LONDON (AFP) ? Four years after toddler Madeleine McCann vanished from a
holiday apartment in Portugal, her mother describes in a book how she
believes the abductor was tipped off about the family's movements.
McCann reveals she thinks the case was sparked by a comment in a
restaurant reservation book at the Algarve resort of Praia da Luz,
saying where the parents would be eating while the children slept in the
"Madeleine", the 43-year-old says that despite her composed appearance
in the days following the disappearance, she was wracked by grief and
contemplated committing suicide by drowning in the sea.
Madeleine went missing from the apartment on May 3, 2007, a few days
before her fourth birthday, as her parents and a group of friends they
were spending the holiday with dined at the restaurant in the holiday
case triggered massive interest in Europe but despite a huge
investigation, she has never been found.
Portuguese police wound up their investigation after 14 months, but her
parents say they will not stop their search until they have found their
Proceeds from the book, to be published in Britain on Madeleine's eighth
birthday on Thursday, are designed to replenish the dwindling campaign
fund to find her -- a fund that reportedly once stood at ?2 million
($3.3 million, 2.3 million euros).
and her husband Gerry also hope the new details of the case will jog the
memory of anyone who may have information about their daughter's
hope and pray that it will bring us the result we long for and that not
only the book but this whole ordeal and heartache will be behind us
before too much longer," Kate McCann said.
the book, she describes her shock at discovering a year after Madeleine
vanished that an abductor could have found out the family's movements
from the restaurant reservation book.
I was combing through the Portuguese police files... I discovered that
the receptionist's note requesting our block booking was written in a
staff message book, which sat on a desk at the pool reception for most
of the day.
my horror, I saw that, no doubt in all innocence, the receptionist had
added that we wanted to eat close to our apartments as we were leaving
our young children alone there and checking on them intermittently.
book was by definition accessible to all staff and, albeit
unintentionally, probably to guests and visitors, too."
McCanns, who are both doctors, have been criticised for their decision
to leave their children -- Madeleine and her then baby brother and
sister -- in the apartment while they dined and take it in turns with
their friends to check on them.
decision has naturally been questioned time and again, not least by us,"
goes without saying that we now bitterly regret it, and will do so until
the end of our days.
it is easy to be wise after the event," she writes, adding that if she
had had any doubts about the children's safety, she would have hired a
said that in the days following her daughter's disappearance, "I had an
overwhelming urge to swim out across the ocean, as hard and as fast as I
could... until I was so far out and so exhausted I could just allow the
water to pull me under and relieve me of this torment."
months after Madeleine's disappearance, Kate and Gerry McCann were made
formal suspects in the case by Portuguese police but were later cleared.
later won a ?550,000 libel payout from a British newspaper group which
had doubted their innocence