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Portuguese police tried to bug McCann's

Original Source: DAILY MIRROR: SATURDAY 08 AUGUST 2008
By Martin Fricker 9/08/2008
Probe relied on flawed DNA

Portuguese cops tried to bug Kate and Gerry McCann's villa and car to shore up the flimsy case against them.

But the request was denied by a judge - as was a bid to see Gerry's bank details.

Family spokesman Clarence Mitchell said: "They had no evidence and were on a trawl. It was correct that it was turned down."

Meanwhile it has emerged that four families rented the McCanns' holiday apartment before bungling Portuguese cops sent in forensic experts, it emerged yesterday.

The flat was only sealed 13 weeks later after horrified British detectives arrived to review the case.

Tests were then carried out but the results were virtually useless because 11 people - all Brits - had stayed there since the McCanns.

Yet Portuguese officers relied on the flawed DNA samples in deciding to name Madeleine's parents Kate and Gerry suspects.

The shock revelation again highlights the shambolic nature of the 15-month Portuguese probe.

Janet Parkinson, who spent a week there with husband Brian, 59, was staggered at the news.

The receptionist, 55, of New Barnet, Herts, said: "We'd been there a day when the rep told us we were in the McCanns' apartment.

"If there had been any forensics left it would have been crazy for them to continue to let it out.

"It had obviously been cleaned for the new guests and evidence could have been gathered beforehand. But it was beautiful and luxurious and we didn't feel anything happened there, so we were happy to stay even though they offered us another one. A few reporters and voyeurs came round but that was it."

Kailao Odera, 59, spent a week at Apartment 5a in Praia da Luz's Ocean Club resort after the Parkinsons, and was also shocked to learn the truth.

Kailao, of Leicester, was holidaying with sister Marjoulabba Sidi, 49, and relative, Mehul Odera.


She said yesterday: "On the last day a journalist asked if we knew if it was the apartment Madeleine McCann disappeared from.

"We had had no idea. I was upset and made a complaint to the holiday firm and was told other people had stayed there before us.

"If we had known we wouldn't have wanted to stay there."

The amazing revelation emerged from 30,000 pages of police case notes released this week. They also showed Portuguese cops intended to bug the flat in a desperate bid to shore up their case against Madeleine's parents.

They also wanted a bug planted in the couple's hire car.

The judge overseeing the investigation refused both requests.

Another bid to see six months of Gerry's bank records was snubbed by the UK Home Office as "disproportionate".

The McCanns' spokesman Clarence Mitchell said: "We can draw our own conclusions as to why they wanted to do this.

"Clearly they felt they had no evidence and were on a general trawl. It was meant to be a fishing exercise.

"It was proper and correct that this attempt to blatantly invade their privacy was turned down."

Yet weeks later, authorities named Gerry and his wife suspects.

They were cleared last month as detectives shelved the investigation.

But their records show how they blew any chance of gleaning key clues from the flat by allowing a succession of people to move in.

Kate and Gerry, both 40, did not sleep at the flat after Madeleine's disappearance on May 3 last year.


But from June 12-19, Liverpool couple Robert and Fiona Foulkes holidayed there. They were followed by Sheila and Ryan Fergusson and their kids, from Falkirk, Scotland, who stayed from June 28-July 12.

Between July 12 and 19 it was rented by the Parkinsons. Kailao and her two relatives were there from July 19-26.


British cops then arrived and ordered the flat to be re-sealed.

Two sniffer dogs trained to smell for corpses and blood were sent in and DNA evidence belatedly taken.


The flawed samples were sent to the UK's Forensic Science Service for analysis. Results were inconclusive yet were used to cast doubt over Kate and Gerry's innocence.


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