The mother of Madeleine McCann was dramatically reinterviewed by police
yesterday - and is terrified they are trying to frame her.
Kate McCann was questioned at police headquarters in Portimao, 30 miles from
Praia da Luz for over eleven hours.
It is the first time she has been formally interviewed since May 4, the day
after her daughter vanished from her bed in the Mark Warner holiday complex.
Mrs McCann, 39, had a lawyer present, something that has not happened in any
previous meetings with the Portuguese police.
Friends said she was extremely nervous about being "set up" and fears
detectives were attempting to crack the case by pinning the blame for
Madeleine's disappearance on her.
A Portuguese newspaper stoked her fears yesterday with hurtful slurs about a
"scent of death" allegedly detected on her clothing.
Although police made clear the McCanns are witnesses and not suspects, it is
understood that inquiries are concentrating on alleged discrepancies in their
accounts of the night Madeleine disappeared.
A British source with knowledge of the investigation claimed: "Forensic
tests have opened new lines of inquiry which undermines their version of
Mr McCann will be interviewed separately today.
Their answers will be compared and police will decide whether or not to change
their status to "arguido", the Portuguese term for suspect.
Under Portuguese law, an arguido is someone who is under ongoing questioning.
Arrests can be made only once someone is an arguido.
Friends said Mrs McCann had absolutely nothing to hide and had chosen to walk
through the police station front door with her head held high.
Neither she nor her husband are under arrest, they are not suspects, and they
were not being interviewed under oath.
But a friend of the couple said: "Kate is terrified that she is being set
up. This has been the worst week since Madeleine vanished, and we're not
through it yet.
"They have no idea why they have been called back.
"Police have refused to tell them. They fear that they might be
The extraordinary development blows apart the couple's plans to return home to
Rothley, Leicestershire, which they had been arranging to do this coming
Now their departure is on hold while the latest drama unfolds.
And it came a day after a forensics breakthrough when police took delivery of
"significant" results on samples of blood, hair and fibres found in
Madeleine's bedroom and elsewhere.
Scientists in Birmingham
spent a month analysing the traces, which were found during a review of the
case by British forensic experts.
It raised the prospect that an arrest could be imminent, although police
refused to speculate.
It is 127 days since Madeleine went missing, just before her fourth birthday,
while her parents ate with friends at a tapas restaurant 50 yards from the
The police investigation has been beset with blunders and, in recent weeks, the
McCanns have been dogged by hurtful allegations in the Portuguese media that
police believe they could have had something to do with Madeleine's
Yesterday morning the couple prayed together at the church in Praia da Luz.
Then at 1.55pm, Mrs McCann braved a scrum of photographers and walked into
Portimao police station, clutching Madeleine's favourite Cuddle Cat soft toy.
She had been driven there by her husband, who gave her a supportive kiss before
returning to Praia da Luz.
Mrs McCann was kept waiting an hour and 15 minutes before the interview began,
and she had to choose an interpreter from a list.
Police interviews are not tape-recorded in Portugal and, in the McCanns' case,
every sentence has to be translated and written down in full, so the process
can take several hours.
Portuguese newspapers appear to be in no doubt that detectives' attention has
been focused very much on the McCanns lately.
Yesterday the barrage of smears continued as national daily paper Correio de
Manha ran the astonishing claim that a sniffer dog had detected the "scent
of death" on Cuddle Cat and on Mrs McCann's clothing.
The paper alleged that a dog specifically trained to sniff out a corpse had
reacted positively when presented with the cuddly toy and also Mrs McCann's
blouse and a pair of her jeans.
Friends of the couple dismissed the lurid accusations as "complete