Kate and Gerry McCann: Beyond the smears Timesonline
For six months David James Smith has examined the evidence
surrounding the disappearance of Madeleine McCann for The Sunday
Times Magazine. In this, the most comprehensive — and
authoritative — investigation yet, he addresses the key issues
facing Gerry and Kate as they prepare for Christmas without
That week in Praia da Luz, the week the McCanns were made
suspects in their own daughter's "death", I was out there
talking to them and to family and friends. I was at the home of
the Anglican vicar Haynes Hubbard, sitting with him and his
wife, Susan, while their own three children pottered around us.
The Hubbards had flown in from Canada three days after
Madeleine’s disappearance to begin Haynes’s tour of duty as the
vicar of Praia da Luz. They had heard about Madeleine for the
first time while changing planes at Lisbon airport, in a
slightly unnerving encounter with an elderly Portuguese woman
who had seized Susan’s arm and told her to "hold on" to the baby
she was carrying, as a child had been taken.
The Hubbards had spent their first days at the resort fearing
for their own children's safety. Gradually they became friends
with the McCanns, particularly Susan and Kate, drawn together at
first perhaps by the McCanns' need to find some comfort in
religion. But mostly in Portugal the McCanns were enveloped by
family and friends from the UK.
The McCanns were flying home that Sunday and had been to a
farewell dinner that week at the Hubbards'. Susan told me that
she and Kate had discussed how much one person could cope with.
Kate seemed close to the limits of human endurance. Haynes
chimed in: "And I don’t think she’s looking forward to tomorrow
very much either." The thought was left hanging there: how much
can one person take'
Kate was to go to the nearby town of Portimao the next day,
Thursday, September 6, to be questioned by detectives from the
Policia Judiciaria (PJ). It would be Gerry's turn the day after.
For the media this would be a shocking new twist to the story –
but not for the McCanns: the PJ had told them four weeks earlier
they were going to be subjected to formal interviews and the
McCanns had stayed on, instead of going home at the end of
August as originally planned, waiting for the interviews to take
place. Waiting. Waiting.
Finally, the PJ called. They told the McCanns they would be made
official suspects – arguidos. The McCanns had noted the change
of mood in Portugal, especially among the PJ, and the increasing
viciousness of the Portuguese press. Some of the stories seemed
so incredible and far-fetched – Kate, for instance, disposing of
Madeleine’s body, or Madeleine’s DNA being found in the car the
McCanns had hired three weeks after Madeleine disappeared – that
I at first assumed they were the fanciful inventions of an
unfettered press. I soon realised how well they reflected the
thinking of the PJ. More recently I have discovered the stories
were being fed to the press by the PJ, from the highest ranks.
So much for judicial secrecy. One Portuguese journalist told me
that segredo de justica – secrecy of justice – was like the
speed limit. Everyone knows the law; nobody keeps to it.
It seems important to make it clear right away that I do not
suspect the McCanns harmed Madeleine, nor do I think they
disposed of their daughter’s body if, as the PJ believe, she
died in an accident that night in their apartment.
This is not a mere prejudice on my part. I have spent a long
time considering and examining every unpleasant scenario. The
McCanns are not my friends and I have no axe to grind with
Portugal, its police or its media.
To me, the McCanns are genuine people in the grip of despair –
the accusations against them are ludicrous and a cruel
distraction from the search for their daughter. That’s why I put
the quotation marks around the word "death" at the top of the
article. Madeleine may be dead, it may even be more likely she
is dead, but nobody knows for sure. Nobody, not even the PJ, as
we will see, can produce any persuasive evidence that she has
come to harm.
That evening, Thursday, May 3, at just after 8pm, by their
account, Kate and Gerry McCann were having a glass of wine
together in apartment 5a on the ground floor of Block 5 of the
Waterside Village Gardens at the Ocean Club. Their three
children were asleep in the front bedroom overlooking the car
park and, beyond it, the street. Madeleine was in the single bed
nearest the door. There was an empty bed against the opposite
wall, beneath the window. Between the two beds were two travel
cots containing the twins: Sean and Amelie. Gerry had bought the
wine at the Baptista supermarket, 200 yards down the hill. They
had lived and worked in New Zealand for a year and that
particular bottle, Montana sauvignon blanc, was their favourite.
It was the sixth day of their week’s holiday in the Algarve and
they were reflecting on the enjoyable time they’d had, how
surprisingly easy it had been with the children.
When their old friend Dave Payne had invited them on a group
holiday, it had seemed too good to resist. Dave and Fiona Payne
had been on another Mark Warner holiday the year before, to
Greece with Matt and Rachael Oldfield. The Algarve group would
be completed by Russell O’Brien, Jane Tanner and Fiona’s mother,
Dianne Webster. Six of the group were doctors. Gerry was a
consultant cardiologist and had worked before with Matt and
Russell. Kate had been an anaesthetist and was now a part-time
The group first spent time together at Dave and Fiona’s wedding
in Italy in 2003. Now they had eight children between them.
Madeleine was the oldest, her fourth birthday a week after they
would return from the Algarve. One of the attractions was that
there were children for their own to play with. And the adults
were a sporty group, a speciality of Mark Warner holidays;
tennis had dominated the activities that week.
That might all sound very cosy and middle class, but that did
not mean their lives had been easy or free of suffering –
especially with the struggle to have children, eventually
managed through IVF – or that they had been born into an
advantaged world. Kate came from a modest Liverpool background
and Gerry, the youngest of five, had been brought up in a
tenement building on the south side of Glasgow.
The terms of the holiday were half-board, breakfast and evening
meal, and the McCanns paid about £1,500. There had been some
reduction when they had discovered that, unlike most Mark Warner
resorts, the Ocean Club did not offer a baby-listening service.
Instead, the group had asked for apartments close together, so
they were all assigned to Block 5. The Paynes were on the floor
above, the only couple with a functioning baby monitor. Russell
O’Brien and Jane Tanner had brought a monitor too, but theirs
wasn’t getting much of a signal from the Tapas restaurant 50
The Ocean Club was not a gated, enclosed resort in the usual
style of Mark Warner, but a sprawling complex open to the
village of Luz and scattered over such a wide distance that
shuttle buses were used.
Even though the resort was open to the village, it felt safe and
secure, and in early May it was still very quiet. Gerry never
saw a soul, except once, on the last night, on his evening
checks, going back and forth between Tapas and the apartment, an
even-paced walk of just under a minute.
As the McCanns endlessly repeated afterwards, if they had
thought it was wrong or even risky, they would never have left
their children. With hindsight, of course, they would never have
done it and now they are riven with guilt, but we can all be
wise after the event, and so many of us have taken similar
chances at times, in search of a bit of respite from our
Gerry had knocked up at the start of the 4.30pm tennis-drills
session, but had decided not to exacerbate an injury to his
Achilles tendon, so had dropped out and waited around by the
courts until the children came back from the kids’ clubs at 5pm
for tea. That had been one of the most enjoyable times of the
holiday, all the children together for tea, then the adults
playing with them afterwards.
Gerry was in his apartment at 7pm, had a glass of water, then a
beer, while the children sat with Kate on the couch having
stories with a snack. The children were clearly shattered – the
last thing any of them needed was a sedative and, anyway, it was
not something the McCanns ever did. They put them to bed after a
last story. The twins were asleep virtually the moment they lay
down, Madeleine not far behind them.
These days it was rare for Madeleine to wake up at all once she
was in bed. If she did, she’d normally wander into her parents’
bed, whether they were there or not. At home in Rothley,
sometime earlier, they had begun a star chart for Madeleine
staying in her own bed. The chart, still on display in the
kitchen, was full of stars. At about 7.30pm, Kate and Gerry
showered and changed and sat down to have a quiet glass of the
sauvignon blanc. They were first to the table at the restaurant
at 8.35 and spent some minutes talking to a couple from
Hertfordshire – two more tennis players – at the next table, who
were eating with their young children. As they chatted, Gerry
thought how lucky he was, his children asleep nearby, he and
Kate free to come and enjoy some adult time at the restaurant
and not have to sit with their children, as this couple were.
The McCanns sat down after a few minutes and then ordered some
wine. The Oldfields were next to arrive, then Russell O’Brien
and Jane Tanner and, finally, always last, Dave and Fiona Payne
with Dianne Webster.
That night their group ordered six bottles in total and two were
still untouched on the table at 10pm. No more than half a bottle
of wine each. The Portuguese magazine Sol reported that the
group had drunk 14 bottles. Another Portuguese journalist told
me a local GNR (national republican guard) police officer had
described one of the group as being so drunk later that evening,
they could barely stand.
They had just ordered starters when the routine of checking
began. Matt Oldfield went first at 8.55 to check his own
apartment and to hurry up the Paynes, who had still not arrived.
He was followed by Gerry, who entered his apartment at about
9.05 through the patio doors to the lounge. Earlier that week
the McCanns had used a key to go in through the front door next
to the children’s bedroom but, worrying the noise might wake the
children, they began using the patio doors, leaving them
When he entered the apartment, Gerry immediately saw that the
children’s bedroom door, which they always left just ajar, was
now open to 45 degrees. He thought that was odd, and glanced in
his own bedroom to see if Madeleine had gone into her parents’
bed. But no, she and the twins were all still fast asleep.
Gerry paused over Madeleine, who – a typical doctor’s
observation, this – was lying almost in “the recovery position”
with Cuddle Cat, the toy her godfather, John Corner, had bought
her, and her comfort blanket up near her head, and Gerry thought
how gorgeous, how lovely-looking she was and how lucky he was.
Putting the door back to five degrees, he went to the loo and
left to return to the restaurant. That, of course, was the last
time he would see his daughter.
As he walked down the hill, Gerry saw Jes Wilkins on the
opposite side of the road pushing a child in a buggy. Gerry
called hello and crossed over to talk. Wilkins and his partner
were eating in their own apartment that night, but their
youngest still wouldn’t settle. It reminded Gerry of the fraught
time he and Kate used to have with Madeleine when she was a
baby. In his memory, they could never eat a meal together when
they went out, as she was always disturbing them and needing to
be wheeled off to sleep.
As Jane Tanner walked up the hill, she saw Gerry talking to Jes
and, as she passed them, she saw ahead of her a man walking
quickly across the top of the road in front of her, going away
from the apartment block, heading to the outer road of the
resort complex. The man was carrying a little girl who was
hanging limply from his open arms. The sighting was odd, but
hardly exceptional in a holiday resort.
Her daughter fine, Jane returned to the table. At 9.30, Kate got
up to make the next check on her children, but Matt Oldfield was
checking too, as was Russell O’Brien, and Matt offered to do
Kate’s check for her, which she accepted. Gerry teased that she
would not be excused her turn at the next check.
In the McCanns’ apartment, Oldfield noticed the children’s
bedroom door was again open, but that meant nothing to him, so
he merely observed all was quiet and made a cursory glance
inside the room, seeing the twins in their cots but,
agonisingly, not directly seeing Madeleine’s bed from the angle
at which he stood. Afterwards, he could not say for sure if she
had been there or not. Nor could he say if the window and
shutter had been open.
He would get a hard time from the police because of this, during
his interviews not long afterwards, being aggressively accused
of taking Madeleine – you passed her out of the window, didn’t
you! – being suspected because he had offered to take Kate’s
Jane Tanner, too, would be accused of fabricating or
misremembering her sighting of this stranger with a child. There
could be no answer to such an accusation – except that she was
an ordinary, honest person who knew what she had seen. Sometime
after 10pm, Rachael Oldfield would go to Jane’s apartment to
tell her Madeleine had been taken and Jane would say: “Oh my
God. I saw a man carrying a girl.”
It perhaps needs to be stated openly that all these timings and
details, the way in which they weave and dovetail together, are
based on witness accounts – corroborated not just by the McCann
group but by others, such as Jes Wilkins – and that, despite
suggestions to the contrary, there are no obvious contradictions
or differences between them. Nor has any of the McCann group, at
any time since, said they wanted to retract or change their
That suggestion too is a lie.
Russell O’Brien checked his own daughter at 9.30 and found she
had been sick. Jane returned to the apartment to be with her
daughter, and Russell went back to the table. Russell would
later fall under suspicion too, because of those few minutes he
spent away from the table.
Finally, at 10pm, it was Kate’s turn to check the apartment. She
only became alarmed when she reached out to the children’s
bedroom door and it blew shut. Inside the room the window was
open, the shutter was up and Madeleine’s bed was empty. Kate
quickly searched everywhere and ran back down the hill and into
the restaurant: “Madeleine’s gone, somebody’s taken her” or
“Madeleine’s gone, someone’s taken her.”
Gerry stood up. “She can’t be gone.” “I’m telling you she’s
gone, someone’s taken her.”
It was reported that Kate had said “They’ve taken her,” as if it
was someone that she knew. She did use those words, but only
later, back in the apartment, in her despair, as she said:
“We’ve let her down. They’ve taken her.”
Matt went down to the 24-hour reception at the bottom of the
hill to raise the alarm. The call to the police went in at
10.15. They arrived 55 minutes later. It is widely believed
among the Portuguese media, and perhaps the police too, even
now, that the McCanns called Sky News before they called the
police. For the record, Sky News picked up the story from GMTV
breakfast television, at around 7.30am the following day.
There was a latch lock on the sliding glass window, and the
McCanns thought, but could not be sure, that they had locked it
at the start of the holiday. They would later discover it was
common for cleaners to open the shutters and windows to give the
rooms an airing, so there was no way of knowing whether the
window was locked that night or not and no forensic trace to
indicate where and how an abductor had gone in and out. They
could easily have used the front door, perhaps even had access
to a key.
In the McCanns’ minds now, there is no doubt Jane Tanner saw
their daughter being taken, but there was so little time to talk
in the first few days that it was not until Jane saw the
description of Madeleine’s pyjamas in the media, around Monday
or Tuesday of the following week, that she told them the little
girl she had seen was wearing the same design: pink top and
white bottoms with a floral design.
While searches began, Gerry was worried about Kate, as she was
so distraught and kept talking about paedophiles, saying
Madeleine would be dead. He tried to be reassuring, but of
course he was thinking the same things.
It all came pouring out of him at 23.40 – from his phone records
– when he called his sister Trish in Scotland ranting and raving
semi-coherently on the phone about Madeleine being taken, and
Trish kept trying to get him to calm down. A sharp contrast with
the way he would be later, particularly in public, once he had
regained his self-control.
The detectives from PJ arrived at about 1am. By 3.30am they had
gone and there was no police action at all, or none visible to
Four times that night they put in calls via the British consul;
four times the message came back from the PJ, a message that the
McCanns would never forget: “Everything that can be done is
One of the PJ officers had put on surgical gloves and begun
trying to dust down the bedroom, but his powder was not working
properly. He tried to take the McCanns’ fingerprints for
elimination, but that didn’t work either. It all had to be done
again the next day.
The twins slept on like logs, just as they always did at home,
though even their parents were fleetingly worried – had they
been sedated by an abductor' – that they should be quite so
comatose. The Ocean Club gave them another apartment, but the
McCanns did not want to be alone, so the twins were taken to the
Paynes’ apartment, and Kate and Gerry went there later too, to
try to rest.
They got up at first light and went to search alone on the open
scrubland beyond the resort, wandering around, calling
Madeleine’s name. It was cold and lonely – there was no answer.
Gerry had asked the departing PJ detectives at half three about
contacting the media to make an appeal. One of the officers had
reacted with surprising agitation, waving his hand emphatically:
“No journalists! No journalists!” That, of course, was not quite
how it worked out.
For many weeks, the McCanns enjoyed a good relationship with the
Portuguese police and were treated to regular updates and a flow
of information via the family-liaison officers sent out by
Leicestershire police. The problem with the three Leicester
officers was that they didn’t have a word of Portuguese between
The first public indication of police thinking came at the end
of June when the magazine Sol published a story about the McCann
group, casting doubts on their evidence and claiming they had
undertaken a pact of silence. It was the first time the McCanns’
friends had been named in public, but Sol’s journalist Felicia
Cabrita had their names and phone numbers and details from their
witness statements. She had called them all, and at least one
other witness, Jes Wilkins.
The information had been handed to Cabrita by the police – she
says she acquired the material through good journalism, which in
a sense it was – and her source is widely believed by her
colleagues to have been the former head of the inquiry, Goncalo
The PJ appointed an official spokesman, Olegario Sousa. He was
apparently plucked from his day job – he was a chief inspector
on the art-robbery squad – because he was the only one who spoke
decent English. He was never directly involved in the
investigation and was rarely told much of what was really going
Initial suspicion focused on Robert Murat, who made himself busy
with police and journalists from the first day, offering his
services as an interpreter, as he spoke both languages and lived
across the road from the Ocean Club with his mother at the villa
Casa Liliana. In fact, the man Jane Tanner had seen carrying a
child was walking straight towards the Murat villa.
Murat later said to me that he told the PJ the press were
suspicious of him, and they told him not to worry and to keep
away from the press and work for them instead. He had signed
papers to become an official interpreter and even sat in during
the witness interview of Rachael Oldfield.
Leaving the police station in Portimao one evening, a week after
becoming an official police interpreter, Murat became aware he
was being followed. Shortly after that he was arrested and
interviewed himself and made an arguido.
Murat always denied he was out the night Madeleine disappeared,
but three of the McCann group claimed at the time they had seen
him and still insist they were right. I was told there was at
least one new independent sighting of Murat out on the night of
Bizarrely, the McCanns believe they were inadvertently
responsible for encouraging the PJ to take them seriously as
potential suspects, as it was them bringing in a South African
“body finder”, Danie Krugel, that led to search dogs being used.
The PJ agreed to work with Krugel, and an officer from the UK
National Policing Improvement Agency was called in to advise on
a search based on Krugel’s findings. It was agreed the British
would supply some specialist equipment for spotting disturbed
soil and also some search dogs, including one trained in
human-remains detection (HRD) and one trained to detect the
scent of blood.
Ultimately, only those who were there and involved know exactly
what happened, but the McCanns wonder just how the search dogs
were presented to the PJ and what claims were made for their
success rate and infallibility.
All British policing techniques are meant to be practised
uniformly by every force across the country and defined in
written policy created by the Association of Chief Police
Officers (ACPO). But the ACPO was unable to produce for me any
policy relating to search dogs.
Gerry was initially optimistic at the prospect of the searches
by these supposedly elite British dogs and techniques. The dogs
then went on to search the apartments of the McCanns and their
friends. A line-up of cars were also called in by the police,
including the cars owned or used by Murat and the Renault the
McCanns had been using, which they had hired on May 27.
Those who told me about the dogs’ searches say they involved
little objective science. It has been suggested that the HRD dog
was treated differently in the McCanns’ apartment than in the
others. The dog kept sniffing and running off and it was called
back on several occasions. Eventually it “alerted”, meaning it
went stiff and stayed still.
Then the blood dog was called in and directed to the area where
the other dog had alerted. Eventually this dog alerted in the
same place – behind the sofa in the lounge, which is where the
trace of blood was supposedly found.
The cars were lined up, not in a controlled environment, but in
the underground public car park opposite Portimao police
station. Again the dog was led quickly from one car to the next
until he reached a Renault with “Find Madeleine” stickers all
over it. The dog sniffed and moved on to the next car, but was
called back. The dog was taken around the McCanns’ car for about
a minute, as opposed to the few seconds devoted to the other
cars. Then the dog went rigid, an “alert”, and the doors and the
boot were opened. It was this that led to the recovery of some
body fluids that the PJ suspected would contain traces of
Madeleine’s DNA, and which led to the supposed revelation that
her body must have been carried in the car.
The role of such dogs is normally intended to find a body or
remains. Without any subsequent discovery the alerts amount to
little more than an indication – or worse: in one recent case in
Wisconsin a judge concluded that similarly trained dogs were “no
more reliable than the flip of a coin”, after hearing evidence
that they were wrong far more often than they were right. The
McCanns’ lawyers are in touch with the defence lawyers in that
case. The PJ had never attempted to obtain a “control sample” of
Madeleine’s DNA. That had been left to the McCanns, who had
found traces of her saliva on the pillow of her bed at home in
Rothley and provided that DNA sample to the Portuguese police.
Whatever the public’s perception – based on a slew of news
stories – at this stage there is no published evidence that
Madeleine’s DNA, or any trace of her blood, has been recovered
from the apartment or the car. Any suggestion to the contrary
appears to be misinformation from the PJ. Some Portuguese
journalists and, apparently, some members of the PJ believed the
UK’s Forensic Science Service (FSS), based in Birmingham, had
been deliberately delaying the tests. There are some who suspect
the involvement of the British secret services.
In fact, both the PJ’s national director, Alipio Ribeiro, and
another PJ official, Carlos Anjos, have both said openly that
the police have failed to establish a perfect match. The PJ
found several specks of what they believe to be blood in
apartment 5a, including one sample that someone had apparently
tried to wash off.
They found a trace of body fluid – that is, not blood – in the
boot of the Renault and a tiny trace of blood in the Renault’s
key fob. Some forensic tests were carried out at the PJ’s own
laboratories in Lisbon, where tests on samples related to Robert
Murat were also made. The tests on the traces that were
potentially the most significant came to the FSS. One sample was
said to have produced DNA that was similar to Madeleine’s. An
exact match would be 20 out of 20 bands, this sample was said to
be similar in 15 out of 20 bands. But in reality, that result
was meaningless, as any family member could produce the same
Some journalists were told that more advanced tests were being
carried out on the smallest blood traces – tests called low copy
number profiling, which could produce DNA findings in the
slightest of samples. They were a slow process, but did not
normally take more than two weeks.
In late November, PJ officers and forensic experts came to meet
police and FSS experts in the UK, amid claims the PJ were still
waiting for further results. Leicestershire police have
apparently paid for all the forensic tests being carried out in
the case by the FSS – they are the client in the case, not the
Portuguese. The PJ have used this as evidence that the British
are suspicious of the McCanns too – even the McCanns think the
British police doubted them for a while, until the forensic
results emerged – but you might think the PJ would have wanted
to be in control of their own forensic findings.
I heard that a PJ officer had been surprised to find a member of
MI5 at a UK meeting about the case, and this made him suspicious
that shadowy forces could be at work. The Sol journalist Felicia
Cabrita mentioned the “mysterious Clarence” – Clarence Mitchell,
the former government PR officer turned McCann spokesman – and I
was told there was suspicion too about another government
official, Sheree Dodd, who had acted as a PR officer for the
McCanns briefly in the early days – had she come out from MI6 to
help dispose of the body'
These theories might seem preposterous, but for those involved
in the case in Portugal, they fitted a pattern in which the
Portuguese government and in turn the PJ had felt the heavy
weight of diplomatic pressure from the UK – a pressure that the
police and the journalists very much resented, with its
implication that the police were not doing their job properly.
This could be one reason why the PJ were so ready to suspect the
There seemed to be no doubt that the PJ really did think the
McCanns had done it. I was outlined a scenario in which Kate had
come back to the apartment and found that Madeleine had fallen
from the sofa and hit her head – hence the blood – and cleaned
up and hid the body somewhere in the apartment, and perhaps had
not even told Gerry until the next day.
The police could not answer all the questions, of course. They
were almost as unanswerable as they were unimaginable. Where
would they have hidden the body' How would they have got it into
the car 24 days later, and where would they have taken it' What
kind of people would they have to be – what borderline
personality disorders must they both share – to keep that to
themselves for six months, maintain a facade in front of
everyone they knew, and at the same time not hiding away but
going out to ask the world to help find Madeleine'
I know the McCanns believe the PJ were oversold the value of the
dogs. It was after the dogs came out that the PJ’s attitude
towards the McCanns changed and it became harder for the McCanns
to obtain a briefing meeting. They were disturbed when the press
began reporting that the PJ knew Madeleine was dead. Finally,
after pressing for a meeting, one was arranged for Wednesday,
August 8, three days before the 100-day point after Madeleine’s
When they arrived at the station in Portimao the couple were
separated and both interrogated. Kate especially was given “the
third degree”. Gerry broke down and cried, pleading with the PJ
to share any evidence that Madeleine was dead. “It’s coming,
it’s coming,” he was told.
The interviews caused the couple “incredible emotional
distress”. But they agreed, if they had been guilty, they
probably would have cracked and confessed at that point. The
police said there would be no more briefings. The next time they
saw the McCanns it would be across the table, for formal
What was doubly dispiriting, of course, was that while the PJ
treated them as suspects, they were no longer looking for
Madeleine. I was told the PJ had “abandoned the abduction
theory”. It was open season now on the McCanns. The publicity
The British press were not blameless either, often lazily
repeating allegations and sometimes repeating them despite
emphatic denials from the McCann camp. If you read the blog
sites on the internet you would discover an even darker, nastier
tone. The McCanns and their holiday friends were swingers,
apparently. That allegation was even made on the Portuguese
equivalent of the BBC by a former PJ detective, Jose Barra da
Costa. When I checked with him, he said he had been told by a
friend in the UK who happened to be a police officer. No doubt
that officer had plucked it from the internet. It is not true.
During Kate’s interviews with the PJ in September, just before
she was declared an arguido, she was separated from her lawyer,
and he was presented with a long list of factors pointing to her
guilt, including entries from her entirely innocuous diary and a
passage they believed she had marked in a Bible (which in fact
had been given to her and marked by the original owner).
The PJ also told the lawyer there was a 100% DNA match with
Madeleine in the car and showed him a document that appeared to
prove it. Possibly, this was the document showing Madeleine’s
control sample of DNA. The McCanns feared even their own lawyer
thought they were guilty. Kate was asked by the PJ to explain
the dog alerts by her car. “You’re the police,” she said. “You
tell me.” Kate asked the PJ: “Are you trying to destroy our
Gerry was asked the same questions the next day but could not
answer. (Sometime earlier a Leicestershire officer had said to
him, just stick to what you know.) Why did the dogs only alert
next to material belonging to the McCanns' The officer was
brandishing the dog-handler’s report. And then: “Your daughter’s
DNA, your daughter Madeleine McCann, how do you explain that'”
“Show me that report,” Gerry asked. “No. This is the report that
matters – with the dog.” Of course, they could not produce a DNA
match because there wasn’t one.
The McCanns took heart when Goncalo Amaral was forced to step
down after making public criticisms of them and the
Leicestershire police – he had made the criticisms in a phone
call to a journalist contact, not suggesting the comments were
private or off the record.
The McCanns hope that Amaral’s replacement, Paulo Rebelo, a more
sober, conservative character, will take a wide view of the
inquiry. He is said to have stopped leaks to the press, and has
been locked away on the upper floors of the station in Portimao
reviewing the evidence with a team of officers.
Meanwhile, the McCanns are back home trying to recover some kind
of normality. How long can you put your life on hold' They have
the twins to think of. Gerry has gone back to work half-days,
and has finally told the British Heart Foundation he plans to go
ahead with the research fellowship they awarded him, a week
before he was accused of being involved in his daughter’s death.
He had told me, weeks ago, about the six-figure grant and how it
meant almost nothing in terms of professional advancement, but
might one day help in the prevention and treatment of heart
He had prepared the application in his own time, working
evenings and weekends.
In other circumstances it would have meant the world to him but,
right now, he had other things on his mind