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Pray for Madeleine, says Prince

Original Source: SCOTSMAN: 21 MAY 2007
Prince Andrew said the the family of Madeleine McCann need our support. Picture: Julie Bull

PRINCE Andrew has urged the world to pray for the safe return of Madeleine McCann and spoken of the "inspirational" love of her family for the abducted child.

His comments, the first public statement on the case by a member of the Royal Family, came during the opening of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland yesterday.

The Duke of York, departing from his planned speech, said: "The family of Madeleine McCann is one family who, I suggest, on a day like today, need our immediate support.

"And there are two things that we, as a body, should do. The first is to draw inspiration from their sense of family and the second is to send our thoughts and prayers for the safe return of Madeleine."

Madeleine was abducted after being left asleep, along with her twin brother and sister, in her parents' holiday villa in the Algarve.

Yesterday, as the hunt moved into its third week, a two-minute video, featuring various images and appeals, was shown on screens before the FA Cup Final between Manchester United and Chelsea at the new Wembley stadium.

Portuguese police will this week ask for official permission to carry out investigations in the UK. It is believed they want to search the former marital home of chief suspect Robert Murat in Norfolk.

But there was confusion yesterday over the role played by Portuguese police already within the UK. A source within the Policia Judiciaria, the law enforcement agency leading the inquiry, was reported to have said: "I know that there are PJ officers who have gone to the UK but I do not know if they have found something."

However, those claims were refuted by a British police source who said the only Portuguese officer in the UK was there in a "liaison" capacity.

So far, Murat, who has been interviewed in connection with the girl's disappearance, is the only formally identified suspect. Yesterday, it was announced that the statement of Russian-born Sergey Malinka, a friend of Murat, was being re-examined.

He had told police his last contact with Murat was over a year ago, but phone records indicate they spoke the night Madeleine disappeared. Both men deny any involvement.

Madeleine's mother, Leicestershire GP Kate McCann, told yesterday how she was fighting to maintain a sense of normality for the sake of Madeleine's two-year-old brother and sister, taking them to a creche every day.

"They really enjoy it," she said. "They run in and Amelie likes to look after the babies."


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