Saturday The Sun published the first extracts from Kate McCann's book,
telling of the horrifying moment when she discovered daughter Madeleine
had been snatched.
Kate, 43, and husband Gerry, 42, both doctors from Rothley, Leics, were
holidaying with friends at an apartment complex in Praia da Luz,
Portugal, in May 2007. Madeleine, three, was abducted as her parents
dined with their friends nearby.
this extract, edited and abridged by ANTONELLA LAZZERI and OLIVER
HARVEY, Kate tells how she and Gerry began the frantic search for
Madeleine, and of her growing despair at the way Portuguese police were
investigating her disappearance.
soon as it was light Gerry and I resumed our search. We went up and down
roads we'd never seen before, having barely left the Ocean Club complex
jumped over walls and raked through undergrowth. We looked in ditches
remember opening a big dumpster and saying to myself, 'Please God, don't
let her be in here'.
most striking and horrific thing was that we were completely alone.
Nobody else, it seemed, was out looking for Madeleine.
morning I learned of the man our friend Jane had seen in the street.
Although Gerry and our friends had been trying to protect me from
further distress by not telling me about this sooner, when they did I
was strangely relieved.
Madeleine hadn't just disappeared off the face of the earth. There was
something to work on.
man was around 35-40, dark-haired and of southern European or
was carrying a sleeping child horizontally across his arms, the child's
Although Jane had never seen or known about Madeleine's Eeyore pyjamas,
her description of this child's night clothes matched Madeleine's almost
There was little doubt in my mind then, nor is there now, that what Jane
saw was Madeleine's abductor taking her away.
There have been many occasions when I have visualised myself walking up
that road instead of Jane. Would I even have noticed the man and child'
even pictured myself catching up with him and grabbing him by the
shoulder. Saving Madeleine.
about 9am we all went out on to Rua Dr Agostinho da Silva to find out
what was going on and to look out for the Polcia Judicicia.
GNR national guard patrol was still in evidence although again there
didn't seem to be much sense of urgency.
According to the PJ files, two patrol dogs were brought to Praia da Luz
at 2am on May 4 (Madeleine disappeared on May 3) and four
search-and-rescue dogs at 8am.The only searches I was aware of were
those carried out by ourselves, fellow guests and the Mark Warner resort
According to the police files, released later, the tracker dogs did not
go out until 11pm on May 4. There had been no house-to-house inquiries
at all and there wouldn't be for some hours to come. To this day, I
don't know that this task has been completed.
was about 10am by the time a couple of PJ officers turned up to take us
and our friends to the police station in Portim'.
Basic and shabby, it didn't seem conducive to efficiency and order.
was appalled by the treatment we received. Officers walked past us as if
we weren't there. In the control room, officers in jeans and T-shirts
smoked and engaged in what sounded more like light-hearted banter than
serious discussion. I know one shouldn't judge people (or perhaps
places, either) on appearances, but it all made me immensely nervous.
Nobody asked how we were doing, whether we were OK. Our child had been
stolen and I felt as if I didn't exist.
were grateful for the support of the British consul, Bill Henderson.I
recall Bill telling me there had been several recent cases of men
getting into bed with children, but no known abductions.
not sure why this didn't ring a million alarm bells. At the time my
brain simply couldn't connect such cases with Madeleine's
disappearance.I remember constantly looking at the clock, counting the
hours since we'd last seen Madeleine, my terror mounting with every five
minutes that passed. Gerry said afterwards that when he asked about
deploying helicopters and heat-detecting equipment in the search, the
police officer replied, 'This is not the UK'.
Holidaymaker Bridget O'Donnell and her partner Jes Wilkins were visited
by a police officer and a translator that morning.
officer wrote their answers to his questions on a loose piece of paper
rather than in a notebook. Of greater concern was his reaction to a
photocopied picture of a little girl lying on their table.
asked them if she was their daughter. Bridget explained that this was
Madeleine, the little girl they were supposed to be looking for. "My
heart sank for the McCanns," she remembered.
was gone 2pm at the police station in Portimo before I was interviewed.
Jo' Carlos, a Portuguese detective, led me up the stairs, I inquired
whether he had any children. He told me he hadn't. "But don't worry. We
will find your daughter." It was exactly what I was yearning to hear.
was 7.30 by the time one of the PJ officers drove us away from the
police station. Ten or 15 minutes into our journey, the police officer
had a call from his station. He suddenly swung the car into a U-turn and
drove us at 120mph back to Portimo.
cannot overstate how terrifying this was. Had Madeleine been found' Was
she alive' Was she dead' I was crying hysterically and praying for all I
She didn't have her Cuddle Cat with her
at the police station somebody showed us a photograph, taken from CCTV,
of a blonde child with a woman in a petrol station shop. We were asked
whether the little girl was Madeleine. She wasn't. We were sent on our
was very troubled Madeleine didn't have her Cuddle Cat toy with her.
Just being able to hold something familiar might have given her a crumb
midnight we'd had no more word from the police. More than 24 hours had
elapsed. The pain, dread and sense of powerlessness were tearing me
rang the number given to me by Guilhermino Encarna'o, director of the
Algarve Pol'ia Judici'ia, and got through to the PJ at Portim'.I was
told "everything that can be done is being done". It was a line we were
to hear many more times in the next 24 hours. How hollow it seems now.
frustration and anger were reaching boiling point. I felt like a caged,
demented animal. This was torture of the cruellest kind. Finally, I
erupted. I began to scream, swear and lash out.
kicked an extra bed that had been brought into the apartment and smashed
the end right off it.
came the inevitable tears. Prostrate on the floor, sobbing like a baby,
I felt utterly defeated and broken. I had not slept in over 42 hours. I
was exhausted and my whole body was racked with pain.
the police station that first afternoon, Dr Encarna'o had briefly
mentioned three potential explanations for Madeleine's disappearance: a
burglary that had "changed direction", abduction and the possibility
that she had wandered off by herself.
have always found the third suggestion insulting to our intelligence.
There was no way a three-year-old could have raised the shutters and
opened the window.It was not only insulting, it was frighteningly
damaging to the chances of finding Madeleine quickly.