Paper shows support for McCanns in their home town
Police in Portugal are said to be confident that charges would soon be brought
against Kate and Gerry McCann after a 1,000-page dossier of evidence was handed
to a judge.
Detectives believe they have enough material to justify charging one or both
parents with the "accidental" killing of their four-year-old daughter
Madeleine and presented their findings to a public prosecutor in Portimao.
In the latest twist, the prosecutor almost immediately passed the file to an
"instructional judge" to seek approval for any further action to be
taken. This could include charges being brought, or may simply be a request for
further searches or more interviews.
Legal experts said the judge is likely to make his decision within 10 days.
A source close to the inquiry said: "The police are confident they have
shown the McCanns have a case to answer and they believe charges will now
The McCann family remained defiant, with Gerry's sister Philomena saying that
if the couple are charged "it will give them the chance to clear their
In other developments
Police prepared to dig up recently-laid roads in the resort town of Praia da Luz to search
for Madeleine's body.
• A "substantial amount" of Madeleine's hair was said to have been
found in the boot of the McCanns' hire car.
• Sources claimed that forensic evidence pointed to Madeleine's body being
hidden in the car's spare wheel well.
• Gerry McCann said his and his wife's suffering was "beyond
The public prosecutor, Jose Cunha de Magalhaes e Meneses, may already have
decided if the McCanns have a case to answer.
A Portuguese lawyer, Artur Rego, said the speed with which Mr Meneses had
passed the 10-volume dossier to the judge made it unlikely that he had recommended
charges at this stage.
But, he said, the prosecutor may have prepared the case in advance and was
waiting for the final papers before making his recommendations."
It appears increasingly likely that any case is likely to hinge on forensic
evidence allegedly found in a Renault Scenic hired by the McCanns 25 days after
It was claimed that a large quantity of Madeleine's hair was found under the
boot liner, next to the spare wheel, leading police to believe that her body may
have been hidden there.
The amount of hair was said to be sufficient to convince police that it could
only have got there directly from Madeleine's body, rather than by
"secondary transfer" from her clothes or Cuddle Cat toy.
Bodily fluids said to have been found in the car showed signs of decomposition,
it is alleged, leading police to believe that Madeleine is dead.
There were also reports that toxicology tests on the samples in the car may
have led to the suspicion that Madeleine was drugged and speculation that she
may have been accidentally given an overdose of a sedative.
As official suspects, the McCanns are prevented by Portuguese law from speaking
out in their own defence but have dismissed as "ludicrous" the
suggestion that they could be to blame for Madeleine's disappearance.
Extensive roadworks near the McCanns' holiday apartment could be dug up in
search for body
Their supporters have pointed out that they had neither the motive nor the
opportunity to kill Madeleine or hide her body. They say that the police
hypothesis that they hid her body for 25 days before transporting it in the car
under the noses of the world's media is plainly impossible.
Portuguese police are understood to have eliminated as suspects every other
driver who hired the Renault between May 3 and May 28, when the McCanns rented
it from Budget.
Writing on his internet blog on the Find Madeleine campaign's website, Gerry
McCann said: "The pain and turmoil we have experienced in this last week
is totally beyond description. Kate and I are totally 100 per cent confident in
each other's innocence and our family and friends have rallied round
unflinchingly to support us."
Police in Praia da Luz said they had been put on standby to dig up roadworks
filled in shortly after Madeleine went missing as part of a fresh search for a
Several roads within a short walk of the McCanns' Ocean Club apartment had been
dug up at the time of their holiday. When Madeleine vanished there was
speculation that she could have wandered off and fallen into a hole, or that an
abductor could have disposed of her body in the roadworks.
The McCanns spent the day at home in Rothley, Leics, choosing not to attend a
service at their local Catholic church in which prayers were said for