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MADELEINE PARENTS: WE'RE SO FRUSTRATED

HOMEPAGE NEWS REPORTS INDEX NEWS MAY 2007
Original Source: DAILY RECORD: 25 MAY 2007
By Mark Mcgivern In Portugal 25 May 2007
 
THREE WEEKS AFTER TOT KIDNAP FRIENDS TELL OF McCANNS' ANGUISH

Maddie's parents finally lose patience with cops


THE parents of snatched tot Madeleine McCann are running out of patience at the lack of progress in finding her, friends revealed yesterday.

The private frustrations of the couple, three weeks on from four-year-old Madeleine's disappearance, were exposed as a child protection expert slammed the Portuguese police's handling of the case.

And while the McCanns' official spokesman stressed they were not criticising the police directly, the slowness of the investigation is taking its toll.

A family source said: "They are getting concerned and frustrated at the apparent slowness of the police investigation.

"They understand the reasons for that, but they are finding the officialdom infuriating."

Meanwhile, child protection consultant and former detective Mark Williams-Thomas claimed the case was still solvable, but only if the Portuguese got their act together.

The criminal police, the PJ, have so far issued the name of only one suspect and it is feared that forensic examinations may not throw up a shred of evidence against estate agent Robert Murat.

British police drafted in to help are also being kept out of the loop, despite having far greater expertise than their Portuguese counterparts.

The family's official spokesman Clarence Mitchell said last night: "Kate and Gerry are not criticising the inquiry. They do not want to criticise the police or upset them.

"They feel that some procedures are taking a long time. They are not being informed fully by the PJ of developments.

"The British police have been great but they are not fully in the loop with the Portuguese investigation. Kate and Gerry are increasingly frustrated and are considering how to move things forward.

"They want to do positive things in the search for Madeleine."

Heart surgeon Gerry, originally from Glasgow, and his GP wife, who have stayed in the Algarve resort of Praia da Luz since the kidnap, were yesterday meeting British ambassador to Portugal, John Buck.

They were discussing details of a planned European tour of key countries and cities to keep Madeleine on the news agenda.

Meanwhile, Williams-Thomas claimed the crime scene was the worst-preserved he had seen and the PJ had failed to "do the basics".

He said: "My initial observation was the crime scene was poorly preserved. There was no one securing the patio doors, which I would refer to as the point of entry.

"Everyone talks about the back doors but having attended the scene, I thought there was no way someone would force open shutters and climb in the window where you could easily be noticed, when you could simply walk through the patio door.

"The inner cordon was very close to the apartment, within 30 yards. I would have put the inner cordon 100 yards away. It should have been at least 50 yards.

"I didn't see any house-to-house inquiries being done, which is vital. People living nearby become the eyes and ears of police in a major investigation and can hold a vital piece of the jigsaw.

"There was also no appeal.

"The laws in Portugal are very different to Britain's. However, the law doesn't prevent them from making appeals.

"They don't need to give anything back by revealing what they are doing. It's unclear where the police are. We know they have named one suspect but it may well be they have other leads and lines of inquiry.

"But at this stage, it will be important for them to take stock and even ask for an external review. " Yesterday, it was revealed police in Silves, 25 miles from Praia da Luz, were due to question a woman whose child was almost abducted on Christmas Day last year.

And the Bishop of the Algarve, Manuel Neto Quintas, personally offered to act as an intermediary between the police and any abductor who wished to return Madeleine to her parents.

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