The purpose of this site is for information and a record of Gerry McCann's Blog Archives. As most people will appreciate GM deleted all past blogs from the official website. Hopefully this Archive will be helpful to anyone who is interested in Justice for Madeleine Beth McCann. Many Thanks, Pamalam

Note: This site does not belong to the McCanns. It belongs to Pamalam. If you wish to contact the McCanns directly, please use the contact/email details campaign@findmadeleine.com    

1- One Year: Anniversary (Family/Friends) *

MCCANN FILES HOME BACK TO GERRY MCCANNS BLOGS HOME PAGE PHOTOGRAPHS
NEWS REPORTS INDEX MCCANN PJ FILES NEWS MAY 2007
 
A collection of articles written by, or connected to, family and friends of the McCanns to mark the one year anniversary of Madeleine's disappearance

I feel desperately for Kate McCann - her life has been ruined, she loathes the spotlight - Justine McGuiness, 27 April 2008
I feel desperately for Kate McCann - her life has been ruined, she loathes the spotlight Daily Mail
 
By JUSTINE McGUINESS
Last updated at 10:19am on 27th April 2008
 
For four months one woman shared every day with Kate and Gerry McCann, all the false hopes... and all the tears. Justine McGuiness, the former press adviser to Kate and Gerry McCann, speaks out about one of Britain's most famous families...

I will never forget the pain that registered across their faces: primordial pain that no actor, however skilled, could reproduce.

Kate McCann didn't make a sound, her husband Gerry sat upright in his seat.

"You realise that if you get your daughter back you might not know her," warned the Portuguese child-welfare expert.

"What she will have experienced will have changed her beyond recognition."

It was the moment, I suspect, that Kate and Gerry began to realise that there would be no truly happy ending, whatever the outcome of their daughter Madeleine's disappearance.

It was mid-summer last year and the meeting was held in a second-floor apartment, my make-shift office, incongruously decorated, it seemed, with primary colours, like the set of a breakfast TV programme.

Sunshine streamed through the open window and the sound of children playing outside filled the room.

The warning came without preamble and jolted our senses. I'm sure it was not meant to be delivered quite so insensitively; the fact that English was not the woman's first language must have accounted, in part at least, for its bluntness.

Afterwards, Gerry told me how deeply upset it had made Kate. I didn't need to be told. Kate's emotions at such times weren't difficult to read.

For four extraordinary months I was at her side. At first hand, I witnessed her despair and devastation, the times, as well, when her spirits lifted – however fleetingly – with every scrap of positive information.

And once she was made a suspect, amid ceaseless media speculation, I watched her life fall apart.

Almost every morning she and Gerry would come to see me, usually armed with croissants which they bought in Baptista's, the village store, after dropping off their then two-year-old twins Amelie and Sean at kids' club.

I could tell instantly if Kate had had a good night or not.

If she was upset, possibly because of what had been in the papers or because of the approach of a poignant anniversary, I would know better than to offer a trite: "What's wrong?"

Instead I'd ask her to sit down and let her know that I was making tea. We always drank tea, endlessly, it seemed.

And if Kate wanted to talk about what was on her mind, she would do so. I just let her come out with it.

I began acting as their Press spokeswoman in June, having been interviewed by Gerry in London. They struck me as a couple deeply committed to each other.

They treated each other with care and great respect. And as well as displaying affection, they communicated constantly.

If they were physically apart they would be on the phone, all the time, and not just because of their extraordinary situation – I imagine they were always like that.

They are both intelligent. Kate is sharp and witty and self-deprecating; she is naturally shy but is the sort of woman you can sit down with and have a decent conversation.

Gerry is presentable and single-minded, an alpha male to his fingertips. Indeed, I expect even he would admit that his manner may have rubbed some of the Portuguese police up the wrong way at times.

On the first day I met Kate, they were waiting for me at Faro airport, and greeted me with a friendly: "Hello, Justine."

In the car on the way to Praia da Luz we set to work straight away, finalising plans to release balloons on the beach later that day to mark the 50th day since Madeleine's disappearance.

When the balloon launch was over, I watched as Portuguese women touched and hugged Kate, offering their support and telling her to have courage. It was deeply moving.

Later, Kate took me on a tour of the village. "That's the apartment," she whispered, nodding towards the place from where Madeleine had disappeared.

She also pointed out the home of Robert Murat, a suspect in the case, and the church that provided so much support to her.

Meal times were always a family affair. At supper, it occurred to me just how ordinary this scene would have appeared to an outsider. A normal family, passing the salad around the table and laughing with their children.

There were quite a few light moments: I remember how Kate was frequently teased about her intense dislike of sweetcorn.

There might also be talk about relatives coming out to join them, or other practical matters, but rarely during meal times, because of the children, talk of Madeleine.

Sometimes the twins, who began learning to talk in Praia, mentioned Madeleine themselves, however.

I remember Amelie saying: "That's Madeleine's" as she pointed at Cuddle Cat, the toy Kate carried with her at all times because it reminded her of the daughter she loved and missed.

Once, I remember Gerry's sister Trish saying to Kate with a smile: "Don't you think it's time Cuddle Cat had a bath?~" And on about Day 71 she finally did, a fact not lost on the photographers.

During the many conversations I had with the couple we spoke of many things, not just Madeleine.

They were interested in my voluntary work with the Liberal Democrats (I contested West Dorset in 2005 for the Lib Dems at the General Election) and I remember how we laughed about the story of Charles Kennedy, the party's former leader, being ticked off by police for smoking out of a train window.

And even though Madeleine dominated the news coverage – and, it goes without saying, the couple's thoughts – there were times when they expressed interest in other news from back home.

We spoke, for instance, of the terror attack on Glasgow airport in July. I remember Gerry, a doctor, on hearing the description of the burns one of the suspects suffered when his Jeep struck the terminal and burst into flames, saying straight away that the man would not live. It turned out he was right.

It didn't take long for me to get to know the routine the couple established as a means of getting through each day.

The first thing Kate did every morning was to say a prayer for Madeleine.

She then got the twins showered and dressed. After getting ready themselves, Kate and Gerry would take the children to kids' club, before stopping off at my apartment to discuss plans for the day.

The twins were a great distraction. They helped give Kate the will to get out of bed each morning.

Several times a week, Kate would go to the Catholic church in Praia. Her faith gave her hope and strength.

And both of them, particularly Gerry, kept themselves busy as a way of dealing with their trauma.

Gerry would work on the computer, sending and answering emails, in one of their rented villa's spare bedrooms which he had converted into an office.

Kate would sit on the veranda outside going through the mountain of letters. If any appeared to contain possible information they were passed straight to the police.

Every letter, even the strangest ones, were read with care. There were often toys for the twins and presents for Madeleine, which remained in their wrapping paper, awaiting her safe return.

The villa was cool and quite dark, and stood at the end of a short private drive. I remember thinking that it offered the McCanns a kind of sanctuary, and I think they felt that way, too.

Any donations were given straight away to the 'Find Madeleine' fund administrator, including all the cheques made out to Kate and Gerry, rather than the fund.

Naturally, Kate and Gerry were also contacted by people who thought they could help find Madeleine. One was Danny Kruegel, a South African former policeman who had invented a machine that, he said, could help locate people by testing a sample of their hair.

It sounds far-fetched. But he had apparently been successful in South Africa. He was very clear that the process was based on science, which appealed to the McCanns.

More recently, Mr Kruegel has been portrayed as something of a crank, but I can only say that at the time he was taken seriously.

After protracted negotiations with the authorities, he came to Portugal. Using samples of hair found on a brush Madeleine used, he set about working out where a search area should be concentrated.

After he left Portugal, Kate told me that Mr Kruegel had taken different readings, none of which really varied, implying that over the days he was in Praia da Luz, Madeleine's position had not changed or she had not moved.

I think the word that was used to describe the readings was "cold". I had the impression Mr Kruegel's machine had indicated where a body might be found.

The police warned Kate and Gerry when they would start the new search. They told me and I contacted the people I liaised with at the Foreign Office, British Embassy in Lisbon and Leicestershire Police.

Everyone was on stand-by, ready and hoping for a breakthrough.

Kate, Gerry and I thought that the reporters in Praia da Luz would spot the police searching, so we were prepared for the inevitable questions and comments.

One morning while I was working, I saw a military-style helicopter circling for what seemed like hours over Praia da Luz.

I thought I would be bombarded with questions about it when I went to see the media later, but not one was forthcoming.

In the event, the search sadly wasn't successful, of course. Once more the hope of a breakthrough had evaporated.

On August 3, we made the 55-mile journey to Huelva, the closest Spanish city to Praia da Luz, to distribute Find Madeleine posters and talk to locals.

It was a visit that would later assume significance, for all the wrong reasons. For it would be later suggested that Madeleine's body was disposed of at this point. How this could be thought possible, I have no idea.

Kate and Gerry were, after all, accompanied by a cameraman, who was filming a documentary, and Kate's old friend Jon Corner.

And as always their every move was shadowed by reporters and photographers. If they had dumped Madeleine's body, someone surely would have witnessed something.

The allegations would come later. Up until that point, at least, the couple's relationship with the police was good.

There were once-a-week meetings to discuss progress and, by and large, the detectives were receptive to ideas from Kate and Gerry, who were careful not to air their impatience at the slow pace of the investigation.

The relationship, which had been characterised by its informality (one weekend Kate and Gerry even went to a barbecue at the home of one of the officers) cooled significantly in mid August.

The meetings all but ended. And the phone calls, once unfailingly cordial, suddenly seemed aggressive and much less frequent.

When the police did ring, I think the detectives did little to disguise their suspicions.

At the same time, stories, apparently leaked by the police, began to appear in the Portuguese Press about the possible involvement of the McCanns in Madeleine's disappearance.

To the British Press I described the couple's relationship with the police during this period as having become more "formal". In truth, it had become downright hostile.

It must have been a few weeks later when, on a Monday afternoon, the McCanns received a call that triggered the second nightmarish phase of Kate's ordeal.

A police officer said that they wanted to question Kate later in the week. And he ended the conversation with a firm, devastating warning: "Kate should expect to be made an 'arguida' [formal suspect]."

Kate screamed in disbelief when she heard she was going to be declared a suspect in her daughter's case.

Everyone said the same thing – it was unbelievable.

So when Kate was interviewed on Thursday and again the following day, when she was indeed made an 'arguida', she was fully aware what was coming.

That did not make it any easier, of course. While Kate was being questioned on Friday morning Gerry was very agitated. He paced around on the phone, speaking to lawyers.

The police seemed to be working on the theory that Kate killed Madeleine, accidentally or otherwise, and that Gerry was instrumental in covering up the death.

After the relentless questioning ended, it was announced publicly that Kate had been made a formal suspect.

Afterwards, I drove Kate away from the police station and was struck by how she appeared both stoical and devastated.

And I got the distinct impression that the police had offered her a deal, or put considerable pressure on her to admit that she harmed Madeleine.

Amazingly, I was also given the impression that her lawyer initially seemed to think she should take the deal and admit she harmed her daughter.

Perhaps he was doing this to test her. I don't know. Either way, Kate was absolutely adamant that she would not be going along with any plea bargaining.

After all, this is a woman with a 'black and white' understanding of the truth.

I told Kate that the twins were being looked after by the wife of Father Haynes Hubbard, parish priest for Praia da Luz, whom Kate and Gerry had come to know well and regard as a much-valued friend.

I said I could take her there or straight to the villa. She wanted to see her children immediately. That was typical of her. Her family was the most important thing in her life.

During the journey back to Praia I reflected on the incredible events of the past week. I was absolutely clear in my own mind about Kate and Gerry's innocence.

While no one is perfect, I simply could not believe that the woman next to me had harmed Madeleine. And I did not believe, as was being suggested, that Gerry masterminded some kind of cover-up.

At the time, I described the allegations publicly as ludicrous. Nothing has happened to change that view. Had I been in any doubt I would have left the campaign immediately and gone to the British police.

But I never understood why they did not take the children with them for supper at the tapas bar on the evening Madeleine disappeared.

My two sisters, one a mother of four, the other a mother of five, have told me that is what they would do, as have plenty of other friends.

But then I don't have three children under the age of four. I, like many others, am hardly in a position to judge. I know it was a decision Kate has always deeply regretted.

A few weeks before Gerry and Kate were made suspects, friends and family had urged Kate to return to Britain with Gerry and the twins.

Gerry believed it was time to go back. But, having come to the Algarve as a family of five, Kate did not want to leave as a family of four.

In her mind it would represent an admission, symbolically perhaps, that she had given up hope, that it was the end.

In the end, she did agree – only for the sake of the twins – that they would leave Portugal in early September, when the lease on the villa ended.

When the time came we hugged at the airport and said our goodbyes. I watched Kate and Gerry walk away, up the

I then went back to Praia to brief the British Press for a final time, before packing. I caught a flight later that day and I was glad to be going home.

On the flight home I remember thinking that unless Madeleine was found, the McCanns would never be able to fully rebut speculation and rebuild their lives.

I feel desperately for Kate McCann. Her life has been ruined by the constant speculation and the continuing mystery surrounding her daughter's disappearance. She loathes the media spotlight.

She has to live with the knowledge that she and Gerry were not there when their daughter needed them most, something I know she deeply regrets.

Gerry has to live with the knowledge that he failed as a father and a husband in a basic duty, to protect his family. That, surely, is a terrible burden to carry, for any man.

One year after Madeleine's disappearance, I hope for Kate, Gerry and the sake of their two remaining children the media interest now ends.

I hope Madeleine is found, but I fear that will never happen. I hope the McCanns can find some sort of resolution, in private, to this hideous set of events.

Maddie's aunt gives birthday present to charity, 27 April 2008
Maddie's aunt gives birthday present to charity Sunday Mail
 
April 27 2008
 
Madeleine: Our Year Of Pain

MADELEINE'S aunt has admitted she is dreading the missing girl's fifth birthday.

Philomena and the rest of the McCann family bought presents for Maddie last year.
 
But she has revealed she gave her unopened gift away.

There will be no presents this year on May 12 and parents Kate and Gerry are expected to make a public appeal for her safe return.

Philomena bought the youngster a Scooby-Doo bike last year and wrapped it ready for her return from Portugal.

But months later she could no longer look at the gift and donated it to charity.

Teacher Philomena, of Ullapool, said: "I couldn't stand it sitting there in my kitchen any longer.

"Madeleine's birthday will be hard - it's another emotional landmark the family has to endure."

Last year Kate and Gerry marked Madeleine's birthday with a fresh appeal. In Glasgow, relatives joined 60,000 fans at a match between Celtic and Aberdeen to remember her.

Maddie's parents also sent Sean and Amelie a card from their big sister on the twins' third birthday.

Madeleine McCann's gran on the family's year of tears, 27 April 2008
Madeleine McCann's gran on the family's year of tears Sunday Mail
 
Apr 27 2008 By Grace Macaskill
 
Exclusive Madeleine: Our Year Of Pain

MADELEINE McCANN'S beloved Scots gran has spoken for the first time about her family's year of torment.

Saturday will mark the first anniversary of Madeleine's abduction in Portugal.

In a heart-breaking interview, Eileen McCanndescribes the pain her son Gerry and daughter-in-law Kate haveendured... and her lasting hope that her lost angel can still be foundalive.

_________________

LITTLE Amelie McCann clambered on to her grandmother's knee, gently touched the chain around her neck and whispered: "That's Madeleine. She's lost."

Eileen McCann struggled to fight back the tears as Amelie's tiny fingers reached for the necklace which carries a picture of her missing sister Madeleine.

Eileen has worn the chain as a constant physical reminder of the little girl so cruelly snatched from her parents on what should have been a treasured family holiday.

It has also given comfort to Madeleine's three-year-old sister.

As the first anniversary of Madeleine's disappearance approaches, Eileen, 67, said: "I was sitting reading Amelie a wee story when she took the necklace in her hand and said those words. I told her: 'Yes, we're trying to find her.'

"I got the necklace as a gift from Kate's mum and my daughter Patricia also got one the same. It means a great deal to me.'

Eileen has few physical reminders of Madeleine aside from her necklace, family photos and a plate which carries Madeleine's tiny hand prints.

The tot placed her hands in paint and printed them on two plates as special gifts for each of her grandmas - Eileen and Sue Healy, who is Kate's mum.

Eileen says Madeleine's twin siblings Sean and Amelie still regularly talk about their sister, despite the 12 long months which have passed since she vanished in Praia du Luz on Portugal's Algarve.

She said: "Kate and Gerry don't have to remind the twins Madeleine is no longer there because they ask where she is all the time.

"They pick up the phone to speak to her and ask, 'Where are you?'"

The passing time has only helped a little to erase the terrible memory of the day which would change the family's lives forever.

Eileen, a former book keeper, said: "The night Madeleine went missing, Gerry called his sister Patricia and asked her to come to my house and tell me what had happened. He was worried about me because I was on my own.

"She arrived around midnight but I was so upset I had to get myself together before I spoke to Gerry at around 2am.

"I spoke to him again at 7am that same day and he said there was no sign of Madeleine. I said, 'She's been taken, pet'. Gerry told me he was positive I was right but the police were treating her as missing.

"I knew Madeleine had been abducted, I just knew it in my heart. She would never have got up and gone off on her own, it just wasn't in her nature.

"She wouldn't have left the twins, she was like a wee mother figure to them.

"If someone lifted her out of bed Madeleine would have screamed the place down. That girl could throw a tantrum if she wanted to and she and the twins were quite shy about meeting new people.

"I just can't imagine what happened."

Eileen described how Gerry tenderly read his children a bedtime story just hours before Madeleine vanished.

She said: "They'd had a really full day because they'd been up early.

"Gerry said he put Madeleine and the twins to bed and read them all a story. He said they were very tired and he almost fell asleep too.

"He and Kate didn't leave until after 8pm and the children were sound asleep. They then checked on them every half hour. Who could have imagined that somebody would take Madeleine as she lay sleeping in her pyjamas?"

Eileen was still recovering from the death of her husband John, who died of cancer in May 2005, when Madeleine vanished. She said: "When I lost John I thought my world has collapsed. But losing Madeleine is 10 times worse because we don't know what's happened to her.

" I know John has gone but somebody came into Maddie's room, carried her out in her pyjamas and we just don't know where she is. It's the stuff of nightmares.

"It's unimaginable. Whoever did this is a monster."

While her son Gerry and wife Kate deal publicly with the unknown fate of their daughter, Eileen's pain is keenly felt behind closed doors at her flat in Newlands, Glasgow.

She is near to tears as she describes how close a bond she felt to Madeleine from the day she was born.

Eileen said: "Madeleine was in my heart from that very first day.

"She was born on a Tuesday and I went down to see her on the Friday.

"I felt I had a really special bond with her.

"One night I took her into my bed to let Gerry and Kate get a sleep and it was just lovely having her lying there next to me.

"When I couldn't get to see her, I would speak to her on the phone."

One of those calls is particularly strong in Eileen's memory.

She said: "When she was two, Madeleine spent Christmas at my house and it was lovely.

"The next year, the family came up for New Year but on Christmas Day Madeleine called and said she'd got a kitchen from Santa. She was very excited and said 'I'm going to make some tea'."

This Christmas was spent without the blonde-haired, green-eyed girl who fills Eileen's life with such joy.

As Kate and Gerry tried desperately to honour festivities for the sake of the twins, Eileen placed a giant pink teddy bear on Madeleine's bed.

Eileen can barely conceal her anger that Kate and Gerry were named suspects by the police in Portugal.

She will not be drawn on how she feels about it, saying: "I can't repeat what I would say about the Portuguese police because it's not printable."

She is hurt by claims that Kate is 'cold' and that the couple could be growing apart as the strain of their missing child takes a tighter grip.

She said: "Kate is anything but cold. She and Gerry are just very dignified.

"Kate is a very capable mother. She is trying to keep life normal for the twins. She takes them to playgroups twice a week. But they are just not a family unit without Madeleine.

"Anyone who knows Gerry and Kate knows that they cherished her, they never lifted a hand to her. I could never imagine either of them hurting her." Of Kate and Gerry's relationship, she said: "They are such a close couple, they are always holding hands and he always calls her honey.

"What nonsense to suggest they are splitting up or have problems. They are very alike and they talk about everything.

"I've never head them row once. The only time I've ever seen Kate have a tantrum was when they were named suspects in Portugal.

"She was so upset. Kate was saying to Gerry: 'It's me they are after, not you'."

Eileen told how her family's closeness has helped them deal with the tragedy.

She said: "It's been very, very difficult. We all miss her terribly but we are a very close family and that helps."

As she continues to cope with the disappearance of Madeleine, Eileen has a strong message for other parents travelling abroad.

She said: "I beg them to hold on tight to their kids. They should keep their eyes open not just for Madeleine but for their own children."

'Kate takes the twins to playgroups twice a week.But they are just not a family unit without Madeleine'

Kate Will Not Get Back To Normal Until Maddie Is Safe In Her Arms Family Friend Jill Renwick, 27 April 2008
Kate Will Not Get Back To Normal Until Maddie Is Safe In Her Arms Family Friend Jill Renwick Sunday Mail
 
Apr 27 2008
 
Madeleine: Our Year Of Tears

KATE McCANN looks every inch the beautiful bride as she and husband Gerry embark on their married life together.

This picture shows Kate as the carefree, happy woman friends knew before her beloved daughter Madeleine vanished without a trace.

But the couple's wedding day on December 19, 1998, must now seem like a world away to Kate, whose once striking features have been transformed by her grief.

Her once glowing skin is pale and she looks gaunt and skeletal.

Friends also fear for her mental state.

Kate is rarely seen in her home village, preferring to stay indoors with twins Sean and Amelie.

She spends lonely hours opening the masses of mail that arrives daily, from cash donations to rosary beads.

She has left Madeleine's bedroom exactly as it was.

Her clothes still hang in the wardrobe and the toys she played with before going on holiday are where she left them.

Every night, Kate goes into the room to pray for the safe return of her beloved daughter.

Friend Jill Renwick, who worked with the couple in Glasgow, said: "Kate finds it very hard to cope with seeing anyone outside her family and those who were with her at the time Maddie disappeared.

"I keep in touch with her via text but have not seen her for months. She knows her friends are here when she is ready.

"Kate will never get back to normal until Madeleine is safe in her arms again."

Gerry has returned to work as a doctor at Leicester's Glenfield Hospital, plays golf every week and is sometimes seen out cycling.

He is the public face of the Find Madeleine campaign and regularly updates his blog on the McCanns' website, while Kate is shying away from press interviews.

Her reluctance comes after the couple were named official suspects by police in Portugal and criticism of her cold nature.

Jill said: "Kate is not a cold person. She simply conducts herself in a very dignified manner."

She claimsKate will "never give up" on finding Madeleine, adding: "Kate is taking things day by day but she is just functioning really."

Kate's mother Susan Healy said: "Kate is a very sensitive, caring person and one of the most maternal people I know.

"Her life revolves round her children but she feels she is being persecuted if her twins cry in public - it's crazy.

"Sometimes she sees visions of Madeleine. Then she realises she is still missing and Kate is absolutely hysterical and bereft."

Gerry McCann's brother in pilgrimage to Portugal, 27 April 2008
Gerry McCann's brother in pilgrimage to Portugal Sunday Mail
 
Apr 27 2008 By Grace Macaskill
 
Exclusive Madeleine: Our Year Of Tears Family Send Uncle On Portugal Vigil

GERRY McCANN has asked his brother John to go on a pilgrimage to Portugal to mark the first anniversary of Madeleine's disappearance.

In contrast, Gerry and Kate will spend the day behind closed doors at their home in Leicestershire.

John, 48, will be in Praia da Luz on Saturday to attend a special service in the white-washed church where Gerry and Kate prayed in the anguished days following their daughter's abduction. He will make the journey with his sister Patricia Cameron on behalf of his brother and sister-in-law, who have not returned to Portugal since police made them official suspects.

Every week expats and locals attend a service at the tiny Our Lady of the Light Church to remember Madeleine in a service for missing children.

Kate and Gerry have asked John to pass on their thanks to them. John, of Glasgow, said: "I amsure returning will be very emotional but I am going there to meet the people who have kept a regular vigil for Madeleine and thank them personally.

"Their commitment to prayer shows she has far from disappeared from their minds." Worshippers say a special prayer "for those who have acted in evil or practised acts of kidnapping".

A picture of Madeleine, now bleached by the sun, remains pinned on the church noticeboard.

John said: "Kate and Gerry are touched that people should continue to pray for Madeleine."

John, a pharmaceutical sales rep, flew to Portugal two days after the frantic call from Gerry telling him Madeleine was missing.

He said: "I spent five or six days with Gerry and Kate before returning home."

His trip to Praia da Luz will be the first time he has been back to Portugal since then.

Kate and Gerry will mark the anniversary privately with their three-year-old twins.

They are unlikely to attend a special evening church service in their home village of Rothley. Gerry's mum Eileen said: "They are going to spend the day with Sean and Amelie and I think they will have a little prayer for Madeleine's safe return.

"They want it to be a private time and I don't know if they will be able to face the evening service."

Madeleine will be remembered in a service at St Mary Immaculate on Shawhill Road, Glasgow, on Saturday at 12pm.

MAILFILE

It has been a year of emotional turmoil for the McCanns, full of false hopes, suspicion and despair. We look back at the last 12 months in quotes from the key people in the case.

"Someone has taken my little girl." - Kate screams in anguish as she flees from the holiday apartment from where Madeleine vanished, May 3, 2007.

"Words cannot describe the anguish and despair we are feeling as parents of our beautiful daughter Madeleine." - Gerry McCann in an appeal for Maddie's return, May 4.

"I'm 99.9 per cent sure it was Madeleine." - Norwegian tourist Marie Ollie reports the sighting of a little blonde-haired girl at a petrol station in Marrakech, May 9.

"I've been made a scapegoat for something I didn't do." - Expat Robert Murat, May 15. He was quizzed over Maddie's disappearance but later cleared of all involvement.

"The guilt will never leave us" - Gerry on leaving Madeleine and twins Sean and Amelie alone in their hotel room, May 25.

"Never has there been so much evidence collected in a crime scene by specialised teams." - Portuguese Chief Inspector Olegario Sousa, August 15. He claims Madeleine died the night she was taken.

"Kate and I are totally 100 per cent confident in each other's innocence." - Gerry after the couple are named as official suspects by Portuguese police, September 7. Police later say they have no evidence against them.

"As parents we cannot give up on our daughter until we know what has happened." - Gerry as the couple arrive back on British soil, September 9.

"We hope that a new head of the inquiry will work to ensure the unsubstantiated and unfounded allegations surrounding the case will now end." - the McCanns' spokesman after Portuguese police deputy national director takes over from Goncalo Amaral, October 8.

"I don't know how anyone could harm anyone as beautiful as Madeleine." - Kate in her first TV interview since being named a suspect, October 26.

"I know what I saw. I think it's important that people know what I saw because I believe Madeleine was abducted." - Friend Jane Tanner, November 16, on seeing a man carrying away a child the night Madeleine was taken

"There's a greater possibility of the girl being dead than being alive." - Portuguese Attorney General Fernando Jose Pinto Monteiro, November 22.

"Kate and Gerry McCann: Sorry." - The Daily Express and Daily Star print apologies and pay out s550,000 for stories which hinted at the McCanns' alleged involvement, March 19, 2008.

"Why didn't you come when we were crying last night?" - Madeleine's words to Kate in leaked papers from Portuguese police interviews, April 10. The couple say it is a "blatant" attempt to discredit them.

"We have no doubt it saves lives." - Gerry McCann calls for a new alert system for missing children across Europe, April 10.

"Their biggest regret is that they were not there when Madeleine was taken. They possibly, God forbid, will live with that regret for the rest of their lives." - the McCanns' spokesman Clarence Mitchell, April 11.

'I know she feels she let Madeleine down', Kate McCann's mother reveals, 28 April 2008
'I know she feels she let Madeleine down', Kate McCann's mother reveals Daily Mail
 
Last updated at 14:12pm on 28th April 2008
 
Kate McCann's mother has revealed that she feels she let daughter Madeleine down by leaving her alone and that her only comfort now is the hunt to find her.

Days ahead of the one-year anniversary of Madeleine's disappearance, Susan Healy speaks of her daughter's strength but admits she fears for her future.

The 62-year-old also tells of the family's desperate hope that the four-year-old is still alive, but her husband admits they would be resigned to their death if it was anyone else's child.

Defending Kate against claims she is on the verge of a breakdown, she says: "I can't believe how strong Kate is. I just don't know where she gets this strength from...

"I do fear for the future, of course I do. But as for her appearance now, Kate's always been thin and I don't think she's any thinner than before...

"I am absolutely amazed at the strength she has shown. I know she feels she let Madeleine down. The only way she can cope is by trying 100 per cent to get Madeleine back."

People who have attacked Kate for her cool demeanour following Madeleine's disappearance last May are "blind" to the anguish in her face, she added.

Her mother says she takes little interest in her appearance but people "want to write anything to make her appear less caring about her children and more caring about herself".

She adds: "She can't possibly give up because the twins deserve everything they had before."

Madeleine vanished on May 3rd last year during a family holiday in Praia da Luz in the Algarve and the family quickly launched an international campaign to find her.

But Mrs Healy, in a lengthy interview, has revealed that as the 12-month anniversary nears and without those initial distractions, they are struggling more than ever.

She says: "It's quite frightening to think that 12 months has almost gone by - 12 months since we were sitting in this room and just expecting the 'phone to go, and hearing they had found Madeleine.

"Maybe the way I'm feeling at the moment - and I'm feeling probably the worst I've felt for the whole year - I suppose I am a bit frightened and panicking that we still haven't got Madeleine back.

"I've found myself thinking a lot about Madeleine now; what she's doing, who she's with and is she OK. There's almost a feeling of panic and of needing to know the answers overtaking me.

"I am struggling more than I have before... I feel quite squashed and depressed."

Fighting back the tears again, she adds: "In the earlier days it was new and we were coping with our emotions because we were kept busy organising things.

"I think, now, we have done all that and, somehow, there's nothing to protect you and you are thinking constantly about Madeleine and her situation.

"And there's a fear, I suppose, that people will accept that Madeleine has gone."

Her daughter - like the whole family - is desperate to know what has happened to Madeleine because it would at least put an end to her doubts and fears about her fate, the grandmother explains.

Before trailing off as the reality of her statement hits home, she says: "I think Kate feels she needs to know what's happened to Madeleine, because her imagination . . .

Mrs Healy adds: "Kate said 'If Madeleine is dead I need to know'. That goes for us as well."

Her husband, Brian, 68, explains that the family feel they are tempting fate if they say they want some sort of resolution.

"If I was talking about any other child, I would probably think 'She's gone'. But it's Madeleine, and so we have hope."

Madeleine's grandmother stresses: "We still have a lot of hope, because we have no reason not to have.

"Sometimes when I'm having a bad time - which has been most of the time recently, I would be quite fearful of the chances of Madeleine being found alive.

"Then I'll read something or speak to someone who will say 'You will get her back, you know'. That makes me feel a bit ashamed, so I pull myself together."

Mr Healy tells how seeing Kate and Gerry's other children, twins Sean and Amelie, brings into sharp relief exactly what the family has lost.

"When you see the two of them laughing together now, it's always in your mind that there should be three of them laughing," he says.

The family are not returning to Portugal to mark the anniversary and Kate and Gerry will be spending the day at home in Rothley, Leicestershire with the twins.

A special mass will be held in Liverpool on Saturday at the church where the couple married in 1998 and people will be asked to take candles home to light at the time it is thought Madeleine vanished.

Mrs Healy says: "There will be tealights left at the back of the church and we are inviting people to light them, privately, at home at 9.15pm, the time we believe Madeleine was taken.

"Also, we know a lot of people will have storm lanterns outside their homes and will want to light up the sky for Madeleine. "I think we will come home and do that in our garden - and we hope other people will do the same at their homes. We don't want it to be a formal thing."

Madeleine McCann - if she's dead, we need to know, 28 April 2008
Madeleine McCann - if she's dead, we need to know Liverpool Echo
 
Apr 28, 2008 By PADDY SHENNAN
 
IN the first of a two-part series, to mark the first anniversary of the abduction of Madeleine McCann, chief feature writer Paddy Shennan talks to her Liverpool-based grandparents, Brian and Susan Healy
 
IT’S A tough question to ask and an almost impossible one to answer.
 
As they approach the anniversary of the disappearance of their first grandchild, Madeleine McCann’s grandparents bravely face up to the horrendous possibility of their worst nightmare coming heartbreakingly true.
 
For Brian and Susan Healy, who have spent the past 12 months doing all they can for Madeleine and all they can for her mother, their only child, Kate, the agony and the anguish can only intensify on the anniversary no one wants to see come round.
 
We are sitting in their suburban home in a quiet, tree-lined street off busy Allerton Road, a house where the gates remain bedecked with yellow and green ribbons. A house where the first and last thing you see, as you enter and leave, is a framed photograph of their smiling granddaughter, Madeleine, in her Everton top.
 
An ordinary family photograph which is now, for all the wrong reasons, familiar to millions of people around the world.
 
It is here, then, in this seemingly unremarkable, ordinary and everyday world, that these devoted parents and grandparents fight a daily battle against thinking the unthinkable and saying the unsayable.
 
So do they now, after all this time, believe little Madeleine is dead and, if she is, would they rather face this devastating fact – or continue living in ignorance, with only their daily turmoil and torment for company?
 
Susan, 62, takes a deep breath, and says: "I think Kate feels she needs to know what's happened to Madeleine, because her imagination . . ."
 
Her voice trails away as the enormity of what she is saying hits home, before she adds, softly and sadly: "Kate said 'If Madeleine is dead I need to know'. That goes for us as well."
 
But explaining the trap they fear falling into, Brian, 68, says: "If you say 'We want a resolution' you are tempting fate . . . If I was talking about any other child, I would probably think 'She’s gone'. But it's Madeleine, and so we have hope."
 
Susan, as if grasping hold of that most powerful of four-letter words, stresses: "We still have a lot of hope, because we have no reason not to have.
 
"Sometimes when I'm having a bad time – which has been most of the time recently – I would be quite fearful of the chances of Madeleine being found alive. Then I'll read something or speak to someone who will say 'You WILL get her back, you know'. That makes me feel a bit ashamed, so I pull myself together."
 
And Kate? Is she, as some newspapers have suggested, on the verge of falling apart?
 
Susan says: "I can’t believe how strong Kate is. I just don’t know where she gets this strength from. Prayer does give you strength. If nothing else it's something that has kept us going . . . prayer and the support of other people.
 
"I do fear for the future, of course I do. But as for her appearance now, Kate's always been thin and I don’t think she’s any thinner than before. I've looked at pictures in the early days when people said how cool she looks and, to me, she looks in anguish.
 
!I think, if people can't see the anguish in her face, they are blind, they really are.
 
"No one takes less time on themselves than Kate. She's not into make-up. She comes across in pictures quite well. She looks very attractive, though she wouldn’t think that.
 
"But some people want to write anything at all to make her appear less caring about her children and more caring for herself.
 
"I am absolutely amazed at the strength she has shown. I know she feels she let Madeleine down. The only way she can cope is by trying 100% to get Madeleine back. She can't possibly give up because the twins deserve everything they had before."
 
This mention of three-year-olds Sean and Amelie, as with so many things the grandparents say during the course of our conversation – a conversation punctuated by the tears which occasionally fall down Susan's face and the unutterable sadness in Brian's eyes – prompts memories of happier times.
 
"When you see the two of them laughing together now," says Brian, the proudest of grandads, "it's always in your mind that there should be three of them laughing."
 
So much has happened in this past year from hell – and yet, so little has happened. Nothing, essentially, has changed since Thursday, May 3, 2007 – Madeleine went missing that night in the Portuguese resort of Praia da Luz, and she is still missing.
 
It's impossible to imagine what Madeleine's family have gone through and continue to go through – and it's hard enough for them to comprehend what has happened and is happening to them.
 
Susan says: "It's quite frightening to think that 12 months has almost gone by – 12 months since we were sitting in this room and just expecting the 'phone to go, and hearing they had found Madeleine.
 
"Maybe the way I'm feeling at the moment – and I'm feeling probably the worst I've felt for the whole year – I suppose I am a bit frightened and panicking that we still haven’t got Madeleine back.
 
"I've found myself thinking a lot about Madeleine now; what she's doing, who she's with and is she OK. There’s almost a feeling of panic and of needing to know the answers overtaking me. I am struggling more than I have before.
 
"When the six months was marked I felt . . . I was quite happy with the buzz going out and busy organising things. But I feel a bit flat now and I don't want this stage to be reached.
 
"And if anything needs organising I want it done without me taking part. I don;t feel I have the strength. I feel quite squashed and depressed."
 
Fighting back the tears again, she adds: "In the earlier days it was new and we were coping with our emotions because we were kept busy organising things.
 
"I think, now, we have done all that and, somehow, there's nothing to protect you and you are thinking constantly about Madeleine and her situation. And there's a fear, I suppose, that people will accept that Madeleine has gone."

Madeleine McCann's grandparents ask: Why did they leave her alone?, 29 April 2008
Madeleine McCann's grandparents ask: Why did they leave her alone? Liverpool Echo
 
Apr 29 2008 PADDY SHENNAN
 
In the concluding part of his series marking the first anniversary of Madeleine McCann’s disappearance, chief feature writer Paddy Shennan hears how her grandmother is still struggling to come to terms with the bitterly regretted decision taken by nine people on that fateful night.
 
"I COULD shake all of them, every single one of them," says Susan Healy, the mother of Liverpool-born Kate McCann.
 
It all comes back to that night. That fateful, nightmarish night of Thursday May 3, 2007 – and that fateful decision.
 
The night that Kate and Gerry McCann have relived and regretted time and time and time again. The night their daughter, Madeleine, was abducted while they dined in the tapas bar of their holiday complex in the Algarve with seven friends.
 
No one needs to tell them they made a mistake. And no one could possibly punish them more than they have punished themselves.
 
The anguish and sheer frustration surrounding their fateful decision continues to be painfully felt – by both Kate and Gerry and others, including Kate’s parents.
 
Mum Susan says: "I can read articles that say Kate and Gerry should never have left their children and I can accept that. You find yourself over and over again in your head thinking: 'Why did they think it would be all right?'
 
"Why did they think – ALL of them – it was OK to do this?
 
"I think they were misled into thinking it was OK – but there was no CCTV, no security.
 
"There is this acceptance among couples with young children, like Kate and Gerry and their friends, that these are good resorts and safe environments.
 
"I could shake all of them, every single one of them."
 
She adds: "I understand Kate and Gerry and the others ate in a restaurant without their children. It's something we had to address and Kate and Gerry have had to address it every single day.
 
"But at the end of the day they thought they had taken adequate provision . . . no one looks after their children better than Kate and Gerry. That’s why it's so amazing they can be in this situation."
 
And yet, fuelled by some bizarre behaviour by the Portuguese police and some wildly unsubstantiated reporting by some Portuguese newspapers (happily repeated by some British papers), the hate brigade has had a field day.
 
Lurking on websites and often hiding behind pseudonyms, these pathetic and cowardly cretins have acted like judge and jury, after first putting the boot in on Kate and Gerry McCann – Kate, especially.
 
Their casual, callous cruelty and almost-gleeful responses to various developments in this heartbreaking and horrifying human tragedy have been outrageous, breathtaking – and utterly depressing. A little girl is missing, but all some pathetic excuses for human beings want to do is bitch and gloat and goad.
 
Kate and Gerry McCann don't read the newspapers any more, but their families do and, sometimes, they see what has been posted on the internet by poisoned minds, simple minds and sick minds.
 
"It gets me upset from time to time, when I'm stupid enough to read it," says Kate's mum, Susan.
 
"But I just think these people don’t care about Madeleine, so they are not of any significance."
 
Kate's dad, Brian, adds: "We’ve had a couple of nasty letters here. I can't believe they would actually bother their backsides to buy a stamp and post the letter. They must be warped."
 
Why do they bother? Susan, sadly, probably hits the nail on the head when she says: "I think they just get a certain pleasure out of it. But it worries me that we have these people in our society – no wonder the world is the way it is."
 
And how does it feel when you see sneering journalists and internet hate merchants trivialising the case of a missing four-year-old girl by using the term "Tapas 7" to describe Kate and Gerry's friends, or "Tapas 9" to describe the whole group.
 
Susan says: "It’s awful. This is a group of friends who have all suffered a terrible trauma. They all did the same thing and what happened could have happened to any one of them. It’s changed all their lives."
 
Then there’s the derogatory phrase "Team McCann". Susan says: "That’s horrible. It makes it sound like an organisation without feelings or something that can’t be hurt. Kate and Gerry may appear to be professional, but they are no different to any other family.
 
"And Clarence Mitchell (who acts as Kate and Gerry's spokesman), who is vilified very often in the internet forums, is a genuinely nice guy and a family man. Without him, I don't know how they would have got through this year. He’s always there to talk to the media on their behalf."
 
From being portrayed as victims to villains and victims again, the McCanns have been given a rollercoaster ride by some newspapers. At one point, they appeared to be sinking in a sea of defamatory, fact- free fantasy reports – but the tide turned when Express Newspapers issued an apology and paid 550,000 into the Find Madeleine Fund.
 
Regarding damaging headlines, Susan says: "Every time it happens it's like a slap in the face. You have to stop to think 'Do these people not know what they are doing?' – not just to us, but to other people. The headlines can be very bad."
 
As can the tone and content of certain columns. Brian says: "I rang a writer on one newspaper and asked 'Have you ever met my daughter?' After being told 'no', I then asked 'Then how can you write this about Kate?'"
 
Susan stresses that while she doesn't feel she has changed in the past year, she has seen other sides to some other people: "I have seen lots and lots of good in people, but I think I always knew people are basically very kind, good and supportive.
 
"But I have seen a side of a certain amount of people – hopefully a small minority – I wouldn't have believed prior to this. I don’t know what makes them tick; they must have very sad lives."
 
Regarding the overwhelmingly positive side, Susan says: "People have shown us so many little kindnesses. As one small example, Brian took my shoes to be heeled and the cobbler wouldn’t take any money – so we put it in the fund."
 
Brian adds: "We get an awful lot of support when we walk down Allerton Road, while people I've not seen for years have got in touch."
 
And Susan has a special request to make of those thousands upon thousands of ECHO readers who have been behind the family from day one: "Please keep praying for us and keep supporting us . . . stay with us.
 
"I'd also ask your readers to remember what this is all about – a little four-year-old child who was loved and cherished and cared for, whose every need was met until this time by her parents.
 
"She was the greatest gift anyone in our family ever had. She is somewhere and she may be frightened and unhappy."

'I could shake my daughter and the Tapas 7 for leaving Madeleine alone', says Kate McCann's mother, 29 April 2008
'I could shake my daughter and the Tapas 7 for leaving Madeleine alone', says Kate McCann's mother Daily Mail
 
Last updated at 13:16pm on 29th April 2008
 
Madeleine McCann's grandmother has attacked her own daughters' decision to leave her three children alone in their holiday apartment on the night the three-year-old vanished.
 
Kate McCann's mother, Susan Healy, admits she is totally astonished that she thought it was safe to leave Madeleine and their two other younger children unsupervised.
 
She has revealed that she asks herself again and again why their whole group, the so-called Tapas Nine, all believed it was fine to go out for dinner without their children.
 
Just days ahead of the one-year anniversary of Madeleine's disappearance, she vents her frustration, saying: "I could shake all of them, every single one of them."
 
In an interview with the Liverpool Echo, she admits: "I can read articles that say Kate and Gerry should never have left their children and I can accept that.
 
"You find yourself over and over again in your head thinking: 'Why did they think it would be all right?' "Why did they think - all of them - it was OK to do this?
 
"I think they were misled into thinking it was OK - but there was no CCTV, no security. There is this acceptance among couples with young children, like Kate and Gerry and their friends, that these are good resorts and safe environments."
 
Mrs Healy says the fact Madeleine was left alone on the night she vanished was something the wider family, and not only the McCanns, had had to come to terms with.
 
But she also defends them, insisting that they must have believed their children would be safe before deciding to go out on their own.
 
"I understand Kate and Gerry and the others ate in a restaurant without their children. It's something we had to address and Kate and Gerry have had to address it every single day," she says.
 
"But at the end of the day they thought they had taken adequate provision . . . no one looks after their children better than Kate and Gerry. That's why it's so amazing they can be in this situation."
 
Despite her frustration at the "Tapas Nine", the 62-year-old describes their vilification in the press as "awful" and says their lives will never be the same.
 
"This is a group of friends who have all suffered a terrible trauma," she said. "They all did the same thing and what happened could have happened to any one of them. It's changed all their lives."
 
She also claims her family being dubbed "Team McCann" had made them seem like an "organisation without feelings".
 
Of the damaging headlines, she says: "Every time it happens it's like a slap in the face. You have to stop to think 'Do these people not know what they are doing?' - not just to us, but to other people."
 
While most people have been kind, there have been a "small minority" who have shown a different side since last May and some have even sent threatening letters to her and her husband, Mrs Healy reveals.
 
She begs that people do not lose sight of what the family wants above all else - for Madeleine to be found.
 
"Remember what this is all about - a little four-year-old child who was loved and cherished and cared for," she pleads.
 
"She was the greatest gift anyone in our family ever had. She is somewhere and she may be frightened and unhappy."
 
Reliving the night of May 3rd, she tells how her son-in-law rang her up at around 11.30pm to say Madeleine had been taken.
 
"He said something like 'It's a disaster'. I was grappling to understand 'disaster'. "His next words were 'Madeleine has been abducted from her bed in the apartment'.
 
"I said 'No, Gerry' and he said 'Sue, Sue'. He reiterated it in a strong way. I asked him 'Where were you?'"
 
She added: "We just sat all night and then went to Portugal the next day. I didn't know what day it was - some people packed my bags for me and the police drove us to Manchester Airport.
 
"I remember, after we got to the hotel complex, looking at the little paddling pool and all the children there. I was thinking 'This time yesterday, Madeleine was playing there'."
 
Her husband, Brian, adds that he will never forget laying eyes on his devastated daughter that day.
 
"I remember Kate's first words to me - I'll never forget them. She said: 'She'll be so frightened.'"
 
His wife said: "I don't know who I hugged first, but I'll never forget how Kate and Gerry were that day - they were absolutely wailing."
 
Five months later, to her parents' disbelief, Kate McCann and her husband were made official suspects in the case.
 
Madeleine's grandmother recalls: "Gerry did ring to warn us that they were likely to be made arguidos - I think it was a few days before. I nearly had a dicky fit. I was amazed and angry. Very angry.
 
"They had told the police they were going to come home. I think that moved things on for the police and they told Kate and Gerry they wanted to question them again.
 
"But their attitudes had changed before then, when the British police and dogs went out. When they were made arguidos I placated myself, never believing that anyone could think they were responsible for Madeleine's disappearance.
 
"Some people, though,, picked up on certain things, despite it being a ridiculous situation. "They centered in on anything negative."
 
The family are bracing themselves for the one-year anniversary of Madeleine's disappearance this Saturday.
 
She disappeared from their apartment in Praia da Luz on May 3 during a family holiday to the Algarve resort.
 
Her parents were at a restaurant with their friends 40 yards away but had returned to the flat during the night to make regular checks.
 
They are not returning to Portugal at the weekend and plan to stay at their home in Rothley, Leicestershire.

One year on Kate McCann's mum says it's the not knowing that hurts the most, 29 April 2008
One year on Kate McCann's mum says it's the not knowing that hurts the most Daily Mirror
 
By Martin Fricker
29/04/2008
 
A year after Madeleine vanished it's the not knowing that Kate McCann finds the hardest to bear.
 
In a heartbreakingly frank interview, the desperate GP's mum Susan Healy revealed: "I think Kate feels she needs to know what's happened to Madeleine.
 
"Kate said, 'If Madeleine is dead I need to know'. That goes for us as well.
 
"I know she feels she let Madeleine down. The only way she can cope is by trying 100 per cent to get Madeleine back. She can't possibly give up because the twins deserve all they had before.
 
"We still have a lot of hope, because we have no reason not to have.
 
"When I'm having a bad time - which has been most of the time recently - I would be quite fearful of the chances of Madeleine being found alive. Then I'll read something or speak to someone who will say 'You WILL get her back'.
 
"That makes me feel a bit ashamed, so I pull myself together."
 
Kate's dad Brian, 68, added: "If you say 'We want a resolution' you are tempting fate.
 
"If I was talking about any other child, I would probably think 'She's gone'. But it's Madeleine, and so we have hope."
 
Speaking at home in Allerton, Liverpool, Susan said the family's Catholic beliefs have helped them through the nightmare since Madeleine, then three, vanished on May 3.
 
She added: "I can't believe how strong Kate is. I just don't know where she gets this strength from.
 
"Prayer does give you strength. If nothing else it's something that has kept us going, prayer and the support of other people. I do fear for the future, of course I do.
 
"I've looked at pictures in the early days when people said how cool she looks and, to me, she looks in anguish. I think, if people can't see the anguish in her face, they are blind. It's quite frightening to think that 12 months has almost gone by - 12 months since we were expecting to hear they had found Madeleine.
 
"I'm feeling probably the worst I've felt for the whole year - I am a bit frightened we still haven't got Madeleine back."
 
Susan, 62, added: "I've found myself thinking a lot about Madeleine now; what she's doing, who she's with and is she OK. There's almost a feeling of panic and of needing to know the answers overtaking me. I am struggling more than I have before.
 
"When the six months was marked, I was quite happy with the buzz going out and busy organising things.
 
"But I feel a bit flat now and I don't want this stage to be reached. I don't feel I have the strength. I feel quite squashed and depressed.
 
"You are thinking constantly about Madeleine and her situation. There is a fear that people will accept that Madeleine has gone."
 
The family try to make life as normal as possible for the sake of 40-year-old Kate and Gerry's three-year-old twins Sean and Amelie.
 
But Brian revealed: "When you see the two of them laughing together now, it's always in your mind that there should be three of them laughing."
 
The couple will mark the one-year anniversary in a special church service in Liverpool on Saturday.
 
They also plan to light candles at 9.15pm - the moment they believe Madeleine was snatched.
 
Meanwhile, a planned reconstruction of the night Madeleine disappeared, was on the verge of being scrapped yesterday.
 
Portuguese police hoped to use the people involved - including Kate and Gerry - rather than actors.
 
But the couple, of Rothley, Leics, have refused to return to Portugal next month. They are angered Portuguese authorities will not televise the reconstruction.
 
McCann spokesman Clarence Mitchell, added: "Has any thought been given to Kate's mental wellbeing in all this?
 
"Is she expected to go back to the apartment to see another child playing her daughter? Kate is quite upset by it.
 
"If it not going to be televised, what value has it got and how will it help find Madeleine?"
 
Mr Mitchell dismissed claims the McCanns were not returning to Portugal because they feared being charged with child neglect.
 
However, a Portuguese police source said: "The detectives are fuming. There are still a lot of unanswered questions about the investigation, and inconsistencies in their statements.
 
"But now it seems the McCanns are not returning to Portugal until their arguido (suspect) status is lifted, which may never happen. This would mean the reconstruction would not be able to take place."
 
Portuguese police are investigating the attempted abduction of a Dutch girl, 15, in Senhora da Rocha by a man matching the description of a suspect seen 30 miles away in Praia da Luz on May 3.
 
Mr Mitchell said: "The description sounds similar to the man described by (tourist) Gail Cooper. We have never found that man and our investigators will be very keen to track him down."
 
Meanwhile, the disgraced former head of the McCann investigation has accused Kate of "cold" emotional control, Spanish newspaper El Mundo claims.
 
Goncalo Amaral, 48, said: "You didn't see the mother... she is cold, she is astute."
 
Amaral was moved from the probe after accusing UK police of only investigating leads that helped the McCanns.
 
MAY 3 2007 9:15 PM
 
The date Madeleine McCann went missing

The McCanns' lives of torment, 29 April 2008
The McCanns' lives of torment The Sun
 
Published: Today, 29th April 2008
 
IT IS almost a year since Madeleine was taken and eight months since the McCanns returned home. And Kate maintains a nightly ritual that does not change. She enters the bedroom she has kept exactly as Madeleine left it and prays for her lost daughter.
 
Even now the room remains undisturbed. The toys the child played with before the family set off for Portugal are where she left them. Her clothes hang in the wardrobe. The room is ready for her return.
 
The door is closed to Sean and Amelie. Kate doesn’t want them running in and out, grabbing Madeleine’s things and asking about her more than is necessary.
 
Their 500,000 home in Rothley is Kate’s world now. Gerry is back at work full-time and she rarely ventures out. When the twins aren’t at the nursery they attend twice a week, Kate wants them close by.
 
Even the hairdresser she used to visit now comes to her. And she has abandoned the coffee shop where she and Madeleine used to go for hot chocolate. She doesn’t want to be out and about, in the spotlight.
 
After the ordeal she has gone through since May 3, 2007, Kate knew she could not face returning to her job as a GP. Instead she campaigns relentlessly for Madeleine and yearns for the day she comes home. She knows, of course, that day may never come.
 
Her grief is more obvious than Gerry’s, her whole appearance and demeanour a vision of suffering.
 
Gerry has been back at work for four months as a full-time consultant cardiologist, the job he eased himself into three days a week late last year after six months leading the hunt for Madeleine.
 
He plays golf and goes to the pub. Often he plays in the park with Sean and Amelie, laughing and joking with them, looking like any other dad. He hides his pain well but it is deep.
 
"It’s an intense, full-on existence for both of them," says the couple’s spokesman Clarence Mitchell. "Gerry is back at work full-time, but when he gets home the campaign to find Madeleine is like a second job.
 
"Kate is determined to make family life for the twins as normal as possible. They celebrated their third birthdays in the way you’d expect — though since Madeleine went, they haven’t celebrated anything else. Kate’s 40th passed without being marked.
 
"The truth is, it can’t be normal. The situation dominates every aspect of their lives.
 
"Gerry copes by being active, throwing himself into his work and the campaign.
 
"Kate takes the twins to nursery, and much of her time is taken up with campaigning, too — dealing with emails, meetings with children’s groups and supporters.
 
"She has her ups and downs. It might be a particular media report, or some new claim by the police that gets to her, and it can take some time to pick herself up."
 
Gerry’s elder brother John added: "Intellectually, they have grasped what has happened. Emotionally, they have learned, to an extent, to cope — one’s psychology adapts.
 
"But they haven’t really come to terms with it. There are times when they can seem cheerful, but then the devastation bursts through. Madeleine’s disappearance is a cataclysm that is horrendous for them and all of us close to them. You do your best to live a normal life, but in the end, you can’t. And I’m her uncle. One can only imagine what it’s like for Gerry and Kate. They can’t help but go over last May in their minds. But you can’t change what happened. What you can do, and what they have been trying to do ever since, is to change the future — literally to keep turning over stones until Madeleine is found.
 
"Their ability to stay focused and try to help other families who may face a similar plight in future is inspiring."
 
The McCanns are a strong couple with a strong marriage. Far slighter ordeals than theirs end lesser marriages every day. Kate has said little publicly since the family returned home in September.
 
But earlier this month she spoke movingly to MEPs in Brussels as she lobbied them to back a new Europe-wide alert system which could quickly trace kidnapped children as well as deter would-be abductors.
 
"I’m Kate McCann," she told them simply. "I’m Madeleine’s mum."
 
Close to tears at times, she looked down at a photo of her daughter from their holiday and said: "Madeleine was an incredibly happy, confident and very loved little girl and this time last year we were an incredibly happy family and we felt very lucky.
 
"I am unable to convey just how totally devastating Madeleine’s abduction feels to us as parents and to our family as a whole.
 
"It is totally awful. If anyone was wanting to inflict the greatest amount of pain on us they certainly have done that. Looking back at those early days, the excruciating pain and feeling of helplessness, we desperately wanted everything done. You are reminded time and time again from the media that the first few hours are critical."
 
In an earlier interview Kate said: "I was sure immediately that Madeleine didn’t walk out of that room. I never doubted that she had been taken by someone.
 
"I went through a phase of guilt for not knowing what happened to her. I blamed myself for thinking that the place was safe. But the certainty that we are truly responsible parents has helped me carry on.
 
"I know that what happened is not due to us leaving the children asleep. I know it happened under other circumstances.
 
"Of course we feel guilty at being at the restaurant when she disappeared. That will always be so. But the person who broke in and took Madeleine is the most guilty.
 
"If we’d had to ask, 'Are they safe?', we would never have left. We never thought that there was a risk. We thought we were being reliable and responsible. I did not think at all about a burglar.
 
"One never expects that someone will come among you and take your child in their bed. The only reason that we went backwards and forwards to the apartment was in case they woke up.
 
"For the first few days the guilt was very difficult. You torture yourself with that. But we’ve had so many letters of support and calls from people saying we would have done exactly the same. As time goes on we feel stronger and we’ve felt very supported.
 
"I think at worst we were naive. We are very responsible parents. We love our children very much.
 
"We grieve, of course we grieve — but ultimately we need to be in control so we can influence and help in any way possible."
 
What would Kate say to Madeleine if she could?
 
"I’d tell her we love her. She knows we love her very much, she knows we’re looking for her, that we’re doing absolutely everything and we’ll never give up."
 
The couple have derived some comfort from the case of Austrian teenager Natascha Kampusch, found alive in 2006 eight years after being abducted at the age of ten.
 
Gerry said: "We think if Madeleine was killed quickly, there ought to be evidence."
 
But they also know that as many as half of all abducted children are killed, normally within the first few hours. In Brussels they sat in front of a banner saying just that.
 
Nonetheless, Kate said: "We still have hope. We had a recent trip to Washington to the National Centre for Missing and Exploited Children.
 
"It was very positive. We learnt that there have been many cases of children being recovered a long time after they go missing.
 
"None of us knows what has happened to her — there is absolutely no evidence that she has come to any harm.
 
"There is a good chance Madeleine is still out there."

Kate McCann: 'I don't feel that Madeleine is dead - but I want to know what happened', 29 April 2008
Kate McCann: 'I don't feel that Madeleine is dead - but I want to know what happened' Daily Mail
 
Last updated at 15:49pm on 29th April 2008
 
Kate McCann admitted today that not knowing what happened to Madeleine was the hardest part of coping.
 
As Saturday's first anniversary of her daughter's disappearance approaches, Mrs McCann, 40, said she was clinging to the hope that she is alive.
 
She said: "I have my bad days but at the same time I find myself wanting to know what happened. It is the not knowing that is particularly difficult."
 
In the interview with Hello! magazine, she added: "I don't feel as if Madeleine is dead. I really feel she is out there and we will find her.
 
"The chances of her being alive are as good now, if not better, than they were after the first three days of her going missing."
 
Asked how she envisaged the future, Mrs McCann replied: "I try not to look too far into the future. It's best to take one day at a time."
 
Mrs McCann and her 39-year-old husband Gerry, both doctors from Rothley, in Leicestershire, agreed to the interview to promote their campaign for a new European-wide system to alert authorities when children go missing.
 
Madeleine was six days short of her fourth birthday when she vanished from the family's holiday apartment in Praia da Luz in the Algarve on 3 May last year while her parents ate nearby.
 
Portuguese police named them as official suspects in the investigation but the McCanns deny any wrongdoing and insist their daughter was abducted.
 
Mr McCann told Hello! of his "worst fear" that Madeleine could have been murdered on the night she vanished.
 
But he said he tried to "focus on the positive instead of moping and wallowing in self-pity".
 
He said the "sickening truths" he had discovered about child abduction had encouraged the couple to launch the Amber Alert system already adopted in the US.
 
He said he was determined that "something good" would come out of his daughter's disappearance. Mrs McCann said she wanted "something positive for others" to come out of their "terrible experience".
 
The couple criticised child pornography laws across Europe for being too lax.
 
Mr McCann said: "In most European countries it is legal to watch child pornography... we were astounded when we read about the proportion of young children exploited in child pornography.
 
"Nineteen per cent of images involve children younger than three."
 
Mrs McCann said: "It's a billion dollar industry... How can this be acceptable? Children need to be protected."
 
The couple visited Brussels earlier this month to lobby the European parliament to introduce the Amber Alert system.
 
Their campaign forms the basis of a two-hour documentary to be broadcast tomorrow night on ITV at 8pm in which filmmaker Emma Loach was given unprecedented access to the couple.
 
Mrs McCann will be seen breaking down during the making of the film.
 
Hello! described her as appearing "physically strong" but said a sadness appeared etched across her face at every mention of Madeleine's name.

Madeleine Suspect Fears Case 'A Mystery', 29 April 2008
Madeleine Suspect Fears Case 'A Mystery' Sky News
 
Alex Watts, Sky News Online, Praia da Luz
Updated:15:41, Tuesday April 29, 2008
 
The first suspect in the disappearance of Madeleine McCann says he hopes the case is solved soon so his name can be cleared.
 
But Robert Murat fears the little girl's fate will remain a mystery.
 
While the one-year anniversary of Madeleine's disappearance approaches, it is a date 11 days later that will stick in Mr Murat's mind.
 
His lawyer Francisco Pagarete has told Sky News Online: "It's almost a year since all this started for him... Robert's anniversary is on May 14."
 
That will be the day Mr Murat says his life was ruined - when police named him as the first suspect in the case.
 
Speaking to locals and ex-pats in Praia da Luz, the name that never comes up is Murat.
 
The Luz folk believe he was just unlucky to be caught up in one of the most overwhelming news storms that ever hit a sleepy town.
 
Mr Pagarete says his client does not know what happened to Madeleine - plus, it is a police matter.
 
"The only thing we can do is help them (with their inquiries) and that we have already done," the lawyer said.
 
But he adds that they have had no contact with police for weeks.
 
"We were with them last month, when I went with Robert to the police station for the things they took from the house," he said.
 
It is the same for the McCanns - who say they do not even know if police are still looking for Madeleine.
 
When quizzed on when Mr Murat would be cleared, Mr Pagarete says: "I can't answer that."
 
But there is talk that it could be in the next few weeks.
 
The lawyer responds with a laugh: "Then that's great news.
 
"I hope so, but the timetables are not with me, they're with the Portuguese authorities," he adds.
 
With the maelstrom of facts, lies and conjecture, Mr Pagarete said his client was coping better with the trauma of suspicion.
 
"I can tell you he's much better for the last four months than he was in the beginning," his lawyer said.
 
"It was very stressful for him and his family and friends - and things seem to be going well for him now."

Where were you that night, Kate? What grandmother said after she was told that Madeleine had been snatched, 30 April 2008
Where were you that night, Kate? What grandmother said after she was told that Madeleine had been snatched Daily Mail
 
By VANESSA ALLEN and NEIL SEARS
Last updated at 08:53am on 30th April 2008 
 
Madeleine McCann's grandmother yesterday criticised her daughter's fateful decision to leave the youngster and her brother and sister alone in their bedroom.
 
'Why did they think it was OK to do this?' asked Susan Healy, 62.
 
She revealed that her first words to the couple in the frantic phone call informing her of Madeleine's disappearance were: 'Where were you?'
 
And she said she could understand public anger at the couple for going to dinner while their children slept unattended in an unlocked apartment more than 50 yards away.
 
She said she wanted to 'shake' Kate and her husband Gerry for the decision, which has now haunted them for a year and which could still be used by Portuguese police to support a charge of child negligence.
 
The grandmother revealed that Madeleine still appeared to Mrs McCann in 'visions'.
 
The family is marking the first anniversary of Madeleine's abduction, which takes place on Saturday, with a media offensive.
 
In a two-hour ITV documentary screened tonight Kate McCann, 40,breaks down as she tells how she has 'persecuted' herself for leaving the children alone.
 
The couple allowed cameras to follow them on a series of trips linked to their Find Madeleine campaign, and to film inside their house where the twins Sean and Amelie, now three, played happily.
 
They have also struck a year-long deal with the celebrity magazine Hello!, which has agreed to run a story every week in support of their campaign.
 
Mrs Healy, speaking to her local paper the Liverpool Echo, relived the moment that Mr McCann, 39, called her on May 3 and said he thought Madeleine had been abducted from her bed.
 
She said her first question was simply: 'Where were you?'
 
She said: 'I can read articles that say Kate and Gerry should never have left their children and I can accept that.
 
'You find yourself over and over again in your head thinking, “Why did they think it would be all right? Why did they think – all of them – it was OK to do this?"'
 
Mrs Healy and her husband Brian, 68, of Allerton, Liverpool, flew out to Praia da Luz the day after the phone call and said they found Mrs McCann 'absolutely wailing' with distress.
 
A year later, the GP wept again during filming for the TV documentary in which she and her consultant cardiologist husband speak about virtually every aspect of their daughter's disappearance, their emotional ordeal and their attempts to find her.
 
Why didn't you come when we were crying, mummy?
 
Mr McCann said the couple and their friends, the so-called Tapas Nine, considered eating with their children on the night of May 3.
 
They had devised their own system of putting the youngsters to bed, going to dinner at the tapas bar in the apartment complex and taking turns to check on the rooms.
 
But on the morning of May 3 Madeleine said she and baby brother Sean had been crying the night before, and asked her mother why she had not come to comfort them.
 
They talked about returning instead to the restaurant where they ate on the first night of their holiday, the Millennium, with their children, but decided it was too far away.
 
Mr McCann said: 'The worst thing is we kind of almost thought about not going.'
 
Photographs of the scene have since revealed the McCanns had a direct view from the tapas bar to the unlocked patio doors which led to their two-bedroom flat, but could not see the children's bedroom window at the rear of the apartment.
 
Mrs McCann said: 'We were all going to go up to the Millennium again, that was with the kids, which is what we did the first night.
 
'It was just because the walk was so long and we didn't have a buggy and the kids were tired by that time.'
 
She added: 'If there'd even been one second where someone had said “Do you think it's going to be OK?” it wouldn't have happened. 'There's absolutely no way if I'd had the slightest inkling that there was a risk involved there, that I'd have done it.'
 
The couple allowed cameras to follow them on a series of trips linked to their Find Madeleine campaign, and to film inside their house where the twins Sean and Amelie, now three, played happily.
 
Of the decision to leave the children in the apartment, Mrs McCann said: 'It seemed a fairly natural thing to do, it was so close. You could actually see the apartment and it didn't feel that different to dining out in the back garden.'
 
The McCanns initially said they believed an abductor had forced open the blinds on the rear bedroom window of their apartment, which faces the street.
 
But they have since said they think an intruder could have let himself in through the patio doors, which they kept unlocked in case of an emergency.
 
We have to live with the fact that we weren't there
 
The McCanns said they had tortured themselves for a year about leaving their children alone.
 
Mr McCann said: 'People will say that they've never done that and you know, who am I to argue? We have to live with the fact that we weren't directly there and if we were then possibly, probably it wouldn't have happened.
 
'The worst thing is that you can't change any of that and it doesn't help find her.'
 
Mrs McCann's leaked witness statement revealed Madeleine and Sean were crying in their bedroom on the night of May 2, and that Madeleine asked the next morning: 'Mummy, why didn't you come when Sean and me were crying?'
 
Mrs McCann said she now feared her children might have been disturbed that night by Madeleine's eventual abductor, and said she wished she had questioned her oldest daughter about what had happened.
 
She said: 'I've persecuted myself over and over again about that statement because you think why didn't I just hold her and say "What do you mean? Do you mean you woke up?"
 
'But you don't think that (at the time). I mean it's easy saying that after what's happened.'
 
The panic, the praying. . .and the total devastation
 
In the minutes after Madeleine went missing, Mrs McCann and her friends instantly thought that the little girl would be smuggled across the Portuguese border.
 
'I can remember our friends shouting, "We need to close the borders" and they were shouting "Morocco, Algiers",' recalled Kate.
 
'I can remember all this going on – and roadblocks, "we need roadblocks".'
 
Mr McCann said he insisted his wife stay at the apartment in the hope that Madeleine would be found.
 
'I was mainly in the bedroom and I was just praying actually,' she said.
 
Her husband added: 'I was just ringing people and getting everyone to pray, and just felt so helpless.
 
It was absolute devastation and total, just total emotion really.'
 
His wife said: 'I knew what pyjamas she had on and I just thought she's going to be freezing.
 
'And it was just dark … every minute seemed like an hour and obviously we were up all night and just waited for that first bit of light about six o'clock.'
 
When they accused us, it was like being in a horror movie
 
Madeleine's parents told of their shock and anger at being named as official suspects by the Portuguese police, and their fear that they would be separated from their twins.
 
Mr McCann said: 'You're in the middle of a horror movie really, a nightmare. Pressure such as I've never felt before. You're under attack in one way or another. The speculation takes you to the worst places and the worst place would have been being charged, potentially being put in jail, certainly being detained to face charges that could have taken years to materialise, being separated from Sean and Amelie.'
 
Mrs McCann said: 'As soon as I realised the story or theory was that Madeleine was dead and that we'd been involved somehow, it just hit home. They haven't been looking for Madeleine.'
 
Social services did visit the McCanns' home in Rothley, Leicestershire, and said they were satisfied with the couple's childcare arrangements.
 
Suddenly I became invincible, like a lioness for her cubs
 
Police told Mrs McCann she would serve a lighter jail sentence if she confessed to her involvement in Madeleine's disappearance.
 
She told of her furious reaction, saying: 'I'd have fought to the death at that point. There was no way I was going to be railroaded into something.
 
'I felt almost invincible at that point. I just don't know what kicked in. I just thought my children deserve that, Madeleine deserves that. Someone has to be fighting for Madeleine.'
 
She said she felt like a 'lioness and her cubs' in her determination that she would not be separated from the twins.
 
But she revealed how she dreaded the prospect of having to search for Madeleine for another 40 years.
 
She said: 'We're never going to get to a day where you think, "OK, we've tried everything now. We're exhausted and we need to start living".'
 
Mr McCann said: 'Your life is carrying on to an extent, in a quasi-real existence, a purgatory-type existence.'
 
Mrs McCann lashed out at the Portuguese police's smear campaign against the family.
 
She said she was furious that detectives had apparently leaked their witness statements on the day the couple made a high-profile campaign visit to the European Parliament.
 
The statements – including the revelation that Madeleine had been crying the night before – overshadowed the visit.
 
Mrs McCann said: 'The whole thing is to detract from what we're doing and I feel absolutely gutted. I think it's an absolute disgrace.'
 
Support, offers of help . . . and poisonous hate mail
 
Conspiracy theorists, psychics and supporters have inundated the McCanns with letters since Madeleine vanished.
 
The couple said the vast majority were supportive but that they have had to refer some hate mail to the police, including one death threat.
 
In the documentary they are shown opening letters and filing them into boxes, including files marked Nasty, Nutty, Psychic Visions and Dreams, Ideas and Well-wishers.
 
Mr McCann read one spiteful Christmas card to the camera, saying: 'Your brat is dead because of your drunken arrogance. Shame on you. I curse you and your family to suffer forever. Cursed Christmas.'
 
Is she tall? Is her hair long? And can she write her name?
 
Kate McCann broke down several times as she spoke about her missing daughter, saying: 'She's like a little buddy to me.'
 
She said: 'It doesn't feel like a year since I saw Madeleine. She's just so much, very much still there and she doesn't seem that far away.
 
'I see Madeleine's best friend from time to time. Can't help but wonder what would Madeleine be like, would she be that much taller, you know, is her hair as long as that? You know, and would she be writing her name too?
 
'You know she's there waiting for us. She deserves us to keep going.'
 
Madeleine's grandmother Mrs Healy said Mrs McCann is so traumatised by her daughter's disappearance that she sees the little girl in 'visions'.
 
She told Closer magazine: 'When Kate told me she was unable to sleep on a few occasions, I asked her if her twins had woken her as they sometimes get into her bed. But she told me: "Madeleine came".
 
'She imagines Madeleine is there with her. My heart goes out to her. There are times when she's absolutely devastated and bereft.'
 
The McCanns are spearheading a campaign for a Europe-wide alert system for missing children. Mr McCann said: 'We feel a moral obligation that some sort of good has to come of this.'
 
The couple revealed they believe Madeleine is still alive because of what they've learned from world experts on missing children during their campaigning.
 
Mrs McCann said: 'I don't feel as if Madeleine is dead. I really feel she is out there and we will find her. The chances of her being alive are as good now, if not better, than they were after the first three days of her going missing.'

Missing Madeleine McCann: One Year On, 02 May 2008
Missing Madeleine McCann: One Year On Daily Mirror
 
'The police in Portugal have had a fair crack ..we are at the point where we will have to find out ourselves'
 
By Rod Chaytor
02 May 2008
 
Kate and Gerry McCann have finally grown tired of police efforts to trace missing daughter Madeleine and last night vowed to find her themselves.
 
With the first anniversary of the youngster's disappearance tomorrow, the couple are determined to succeed where Portuguese detectives failed and bring the four-year-old home.

They have set up a hotline and a new website and are appealing to anyone with any information to make contact with their investigators.

The McCanns have been kept in the dark about the thousands of clues that have flooded into police since Madeleine vanished in Praia da Luz on May 3 last year.
 
Heart doctor Gerry said: "We are a year down the line and seemingly no closer to finding Madeleine.

"We've got little bits of the jigsaw and we've got huge gaps.

"People (Portuguese police) have had a fair crack. As parents, we just want to make sure everything possible has been done."

Gp Kate added: "You get to the point where you think we will have to find out for ourselves."

As the couple launched a new poster appeal with pictures of Madeleine and a family snap, Gerry pleaded with anyone who has been in touch with detectives in the past year to contact their call centre.

He said: "We are saying. 'You may have told the Portuguese police, but tell us.' We need to know and we want to know. We will follow up every lead.

"I think the bulk of the information has come from the UK. Thousands of leads came in through Crimestoppers and Leicestershire police.

"There has been a huge response. We have not had access to that information and we want it.

"We want to know what has been done and what hasn't been done.

Who's been eliminated and on what grounds. We are not taking the law into our own hands.

"But we believe this is an international investigation and our investigation is independent.

"It's cross-border and it's focused on finding Madeleine. We have set aside considerable resources for this task. We are set up and ready to go.

"What we don't know is what information we will generate.

"Madeleine's image is everywhere. She is iconic. There are not many people in the world who don't know about her.

"But there is a key bit of information. Someone has it and they might not necessarily put it together."

Kate added: "To people who have given information before, we would say we hope it's not a bind, but can you please give it again?

"There might be key information there which, because of the volume, has been lost or hasn't locked into the jigsaw. Maybe someone hasn't yet come forward.

"Madeleine can't find us, we've got to find her."

Gerry confirmed that Barcelona-based detective agency Metodo 3 was still involved in the hunt for Madeleine.

The couple are also redistributing sketches of suspects drawn up last year. They include drawings of a toothy man and a male striding away with a child in his arms.

Gerry said: "These sketches are here to remind people. We are almost certain the child in the sketches is Madeleine."

The couple, both 40, have been frustrated over the bungled police operation to find their daughter.

Portuguese detectives have not seen the pair since they returned to their home in Rothley, Leics, as arguidos in September.

A four-man squad met their Leicestershire police counterparts at their Midlands HQ last month - but made no effort to update Gerry and Kate who live just 10 miles away.

The new inquiry chief, who took over last year, has never met them or contacted them directly.

And officers here have been asked to abide by Portuguese laws of judicial secrecy, banning them from giving details to the distraught couple.

Despite the anguish of not knowing where their precious daughter is, the McCanns are steadfast in their belief she is still alive.

Gerry said: "We are stating our absolute, categoric belief that there is no evidence Madeleine has been seriously harmed. Probably about day seven, or day 10 last year, I said we will not accept that Madeleine is dead until there is concrete proof of it. That's where we were months ago.

"But, actually, the more research we've done, the more we've looked into these kind of cases, the stronger our belief has come that there is a better chance that she is actually alive than dead.

"In the States, of the 115 per year kidnappings or abductions by strangers, to keep, or for ransom, or for abuse or whatever, 40 to 50 per cent of the children are killed.

"That means the majority of the children are not killed.

"The evidence is that the younger the child, the less likely it is that that he or she will be seriously harmed or killed."

Kate said the case of Austrian cellar mum Elisabeth Fritzl raised her hopes of finding Madeleine alive. She added: "People can go off radar. But they are still there. And you owe it to that person to keep looking.
 
"I do have this sense that I am going to see her again."

With thanks to Nigel at McCann Files

TO HELP KEEP THIS SITE ON LINE PLEASE CONSIDER

Site Policy Sitemap

Contact details

Website created by Pamalam