FOR the first time
since she went missing, Kate McCann opened the door to Madeleine's
pretty pink bedroom at their home and peeped in. Dolls and teddies still
lay where the little girl had left them.
said: "I could see her, in bed, looking at me, her blonde hair on the
pillow, saying, 'Lie with me, Mummy. Lie with me'."
she broke down. Kate has had her share of critics, people who call her
cold, callous and incapable of showing emotion.
anyone seeing her sob at the memory of that moment would have to have a
heart of stone not to weep with her.
years after Madeleine was abducted from a holiday apartment in Praia da
Luz, Portugal, the memory of her is almost frozen in time.
little girl in a red dress - staring out from an iconic photo. It was
released not long after she disappeared, days before her fourth
reality is that Madeleine would now be nearly eight.
Kate, 43, admitted: "I find that quite shocking. I can't even imagine
her. Eight sounds so old.
do sometimes think about what it would be like to have an eight-year-old
now. I find it really strange. How has that time flown by? It was her
fourth birthday - and then suddenly it's her eighth.
see girls of eight and I try to imagine Madeleine like that. And I just
still dreams of her daughter as she was when she vanished - cherubic
face, a mop of beautiful blonde hair, huge eyes.
explained: "I've had three dreams of her, all of them similar. We get a
call that Madeleine's been found. And there she is and I'm cuddling
Reaching out her arms, as if she is holding a small child, she said:
"The thing is, it's so tangible, I can feel her, smell her, feel her
snuggling into me, like she always did.
"She's there, I'm holding her, I'm so happy. And then I wake up. And of
course, she's not there. The pain is crippling."
is at times like that when Kate and her husband Gerry are so grateful
that they have their twins Amelie and Sean to give them hope and love.
said: "I was chatting to Amelie and she said, 'Mummy's sad because
Madeleine is not here. But Amelie's here and Amelie and Sean will always
"Sean said to me recently, 'When you're old, me and Amelie will look for
way the twins, now six, have dealt with Madeleine's disappearance has
helped their parents cope.
went on: "I don't know what we would have done if we hadn't had them.
"They're great. I've written down everything they've said. They include
Madeleine in everything. If they have sweets, they ask if they can put
their last one in her room.
"We've been as honest as we can. They know that Madeleine was stolen.
They call the person who took her 'the naughty man'. They know it
happened in Portugal. Amelie said, 'We went to Portugal and then we woke
up and Madeleine was gone'."
the twins' Leicestershire school, the one Madeleine was due to attend,
teachers are keen to make sure Sean and Amelie are treated as normally
explained: "Madeleine's very much part of the school. Every child knows
what happened. The school have handled all the little incidents that
have happened. They've been ready for it."
Gerry joined in: "There was an incident recently when a new kid to the
school said to Sean, 'Madeleine is dead, someone shot her'."
said: "The child's mum was really upset and flagged it up to the school.
Sean was telling me as we came out of the school gates. I was like,
'uh'. But Sean said calmly, 'How would they know?"
Gerry, 42, said: "He was very matter of fact. He said no one knows where
Madeleine is. The logic is undeniable."
went on: "All the parents there have been really supportive and I don't
blame the child at all, they are only young. Children do say things. But
I think Sean and Amelie have handled it brilliantly.
am well aware, if God forbid we are still in this situation, that the
pain and the anger and the upset will come as they get older and they
realise what actually happened." Since Portuguese police called off
their investigation in 2008, the search for Madeleine has been carried
on by private investigators, paid for out of a campaign fund set up by
Kate and Gerry.
couple have also fought to raise the awareness of missing children
everywhere. As a result, the EU is bringing in a system similar to
America's Amber Alert.
a child disappears, cross border alerts are put out on posters, TV and
McCann private detectives have followed up leads and sightings, some
hidden away in Portuguese police files.
Desperate Kate also revealed she has turned amateur detective during
return visits to the resort where her ordeal began in 2007. There she
tries to get into the mind of the abductor.
revealed: "I look at the apartment, I kind of step into that person's
shoes - and I think, 'Where did you go?'
think it was someone who knew our movements. I don't think someone was
passing by chance and took a child.
find it helpful, trying to work things out. I just want to try to
understand it. I'm probably wasting my time but I just have this need to
got a friend to re-enact a sighting of a man holding a child, crossing
the road near the apartment on the night Madeleine disappeared. The
sighting was by Jane Tanner, one of the group holidaying with the
McCanns. Kate said: "I got my friend to walk across the road at night. I
said to her, 'I can see exactly what you're wearing'.
"Jane has been almost discredited, with people saying she couldn't have
seen this person.
there are street lights there, you CAN see things."
she stood on the same spot, Kate understood why Jane was feeling
tormented because she had not challenged the man. Kate said: "She was
actually quite close. I felt I could almost reach and stop him, could
have saved Madeleine."
Recalling the arrival of her precious first child, Kate said: "She was
born after IVF and felt very special. I thanked God every day that we'd
finally got our little girl."
Gerry said: "Sometimes I look back and the things Madeleine was doing at
three, nearly four, I find incredible. She has a very obvious sense of
humour. She knew things were funny. She could do accents, she was a very
she has a really good imagination. She loved things at a young age that
you wouldn't think she would. She really liked Harry Potter, she really
liked Dr Who.
"That was her time with me. When the twins had gone to bed, she would
sit with me and watch TV. You could have a full conversation with her."
Kate added: "She seemed older. I look at Amelie and Sean now, and we
were having conversations like that with Madeleine.
is very gregarious, she would talk to older children like she was
looking after them. She's very bright, enjoys company, and enjoys
speaking to people."
also revealed that Gerry and Madeleine always had a "very special bond".
explained: "She had colic very badly as a baby and Gerry was there to
take over when I was tired. She would be on Gerry's tummy writhing in
would pull the hair out of his chest because she was in such pain. I'm
sure it was having gone through those difficult times, that's why they
had such a close bond." Thinking back to those intimate moments when he
cradled Madeleine, Gerry, a hospital consultant cardiologist, recalled:
"The amazing thing is that, as a baby, she was always awake, eyes always
really loved being held. She loved that interaction."