They're excellent parents."
Additional research by Will Dowling
Anguish on the Algarve
20.00 Thursday: McCanns put three-year-old Madeleine and their two-year-old twins to bed and leave for restaurant.
20.45: Meal with friends begins, during which one of them checks on children every half hour.
22.00: Kate McCann returns to discover their daughter is missing. Resort guests and staff begin searching the apartment complex.
00.00 Friday: Police arrive and take over hunt.
04.30 Friday: Staff and guests' search ends. Full-scale police operation begins.

Prayer service for missing girl, 06 May 2007
Prayer service for missing girl BBC News
Last Updated: Sunday, 6 May 2007, 21:12 GMT 22:12 UK
The parents of the British girl feared abducted from a holiday apartment in Portugal have attended a church service to pray for her safe return.
Prayers were said at the Algarve resort where three-year-old Madeleine McCann from Leicestershire was seized.
Gerry McCann said the Catholic mass gave them "strength, courage and hope".
A group of 21 villagers, including children, spent 45 minutes saying the Rosary with the McCanns in the couple's holiday apartment on Sunday night.
'Continued hope'
Tourists and expatriates also attended an Anglican service at Praia da Luz, and prayers said at the church in the family's home village of Rothley.
Speaking after the mass on the Algarve, Mr McCann told reporters: "We continue to hope for the best possible outcome from this for us and for Madeleine."
A tearful Kate McCann said: "Gerry and I would just like to express our sincere gratitude and thanks to everybody, but particularly the local community here, who have offered so much support.
"We couldn't have asked for more. I just wanted to say thank you. Please continue to pray for Madeleine."
Portuguese police say they have a suspect and believe Madeleine is alive.
On Saturday evening, doctors Mr and Mrs McCann made a fresh appeal for information.
Open shutter
Their daughter who went missing on Thursday from their apartment at Mark Warner's Ocean Club while they were at a restaurant nearby.
The complex offers a creche service but the couple decided to leave Madeleine and two-year-old twins Sean and Amelie sleeping in the apartment.
They had been taking turns to return to the block to check on their children.
Mrs McCann found the outside shutter and window to Madeleine's room had been opened and her daughter missing shortly before 2200 local time.
Mark Warner managing director David Hopkins said the McCanns had "done nothing that I'm sure many parents wouldn't have done".
He told the BBC: "Whilst keeping a very close eye on their children who are not far away, [they] go out and enjoy a meal on a holiday in a very, very safe environment."
A spokesman for the company said two holiday bookings at the resort had been cancelled and six had asked to go to another site.
But the majority of clients were undeterred, the spokesman added.
In the earlier appeal, Mr McCann said: "We have no further information regarding the investigation but appreciate the significant effort everyone is making on our behalf.
"We would again like to appeal for any information, however small, that may lead to the safe return of Madeleine."
In the first official briefing on the case on Saturday, Guilhermino Encarnacao, director of the judicial police in the Faro region, said officers were working on the assumption Madeleine was being held between 3km and 5km (about two to three miles) from the resort.
He said police had taken about 30 calls from potential witnesses and have created an artist's impression of a suspect.

Madeleine McCann family has been enjoying the support of Luz parish, 09 May 2007 (interesting article that refers to events of 05/06 May 2007)
Madeleine McCann family has been enjoying the support of Luz parish Diocese do Algarve
Submitted by: Diocese on Wednesday, May 09, 2007 - 12:41:42 (GMT)
Thanks to Astro for translation
The family of the 4-year-old English child, Madeleine McCann, who has disappeared from a holiday resort in Praia da Luz, near Lagos, on the 3rd of May, and whose police searches are ongoing, has been feeling the support of the local parish.
Father José Manuel Pacheco, a member of the priest community of the Congregation of the Holy Redeemer, who is responsible for the pastoral work in that parochial community of Luz of Lagos, explains that little Maddie's parents requested his presence "since the first hour".
The priest informally visited the family last Saturday at around 7 p.m., and presided over a small prayer in their house, a house that was different from the one at Mark Warner Ocean Summer Club, the resort where the child disappeared.
"The parish continues, not only through myself but also through other people, to give the family much support," father José Manuel Pacheco mentions, asserting that "initiatives of prayers for Madeleine were an initiative from the parochial community."
"When I visited Gerald McCann and Kate Healy on Saturday, we agreed to pray a rosary on Sunday afternoon at their house, which ended up taking place with a significant presence of Portuguese and English people (approximately 30 persons), and it revealed itself as a very strong moment. The family was confident, and interiorised and lived that moment deeply," he mentions, adding that he tried "to comfort them, to encourage them and to support them spiritually". "I further informed them that the parish would pray for their daughter during Sunday Mass and they manifested their will to participate," the priest clarifies.
Sunday Mass, which usually is already composed by the liturgy of the Word in Portuguese and in English, "was prepared with more care and time, taking into account the situation that the family is going through," father José Manuel Pacheco justifies.
On Sunday, at around 9.30 a.m., the McCann family walked to the parochial church in order to, together with the other worshippers, participate in the Eucharistic celebration which also included the intention of little Maddie. During the Mass, the head of the celebration also tried to motivate the entire Christian community (including the foreigners that attended in greater numbers than usual) to prayers around the child that disappeared from the bedroom where she slept with her two siblings.
Father José Manuel Pacheco further stresses the "confident and serene" participation of Kate Healy, despite the painful situation.
On a day when Mother's Day was celebrated, the children's gesture was very meaningful, as they offered a flower to their mothers during the moment of the embrace of peace. At that time, the priest shared his flower with Kate Healy, so that she, just like all the other mothers that attended the celebration, could also offer it to Our Lady as a token of gratefulness for her children. "It was a very moving gesture," father José Manuel Pacheco recognises.
The priest further testifies that Kate Healy "has been seeking moments of silent prayer in church" and assures that his message has always been one "of hope, of courage and of faith, trying to stress that the little girl is certainly alive, even more so because that is what people hope for."
During the rosary prayer, which is usual during the month of May, the parish will continue to keep its intent of little Madeleine always present, as has been the case since last Friday.
source: Samuel Mendonça

With thanks to Nigel at McCann Files


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