EXPRESS: 10-SEPTEMBER 2007
By Padraic Flanagan in Praia da Luz and Martin Evans in Rothley
THE parents of Madeleine McCann flew back to Britain
yesterday as Portuguese police said: “We have enough
evidence to convict you.”
They made their confidence clear as Kate and Gerry McCann
dramatically returned home with two-year-old twins Sean and
The couple left the
just two days after they were named as official suspects in
the disappearance of their elder daughter. Detectives now
expect to receive further forensic evidence gathered from
the McCanns’ ground-floor apartment at the Ocean Club
complex today or tomorrow.
A source close to the Policia Judiciaria said they were
expecting the results from the latest batch of tests to
clinch their case against the couple.
But he added: “Even if it doesn’t, we have enough already to
go on.” The source said detectives decided to focus their
investigation on the McCanns, rather than an unknown
abductor, many weeks ago and were planning to name them as
suspects as long as a month ago.
He added that the results of tests on samples given to the
Forensic Science Service in Birmingham revealed the experts
were 78.95 per cent sure that blood found in the McCanns’
hire care was Madeleine’s.
Amid the drama, a family friend revealed that the McCanns
went straight to Madeleine’s bedroom to pray when they
finally reached home.
Detectives’ firm belief that they have a sound case with
which to bring a prosecution led some to question why the
McCanns were allowed to return home despite being official
But, under Portuguese law, the police now have 18 months in
which to decide whether to charge them and the McCanns have
given a written undertaking to return to
Concern has also been raised that the PJ were apparently
happy to allow the McCanns to continue using the hire car in
which Madeleine’s blood was allegedly found despite British
sources saying it should be treated as evidence.
Last night it emerged that the McCanns have chosen not to
return the silver car to the hire firm. They are understood
to be continuing to rent it so that they can have their own
forensic tests carried out.
The move underlines the family’s determination to fight the
case being built against them.
Moments after disembarking from an aircraft at East Midlands
Airport, Gerry McCann, his
voice breaking with emotion, said he and Kate “played no
part in Madeleine’s disappearance”.
He added: “While we are returning to the UK, it does not mean we are giving
up our search for Madeleine.
“As parents, we cannot give up on our daughter until we know
what has happened. We have to keep doing everything we can
to find her.”
But police in
are now convinced Madeleine, who was three when she vanished
on May 3, is dead and that her parents, both 39-year-old
doctors, were involved in her death.
The McCanns fear they will both be charged with the death of
their daughter after they were named as “arguidos” –
official suspects – following two days of police questioning
at the end of last week.
The sensational twist in the case – it is now 130 days since
Madeleine vanished – came after police received the results
of forensic tests.
During Kate McCann’s day-long interview with police last
Thursday she was shown a video taken by officers of sniffer
dogs signalling the scent of a corpse on her clothes.
“She showed no reaction to this,” said the source. “But she
broke down when officers told her the blood was from her
daughter’s dead body.”
Once new evidence has been received, the police source said
the McCanns could be ordered to go before the court of
examining magistrate Jose Cunha de Magalhaes e Meneses. The
police source said Policia Judiciaria chiefs were compiling
the latest case notes but they were incomplete because Kate
and Gerry refused to answer a total of 40 questions put to
them by senior detectives.
Guilhermino Encarnacao, one of the chief detectives who
carried out the interviews with Kate and Gerry, said
yesterday: “The theory of the death of Madeleine is gaining
progressively more and more consistency.
“The investigation continues with all the means we have for
searching for the body.”
He went on: “A new cycle in the investigation will now
start, with many leads that the body of the little girl
could be here or there. But the Policia Judiciaria will only
act on credible leads.”
Fresh details also emerged about the interrogation faced by
Kate, who is reported to have explained that blood found in
Madeleine’s bedroom could have come from a nosebleed.
When the officer told the part-time GP that the sample
showed the child was already dead, Kate was reported to have
replied “That’s impossible” before becoming agitated.
The police source said detectives then tried to take further
advantage of Kate’s upset state by
confronting her with evidence from the car.
The source said Kate then refused to answer any more
questions, saying it was “absurd” to consider her a suspect.
When Gerry was questioned, the source added, he became angry
at being accused of hiding the body and answered “very few