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Madeleine's father plans a European 'mission'

Original Source: TELEGRAPH:21 MAY 2010
By Richard Edwards and Fiona Govan in Praia da Luz

Gerry McCann made an emotional return home to Britain last night as it emerged that he was planning a "mission" to find his daughter Madeleine.

Mr McCann and his wife, Kate, have vowed to travel throughout Europe to "spread the message" of their missing daughter.

A family spokesman said: "They are looking at everything that is possible to find Madeleine. If it means going around Europe to meet people and talk to them then they will do that.

"There are no firm plans yet but it is where their thoughts are going at the moment."

It is 18 days since Madeleine was abducted from her parents' holiday apartment in Praia Da Luz in the Algarve.

Mr and Mrs McCann went to church yesterday morning and spent the afternoon with their two-year-old twins on the local beach before Mr McCann departed for a brief trip back to Britain.

Family members said it was an "emotional" moment for him to leave Kate's side for the first time and walk through the door of the family home in Leicestershire without Madeleine.

The last time he was there was just over three weeks ago, with his wife, the twins and Madeleine, as they prepared for the holiday which has turned into an ordeal.

Mr McCann is making the 36-hour visit to Rothley to deal with "personal matters".

He is also due to meet organisers of the Find Madeleine fund. Discussions will include the possibility of hiring private detectives in specific countries, including Spain and north Africa, as the search continues.

The focus of the family's attention has increasingly turned to raising publicity and awareness worldwide.

Philomena McCann, Madeleine's aunt, has said they believe she is no longer in Portugal.

Meanwhile, Mr and Mrs McCann backed calls for a silent "minute of hope" to be upheld today. An anonymous viral email has circulated across Portugal since Friday.

It reads: "Madeleine, Monday, 12 o'clock, a national one minute's silence to raise consciousness about the disappearance of Maddie. Pass on the message."

Carmelite nuns from the north of the country have also been sending out emails calling for the nation to pray for 10 minutes on Tuesday evening.

Yesterday, Mr and Mrs McCann attended Mass at the church of Nossa Senhora Da Luz in Praia Da Luz.

The couple sat in the main body of the congregation for an Ascension Day service.

Mrs McCann knelt and prayed for Madeleine and later smiled and wiped away a tear as two babies were baptised.

Madeleine's disappearance has generated an extraordinary worldwide response, especially on the internet.

An official website - - has registered almost 100 million hits in four days. Just under 50 per cent of those were from users in the UK, 31.8 per cent in Portugal, 5.5 per cent in the United States and the rest across Europe and Asia.

The police investigation continues to focus on Robert Murat and his alleged links to the Russian computer expert, Sergey Malinka.

Police are investigating a series of calls between the two men on the night Madeleine disappeared. There were claims in Portuguese news-papers yesterday that Mr Malinka deleted the contents of his computer's hard drive before police seized them.

Police chief Olegaro Sousa said "not one relevant detail" was found on the computers belonging to the 22-year-old.

Both men deny any involvement with the abduction.

There were also claims that huge rewards offered for the missing girl have led to a series of false tip-offs which have hampered the police.


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