Maddy disappeared in 2007
the McCanns at the Leveson inquiry.
Scotland Yard detectives examining the Madeleine McCann case have flown
to Spain, the Standard can reveal.
Homicide officers have met Spanish colleagues in Barcelona in the last
two weeks to hold talks over her disappearance.
The trip widens inquiries by officers carrying out the "investigative
review" into the three-year-old's disappearance from a Portuguese
holiday resort in 2007. Police are believed to be discussing reports
that Madeleine may have been abducted and smuggled across the border to
Detectives have also travelled to Portugal three times to meet
detectives involved in the original investigation.
Kate and Gerry McCann, Madeleine's parents, issued a statement today
hailing the work of the Metropolitan Police, saying : "We are pleased
that the review is making progress."
Their comments came after they made an emotional appearance at the
Leveson inquiry into press standards, when they told how they were left
distraught by suggestions they were responsible for their daughter's
Scotland Yard was called in to carry out a review of the McCann files
this year after a request by Prime Minister David Cameron. The McCanns
had asked him to help revive the search for their daughter, who
disappeared shortly before her fourth birthday while the family was on
holiday in the Algarve.
She vanished from a holiday flat in the resort of Praia da Luz as her
parents, both doctors, were dining with friends nearby.
Since then there have been hundreds of "sightings" of Madeleine around
the world but none confirmed. The official police inquiry into her
disappearance was shelved in July 2008 but private detectives employed
by the McCanns continued the search. Scotland Yard says the trips to
Portugal, and now Spain, are part of "laying the ground work" for future
co-operation between the police forces.
They are playing down any suggestion of a breakthrough in the case but
the visits raise the possibility that British detectives will be
involved in an active role in any future inquiries. In July Scotland
Yard said it would examine all the evidence connected to the case,
including material gathered by private investigators.
One theory - among the many others - was that the child was snatched by
a paedophile gang and smuggled over the border to Spain an hour's drive
away, or even taken there by boat. There were sightings of someone
matching her appearance in Spain shortly after she disappeared and
Portuguese authorities were criticised for not alerting border and
police officials until 12 hours after she went missing.
The British team is believed to have been discussing these reports with
Detectives spent the first five months reading a huge file of case
material which had to be translated into English from Portuguese.
The Met says it has been in close liaison with the McCann family about
their actions. The Yard emphasises that the Portuguese police remain the
A Met Police spokesman said: "There has been very good co-operation with
Portuguese authorities and liaison will continue.
"Officers have travelled to Portugal three times in connection with the
investigative review and three officers travelled to Barcelona. They are
continuing to discuss how to take it forward and we are hopeful that we
will be able to do that."