Maddie case: In their first interview since they quit being
suspects in the disappearance of their daughter, Kate and Gerry McCann
spoke about the re-launch of the investigation, the fear that they felt
in Portugal and the unshakable certainty that Madeleine was abducted
“Nothing in the process says that Madeleine has died”
– What are you presently doing to find Madeleine?
Gerry – We have had private investigators working with us for several
months. Now that the case has been archived, it’s easier because we
accessed the process. We carried out new interviews with those that had
already testified. And we interviewed others who approached us and had
never spoken before.
Kate – As we didn’t know what the PJ had done, we repeated everything
that seemed important to us.
Q – Do the new witnesses
offer clues about the disappearance?
Gerry – Some report sightings, but it’s not likely that they lead to our
daughter. We are more interested in persons that offer credible
information that can be verified through photographs or in another form;
persons who know who may be involved.
Q – What impression did you
get from the process? Were you shocked over its contents?
Gerry – We were investigated into the smallest detail. There are entire
volumes about us. We can jump those. It must be disquieting information
that will not help us to find Madeleine.
Q – Don’t you think that
everything that was possible to do, was done? The investigation reached
Poland, the Netherlands, Spain, Morocco…
Gerry – Morocco is a good example of what went wrong. A sighting was
reported and it was said that there were cameras at the petrol station.
When the inspectors went there, they concluded that there were none. The
truth is that there were none in the pump area, but in the shop. And
when the PJ returned, the tape had been recorded over.
Kate – It’s difficult to describe how it feels to have our daughter
taken away… We want to see action everywhere. We wanted spotlights, we
wanted helicopters, we wanted everyone on the street, searching.
Q – If Madeleine had
disappeared in England, would things have been different?
Gerry – If it had happened in a British city, I have no doubts. But I
don’t know if it would have been different if we had been in a small
village in Scotland. Clearly, the English police are more experienced in
abductions, they are more alert.
Q – If you have an important
clue concerning Madeleine’s whereabouts, will you transmit it to the
Gerry – If something needs to be done in Portugal, we’ll have to. We
cannot go around breaking doors down or arresting people. But only when
we feel that we cannot advance any further on our own.
– Do you trust the Portuguese authorities, after having been considered
Gerry – We wouldn’t mind if we had been investigated at the beginning,
if they thought that could help. But months later, when the evidence had
been lost? It’s that once the suspicion is installed, we can never prove
our innocence again.
Q – Didn’t you find it
strange that the dogs found traces of blood in your room and in your
Gerry – There was no blood found! The indicia are worthless if they are
not corroborated by forensic information. And they were not.
Q – 40 apartments were
investigated and the dogs only marked yours. Ten cars and they only
reacted to yours.
Gerry – These dogs’ frailty was proved by a study that was carried
out in the USA, in the case of a man that had been accused of murder.
They had ten rooms, and in each room four boxes were placed, containing
vegetables, bones, trash. Some contained human remains. They stayed
there for ten hours. Eight hours after the boxes were removed, the dogs
came in. And the dogs failed two thirds of the attempts. Imagine the
reliability when these dogs test an apartment three months after the
disappearance of a child.
Q – Were you surprised when
you were made arguidos?
Kate – It was not surprising after weeks with the media saying that we
were suspects. And there we have to ask why the information that reached
the media was disfigured. Why do the newspapers say that blood was found
in the apartment when the police report does not confirm it? Why was it
said that the DNA that was found in the car was a 100% match with
Gerry – In a way, we would like to have been accused so we could defend
ourselves openly. Now, reading the process, there is no evidence that
justifies the suspicion, apart from the dogs’ action. There was never a
sustained explanation. And the questioning: ‘What happened to Madeleine?
How did you get rid of her? Who helped you? Where did you put her? All
fantasy! If they had found DNA – so what? And if Madeleine had hurt
herself inside the apartment – why would that be our fault?
– Do you investigate information that point towards Madeleine’s death?
Kate – We want to find her alive, but if she is dead we want to know.
Q – Do you still believe that
Kate – There are great possibilities that she is alive, isn’t it? There
is nothing in the process to indicate that something bad has happened to
Q – But there are no indicia
that she has been abducted, either.
Gerry – We firmly believe that she was abducted by a man, minutes
after I went to see her in the bedroom. There are two independent
witnesses that saw a child of around four years of age being carried
that evening. Our friend Jane Tanner and also the Smith family.
Q – The PJ discredits Jane
Tanner’s testimony. They say that when she saw said man with the child,
you [Gerry] were chatting nearby and it was impossible that you hadn’t
seen him as well…
Gerry – I didn’t see her because my back was turned to the location
where she passed. I was talking to a friend. And there is also the
couple with children that saw a man carrying a child with a pyjama that
was similar to Madeleine’s, blond hair, the same age.
Q – Later on, that family
stated that the man they saw was Gerry…
Gerry – At that time I was at the restaurant. The fact that we became
suspects has probably influenced the Smiths’ testimony.
Q – Was it a coincidence that
you were made arguidos on one day and returned home the next day?
Gerry – They questioned us on that day because the PJ knew about our
Q – Were you afraid of being
Kate – Obviously. At a certain point we didn’t know very well what could
Gerry – From the information in the newspapers, of course we were
afraid. It was scary.
Q – Being in England, you
would not be extradited anymore.
Gerry – We asked the inspector that was in charge of the case of he had
any objection: the answer was no. It’s obvious that we were afraid that
people might think we were escaping, but it was better not to be in
Portugal at that point in time.
Q – Why?
Kate – Because of the hostile environment. We couldn’t even leave
Q – Why did Kate refuse to
answer questions during your interrogation, that Gerry accepted to
clarify the next day?
Kate – I was advised by my Portuguese lawyer not to reply.
Gerry – I received the same advice but decided to disobey. My plan was
to remain silent, but the first question was: are you involved in your
daughter’s disappearance? It was nonsense and I decided to answer. From
there onwards, I replied to all of them.
– Why didn’t you authorize the police to see the messages that you sent
and received on your mobile phone on the eve of Maddie’s disappearance.
Gerry – Nobody asked to see my messages. On the day before and on the
day of the disappearance I did not receive or send 16 messages. I could
hardly write a text message. I received three or four phone calls and
two were from work. After the disappearance I received hundreds. And
when the police asked me for the registry, I told them to ask the
service provider. My phone only registers the last ten.
Q – The chief inspector in
the case, Tavares de Almeida, writes a report where he says that your
friends lied to save you, that Maddie died in the living room, and that
you hid the body.
Gerry – What can we say? You will have to ask the police chiefs why they
wrote that, why they saw us as suspects.
Q – The majority of crimes
where the victims are children are committed by the parents.
Gerry – Not in the case of abducted children. And this is a case of an
abducted child. It’s an exceptional case.
Q – When he archived the
case, the prosecutor said that the investigation can be reopened if a
new clue appears. Do you think that is possible?
Kate – Of course! It could happen at any moment. All that it takes is
for one person to make the phone call that we wait for so much. We know
that she was abducted in Portugal and we vehemently believe that someone
knows or suspects something.
“Mr Amaral’s behaviour is a
They have not read the book that
is a best-seller in Portugal. And they don’t spare the author and former
– Former inspector Gonçalo Amaral remains convinced of your involvement
in Madeleine’s disappearance. Did you read ‘The Truth of the Lie’, the
book that he wrote?
Kate and Gerry – No.
Kate – Why would I?
Gerry – I won’t learn anything from reading it.
Q – It was a success in
Gerry – Was it? How many copies did it sell?
Q – Approximately 200
thousand. Next week, it is edited in Spain.
Gerry – That is what can be called illicit enrichment.
Q – Your English lawyers
already have a translated copy and they are analyzing it. Do you intend
to sue Gonçalo Amaral?
Gerry – At this moment we are focused on what we can do to find
Madeleine and not in suing anyone.
Kate – All that I am going to say about this – because I’m not going to
waste any time on Mr Amaral – is that as a professional and as a person
his behaviour has been a disgrace.
Q – Aren’t you curious to
know what the book says?
Kate – What for? It must be nothing but a load of rubbish. It is so
secondary… It certainly won’t help to find our daughter. My consolation
is that on the cover he calls her Maddie, the name that the media have
invented. We never called her anything like that.
Q – But you do know the
theory that Gonçalo Amaral defends: Madeleine accidentally died in the
Ocean Club apartment and you concealed the body.
Gerry – It really is a waste of time. And we need all the time that we
can get to analyze the investigation’s documents, which contain a lot of
information that we didn’t know about.
Kate – You just have to cross, loosely, his theory with the process in
order to understand that the facts that he reports are not correct.
Q – There is a theory that
defends that the coordinator was removed from the investigation due to
British political pressure.
Gerry – Who dismissed him?
Q – The PJ’s national
Gerry – Then you have to ask him if he was pressured. Or if Gordon
Brown discussed the case with him. He surely didn’t.
Q – He also resigned. And
largely due to this process.
Gerry – That was not what I was told. Apparently he had a vision of the
police itself that was different from the one held by the Justice
Q – In a final analysis, they
both left the PJ because the investigation failed.
Gerry – That’s not our fault. I do not criticize the authorities
over not trying to find Madeleine. It doesn’t matter anymore. Now all
that matters is that we do everything to try to find her, through our
Q – Did you ever get to know
Kate – The question is the other way around: did he get to know us?
There are photographs of her
all over the house
Gerry has returned to his work as
a cardiologist. Kate did not exercise medicine again. Twins Sean and
Amelie fill up her days as a mother
– How has your life changed with the disappearance of Madeleine?
Gerry – Independently of what happens, it will never be the same again.
If you talk to the parents of other abducted children, they also mention
this parallel life which we entered. Sean and Amelie, being so young,
force us to introduce a certain normalcy in our lives, to make it normal
for them. And it’s them who, for moments, make it normal for us. But it
will never be normal for us. They are aged three and a half, and they
are very, very happy.
Q – Did you explain to the
twins what happened to their sister?
Kate – They perceive Madeleine’s absence perfectly. I have no doubt
whatsoever. But they don’t know the details. They know that she
disappeared and that we’re looking for her.
Gerry – We were advised concerning what we should tell them, how and
when. Larger explanations are kept for later. We realize that they miss
their older sister. They know that her not being with us is not a good
thing, and they hope that she returns.
Q – How do you keep Madeleine
present in your lives?
Kate – There are photographs of her all over the house. And we speak
about her with the twins every day – it’s an important part of their
lives. Sean and Amelie talk about her and still include her in their
playing… If they receive sweets, they say “Let’s keep one for
Madeleine”. Or “When she comes home I’ll give her this or that”. It’s
endearing and it makes our days less difficult.
Q – Did you fear that you
might lose custody over Sean and Amelie because your behaviour was
considered to be negligent?
Gerry – We were not negligent, we did what any reasonable parent would
do. But we deeply lament what happened, because in our action, someone
saw an opportunity to take Madeleine. I’m an optimist person. I never
thought that something like this could happen.
Q – Did you change the manner
in which you deal with Sean and Amelie?
Gerry – We are more protective and less trusting. We never left our
children alone again and many families will never do so again because of
Kate – Now we think about everything that can happen, about predators,
abductors. We don’t even let go of them in the shopping centre.
The McCanns say that the fund has
spent €1.2 million with the private investigation. But the reward of €3
million still stands
Q – How much have you spent
on the private investigation so far?
Gerry – Approximately one million pounds, over the past ten months, paid
with money from the FindMadeleine fund. A substantial sum was also spent
on our defence, but two benefactors have covered that expense, which
means that the fund was solely used in the search for our daughter.
Q – Do you maintain the offer
of 2.5 million pounds to whoever finds Madeleine?
Gerry – We do not control that reward, but everything leads me to
believe that it still stands. And that there will also be money
available for whoever supplies credible information.
Kate – It’s a lot of money, but we cannot set limits, a child is
priceless. We’ll pay whatever is necessary.
Q – Is there still money left
in the fund?
Gerry – There is still some money left. Recently, British newspapers
(‘Express newspapers’) paid us a compensation of 550 thousand pounds,
which fed the fund. That had an important impact. And there are still
donations, people who send money directly.
– But less than in the beginning, before you were made arguidos.
Gerry – Of course! Those who were in doubt stopped contributing. Many
write to us asking for forgiveness because they believed in our guilt.
We know that we have to make an effort for people to know that there is
no evidence that Madeleine is dead and that we were not involved in the
Dogs – “We
read everything that we found about these dogs that detect cadavers. It
was due to them that we became suspects”
Clues – “The
sightings continue. Since May we received one thousand phone calls and
an equal number of emails, some containing relevant data”
– “Appearing in the media was never good. We did it to publicize
Madeleine’s face and to find her. We failed”
Details of two hours of
Kate and Gerry are different. More relaxed, or conformed. It is
difficult to tell. “The twins force us to a certain normalcy”, the
mother explains. It’s been 16 months and the mystery of the
disappearance of Madeleine McCann remains unsolved.
The parents have already been victims of a tragedy and suspects of a
terrible crime. The process was archived, but they are judged every day.
Gerry agrees: “From the moment when the suspicion is installed, we can
never prove our innocence”.
This is the first interview since the process was archived, on the 21st
of July. It is scheduled in Rothley, a small village in the British
Midlands where nobody suspects the McCanns’ guilt. Even less the owner
of the Court House Hotel, which is installed in a medieval building and
where the interview is held, in the late afternoon last Monday. There is
tea with milk and biscuits. There is no guide and there are no forbidden
In almost two hours of interview, Kate and Gerry, both 40, clearly state
the intention that supports their availability for the conversation. “We
believe that in Portugal someone knows about Madeleine, that it is where
the solution for our daughter’s disappearance lies”. And they want that
person, whether singular or collective, to know that they search for
him, that they ensure his anonymity and that they even give him 2.5
million pounds if he tells them where Madeleine is.
Every day, in their very British house of little bricks, they study a
little more of the process of the Polícia Judiciária’s investigation,
which they personally consult as it is being translated. They understand
“nothing” of Portuguese. From a first reading they reinforced their hope
of finding Maddie alive. Nothing tells them that she is dead. The
volumes about themselves, from the time when they were made arguidos,
have been put aside. “We do not intend to read them”.
They remind them of the days when they were afraid of being arrested in
Portugal, accused of Madeleine’s death.
an article by: Raquel Moleiro and
source: Expresso, paper edition,