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Madeleine's parents vow to 'travel wherever necessary'

Original Source: GUARDIAN: 22 MAY 2007
Tuesday May 22, 2007
The parents of Madeleine McCann today said they would travel around Europe in order to widen the search for their four-year-old daughter, who went missing in a southern Portuguese holiday resort 18 days ago.

"We will travel wherever is necessary to ensure people across Europe recognise Madeleine's picture and we will encourage them to come forward with any information which might lead to Madeleine's safe return," Gerry McCann, Madeleine's father, said.

"Kate and I will play a key part in that campaign."

He was talking on his return from a lightning visit to Britain to meet police investigators there and to coordinate with the organisers of the campaign to find Madeleine.

Mr McCann appealed for holidaymakers who have been Praia da Luz to send their photographs to the British police's Child Exploitation Online Protection Centre at so they could be analysed by computer software that would look for known criminals or paedophiles appearing in the background.

"We would encourage anyone who has photographs to submit them to the police," he said.

He also made an indirect appeal for people to respect the presumption of innnocence of Robert Murat, the 33-year-old Briton who is the only formal suspect in the case, whose house lies just 150 yards from the apartment where Madeleine went missing on May 3.

"We hope that everyone else treats any suspects the way we would hope to be treated and they are presumed innocent until someone is charged, arrested and convicted of any criminal offence," he said.

He said that, at this stage, the family did not see a need to hire private detectives, though it had not ruled out the possibility of sending people to investigate future sightings abroad.

"We don't know that she is in Portugal," he said. "We have to consider the possibility that she has crossed borders."

Mr McCann said that the Find Madeleine Fund, which has so far raised 184,000, was preparing to appoint a fund manager and a campaign manager.

"The campaign manager's role will be to extend and co-ordinate our family compaign organised by ourselves and freinds ato keep Madeleine's profile his across Europe," he said.

Mr McCann said he had been impressed by the incident room set up by Leicester police and the computer links they had set up with their Portuguese counterparts.

His trip back to the Leicestershire village of Rothley on Monday had brought home to him not just the extent to which the search for Madeleine has become a national phenomenon but how sad it was to be there without her.

"We should have been coming home as a family of five," he said.

The McCanns were due to join a nationwide ten minutes of prayers for Madeleine organised by Carmelite nuns in Portugal tonight. "Both of us have taken a great deal of strength from out faith," Madeleine's mother, Kate McCann said.

They are also due to travel to Portugal's holiest shrine, at Fatima in the north, tomorrow to pray for Madeleine's safe return as they prepare to stay for the indefinite future.

"We are nowhere near wanting to leave Portugal," said Mr McCann.

Mrs McCann added that the couple have been pleased by the safe return of Paige Hayhoe, aged 11, who went missing in Cambridge on Sunday.


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