A friend of Gerry and Kate McCann has said the couple are not "cracking up"
under the weight of allegations and public scrutiny over the disappearance of
The friend's defence came on the day the McCanns left their Rothley home with
their twins Sean and Amelie and a relative to meet their lawyers.
The friend, who works with Mr McCann at Leicester's Glenfield Hospital, visited
the consultant cardiologist and his wife, a GP, at their house in The Crescent
earlier his week.
He said he spoke for all his colleagues: "We all feel that they are facing an
added burden [with the police investigation] which is barely credible.
"It's very tough. I am concerned that the press attention is intensifying.
"It's a lot of stress but they are coping very well. They are not cracking up
but they are under pressure."
The couple's new lawyers are Michael Caplan QC and Angus McBride, who work for
London legal firm Kingsley Napley.
"Cleary the McCanns are bedding in for what they have to do to maintain their
safety and to keep going, for the time being, the hunt for Madeleine," said Sky
News Correspondent Andrew Wilson.
The meeting comes amid another slew of reports in the British and Continental
media about the case.
French newspaper France Soir claimed traces of sedatives had been found in hairs
said to have belonged to Madeleine, which were found in the boot of the family's
The car has been at the centre of the Portuguese police forensic investigation.
Portuguese officers reportedly found blood and other body fluids in the vehicle,
which was hired by the McCanns 25 days after Madeleine disappeared on May 3.
Madeleine's aunt said family members would be willing to sell their homes to pay
any legal fees run up by the McCanns.
Mr McCann's sister, Philomena, told BBC Radio Scotland: "It's a possibility,
"These things happen. Money and property is not as important as family and love,
is it? Not to me anyway."
She also refused to discount reports that the couple are set to hire a new PR
consultant, reported to be former News Of The World editor Phil Hall.