Police have suspected McCanns for over a month
Intimate conversations between Kate and Gerry have been listened to
Portugese police have been deliberately leaking details to the press in
hopes McCanns will crack
Kate swore at detectives when asked, 'Did you kill your daughter?'
Tonight Portugese police have declared that Gerry McCann is a formal suspect
in the disappearance of his missing four-year-old
Madeleine's father, who has always looked so determined and been a key, firm
voice in the campaign to find her, looked shattered.
He did not say anything as he was caught in the flashlights of the waiting
press photographers and journalists.
He looked nauseous and started straight ahead as his lawyer, Carlos Pinto de
Abreu, read out a statement that said no charges had
been brought and no bail conditions had been set.
Earlier police accused Madeleine's mother Kate of killing her daughter
Madeleine and put her under intense pressure to confess.
In a day of extraordinary developments, detectives alleged that Mrs McCann
accidentally gave Madeleine a fatal overdose of sedative
and then engaged with her husband Gerry in a monumental
cover-up of her death.
It also emerged that Mrs McCann had been offered a plea bargain deal - to
confess in exchange for a "light" sentence.
In an angry confrontation which lasted more than four hours at police
headquarters in Portimao, detectives finally demanded:
"Tell us what you've done with her."
The 39-year-old GP was asked to explain traces of her daughter's blood
allegedly found in the family's hired Renault Scenic
A friend revealed, Mrs McCann shook with rage and replied: "How dare you? How
dare you use emotional blackmail to make me confess
something I didn't do?"
Asked how her husband Gerry was taking this situation, the friend replied:
"How do you think a red-blooded Scottish male would
react when defending the honour of his wife?"
Police apparently believe Mrs McCann, rather than her husband, is their main
suspect because of a "scent of death" allegedly detected
on her clothes by sniffer dogs trained to find a corpse.
She was named during the afternoon as an "arguida" or official suspect.
The McCanns have been under round-the-clock surveillance by Portuguese police
for more than a month, it emerged.
The covert operation was launched after suspicions grew that they could be
linked to the disappearance of their daughter.
Intimate conversations between the pair have been secretly listened to and
their movements tracked by investigators.
A British source added: "After a slow start, the police inquiry is a lot more
focused and professional.
"There is a great deal of co-operation between the Portuguese and British
police. There are likely to be further dramatic
developments in the next few days.
"A lot of people will be surprised by what else is going to come out."
Dozens of British detectives have been drafted into the inquiry in recent
weeks. Sources said 55 officers were now working on the
It is believed they are carrying out urgent inquiries on behalf of the
Portuguese police into the background of the McCanns.
Investigators want to learn more about the state of their marriage, their
relationship and whether either of them are prone to
losing their temper.
It can also be revealed that Portuguese police have been deliberately leaking
details of their inquiry to local media as part of an
investigative strategy to put more pressure on the
McCanns in recent weeks.
It has never been established when Madeleine was last seen in public and it
may even be the case that she was alone with her family
from earlier than 5pm.
Madeleine was photographed at the poolside that day at 2.29pm but there is no
evidence to suggest she was seen in public after that.
If a fatal accident had occurred some time that day, the McCanns could have
had more than three hours to hide or move the body and
to plan their actions.
Mrs McCann's transformation from victim to suspect came in a whirlwind 24
hours of drama.
There were chaotic scenes outside police headquarters in the town of Portimao,
30 miles from Praia da Luz, with the narrow cobbled
pavement hopelessly inadequate for more than 200
photographers, camera crews and reporters - plus dozens
of curious members of the public - who gathered to watch
her arrive for her second day of questioning.
Police eventually closed off the road to traffic.
At 11.07am, Mrs McCann stepped out of a car driven by her spokesman Justine
McGuinness, only ten hours after she had left the police
station at 12.55am.
There were ugly scenes with booing and jeering from some Portuguese onlookers.
But one British tourist shouted out: "We believe you
As with her first day of the interview on Wednesday, she had her lawyer Carlos
Pinto de Abreu present.
The second day of Mrs McCann's interview, 128 days since Madeleine vanished
from the family's holiday apartment in Praia da Luz,
began with her being officially informed she was no
longer a witness but a suspect.
Detectives then put 22 key questions to her.
She was directly asked: "Did you kill your daughter?" and was so taken aback
she swore at detectives.
It is understood detectives had not asked her on Wednesday about the events of
May 3, but they did tell her traces of Madeleine's blood
had been found in the hire car.
At the second interview, they launched a more aggressive line of questioning,
accusing her of killing her daughter and then concocting
an incredible smokescreen by pretending she was
They suggested she had moved her daughter's body in the boot of the family's
hire car, and said police dogs had detected the smell of
a corpse on her T-shirt and jeans and on Madeleine's
favourite toy Cuddle Cat.
Gerry McCann reported to the police station for his own questioning at 3.37pm,
seven minutes after detectives finished with his wife.
She was freed and returned to the couple's rented villa in Praia da Luz, where
she gave two-year-old twins Sean and Amelie an enormous
hug. Later she called on the local Anglican priest for
The McCanns, who have remained in the Algarve over the summer with their
twins, were on the verge of leaving Portugal to return
to Rothley, Leicestershire, this weekend.
As arguidos, they could be taken before a judge for restrictions to be placed
on their movements, they could be banned from leaving
Portugal and even placed under house arrest.
Bewildered members of the McCanns' family in Britain exploded in fury,
condemned the police investigation as a complete farce
and called detectives "imbeciles".
Casting aside their usual diplomacy, they said police had botched the entire
They raised questions such as why, if police think Madeleine was accidentally
given an overdose, there would be blood stains in the
car, and how the McCanns were supposed to have moved a
body when the eyes of the world were on them.
There was also scepticism that a dog could accurately detect the scent of a
corpse after three months.
Gerry's sister Philomena McCann said: "We are furious, the utter incompetence
of the investigation has led to this, and all the while
the perpetrator of the crime is walking free and could
possibly do this again.
"They were saying, 'Tell us what you did with her?' and Kate was like, 'You
must be insane to think we'd put ourselves through
She told ITV News: "They tried to get Kate to confess to having accidentally
killed Madeleine by offering her a deal through her
"It was, 'If you say you killed Madeleine by accident and hid her and then
disposed of the body, we can guarantee you a two-year
jail sentence or even less. You may even get off earlier
because people feel sorry for you. It was an accident'."
Two men stand to benefit directly from the Portuguese police decision to
focus their inquiry on Kate and Gerry McCann.
One is Robert Murat, the British expat named as the only official suspect over
Madeleine McCann's disappearance ten days after she
The other is publicist Max Clifford, who was last night preparing to market
Murat's story to the world's media.
Murat, 33, a sometime estate agent who lives with his mother 100 yards from
the McCanns' holiday apartment, fell under suspicion
after he spent long hours with police and journalists
investigating the Madeleine mystery.
He helped officers translate, and asked increasingly probing questions of
His home has been searched repeatedly, but nothing appears to have been found
to connect him with the missing child.
From the start he has protested his innocence.
A spokesman for Max Clifford said the publicist was preparing to represent
Murat to the media if Portuguese police declare his
"arguido" status has been lifted.
She said it was not yet decided if he would be asking for money to tell his