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I fear this outfit may have led to Madeleine kidnap

Original Source: SUN: WEDNESDAY 11 MAY 2011
Published: 10 May 2011


MADELEINE McCann poses for her last photo in a pretty peach top her mum fears may have made her a kidnap target.

Kate McCann, 43, recalls in her new book: "She looked lovely. I was following her with my eyes admiring her. I wonder now if someone else was doing the same."

Madeleine, of Rothley, Leics, vanished on holiday in Portugal in 2007 aged three.

The Sun is this week serialising Kate's book - titled simply Madeleine.

In this extract, edited and abridged by ANTONELLA LAZZERI and OLIVER HARVEY, Kate shares her memories of Madeleine in the final hours before she disappeared:

THURSDAY May 3, 2007: Some images are etched for all time on my brain. Madeleine that lunchtime is one of them.

She was wearing an outfit I'd bought especially for her holiday: a peach-coloured smock top from Gap and some white broderie anglaise shorts from Monsoon.

A small extravagance, perhaps, but I'd pictured how lovely she would look in them and I'd been right. She was striding ahead of me, swinging her bare arms to and fro. I remember thinking I should have brought a cardigan for her, although she seemed oblivious of the temperature, just happy and carefree.

I was following her with my eyes admiring her. I wonder now, the nausea rising in my throat, if someone else was doing the same.

A couple of days before, during Gerry's tennis lesson, Madeleine came to the adjoining court with the Mini Club for a mini-tennis session. I stayed to watch them. It chokes me remembering how my heart soared with pride in Madeleine that morning.

She was so happy and obviously enjoying herself. Standing there listening intently to instructions, she looked so gorgeous in her little T-shirt and shorts, pink hat, ankle socks and new holiday sandals that I ran back to our apartment for my camera to record the occasion.

One of my photographs is known around the world now: a smiling Madeleine clutching armfuls of tennis balls.

At breakfast time on the Thursday, Madeleine had a question for us. "Why didn't you come when Sean and I cried last night'"

We were puzzled. Did she mean when they were having their bath' we asked her. Or just after they'd gone to bed'

Madeleine didn't answer or elaborate. Instead she moved on to some other subject that had popped into her head, apparently unconcerned. If something had happened to make her cry, it was pretty unlikely that she wouldn't tell us about it.

Gerry and I were disconcerted. Could Madeleine and Sean have woken up while we were at dinner'

Not for a moment did we think there might be some sinister reason for this occurrence, if indeed anything had occurred.

Within hours, the explanation for this would seem hugely important, and so haunted have I been since by Madeleine's words that morning that I've continued to blame myself for not sitting down and making completely certain there was no more information that I could draw out of her.


Why hadn't this rung any alarm bells with me' How did I manage to conclude, subconsciously or otherwise, that if she had woken it was simply a rare aberration with a benign cause: a bad dream perhaps'

If in fact I ever did come to any real conclusion. It was more a case of her question just hanging there quietly, unanswered. This could have been my one chance to prevent what was about to happen, and I blew it.

In the infrequent moments when I am kinder to myself, I can acknowledge, if only temporarily, that there was absolutely nothing to give me any reason for suspicion and that we can all be clever after the event.

But it is my belief there was somebody either in, or trying to get in, the children's bedroom that night, and that is what disturbed them. The only other unexplained detail I remember from that morning was a large, brown stain I noticed on Madeleine's pink Eeyore pyjama top. It looked like a tea stain.

At the time I just assumed it was a drink spillage that had escaped our attention, and that might well be all it was.

Speaking exclusively to The Sun on the eve of Madeleine's eighth birthday tomorrow, Kate revealed she remains convinced "in her heart" that her daughter is still alive.

She and 42-year-old husband Gerry insisted they will NEVER give up hope. And they vowed to continue the hunt for their missing girl.

Kate said: "Certainly in my heart I feel she is out there. We'll never give up on finding her, how could we' What parent would give up on their child'"

Kate added: "There is no evidence that Madeleine has come to any harm. There is also no evidence that she is not out there alive. In four years there never has been."


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