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McCanns' European Campaign - Amsterdam *

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The campaign reaches Amsterdam where the McCanns are delayed by a mysterious phone call. 

Gerry and Kate McCann at the press conference in Amsterdam

Amsterdam, 06 June 2007 - 07 June 2007

Date
Brief overview of events
06 June 2007
Kate and Gerry arrive in Amsterdam 3 hours late, missing 2 TV programmes due to the anonymous call that turned out to be 'nothing of interest', according to Gerry.
 
They do manage to find time to catch up briefly with a few old friends from the time they spent in Amsterdam.
07 June 2007
Series of press conference's, meetings and appeals on TV in Amsterdam.
 
After the scheduled meetings, Gerry catches up with 'a friend of mine who was attending a medical conference in Amsterdam'.
 
Kate and Gerry return to Praia da Luz in the early evening in time to see the twins.
 
They later drive to Lagos to attend a musical concert in aid of Madeleiene.

McCanns Stay Defiant In Search For Madeleine, 07 June 2007

Still from Sky News video

McCanns Stay Defiant In Search For Madeleine Sky News video
 
Jun 7 2007
 
The parents of missing Madeleine McCann say they're still holding out hope that their daughter is alive. Kate and Gerry McCann were speaking in Amsterdam, the latest stop on their tour of Europe to promote awareness about the missing four-year-old.
 
(00:00:21)
 
Transcription by Nigel Moore
 
Kate McCann: "We still have a lot of hope, I think, given that we're now five weeks down the track and there's no evidence to the contrary to say that there has been harm been done to Madeleine. It's incredibly important that we retain that hope, really. I mean, we have to keep looking and we have to do absolutely everything we can, errm... to try and find Madeleine and she deserves that."

McCanns appeal to Dutch in search, 07 June 2007
Amsterdam press conference
McCanns appeal to Dutch in search BBC News
 
Last Updated: Thursday, 7 June 2007, 14:44 GMT 15:44 UK
 
The parents of Madeleine McCann have appealed to the Dutch people to help in the search for their daughter.
 
Gerry and Kate McCann held a press conference in Amsterdam on the final leg of a two-day trip in Europe raising awareness of Madeleine's disappearance.
 
"We have to do absolutely everything we can to find Madeleine and she deserves that," Mrs McCann, 38, told reporters.
 
The McCanns spent a year living in the city in 2004 with Madeleine, who was abducted in the Algarve 35 days ago.
 
This latest tour has been a difficult one, the couple has said.
 
Plane diverted
 
On the findmadeleine.com website, Mr McCann, 39, said Wednesday had left them "very tired and emotionally drained".
 
Before flying out of Germany, police investigating Madeleine's disappearance said they had received information.
 
Hastily, the McCanns onward flight to Amsterdam was diverted to the Berlin embassy where they were consulted.
 
It turned out to be "nothing of interest", wrote Mr McCann.
 
"We unfortunately had to miss two TV programmes as we arrived in Amsterdam three hours late, very tired and emotionally drained."
 
Friends in the Netherlands have been working behind the scenes since Madeleine was taken.
 
Jazz concert
 
Earlier that same day, the couple were asked in a press conference in Germany whether they had something to do with the four-year-old's abduction.
 
Mr McCann wrote on the website he was surprised by the question but hoped his answers had removed any doubt.
 
He told the reporter for German radio: "Without going into too much detail, we were with a large group of people, and you know there is absolutely no way Kate and I are involved in this abduction."
 
The McCanns are expected to fly back to the Algarve in time for a jazz concert in their daughter's name in Lagos.
 
While away, their young twins, Sean and Amelie, have been looked after by relatives at the Praia da Luz resort.
 
It is thought Madeleine was snatched from the family's apartment at the resort on 3 May while her parents were at a nearby restaurant.

Mystery man says he knows Madeleine's fate, 07 June 2007
Mystery man says he knows Madeleine's fate Timesonline

Gerry and Kate McCann at the press conference in Amsterdam

Gerry, left, and Kate McCann, parents of four-year old Madeleine McCann, missing in the Portuguese town of Praia Da Luz since May, present a picture of their daughter during a press conference in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, Thursday, June 7, 2007. "Specifically for Dutch tourists in the Algarve, in the two weeks leading up to the abduction, we are asking them to look at any photographs they have taken around the time," Gerry McCann told a crowd of Dutch media. He defended the couple's choice to travel to various countries seeking attention for the case, after a reporter in Berlin on Wednesday questioned their motives. "We believe that this will help search for Madeleine," he said. "Top sentence reads: Look into my eyes! (Evert Elzinga/AP)

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

'I know where Madeleine is' call traced to Argentina, 09 June 2007
'I know where Madeleine is' call traced to Argentina Daily Mail

Last updated at 11:59am on 9th June 2007

The hunt for abducted Madeleine McCann was linked to South America today for the first time.

It is understood a mysterious call claiming to know the whereabouts of the four-year-old came from a mobile phone registered in Argentina.

The "credible" call was considered so potentially significant that the McCanns halted their search of Europe to help police investigate.

They delayed their flight from Berlin to Amsterdam by three hours and plans were drawn up to divert to the UK.

It was thought the McCanns might need to return to Britain to talk to specialist advisers about the call.

The call from the pay-as-you-go phone came from a man who wanted to speak directly to the McCanns, according to Spanish police sources.

He did not reveal his identity or nationality, but the phone was soon linked to the South American country.

All efforts to re-establish contact with the caller failed on Wednesday and the couple carried on with their journey around Europe.

A British police source said: "The importance of this line of inquiry is still being assessed and attempts to re-establish contact are continuing."

Although Spanish officials denied they had received the call, a Guardia Civil source told the Portuguese paper Correio de Manha: "Only time will tell if this call gives help or not to the case."

Spanish newspaper El Mundo reported that a man matching the description released by Portuguese police two weeks ago was seen in a bar in Seville a week before Madeleine's abduction.

It claimed the man was working on the instruction of others and told fellow drinkers he was going to the Algarve.

The latest development comes on the day Portuguese police were forced to defend their reputation amid allegations that they were enjoying boozy lunches while the search for Madeleine continued. Armed police officers were also criticised by Madeleine's aunt for preventing her from putting up posters of the little girl at Lisbon Airport.

Senior police officers involved in the investigation were seen laughing and joking as images of the missing four-year-old and her desperate parents appeared on a restaurant TV screen.

It happened at a lunch lasting nearly two hours as Kate and Gerry McCann were away campaigning in Europe.

They laughed and cracked jokes as they enjoyed a meal washed down with wine and whisky - as footage of the couple played in the background.

Afterwards, they left a table littered with empty glasses - and went back to work.

Yesterday Policia Judiciara (PJ) spokesman Olegario Sousa, one of the officers spotted having lunch, said it was up to the individual to decide what he or she ate and drank.

Asked if it was acceptable for police to drink alcohol in their lunch break he said: "I don't know, it is very, very sad but a person's free time is for lunch. That is normal to do.

"The persons are in charge in the day, they are working in the day but they must eat and drink - it is normal.

"I drink what I want to drink when I can drink."

When it was put to him that he had been seen drinking, he said: "Have you seen anyone drunk? Have you seen any action deterred by that?"

Mr Sousa and Goncalo Amaral, head of the regional PJ, were spotted as Kate and Gerry McCann travelled to Berlin and Amsterdam to appeal for more information about their missing daughter.

In Portimao, a town near where the four-year-old was snatched 35 days ago, a diner at fish restaurant Carvi said he recognised the police officials.

"I knew who they were because Mr Sousa has been all over the TV and in the papers," he said.

The diner watched as officers enjoyed the lunch, which took place a short walk from the police station less than 24 hours after Kate and Gerry McCann were told that everything possible was being done to find their little girl.

Then - in what looked like becoming the first arrest in this case after nearly five weeks, a photographer trying to take a picture of them emerging from the restaurant was detained, held for four hours, fingerprinted, interviewed, and had his camera confiscated. He has now been formally named as an 'Arguido' - the same status as the chief suspect in Madeleine's disappearance, Robert Murat.

On Tuesday, two groups went to two separate restaurants. The bigger party did not begin to leave for an hour and three-quarters. The smaller party had a 50-euro meal of fish and wine and shared jokes between what appeared to be discussion about police business.

On Wednesday, the party included senior figures from police headquarters at Portimao, where the investigation is based. One of them was Ch Insp Olegario Sousa, the public face of the inquiry, who appears on TV at press conferences. Another was Goncalo Amaral, number three in the investigation and a well-known figure in major police operations.

At 12.50pm the two men strolled across a sun-drenched square to Carvi restaurant, a regular haunt that specialises in fresh seafood and lobster straight from the tank. Inside, they formed a table of four with two other officers.

The diner said: 'They asked for the Portuguese TV news to be switched on and sat at the table watching it. It must have been about 2pm. Madeleine's parents had given a press conference in Berlin and they came on the screen.'

At that Berlin conference, Gerry McCann had made it clear he was confident police were doing all they could to find Madeleine. During a live broadcast that morning he had said: 'We have had no doubts about the desire of the police to find Madeleine. We have witnessed their efforts first hand and they're working harder than Kate and I.'

The diner added: 'The police were laughing and joking among themselves while it was on. They seemed to be sharing some sort of joke. Whatever it was, I thought that laughing like that in public was in really poor taste.

'They had a bottle of chilled wine with the meal but they had a bottle of whisky on the table after the main course as well. I was pretty shocked to see they were drinking whisky at lunchtime. The bottle was passing between them for about half an hour.

'Someone on another table seemed to know them and joked about them having two-hour lunches and knocking back Johnnie Walker Black. He said they would get themselves in the papers.

'There was a guy in a red shirt holding court about Portuguese law. They were discussing a change in the law being planned for Arguidos.' (Portuguese for suspect).

Two of the party left, then Ch Insp Sousa left on his own, leaving a colleague behind.

'I got the impression they went there regularly - they were very friendly with the waiter. I don't know what time they came in but I was there for a good 90 minutes and when I left, one of them was still slumped back in his chair in the corner with the whisky bottle in front of him. He was a big sweaty guy and he was sagging into the chair. The table was littered with empty glasses.

'There was some sort of commotion and I heard someone shout out. They swore and said something about the 'Paparazzi Ingles' (English Paparazzi) hiding behind the door.'

One officer had insisted privately the Madeleine officers had been working 'punishing hours', sometimes sleeping overnight at the station in the early days of the inquiry.

Philomena McCann, Madeleine's aunt, said such behaviour would not be acceptable in the UK: "If it were detectives from Scotland Yard there would be absolute uproar.

"But we have to let them to get on with their work because that's all we have to rely on.

"It is a different country and we have to accept the way that they do things and that it is a different culture where they have lunches and siestas but we hope the work is made up at other times."

She then told how armed police officers stopped her putting up posters of the little girl at Lisbon airport.

She and another relative were travelling from the Algarve to the holy shrine at Fatima when they made a diversion to the airport.

Kate McCann had noticed there were no pictures up when she passed through on her way to Madrid.

"She was so upset to think there were so many tourists coming in and out and nothing there to remind people of Madeleine," said Ms McCann.

"She asked me to make a detour on the way. I was given permission to put the posters up by a woman on the information desk.

"But straightaway we were swooped on by two armed police officers. I was with a relative who was bodily manhandled by them.

"We went back to the information desk and there was a big row between the woman and the police."

Ms McCann said the director of the airport Dr Francisco Severino told them they could fax a request which would be considered.

"It would be fair to say we were unimpressed by their unhelpful attitude," she said. "We were very badly treated.

"It seemed clear they didn't want the negativity affecting tourism but I think they are doing the wrong thing.

"Surely if people think the police and the authorities are doing everything they can to find Madeleine other families visiting Portugal would feel more secure."

Ms McCann said she had asked junior Justice Minister Baroness Ashton to put pressure on to change their policy.

The McCanns are back in Portugal today ahead of a trip to Morocco, where there has been a reported sighting of Madeleine.

In Praia da Luz today, the couple watched as 1,000 yellow balloons calling for information about Madeleine were released into the air.

Meanwhile in Praia da Luz, the Algarve resort from which Madeleine vanished on May 3, police removed their 'do not cross' tape from the McCanns' holiday apartment and withdrew all police presence exceprt for one uniformed officer outside. Alipio Ribiero, national director of the Judicial Police, said: 'The Judicial Police are seriously investigating this case. It could take time but we continue in the Algarve, even if our presence is not noticed.'

The exhausted couple had their hopes dramatically raised that their daughter was still alive yesterday - only to see them dashed.

The couple's planned flight to Amsterdam on Wednesday night was held for three hours in Berlin after what appeared to be a crucial breakthrough.

They were told that a "credible call" had been received by Spanish police from a man suggesting he knew where Madeleine was and saying that he wanted to talk to the McCanns.

The call was reportedly traced to an unregistered pay-as-you-go phone outside Europe.

The caller did not disclose his identity, but the information supplied was apparently so specific that British police liaising with the Portuguese inquiry felt it necessary to tell the McCanns immediately.

The couple were advised that the mystery source might try to make contact, and that they should delay their flight in case he called when they were in the air.

As frantic efforts were made to re-establish contact with the caller the McCanns were whisked off the flight, waiting anxiously for nearly three hours at the British Embassy in Berlin. The man never called back.

Journalists on the plane were told that the crew had been asked to draw up a new flight plan involving a possible switch of destination from Amsterdam to East Midlands Airport, close to the McCanns' Leicestershire home.

But at 7.30pm the flight was cleared to continue to Amsterdam, where the McCanns pressed ahead with their European campaign to keep their daughter in the public mind.

Soon after they touched down, it appeared that the call was a hoax, or was no longer being treated with any urgency.

Spanish police categorically denied that they had received such a call, as did the Spanish Interior Ministry.

It was an illustration of the kind of distractions the McCanns are having to endure in their relentless search for information about Madeleine, who vanished more than a month ago during the family's holiday in Portugal.

Another followed soon afterwards when a Spanish newspaper quoted an "investigative journalist" claiming he knew the identity of Madeleine's abductor, and suggesting she had been stolen to order by a paedophile ring.

Last night, however, there was no indication that police were investigating the claim.

A day in the grief of the McCanns, 09 June 2007
A day in the grief of the McCanns Daily Mirror
 
Martin Fricker in Praia da Luz, 9/06/2007
 
EVERY morning, as dawn breaks over Praia da Luz, Kate and Gerry McCann wake... but their nightmare continues.
 
There is no respite from the terrible reality - their little daughter Madeleine is still missing. They do not know where their helpless four-year-old is, they don't even know if she is still alive.
 
But somehow each morning Kate and Gerry must find the strength to function for the sake of their two-year-old twins Sean and Amelie, for their own sakes and for the sake of Madeleine.
 
The couple rise early, dress the twins, go for a morning jog then sit down for a family breakfast.
 
It's a routine that has imposed some little order - and comfort - in these darkest of dark days.
 
After eating, the parents - hearts and minds already racing - play some games with the twins or read them stories from their favourite book We're Going on a Bear Hunt.
 
Then they take them to a nearby creche - walking past the apartment from which Madeleine was snatched. But they are careful to mask their turmoil to protect the twins, who have no idea of the torment over their missing big sister.
 
Life for the McCanns has been turned upside down, yet life has to go on as normal.
 
That is why you see photos of them laughing and smiling in the childrens' playground at the Ocean Club resort.
 
Last week, they spent the day at a beach outside Praia da Luz and enjoyed a meal in a local restaurant - in the full glare of the world's media.
 
Their close friends admit the hunt is taking its toll on the pair. They are planning on staying in Portugal for the rest of summer to continue the search.
 
Yesterday, the police hunt switched to Argentina. A mobile phone used by a Spanish-speaking man claiming to know where Madeleine is was registered there. A police source said: "The mobile phone is unregistered.
 
"But the Sim card is from Argentina. Attempts to re-establish contact are continuing."
 
Kate and Gerry will fly to Morocco tomorrow to highlight their daughter's disappearance in North Africa.
 
Publicly, they insist they remain strong and healthy - and above all confident of seeing their daughter again.
 
Privately things are tougher. Friends say the hardest time is when they are alone with Sean and Amelie. This is when they notice Madeleine's absence most.
 
Gerry said: "When we have family time, just on our own, it's very difficult because Madeleine is not there. It really brings it home to us. She is such an outgoing, lively, vivacious character. She fills our existence, and Sean and Amelie's."
 
The McCanns try their best to blank out the pain by remaining busy.
 
A family friend said: "Breakfast is the usual chaotic scene. At about 9am they take Sean and Amelie to the creche, which they find hard because they go past their old apartment."
 
While the twins are in creche, Kate and Gerry talk with lawyers, speak to family and friends back home in the UK, and speak to media advisers. By lunchtime, they pick up Sean and Amelie and spend most afternoons with them at the pool.
 
Gerry's sister Trish Cameron and her husband Sandy are living next door to help out where needed. The friend said: "Trish and Sandy cook most meals, wash and iron their clothes and give the apartment a clean.
 
"And whenever Kate and Gerry go on one of their trips, Trish and Sandy will look after the twins."
 
At the end of the day, the parents bathe the twins and read them stories before putting them to bed at about 8pm.
 
Kate and Gerry then talk about how the campaign is going and plan the next days events over a meal. Despite her gaunt appearance, Kate continues to eat regularly. The friend said: "People have said Kate has lost weight, but she does not feel that is the case. She is still eating."
 
The couple try to get to bed by midnight. But before climbing into bed, Kate and Gerry pray for their daughter's safe return.
 
"Sleep is patchy," said the friend. "Some nights are better than others, but most of the time they never get more than five hours." The strain is beginning to tell. Initially, Gerry came across as strong and composed.
 
But he has begun to show more signs he is finding the hunt a struggle. In Rome, as the pair waited to meet Pope Benedict XVI, at one point Gerry began to cry. When they finally met the Pope, it was Gerry who kissed his hand, not the more religious Kate.
 
In Amsterdam, Gerry cracked again, his voice creaking with emotion at a press conference.
 
But throughout the ordeal he has been a rock for his wife. Kate, a locum GP from Liverpool, finds it difficult to talk to reporters. Instead, she clutches Madeleine's pink Cuddle Cat and fiddles with her rosary beads. She thinks about Madeleine every minute. Wherever she goes, Kate wears green and yellow ribbons in her hair to symbolise hope.
 
She repeatedly watches a short video clip of Madeleine she filmed as the youngster raced up the steps of the plane bound for Portugal.
 
But Kate has grown more confident in front of the world's media.
 
When a German reporter suggested the McCanns were involved in Madeleine's disappearance, it was Kate who responded first. The couple have repeatedly faced reporters, answering the same questions: "What is Cuddle Cat?", "Do you regret leaving the children?", "How long will you stay in Portugal?"
 
But despite this, I have never seen Kate or Gerry lose their temper or show the slightest sign of annoyance.
 
They probably hate talking to journalists, they probably can't stand cameras in their faces.
 
But they put up with it for one reason and one reason only - they want little Madeleine back.

 
Gerry's blogs
06 Jun 2007 

Today seemed to go very well with huge interest in our search for Madeleine. There has also been a little bit of criticism in the German press about the amount of media coverage but this did not seem to diminish the level of interest. The German interviewers are a little more direct with their questions but I was still surprised by the question as to whether Kate and I may be involved in Madeleine's abduction! Hopefully our answers removed any doubt on that score and that our sole focus in all of the family campaigning is to get Madeleine back. After the media we met with a couple of politicians in private. Firstly, we saw the deputy justice minister for Germany who gave us reassurances regarding the investigation. Following this we met the Mayor of Berlin who is a very powerful and charismatic politician. He asked us what he could do for us and following this meeting asked German tourists who were in the Algarve around the time of Madeleine's abduction to come forward. He is very popular and such public backing should help our appeal. We had to delay our onward flight to Amsterdam because of some information received by the police, which we needed to be consulted on. We diverted to the embassy in Berlin but it turned out to be nothing of interest. We unfortunately had to miss 2 TV programmes as we arrived in Amsterdam 3 hours late, very tired and emotionally drained. We did manage to catch up with a few friends briefly who we know from the year we lived in Amsterdam. They have been actively campaigning here on our behalf with poster distribution, contacting media and liasing with companies to get advertising space for large posters of Madeleine.
07 Jun 2007 

The press conference, meetings and appeal on TV today in Amsterdam all seemed to go well. I doubt there are many people left in Europe who do not know of Madeleine's disappearance and hopefully everyone who has information will have come forward to the police. Today was particularly difficult for Kate and I because of the year we spent in Amsterdam with Madeleine. We have many friend s still there and could never have imagined coming back without her in such dreadful circumstances. Afterwards we caught with a friend of mine who was attending a medical conference in Amsterdam and a friend who helps run a playgroup that we attended We arrived back in Portugal and managed to spend some time with Sean and Amelie. We then drove to the concert in Lagos in aid of Madeleine, which is the first large public event in Portugal that I know of supporting the campaign. It was interesting mix of jazz, blues, orchestra and rap! We were presented with a painting with green and yellow hands from a class of schoolkids- hands of hope. There was a short speech and Kate thanked tke local community for their support. The amount of media coverage Madeleine's disappearance has received is phenomenal. After Morocco we will have to take stock and decide on our best strategy. I am not convinced going to other European countries and holding meetings similar to Berlin and Amsterdam will help.

 
Kate's diary
07 Jun 2007 

The Press conference went well. People are always asking how we are managing to cope, how we can manage to run a campaign, as if we are strange because we are able to appear calm and controlled and aren't going under all the time. They know so little. Nobody should judge or criticise because, unless they have already been in this situation, they have NO IDEA how they would be and certainly NO IDEA how painful it is. NO IDEA AT ALL. I love you so much Madeleine xxxx
 
I can't bear this. I can't bear being without Madeleine. It's like torture—a slow, painful death. I hope her suffering, if she is suffering, is much less. Please God.

With thanks to Nigel at McCann Files

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