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New insight into what happened behind the scenes as Madeleine case file is open


Portuguese and British media reports this past week were dominated by extracts from the case files into the disappearance of Madeleine McCann. While the British media focussed on flaws that have emerged in the files regarding the techniques employed by detectives, their Portuguese counterparts have been more subdued, though criticism of the national force has been filtering through.

While extracts will continue to emerge in the coming days contained in the 11,223 pages which make up the report issued this week by the Public Prosecutors Office in Portimăo, initial reading has painted Kate and Gerry McCann as victims, with little to substantiate suspicion of the couple whose daughter went missing last year on May 3rd.

Among the arguments presented by prosecutors in the final report on Madeleine’s disappearance, is the fact that neither of the parents were in the apartment at the time of their daughter’s disappearance.

The report states that one of the reasons the couple were made suspects was due to the reaction of sniffer dogs brought over from Britain to Praia da Luz last August. However, it adds that subsequent analysis failed to substantiate the ‘findings’ made by these dogs.


Another piece of evidence which apparently led to the McCanns being made suspects was an e-mail deemed to be compromising by detectives. But this evidence was later also ruled out.

The report also reasons that even if the couple had been responsible for the death of their daughter, no explanations existed as to under what circumstances it occurred, such as how, when, why and with what help.

Prosecutors further highlight that Kate and Gerry had little knowledge of the surrounding areas, when they considered the potential scenario that they were involved in their daughter’s disappearance and concealment of her body.

The report continues by stating that the McCanns had no contacts in Portugal. This statement is backed up by phone records which show the couple had only contacted the friends they were on holiday with in the days leading up to Madeleine’s disappearance.


Prosecutors also confirm that the first call made by the couple after their daughter went missing was to the police, and not to a British television station as had been widely claimed in some sections of the Portuguese media quoting police sources.

Prosecutors, while ruling out any involvement of the couple, express regret at being unable to perform a reconstruction of the night of May 3rd, arguing it would have liked to test the listening service or surveillance methods members of so-called Tapas 9 employed that night.

Prosecutors admit to still having some doubts as to testimonies provided by members of the group, including the McCanns, referring to details they say were not entirely clarified.


The report states that the case has not been definitively closed, and adds that all scenarios remain open: abduction, murder or accidental death and concealment of the body.


In a series of passing remarks, the report lashes out at certain sections of the media, saying the behaviour of some journalists hampered investigations and criticised reporters for laying the guilt on Kate and Gerry McCann, which it says revealed a lack of respect for their fellow human beings.

Three days before Kate and Gerry McCann were declared formal suspects or arguidos, Portuguese police received the “inconclusive” results of tests conducted by the highly-esteemed Forensic Science Service (FSS) in Birmingham on two separate samples of DNA, extracts from the case files into Madeline McCann’s disappearance have revealed.


But on September 7th, in handwritten notes by an unidentified officer, it is revealed that Gerry McCann was told his daughter’s DNA was discovered in the boot of the rented Renault Scenic and behind a sofa in the family’s holiday apartment. The notes said: “Confronted with the fact that Madeleine’s DNA was gathered from behind the sofa and from the boot of the vehicle, and analysed by a British laboratory, he said he could not explain why this would be.”

The results were handed over to Portuguese detectives by Stuart Prior from the Leicestershire police on September 4th, the day after he was notified by the FSS of the inconclusive nature of the tests.


The samples were taken from the trunk of the car hired by the McCanns and from the floor behind the sofa located inside their holiday apartment.

In the first case, the FSS explains in an e-mail that “there is no evidence to support the view that Madeline McCann contributed DNA” to the swab it tested, while on the second, it says “an incomplete DNA result was obtained” though the “swab contained very little information” and “showed low level indications of DNA from more than one person”.


In the FSS report, compiled by John Lowe, the view is taken that it is impossible to prove that the DNA swabs match Madeleine’s profile.

The FSS also says it cannot answer the question; “Is the match genuine or is it a chance match”.


A letter by Kate McCann, sent to leading investigator last December, which remains unanswered also reveals further a insight into the relationship between the couple and police.


After introducing herself as Madeleine McCann’s mother, Kate writes that “the last seven months has been the most difficult, sad and unbearable time that any parent could possibly imagine. Madeleine is the most precious thing in our life.

“As her mother, the pain and anxiety I feel for her is indescribable and the feeling of helplessness – overwhelming. The ‘accusations’ and media smearing, although upsetting, are very much secondary.


“I am appealing to you as a fellow human being to work with us (if possible, include us) and to remember that we are Madeleine’s parents and that we have needs”, she wrote.


Kate McCann adds further that “Lack of communication and a void of information, particularly as the parent of a missing child, is torture.

“This shouldn’t be about the ‘finger-pointing-blame’ nor should it be about differences in culture. It should be about a beautiful little girl who is still missing. She is the victim of all this. It would be good for Madeleine if we could all work together to help find her and the person(s) who took her.


I would be very grateful if you could give some thought and consideration to my letter and look forward to your reply. I can only ask.”

Edition: 971


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