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

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The McCanns' First Interviews 25 May 2007 *

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The McCanns give their first interviews, since Madeleine's reported disappearance, in a series of scheduled 10 minute slots, for the BBC, Sky News and ITV.
 
They also speak to local Portuguese TV/radio and, what Gerry describes in his blog as, the 'Press Association' (although this appears have been a general gathering of UK media journalists, rather than exclusively journalists from the Press Association)

Gerry and Kate McCann give their first interview

BBC News interview, 25 May 2007

McCanns give first interview, 25 May 2007

BBC interview with Jane Hill

McCanns give first interview
 
25 May 2007
 
Gerry and Kate McCann have given their first interview since their daughter Madeleine was abducted. They spoke to the BBC's Jane Hill.
 
 
(00:12:43)

McCanns give first interview - Transcript, 25 May 2007
McCanns give first interview, 25 May 2007
 
Transcript by Nigel Moore
 
Jane Hill: Errm... Kate and Gerry McCann, thank you so much for agreeing to, errm... talk to me. Perhaps you could just tell us a little bit about your holiday here, how it started, why you decided to... to come here and to bring your children here.
 
Kate McCann: Errr... We came with a group of friends actually and their children, errm... errm... I mean, I've had lots of good reports about Portugal, a lot of our other friends and family have been and said it's very... very good for children. Errm... But, yeah, we came with a... a group of friends and, errr... I mean, it was a great week, we were having a great holiday. It was... we had lots of fun, the children had a really great time, didn't they?
 
Gerry McCann: Yeah, very much the... the combination of, errm... the child friendly environment and the sporting facilities and errr... a lot of our friends are quite water-sports based but Kate and I were mainly, errr... taking advantage of the tennis facilities but the kids loved it and the kid's club, errm... facilities were good.
 
JH: And what sort of activities does Madeleine like doing? Does she get in and muck around with all the other children, that sort of thing?
 
GM: She's a complete, errm... she might look like Kate but in terms of personality she's much more of a McCann. She's very extroverted and lively, you know, vivacious, she's...
 
KM: She likes running, she played tennis, as well, didn't she?
 
GM: She's very funny and, errr... she's often a little, kind of, ringleader in nursery and with her other friends and cousins and things, as well, you know.
 
KM: She's very sociable.
 
JH: A... a very big sense of a very big group all having fun together and...
 
KM: Yeah, yeah, it was, yeah.
 
GM: You know, often in the evening, errr... just in the play area down by the pool, every night after the kid's tea we would spend an hour and... invariably with the adults chasing the kid's with Madeleine shouting... running up shouting 'Be a monster! Be a monster!' then running away and then you would chase her for five minutes and then she would be back over again because there was lots of adults. She was tiring us all out, really.
 
JH: And then on that Thursday night, Kate, when you realised that she wasn't in her bed where you'd left her. Did you think even momentarily perhaps that she'd just woken up, wandered off of her own accord, perhaps?
 
KM: Not at all, no. (long pause)
 
GM: No, I mean, that, I think, was absolutely certain but, you know, before you raised the alarm, we double and treble checked but we certainly had no doubt in our mind that she'd been taken.
 
JH: And... and... and was there then frenetic activity that night? I mean, I've spoken to even local people who've told me they became aware of what had happened pretty quickly and they were looking around, as well.
 
GM: From the minute we discovered she was gone, if you actually look at the actions, errm... our own actions and those of the group are actually, errr... response and the speed of the response from all of us in the group and the Mark Warner representatives was excellent, errm... the alarm and the call to the police went out within 10 minutes and the Mark Warner resort manager, John Hill, had, errr... missing child, errr... protocol in place within, you know, half an hour and all of the staff, errr... were contacted... returned to the resort here and the, you know, the local search started, errr... so, you know, in terms of that it was done very, very quickly.
 
JH: And as time went on and I totally appreciate you can't talk about specifics in any way but even one of the things that was hard even for all the journalists who've been here for so long was to... to get their head around this idea that the police aren't... aren't allowed to tell anybody anything, they're not allowed legally to talk about the progress of an investigation.
 
How... how hard has... has that been for you? What sort of guidance were they able to even give you privately just to tell you what was going on?
 
GM: I think it's fairly obvious that, you know, the system here and, errr... what we're used to in the UK is very different. Errr... I don't think it's any secret that in the early days, errm... the information void was the hardest thing for Kate and I to deal with. The not knowing... not knowing anything and taking you back to the darkest places that, really, you don't want to go and... and ultimately doesn't help you. But, errm... I think, you know, as the liaison officers and other British police arrived and the consulate, errr... helped us, that, you know, the communication channels have improved, errm... in terms of at least what information we get and how we get it and certainly, you know, at the minute we're... we're happy with the way information is conveyed to us, errm... but tho... those first 48 hours are, I think, in particular, when, errr... were the most difficult.
 
JH: And I've spoken to a lot of people, over the weeks, who... local people who'd given up a lot of time. You've talked about the support that they've given you. I met people who didn't go to work for more than a week because everyday they were down on the beach, searching the streets. Did you, as a mother Kate, just sometimes think 'I've got to go and be out there with them. I want to go and just physically look as well'?
 
KM: (Pause) I mean, I did. Errm... (Long Pause) Errm... we'd been working really hard really. Apart... I mean, the first 48 hours, as Gerry said, are incredibly difficult and we were almost non-functioning, I'd say, errm... but after that you get strength from somewhere. We've certainly had loads of support and that's given us strength and its been able to make us focus really so we have actually, in our own way, it might not be physically searching but we've been working really hard and doing absolutely everything we can, really, to get Madeleine back.
 
GM: I think that's key, that, in that period, the worst feeling was helplessness and being completely out of control of anything, errm... in terms of getting Madeleine back and, I think, as we started to take control of some issues, errr... particularly influencing the publicity side of it, then you start to feel that there are certain things under your control and, I know, initially that helped me tremendously and more importantly, I think, it helped, errr... and being positive about what you can do, has helped people immediately around us, as well, and that... that has spread like wildfire to everyone in the popu... people we don't know are doing so much to help and it's the smallest thing and it makes them feel that they're helping; distributing posters locally; sending them abroad, all of these things, we think, helped and, errr... ultimately, you know, someone will provide the key bit of information.
 
JH: And... and some of that support has translated into a lot of money that's gone into the fighting fund, I think nearly 300,000 has been pledged, so far. What of the reports that say, perhaps... those people who suggest that some of that money could be sensibly spent on things like private investigators, for example.
 
GM: Well, you know, the fund, errm... was really... really evolved to provide an oulet for people who wanted to contribute financially and these offers, errr... will help us and are helping us and that has helped us to bring in quite a comprehensive legal team and independent sector, errr... consultants as to what we could and should be doing.
 
I did, errr... address this and the situation hasn't changed that, at this time, with the huge amount of resource from the police, errr... both in the UK and Portugal that the advice is that private investigators will not help. I personally, and we, believe that it's the public who hold the key to this; someone knows something and we would urge that if anyone has any information to come forward and anyone who's been in this area, within the two weeks leading up to Madeleine's disappearance, to come forward if they haven't already done so and upload those pictures.
 
There is the... I'd like to say about the website again, which is ww.madeleine.ceopupload.com and there are two numbers, if I could say them, as well, that, if you have any information, to ring in, if you have not already spoken to the police.
 
JH: And we'll certainly broadcast those numbers again later and there've been so much support and you're reflecting on some of it there; some emotional, some practical. I mean, I have to ask, you will know, along with that support, in some quarters, comes criticism; for example a lot of people, in the last fews weeks, have contacted the BBC and said: 'I can't imagine doing such a thing. I wouldn't be able to leave three children, in that situation'. How do you deal with those sort of comments?
 
GM: I think, you know, any criticism of us at this time, errr... which we know there has been, particularly early on, errm... is quite hard to take when you're being so positive. I think what we did, errm... many, many other thousands of people, and I think you yourself said on television that you've either done it or would have done exactly the same in such a safe resort.
 
No one will ever feel more guilty than us for the fact that we were not with Madeleine at that time when she was abducted and whether we'd been in the bedroom next door we would still have felt as guilty, I'm sure, but, you know, you've seen the proximity of the restaurant; there was a line of sight to the apartment and it was not dissimilar to having dinner in your garden and, you know, baby listening facilities, errr... exist in a lot of Mark Warner resorts and I would argue that what we were doing was actually even more regulous than that with multiple people from the group checking the apartments at, errr... staggered times and obviously we were going into our apartment at regular intervals. If you thought for a minute that someone could abduct your child, of course, you would never have left them but, you know, that was the furthest thought from our mind during... what really was, up until that point, the most idyllic holiday.
 
JH: You've got a little boy and a little girl to... to think about and we've seen them around the resort a lot in the last few weeks. How... they're tiny, I know, but they must have a sense that big sister isn't around at the moment. How... how do you deal with things for them? How do you look to the future for their sake?
 
KM: I mean, I think you're right. I mean, they... they are still quite young at the minute, they're just over two, errm... so it maybe hasn't affected them as much as if they were a little bit older. Errm... They do talk about Madeleine and Amelie has asked 'Where is she?' Errm... You know, they'll say 'That's Madeleine's', 'This is Madeleine's' and they include her if we're saying 'Who wants a biscuit?', they'll say 'Sean, Amelie, Madeleine', errm... but they're handling it really well, they... they don't appear upset, put it that way, you know, and they're... they're just... they're lots of fun and we... we will take some advice actually, as to...
 
GM: Yeah. I mean, without doubt, they... they help us to continue, you know. This is every parent's worse nightmare and everyone can feel and imagine what we've gone through but, you know, if we'd had discovered all three of our children had gone or if something else had happened, then, you know, we... we'd not have had the same strength and resolution and determination to find Madeleine that Sean and Amelie give us, as well, because we know that they're there, errr... life continues but we need to bring them back... bring Madeleine back as much for them, as for Madeleine, as for us.
 
JH: And... and how... how do you aim to... to keep that strength and that positive outlook that we've seen you expresss to the media a lot in the last three weeks and that sense that... that life will continue, that what you said publicly to us a few weeks ago that you believe, and have to believe, that Madeleine is somewhere being looked after by someone. How do you hold onto that thought?
 
GM: Yeah, absolutely, we must, errr... continue with that and we do believe it, you know, I think if anything really bad had happened, errr... we would have found her by now, so I think, you know, I'm confident and believe this strongly that, errm... we will find her, errm... it's not hard to... to continue believing that; she's our daughter, we love her more than anyone can possibly imagine and, you know, the alternative would be giving up and we will not give up our search.
 
KM: Absolutely, you know, we need to believe that she's coming back to us.
 
JH: Kate McCann, Gerry McCann, we do appreciate your time. Thank you very much and, errr... all the very best to your family, of course.
 
GM: Thank you.
 
KM: Thank you, Jane. Thank you.

Sky News interview, 25 May 2007

McCann Parents Give Their First Interview, 25 May 2007

McCann Parents Give Their First Interview

The parents of missing Madeleine McCann have given their first interview about their ongoing ordeal. Gerry and Kate McCann spoke to Sky's Ian Woods in the Portuguese holiday resort of Praia da Luz, where their daughter vanished over three weeks ago.

00:11:27

'We'll never stop blaming ourselves', 25 May 2007
'We'll never stop blaming ourselves' Sky News
 
Updated:18:17, Friday May 25, 2007
 
Gerry and Kate McCann, the parents of missing Madeleine, have spoken to Sky News' Ian Woods about the night she was taken and the support they have received three weeks after she was snatched in Portugal.
 
Here is the full transcript of the interview.
 
IAN WOODS (IW): Gerry and Kate thanks very much for talking to us. I'd like to begin by taking you back to the events of May 3 on that evening. Tell us how you discovered how Madeleine had gone.
 
KATE McCANN (KM): As I think people are aware, we were checking regularly on the children and it was during one of my checks that I discovered she had gone. I can't really go into any details about that. I'm sure any parent will realise how that felt.
 
IW: Did the panic set in immediately?
 
KM: Yeah (whisper), very much.
 
IW: This is a resort that offers childcare facilities, babysitting facilities. Why then, were the three young children left alone at the apartment while you were having a meal?
 
GERRY McCANN (GM): I think if you know the location here which you've seen, what we did I think, and we've been assured by the thousands of people who've either done exactly the same or say they would have done the same, and for us, it wasn't very much different to having dinner in your garden, in the proximity of the location. I think it's fair to say that you know the guilt that we feel having not been there at that moment irrespective of whether we had been in our bedroom or not will never leave us.
 
IW: Do you blame yourselves regularly?
 
KM: Certainly in the first few days. I think the guilt was, was very difficult. But I think as time goes on, erm, you feel stronger and we felt very supported from that point of view.
 
IW: Is there a lesson, do you feel, to other parents?
 
GM: I think that's a very difficult thing to say because if you look at it, and we try to rationalise things in our head, ultimately what is done is done and we continually look forward. We've tried to put it into some sort of perspective for ourselves. We're in a very safe resort. If you think about the millions and millions of British families who go to the Mediterranean each year, really the changes of this happening are in the order of a hundred million to one.
 
KM: I think at worst we were nave. I mean we're very responsible parents. We love our children very much and I don't think any parent could imagine or consider anything like this ever happening.
 
IW: Were you aware of the big public debate that went on in the immediate aftermath and were you hurt by that?
 
KM and GM: Yeah.
 
GM: I mean no one hurts you as much as the hurt we had but we've tried to remain very positive in our outlook and even small levels of criticism make that hard when you're trying to do everything in your power to get your daughter back.
 
IW: I know you've been very supportive of the Portuguese police investigation but is there anything you feel could have been done better, particularly in those crucial first 24 hours when Madeleine was missing and perhaps it was treated as a simple missing child as opposed to an abduction?
 
GM: I think erm, you know, we are not looking at what has been done and I don't think it helps at this stage to look back at what could and what couldn't have been done. I think it's fair to say we expected a very British-style response that you would expect if you were in a big metropolitan city but you have to put that in context, we were in a tiny resort but, you know, that aside we, the times for these lessons to be learned will be after the investigation is finished and not now.
 
You know it's an ongoing investigation which has huge resources both from the Portuguese and the British. They're working very very closely with lots of expert help and I know there's hundreds of pieces of information continuing to come forward and I would strongly like to emphasise we'd like anyone who's been here in the two weeks leading up to the abduction to come forward if they have not already done so and upload their photographs because we want Madeleine back and people can still influence that.
 
IW: Looking back, I mean, did you see anything suspicious in the days leading up to her abduction? Did you notice anything? Have you been racking your brains to try and think whether people might have been watching?
 
KM: We didn't.
 
GM: If we did we wouldn't tell you [laughs] because it may be important information but we didn't. You know, it was such a relaxing holiday. In fact as a family unit, up until that night, I know for friends who were here and certainly for us, it was as good a holiday as we have had with the children - up until that point.
 
IW: You have to keep believing that Madeleine is still going to be found alive and well.
 
GM: Absolutely? [talks over]
 
IW: Do you ever, though, allow yourself to drift towards negative thoughts?
 
KM: I think in the early days we did and I think that's inevitable. I think any parent who has been through this does that certainly in the first few days. We don't now. We're actually a lot stronger, a lot more hopeful now. And we have to be hopeful, it's what keeps us going and what keeps us focused.
 
IW: And what about Sean and Amelie? What have you said to them about their big sister?
 
KM: They're really good, I mean they're at an age really where they're still quite young and um [paused] I guess it hasn't had the same impact on them as if they were a little bit older. They do talk about Madeleine. They pick up things and say Madeleine's, you know? And that's fine but they're really good.
 
GM: I think that's, you know, something that is many people have said to us that this is a parent's worst nightmare and it is, it truly is and it's as bad as you can possibly imagine but, you know, if all three of the children had been taken it could have been even worse than your worst nightmare and we've got to be strong for them. You know, they're here. They do bring you back to Earth. And we cannot grieve one, we did grieve of course we grieved but ultimately we need to be in control so that we can influence and help in anyway possible. Not just Sean and Amelie but the investigation.
 
IW: And because of them, the day may come when you have to leave here and go back to the UK. I know you've got no plans to do so at the moment but how do you think you're going to feel if that day comes and you have to go to the airport and fly back?
 
KM: I can't think about that Ian, to be honest. I can't think about going home without Madeleine so?
 
IW: I notice you've got Madeleine's cuddly toy with you as always. How did that start and what comfort does it bring you?
 
KM: Where did it come from?
 
IW: No how did the idea come to have it in your hands all the time?
 
KM: Well it's something that Madeleine has with her every night, and if she's upset or not well, she has cuddle cat. So it provided me with a little bit of comfort. It's something of Madeleine close to me.
 
IW: This is International Missing Children's Day. I mean I guess Madeleine has had more publicity than just about every missing child in the world put together. I'm sure you're very grateful for that. Why do you think it has provoked such enormous public support of which I don't think we've ever seen before?
 
GM: I think there's a conglomeration of circumstances that have come together in this situation. The fact that we were on holiday, very safe resort recognised for that, and of course the world has changed in terms of information technology and the speed of response you know, in terms of the media coming here and us being prepared to some extent, use that to try and influence the campaign. But above all else it's touched everyone. Everyone.
 
You don't have to be a parent for this to have a major impact on you and I think it's also been very very important and some of the things we did and said we didn't realise what impact they would have but so many thousands of people are doing small things to help us find Madeleine. 'Cause the worst feeling was helplessness, the absolute worst. That we had no bearing on finding her.
 
But once you start to do that then you start to feel a bit better and I hope that we are going to look back at the end of all this and say that we have done everything in our power, but also that other people are helping in so many other ways and they feel that they are part of it.
 
IW: Does it worry you that people might start to lose interest as time goes on the media coverage diminishes inevitably?
 
GM: For me, we know the media coverage is not going to last a long time. It has lasted a lot longer and we have been much, much more successful in driving a message out than we could ever possibly have imagined. Personally I think it's gone beyond that at the minute and there is a feeling with many many people out there that they will not allow this to happen.
 
And we know that and we pray that it doesn't happen again but when it does, the speed of the next response and the template we have set - and there has been so much goodwill and humanity out there that it really has restored, one evil act actually has resulted in so much good.
 
IW: Where do you go from here? There's talk of travelling around Europe. Have you got any firm plans as yet?
 
KM: We haven't got any firm plans. We're likely to travel in a few places in Europe but as yet, no definite plans.
 
IW: Have you got no plans to go back to the UK for the foreseeable future?
 
KM: [both shake heads] No.
 
IW: I think that everyone has just been incredibly impressed with you as a couple and how you've dealt with this. There was a period after a week or so where you looked as if you were almost broken and who could not understand that? And then there seemed to be a sort of a strength come from somewhere. Is that a fair point? Is that what happened and what brought it about?
 
KM: I think that's definitely true, isn't it [looks at Gerry and sighs]
 
GM: Certainly, you know, at the end of that first week there was so much emotion that we had spent and we actually had a period where we discussed this openly that we felt devoid, completely devoid of emotion. The analogy that I like to use is a bit like when we were students and you'd got to your overdraft limit and you'd gone beyond it and there was just nothing left in the tank.
 
Also, I think, physically and mentally were shattered but, you know, as we gradually got more on an even keel and we started to get back into the black and we'd also worked tirelessly behind the scenes to put support mechanisms in place including our legal team. The response with the fund which was really driven by offers rather than us thinking we needed it. And once these were in place then it helped us to focus on what we really needed to focus on.
 
IW: Well everyone who's watching who has been following Madeleine's case over the past three weeks just wishes you all the best. Thanks very much Gerry. Thanks very much Kate.
 
GM and KM: Thanks very much.

ITV interview, 25 May 2007

Kate and Gerry McCann talk about their anguish, 25 May 2007

The McCanns' ITV interview, 25 May 2007

Kate and Gerry McCann talk about their anguish
 
25 May 2007
 
The parents of kidnapped teenager Madeleine McCann describe their anguish in this interview.
 
 
(00:13:54)

Kate and Gerry McCann talk about their anguish - Transcript, 25 May 2007
Kate and Gerry McCann talk about their anguish, 25 May 2007
 
Transcript by Nigel Moore
 
Question: It's been three weeks to the day since Madeleine disappeared, how are you bearing up?
 
Kate McCann: We're doing okay. Errm.. The first 48, 72 hours, in particular, were, as you can imagine, very difficult, errm... quite dark and it was quite difficult to function. Errm... since that time, through people's help, we have got a lot stronger and we're very lucky in that we've got a fantastic family, really good friends and even people that don't know us at all have been amazing. I mean, the support we've had has been overwhelming and it's that, really, which has kept us strong and kept us positive and hopeful that we will see Madeleine back again with us.
 
Q: In those first couple of days you seemed to be wasting away, really, in front of our eyes and then there seemed to be a transformation and you seemed to gather strength from somewhere. What... how did that happen?
 
KM: Again, as I say, I think that the support that we had, errm... through people, through prayer, errm... has made a huge difference, errm... and it's true to say that the first two days we didn't sleep much, we didn't eat much but that... that was a few days and certainly since then things have picked up and we have been able to be stronger.
 
Gerry McCann: We have, you know... had those first two days where the darkest place... and, what I've said before is that, you know, it was every parent's worse nightmare, errm... but, even in the local community, as well as our immediate family and friends support that we had, we've had tremendous, errr... messages of goodwill and even that first Sunday, when we went to church, the local community came up to us; every single person in that church came up to us and said, you know, 'We'll get Madeleine back' and 'hope' and 'strength' and 'courage' and that certainly helped galvanise me and, you know, I'm not the most religious person in the world but I took tremendous strength out of that and I think it also has helped people around us because the effects of what happened, errr... didn't just, errr... devastate Kate and I... the effects have travelled and had, you know, unbelievable effects on the people close to us and family and anyone who knows us and everyone can feel a... a same sense of pain and anguish but, you know, that with a positive outlook and, you know, we certainly are maintaining that and that helps, it helps so much and when you take control of even small things under your control it takes away the feeling of helplessness that we certainly experienced in those early days.
 
Q: But you still don't seem to be any closer to finding Madeleine.
 
GM: Well, the only thing that will truly make us feel good is Madeleine's return, you know, there's no doubt about that but, you know, we set objectives and we try to achieve them and that helps us stay focussed and, I think, what you have to remember are... there is a huge amount of work going on in the background and we know that there's a hu... absolutely huge amount of information coming through and leads are being followed; you may not know the details, and we don't know them, but we know that there is a systematic approach to this.
 
Q: But it must be frustrating for you not to see any progress, it's been a lot of criticism of the Portuguese police. You've always remained very supportive...
 
GM: I am.
 
Q: ...which in some ways is quite surprising.
 
GM: I think, the only thing though that, you know, when you say there's a lack of progress, there isn't a lack of progress; there is information, there are tracing, errr... in what the police call 'tracing interviewing and eliminating' going on all the time, we don't hear about it and you don't want to know all the speculation and the details but we know that work is taking place.
 
Q: But when you look back do you think, in retrospect, more could, or should, have been done in those first few hours?
 
GM: Okay, I think, you know, there was a lot of criticism that came from the media about the police response and that has never come from Kate and I, at any point. One, errm... the lessons that will be learned from this, errm... investigation, errr... will be learned after it's finished and not during it. We've got a very good ongoing investigation with excellent collaboration between the British and Portuguese police and I'd like to emphasise, at this point, that it is really important that anyone who was here in the two weeks leading up to that abduction comes forward with any information, no matter how trivial - and if they have not been interviewed already - and I would ask to them to upload their pictures, I do have a web address that I'd like to re-emphasise, which is ww.madeleine.ceopupload.com and if you haven't spoken to the police, there are two numbers: one from the UK, which is 0800 0961233 and if you're calling from abroad, it's 0044 207 1580197 and, I mean, it... it ties in with our own family campaign to keep the publicity of Madeleine's disappearance high.
 
We truly believe that a member of the public holds the information to unlock where Madeleine is being kept. They either will have seen something, that will lead to the abductor being traced, or they will notice suspicious behaviour, from someone, and we truly believe that and I think, you know, we cannot have imagined how successful our campaign to keep the publicity going, regarding her disappearance, has been, but it's because people have seen that and, with information technology, the world is so much smaller and we believe that there truly is a feeling here that the people will not allow this to happen and they want Madeleine to be found and everyone is acting, some in big ways; every small piece of action here helps in the search.
 
Q: You're right, there has been the most extraordinary outpouring... (coughs) excuse me. There has been the most extraordinary outpouring of grief about... excuse me, (coughs) I'm so sorry... I'll just get a glass of water.
 
There has been the most extraordinary outpouring of grief, errr... certainly in the UK, and I think worldwide, about what's happened to Madeleine but there has also been, errr... enormous debate, as I'm sure you're aware, and everyone's been asking each other the question: 'Would you have left them?' and I'm a parent, I've got small children, and I've asked myself the same thing and I... and I don't know. But there must... you must look back and think 'We did the wrong thing'.
 
KM: I mean, the restaurant where we were eating, errm... is on the complex, where we're staying and I think the... the diagrams that were maybe shown, at the beginning of all this, don't really portray how close it actually is. Errm... I mean, we've said before, it was a little bit... we think it was quite similar to - on a summer's evening at home - eating in your garden, while the children are in your bed, you know, it's that close... errm... you know...
 
GM: I think, you know, the messages of support, errm... and from the thousands of people who have said they would either do the same, or have done the same, have helped us but it will not take away the feeling of guilt - that we will have with us forever - that at the moment Madeleine was abducted, we were not there.
 
And, I've tried to rationalise it. We do not think that what we did was irresponsible but it won't take away that guilt but equally if we'd been in the adjacent bedroom and it had happened, I'm sure we would have felt equally as guilty and, of course, that we're not, but, you know, what is happened is done and we are absolutely focussed from the minute that we discovered her gone; that we have done, and will continue to do, everything in our power to find her.
 
Q: What do you think happened to her?
 
GM: All I can say is that, you know, the information is that she's been abducted. We don't know who's done it and it doesn't help... speculation really doesn't help us. We know that she's gone, we do not believe that, errr... she's dead, I truly believe that she's alive and we will not give up looking for her until we've found her.
 
Q: And you've said you won't go home either but at some point you may have to go home. One... At what point do you decide: 'Our lives must continue, we've got two other children, we have to get on'.
 
KM: I mean, at this... at this moment in time I cannot think about going home without Madeleine, errr... and we certainly have no plans at all to go home with Madeleine... without Madeleine.
 
Q: But what about the other two? Just... at some point?
 
KM: Yeah, I mean, Sean and Amelie, they're... they're doing really well, errm... they're young... they're young enough really that this hasn't affected... affected them, which is fortunate.
 
Q: What have you told them?
 
KM: Well, they... they do comment about Madeleine, they say, 'Madeleine's toy' or 'Madeleine's bag' or, you know, and Amelie did ask, early on, 'Where's Madeleine gone?', errm... but on the whole they're too busy playing with their toys or running into kid's club, they're... I mean, they're really happy, the staff here have been fantastic with them, errm...
 
GM: In no way do I think, at the minute, that their development is in any way being hindered. We have obviously a huge amount of contact with them, probably even more than we would be if we were at home and working, just now, certainly for me, so... I see them... I've not been on any conferences or... other than the one trip home, so... and the kid's club they've got here, they're doing the similar activities to what they'd be doing at nursery, errr... they're developing and they're growing in front of our eyes, you know, that is... you've probably seen it, and their speech, Amelie's in particular, in the last few weeks has really come on and they're really turning in from toddlers, errr... into a little boy and a little girl. So, you know, the fact that we're staying here, errm... just now, I don't see how that influences it one little bit; the children. And in fact, they give us such tremendous strength and humour and... and... you know, and periods where you do have to forget why you're still here but, you know, I just like to say it that, you know, we are absolutely determined and that's the overriding emotion, I think, at this time, having had... gone through the grieving phase, we are detemined to find Madeleine and we will do anything to do that.
 
KM: And she deserves that
 
GM: She does. Completely.
 
Q: Tell me about Madeleine. I know her picture, we all know her picture so well and she's a gorgeous, little, smiling image but she is, to us, an image; to you she's a real little girl. Tell us about Madeleine.
 
KM: Well, she's got bags of character, that's for sure. Errm... She's very loving, caring, she's very funny, very chatty, very engaging. Errm... She has her moments, like all children do, errm... but I do think she's pretty special.
 
GM: What I'd like to say is that she looks like Kate but she's got a McCann personality and if you've seen the rest of my family...
 
KM: She's loud.
 
GM: Yeah, she's loud and she's a real extrovert and, errr... for one so young, errm... she can express herself so well and, you know, she tends to be the ringleader with the younger kids and, errm... and during the holidays she was the oldest of the eight children here and, errrr... and she just loved every minute of it; every waking minute she was having a ball and that is certainly the image that I keep in my head.
 
Q: Gerry and Kate, we all hope so fervently that you find Madeleine, safe and well, thank you very much indeed for talking.
 
GM: Thank you.
 
KM: Thank you. Thank you.
 
Q: Errm... Central Television... I... I forgot, just asked... could I ask a question about the support in Rothley, please, for Central Television. I'm sorry... (coughs)
 
Clarence Mitchell: We'll need to tell the BBC though 'cause... for their regional programmes, you know...
 
Q: Okay. Okay. You have received such an enormous amount of support throughout the UK but... astonishing the demonstrations of... of love and... and support in Rothley when you went back there last week.
 
GM: Yeah. Well, Kate's aunt and uncle and cousin live in the village and we've only lived there for a year but, errr... we've known the village very well for over ten years, for me, and we've seen on the television the support, we knew from coversations that it was there... but it was incredibly emotional going back to the monument, outside the Royal Oak, and, errr... seeing the thousands and thousands of ribbons and toys and, you know, I did try to read as many of the messages and there was one in particular, which I said to Kate, when I came back from her, one of her best friends at nursery, errr... after who has moved to Yorkshire and it was so touching, errm... but, you know, the support there has been fantastic and it does give us strength and hope and, you know, we know we're going to bring her back to Rothley.

'The Press Association', 25 May 2007

Madeleine McCann – Parents first interview, 25 May 2007
Madeleine McCann – Parents first interview Functionpix
 
"The pain of missing my Madeleine" – by Kate McCann
 
Article by Karen Williams
Friday 25th May 2007, 17:53
 
Gerry and Kate McCann have given their first in-depth interview about their ordeal to a group of media journalists and have said that they are confident that Madeleine is still alive and will be found.
 
Gerry and Kate McCann told of the terrifying moment when they realised that their daughter had disappeared from her room at their apartment in Praia da Luz on May 3 while they were eating nearby and of their efforts since then to keep her in the public domain.
 
"I think and believe strongly that we will find her - its not hard to believe that."
 
Gerry McCann once again did most of the talking as in most occasions during press interviews, displaying his calm and confident manner, still firmly believing that their daughter is still alive and will return.
 
"People can still help to find her" Said Gerry – "it's the public that hold the key and if anyone have any information they really must come forward."
 
On this day which is the International missing children's day – Gerry and Kate McCann continued their mass-media campaign for the search of their daughter Madeleine – and spoke to a number of press reporters openly and frankly.
 
When asked about how they coped in the initial moments flowing the discovery that their child was gone – Gerry replied "For the first couple of days – 48 hours, it was very dark – we went to places where you really wouldn’t have wanted to go, answering questions and asking more about what could possibly have happened"
 
When asked why they decided to leave their three children alone while they went out, Gerry responded boldly to answer the critics who say that three young children should not have been left by themselves. "If you actually look at our own actions and those of the group – the speed of response – Mark Warner, the resort manager was excellent.
 
"From the minute we discovered she was gone – the speed was excellent – alarm out within 10 minutes and the missing child protocol was set up very quickly – everything was in place very quickly and all the staff were contacted and all returned to the resort immediately and local search was started.
 
"It's obvious that the system here is different from that in the UK – there was an information void which was hard to deal with – the not knowing anything doesn't help you." "But as British police arrived on the scene, the consulate helped us with communication channels and we started to become more active and able to deal with the situation" – "at the minute we are happy with the way information is conveyed to us – but it was the first 48 hrs in particular were the most difficult to handle".
 
Kate spoke for the fist time – "I did want to go and look for Maddie myself – and we've been working really hard every day – the first 48 hrs were the most difficult we were almost non-functioning to begin with – but the support and strength from others has really helped – we may not have been physically searching but we have been very busy."
 
Kate and Gerry sat calmly answering questions from the media and they both appeared in control but the determination in their eyes was undeniable.
 
"The feeling of helplessness and loss of control of everything in terms of getting Madeleine back has been hard to handle – the job of influencing people and dealing with the publicity is also a big job and there are certain things within your control which helped a lot to remain positive" – "also those around you can help as well – and the word has spread like wildfire – it has been tremendous – and we are grateful for everyone's help from doing things like distributing posters and keeping the word out there has amazed us all and we are grateful"
 
There has been a lot of money donated into the fighting fund – a massive 300,000 so far. It was suggested that some money can be sensibly spent on things like a private investigator. "The fund is for an outlet for people to help" said Gerry – "it has helped considerably and everything that all consultants could and should be doing, they are doing. There is a huge amount of resources available to us both in the UK and Portugal and so we have said – no private Investigators – I believe that it's the public hold the key – someone knows something"!
 
They finally answered the criticism that they should never have left their daughter alone and that many people are saying that they can't ever imagine leaving their small children alone - how do you deal with that?
 
"Any criticism of us a this time has been hard to deal with of course, and there has been lots which has been very hard. What we did – many others would have said the same – it's such a safe resort no one will feel more guilty than us that we were not there while she was abducted. We would still have felt the same if we were next door. The distance is so small, it was so close it was almost like having dinner in your garden – what we were doing was rigorous with multiple people checking the apartment at regular intervals – if we thought for one minute that someone would have taken her – of course we would never have left her"
 
"We came with a group of friends" said Kate "And we were having a great time. The combination of the child-friendly environment is fantastic – tennis, watersports the facilities were great. Maddie is a complete McCann – very extrovert – She's very sociable" Kate was smiling as she recounted her memories "in the evenings by the pool, we would spend an hour or two with Maddie and the other children running around shouting 'Be a monster, Be a monster' tiring everybody out"
 
When asked if she thought she'd wandered off "No not at all" said Kate resolutely – "We're absolutely certain – we double and treble checked and no doubt she was taken" said Gerry –
 
When asked how are the other children coping – Kate responded "they are still quite young, just over 2 years old at the minute – and so it's not affected them that much- they ask about her of course, and they say where is she? – and they'll say 'this is Madeleine's and that belongs to Madeleine - they are handling it really well, they don't appear upset – we will take advice of course"
 
"Everyone can feel what we're going thru – our children give us strength. We need to bring Madeleine back as much for them as we do for us" said Gerry.
 
How do you aim to keep that strength – how do you hold that thought that she is being cared for. "Absolutely, we must continue with that and we are confident and believe strongly that we will find her – it's not hard to believe that, she's our daughter and we will not give up the search."
 
"We need to believe she is coming back to us." Said Kate.
 
0800 0961233 – madeleine.ceopupload.com
 
It was widely reported that they are frustrated at many aspects of the police operation and have said that they will embark on a tour of European countries to keep the spotlight on their daughter's disappearance.
 
A billionaire businessman has offered them the use of his private jet for their travels as they plan a mass European media expedition to Spain, Germany, Holland – they have also had invitations from the media in Greece and even the USA.
 
New pictures were released of Madeleine which were taken only hours before her disappearance on May 3rd and the previously unseen picture shows the four-year-old playing happily at the resort where she went missing.
 
There has been constant on-going investigation as to the whereabouts of missing Madeleine and British experts, thought to be psychic advisors, have flown to the Algarve to re-examine the scene of Madeleine abduction and the specific request of the McCann family
 
Portuguese police said four British "specialists" who are not police officers had arrived in the country on Thursday.
 
The men have been measuring the window to the McCann apartment, pacing out measurements around the building and even walking as far as the home of Robert Murat.
 
He is the only official suspect or "arguido" in the case.

Madeleine's parents speak of their 'guilt', 25 May 2007
Madeleine's parents speak of their 'guilt' ITN
 
 
Updated 22.36 Fri May 25 2007
 
In their first interview, the parents of missing Madeleine McCann have described their feelings of guilt at not being there when she was abducted.
 
Kate and Gerry McCann also spoke of the "darkness" they felt in the first hours and days after their daughter's abduction.
 
The couple told how they had made arrangements with other families to regularly check on their children on the night of May 3 while dining a short distance away.
 
Meanwhile, police in Portugal have said they are looking for a white man, approximately 35 to 40-years-old, of medium build and 5ft 10ins tall.
 
He was seen walking in the area Praia da Luz at around 9.30pm on the night Madeleine was snatched.
 
They said he was wearing a dark jacket, light beige trousers and dark shoes.
 
Gerry McCann compared eating in the tapas bar at the Ocean Club Resort in Praia da Luz as like "having dinner in your garden".
 
But he said: "I think it's fair to say that the guilt that we feel having not been there at that moment, irrespective of whether we had been in the next bedroom or not, will never leave us."
 
His wife Kate said: "Certainly the first few days I think the guilt was very difficult but I think as time goes on you feel stronger and you feel very supported."
 
Mrs McCann insisted the couple were not irresponsible parents but said they had perhaps been naive.
 
She said: "I think we were naive, we are very responsible parents, we love our children very much. I don't think any parent could imagine or consider anything like this happening."
 
Mr McCann said the experience of his daughter's abduction was "worse than your worst nightmare" but said that they had drawn strength from thousands of messages of support from around the world.
 
They also described how they have been dealing with Madeleine's abduction in the presence of their two-year-old twins Sean and Amelie.
 
Mr McCann said: "We have said she's gone on a little trip just now and Amelie came out with one really cutting line that went right to the core, she said 'Madeleine's on trip, back soon'.
 
"We certainly pray for that every day."
 
In a message carried this morning in the Portuguese press, the McCanns identified with parents of missing children in all countries.
 
The couple thanked "everyone throughout Portugal and beyond for the overwhelming love, support and hospitality they have shown us since Madeleine's disappearance."
 
The youngster was abducted from her holiday apartment in Praia da Luz, on the Algarve, Portugal, just over three weeks ago.
 
The couple also praised Portuguese police for "their hard work and determination" during the investigation.
 
They added: "We, like parents of missing children around the world, will not lose hope. The only thing that will make us happy is Madeleine's safe return, something every parent will understand."
 
To mark International Missing Children's Day, a picture of the missing four-year-old was beamed onto Marble Arch in London last night.

'The guilt will never leave us,' say Madeleine's parents, 26 May 2007
'The guilt will never leave us,' say Madeleine's parents Daily Mail
 
From PAUL HARRIS and SAM GREENHILL in Praia da Luz
Last updated at 20:56 26 May 2007
 
• Losing Madeleine has been 'worse than your worst nightmare ... the darkest, deepest despair'
 
• 'We were naive ... The panic set in pretty much immediately'
 
• No plans to return to the UK without Madeleine
 
• Baby sister Amelie says: 'Madeleine's on trip, back soon'
 
They said the guilt would never leave them.
 
They told us it was worse than anyone's worst nightmare.
 
In a series of deeply moving interviews, Kate and Gerry McCann have spoken for the first time in detail about the loss of their "pretty special" little girl, and of the darkness that almost overwhelmed them in the days after Madeleine disappeared.
 
At the same time Portuguese police issued a detailed description of the man they believe may have taken the four-year-old. He was apparently seen, possibly carrying a child, near the holiday apartment in Praia da Luz from which Madeleine was taken 23 days ago.

Gerry and Kate McCann give their first interview

'We want Madeleine back, and people can still influence that': Kate and Gerry McCann give their first interview
 
In their interviews, the McCanns gave a searingly candid account of the night they left their children asleep in an Algarve holiday complex apartment while they dined with friends in the grounds - then described "the deepest, darkest despair" when they realised she had vanished.
 
But the couple made it clear they had always believed she was still alive - and that one day their image of her running through a door towards them would come true. "If anything really bad had happened, we would have found her by now," Mr McCann said.
 
For the first time since that night of May 3, they answered criticism about leaving Madeleine and her brother and sister alone, and revealed the hurt and guilt that followed.
 
In an apartment just yards away from the scene, Mr McCann told us: "I think it's fair to say that the guilt that we feel having not been there at that moment, irrespective of whether we had been in the next bedroom or not, will never leave us."
 
His wife revealed that she "tortured" herself in the first few days after Madeleine vanished, and was tormented by the thought that whoever took her might also have snatched their two-year-old twins as well. The story they told chronicled how a happy family break turned suddenly to horror.

Madeleine McCann - 'The last photograph'

This may be the last photo of Madeleine ever taken - laughing by the poolside with her daddy and sister, just hours before the nightmare of her abduction began
 
Her husband said the break was "so relaxing and idyllic. It was as as good a holiday as we've had with the children, up until that point."
 
Madeleine was having fun with her twin brother and sister, Sean and Amelie.
 
"She is very funny and often a little ringleader in nursery and with her friends," said Mr McCann. "She was running around shouting, 'Be a monster, be a monster' and we would chase her."
 
That fateful night
 
The couple told how they had made arrangements with other families to check regularly on their children on the night of May 3 while dining a short distance away in a tapas bar in the grounds of the holiday complex.
 
Mr McCann said: "We've been assured by thousands of people who've either done exactly the same or say they would have done the same. It wasn't very much different to having dinner in your garden."
 
Although there was a creche at the holiday complex, he said, "we use a routine at home and it works very well for us. The key is that the kids are asleep by 7.30 every night. As we had arranged to dine so close we felt that it would have really disturbed the kids dropping them off at a creche at a time they were sound asleep and then bringing them back. That was the reason why we didn't use that."

Gerry and Kate take questions from media for the first time, 14 May 2007

The strength and dignity of Madeleine's parents throughout their ordeal has earned them the respect of many
 
"For us it was like dining in your garden. Admittedly at the bottom of your garden, but you could see the flat and we were checking so regularly. Not for one minute would anyone have thought that someone would abduct your child."
 
Finding her gone
 
Mrs McCann said: "It was during one of my checks that I discovered she had gone. I can't really go into any details about that. I'm sure any parent will realise how that felt." Asked if panic set in immediately, she said in a whisper: "Yeah, very much."
 
She revealed that she immediately feared the worst - never thinking that her daughter might simply have woken up and wandered off.
 
Her husband added: "We were absolutely certain. But before we raised the alarm we double and treble checked - but we certainly had no doubt in our minds that she'd been taken."
 
Asked about their emotions at that moment, Mrs McCann remained silent but her husband said: "There was the darkest, deepest despair and it was absolutely terrifying and when you go back to it, it still is."
 
Finding strength
 
After 48 hours of hunting for Madeleine, said Mrs McCann, the couple were so exhausted that they were "almost non-functioning". "But after that you get strength from somewhere. We've had loads of support and that's given us strength."
 
Her husband, a consultant cardiologist, said: "The worst feeling was helplessness and being completely out of control of anything in terms of getting Madeleine back. I think as we started to take control of some issues, particularly influencing the publicity side of it, that helped me tremendously.
 
"Those first few days were the darkest place and every parents' worst nightmare. In the local community as well as family and friends we've had tremendous messages of goodwill. That first Sunday we went to church, every single person came up to us and said, 'We'll get Madeleine back,' and hope and strength and courage, and that certainly galvanised me and I'm not the most religious person in the world but I got tremendous strength out of that.

Madeleine McCann - photograph taken by family friend

This latest image of the ever-smiling Madeleine was taken by a family friend
 
"Ultimately somebody will provide the key bit of information. The only thing that will truly make us feel good is Madeleine's return."
 
The guilt
 
The couple both acknowledged that they had been hurt by criticism of the arrangements they made for the children.
 
Mr McCann said: "No one hurts you as much as the hurt that we had, but we have tried to remain very positive in our outlook and even small levels of criticism make that hard when you're trying to do everything in your power to get your daughter back.
 
"I think it's fair to say the guilt we feel having not been there at that moment will never leave us. We've tried to rationalise things in our head but ultimately what's done is done. We have tried to look forward.
 
"No one will ever feel more guilty than us for the fact that we were not with Madeleine at that time when she was abducted. Whether we had been in the bedroom next door we would still have felt as guilty I'm sure."
 
Asked if they blamed themselves, his wife replied: "Certainly 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 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 that we can influence and help in any way possible."
 
Asked about how their relationship had coped under the strain, Mr McCann added: "I think it's fair to say that this is built on a very strong relationship to start with.

The McCanns walk with twins, Sean and Amelie

'Madeleine gone, back soon': Baby sister Amelie and brother Sean are coping with the loss of Madeleine, the McCanns have said. The last thing they want is for the twins to forget their big sister
 
Asked when they might leave Portugal, Mrs McCann replied: "I can't think about that. I can't think about going home without Madeleine."
 
The twins
 
Madeleine's two-year- old brother and sister Sean and Amelie are a source of great strength to the McCanns - and have helped them retain some sense of normality.
 
Mr McCann said: "They are growing in front of our eyes. Their speech - Amelie's in particular - in the last few weeks has really come on, and they are really turning from toddlers into a little boy and a little girl. They give us tremendous strength."
 
The twins are too young to know what has happened to their big sister. Mrs McCann said: "We have said she's gone on a little trip just now and Amelie came out with one really cutting line that went right to the core - she said, 'Madeleine's on trip, back soon'. We certainly pray for that every day."
 
Her husband added: "Without doubt they help us to continue. We know that they are there and life continues but we need to bring Madeleine back as much for them as for Madeleine as for us.
 
"Many people say to us that this is a parent's worst nightmare and it is. It truly is, it's as bad as you could possibly imagine.
 
"But if all three of the children had been taken it could have been even worse than your worst nightmare. We've got to be strong for them. They're here and they do bring you back to earth."
 
Our Madeleine
 
Mrs McCann smiled when she was asked what her little girl is like. "She got bags of character, that's for sure. She's very loving, caring, she's very funny, very chatty, very engaging, but she has her moments, like all children do. I do think she's pretty special."
 
Painting his own portrait of Madeleine, Mr McCann said she looked like her mother.
 
He added: "She's a real extrovert and for one so young she can express herself so well. During the holiday she was the oldest of the eight children here and she just loved every minute."
 
The police
 
Madeleine two-year-old brother and sister Sean and Amelie are a source of great strength to the McCanns - and have helped them retain some sense of normality.
 
Mr McCann said it was no secret that the "information void" in the first 48 hours of the investigation was the "hardest thing for Kate and I to deal with". "The worst feeling was helplessness and being completely out of control of anything in terms of getting Madeleine back."

England cricket captain Michael Vaughan sported a yellow ribbon as the English cricket team showed its support for the McCanns

England cricket captain Michael Vaughan sported a yellow ribbon as the English cricket team showed its support for the McCanns
 
But he said things had improved since then. "Certainly at the minute we are happy about how information is relayed to us.
 
"I think it's fair to say we expected a very British-style response.
 
"It's fairly obvious that the system here and what we're used to in the UK is very different. I don't think it's any secret that in the early days the information void was the hardest thing for Kate and I to deal with. Not knowing anything takes you back to the darkest places that really you don't want to go and ultimately doesn't help you."
 
The dream
 
"Kate and I try to have an hour or two a day where we go away and talk about what is happening, how we are feeling, the importance of our strength and getting Madeleine back," Mr McCann said. "Having time together to talk I think is key to that."
 
Mr McCann said the couple were praying that no other parent had to suffer what they had.
 
"We pray that it doesn't happen again, but when it does, the speed of the next response and the template that we've set will ultimately help. There's been so much goodwill and humanity out there. One evil act actually has resulted in so much good."
 
He explained how they had struggled "to put those dark hours completely out of our minds. We channel any negative emotions into the positive emotion of someone walking in the door with her or having the telephone call to tell us that they have found her and she is well."
 
Asked how they picture that moment there was a long pause and Mrs McCann remained silent.
 
Eventually her husband replied. "You just can't put into words what that would mean to us."
 
? Messages for the McCanns can be sent to mccannfamily@markwarner.co.uk
 
? The official Find Madeleine website can be found at www.findmadeleine.com
 
? The Crimestoppers number for those calling from Portugal is 0044 1883 731 336 or information can be passed direct to the Portuguese police on 00 351 282 405 400.
 
? The Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre and Virtual Global Taskforce appeal is at www.ceop.gov.uk and www.virtualglobaltaskforce.com.

'We're not going back without Madeleine', 27 May 2007
'We're not going back without Madeleine' Sunday Telegraph

Kate McCann playing with twins Sean and Amelie
Kate McCann playing with twins Sean and Amelie

By Olga Craig in Praia da Luz
12:01AM BST 27 May 2007

They are the first thing Kate and Gerry McCann see every morning as they leave their Algarve apartment to take their toddler twins to the creche: the enormous poster pictures appealing for any scrap of information on their missing four-year-old daughter, Madeleine.

In the early days, Kate took comfort from seeing the impish, smiling face of her eldest child, who was snatched while she slept in the family's holiday apartment in the sleepy fishing of Praia da Luz. Not so this weekend.

It is now 24 days since Madeleine vanished, and time and the blazing sunshine have taken their toll on the posters. The corners are curling, the poignant words describing Madeleine are faded and grey and the posters torn and ragged.

They are a daily reminder that, thanks to the bungled investigation by Portuguese police, which consists of little more than vague sightings, the McCanns are no closer to finding their cherished child than they were on the night of May 3 when Kate, 38, went to check on her sleeping children and found her daughter missing.

Though the McCanns have tried to steer clear of criticising the appallingly poor Portuguese investigation, wary of alienating the detectives upon whom they have been forced to depend, they realise that, if they are ever to see Madeleine again, they must seize control of events.

Which is exactly what they are doing. In the past fortnight, the couple have surrounded themselves with a high-powered team of legal and press advisers who have but one aim in mind: keeping Madeleine McCann alive in the minds of the public.

"The press help has been wonderful," Gerry, 38, told me yesterday morning, "but we know it can't last forever; we know that other news events will overtake Madeleine's abduction. So we have had to take control and to do that. Publicising our search for our daughter is vital."

Yesterday, after a rushed visit to a children's playground with Amelie and Sean, their two-year-old twins, the pair sat down in their apartment in the Mark Warner complex in Praia to study CVs. Their first appointments, they realise, will be crucial. They need both a campaign manager and a fund manager. And they need them now.

With more than £300,000 in the "find Madeleine" fund, they want to spend every penny carefully. "There is nothing more I would like to see than Madeleine walking in so we could use the fund to find other missing children," Gerry says. But he must know that the likelihood of that is fading daily.

Their first mission will be a series of trips around Europe in the hope of keeping Madeleine's profile high. "Spain will be first, probably Madrid and Seville," he explains. "The majority of tourists who come to Portugal come from there. After that it will be Berlin, beginning in a fortnight, and then Holland. We lived in Amsterdam for a year, so we already have a good network of support there." The idea will be to meet politicians and child charities, anyone, as Gerry says, who can help keep Madeleine's haunting image in the public eye.

Before they go, however, the couple have the difficult task of explaining the disappearance of their elder sister to the twins. "They still think they are on holiday and that Madeleine is on a trip," Kate says. "They wave and blow kisses at pictures of Madeleine on the television. When we buy ice creams, we buy five. But they have to have a normal childhood and next week a child psychologist will be coming out to advise us on the best way of explaining things to them."

It is a wise decision. Police in Portugal have hinted that, such is their dearth of information, one possible way forward would be to try to gently coax information from the twins, who may have caught a glimpse of Madeleine's kidnapper. Any such interviews would have to be highly sensitive and it is likely that if the family were to agree, they would want a team of highly skilled professionals on hand.

"The difficulty is that the McCann twins are so very young, barely talking yet," says Irene Mitchell, a child psychologist in Oxford. "It's true that, for example, in the murder of Lin Russell, her daughter Josie, though seriously injured, was able, through careful coaxing, to give police vital information. The problem in this case is that it is highly likely the twins were asleep when their sister was taken."

The McCanns still cling to the hope that their daughter is still in Portugal, which is why they intend to keep their base in the country. And when they moved to an apartment near to the one from which Madeleine was abducted, they unpacked their missing daughter's clothes, too, laying out her pyjamas on what would have been her bed.

But, as they point out, the border roads were not closed until 10am on the morning of May 4, 12 hours after Madeleine was snatched. To leave permanently without Madeleine would be like abandoning her, the heartbroken couple believe. "When we go home," Kate insists, "it will be as a family of five."

Her husband is even more emphatic. "There is no way we are going home without Madeleine," he says with quiet vehemence. "This is not a time for grieving. We believe she is still alive, so grief is not the appropriate emotion. We are absolutely determined to get her back. It's a bit like we are waging a war. It's a backs-to-the-wall thing."

Publicity back at home in Britain is a part of that war, they believe. Last week, the couple issued a home-made video, a collage of charming moments from Madeleine's life, with a backing track of the Simple Minds' hit Don't You Forget About Me. Cinema owners are considering showing the short film before every screening and of putting fresh posters in all their venues.

British police have been openly critical of the Portuguese police, accusing them of failing to secure the crime scene and not taking seriously the idea that Madeleine had been snatched rather than simply wandered off. That failure may have allowed her abductor to whisk her out of the country. Just yesterday, the former Surrey police officer Mark Williams-Thomas, who helped the Portuguese police in the early days of their search, said that the investigation had hit a brick wall. "Those first few days were vital, they should have been searching every hotel room," he said. Instead, hours were lost.

But what is perhaps worse than the country's lax policing is its complete sense of denial that is has a problem with paedophiles. According to Ray Wyre, an acknowledged expert on sexual crimes, Portugal attracts huge numbers of them. He has been to the country several times helping track down paedophile rings. "British paedophiles have always operated there," he says. "If a child was being snatched on behalf of a barren couple, they would probably have taken one of the twins," he says. "The sad thing is that paedophiles are attracted to beautiful little girls, especially blondes, like Madeleine."

The McCanns, meanwhile, refuse to contemplate the horrific possibility that they might have lost their daughter forever. They remain resolute in their faith that Madeleine will come home. "You have to steer away from the negative," says Gerry. "Going through the scenarios doesn't help us, it destroys us."

Today the family of four will make their weekly pilgrimage to the Lady of the Light chapel in Praia da Luz to say mass for Madeleine. And to pray that they return to England as a family of five.

'Our children sleep with us now', 27 May 2007
'Our children sleep with us now' Sunday Telegraph

Kate McCann must tell the twins their sister is not on holiday
Kate McCann must tell the twins their sister is not on holiday

By Olga Craig in Praia da Luz
12:01AM BST 27 May 2007

The mother of missing toddler Madeleine McCann is so traumatised by the kidnap of her daughter that she cannot bear to be parted from her two-year-old twins at night.

"Sean and Amelie sleep with us now, we have become totally protective parents," Kate McCann told The Sunday Telegraph yesterday. "They help us get through this."

As the hunt for the snatched four-year-old continued, Kate and Gerry McCann, both 38, took the twins to a playground in Lagos, near Praia da Luz where the family had been staying in a holiday apartment when Madeleine was abducted 24 days ago.

"Madeleine is such a huge personality, it is obvious when she is not there," said Mr McCann tearfully. "My first waking thought each morning is that the phone beside the bed hasn't rung and that means Madeleine hasn't been found."

Describing the moment she returned from dinner at the Mark Warner complex to discover Madeleine had gone, Mrs McCann said: "For a few seconds there was total disbelief, it was terrifying."

As she sat on a park bench clutching Madeleine's favourite Cuddle Cat toy, she added: "You just don't expect anything like that in a million years. We triple checked. We wanted to believe she was there. We had absolutely no doubt that she had been taken.

"In the first few days we fell into the deepest, darkest chasm. Then self-preservation kicked in. In the first 72 hours, the emotions that we had were awful. We wouldn't wish that on anyone. Then we had a spell when we were almost devoid of emotion and that bothers you too. The crying stops and you think you should be bashing your fists and wailing."

The McCanns described how they plan to use some of the £300,000 already raised by a special Madeleine fund to pay for trips to a series of European countries, including Spain and Germany. The visits are intended to keep up the high-profile of their daughter in the media.

Before they leave Portugal, however, a child psychologist from England will next week fly out to the Algarve to help the couple with the difficult task of telling their twins that Madeleine is not on holiday, as the toddlers currently believe.

"The twins are so young, they just get on with things," said Mrs McCann. "But obviously we don't want them to forget about Madeleine."

She described how, after taking the final photograph of Madeleine before she was snatched, she can no longer bear to use her camera.

"She looked lovely," said Mrs McCann, recalling the moment Madeleine was pictured with her father beside a swimming pool.

"She was wearing a new outfit, a pink smock. That picture sums up her week. Every minute of every day she was enjoying herself. She went to bed exhausted. I haven't been able to use the camera since I took that last photograph of her."

The couple also spoke of their hope that the sighting of a man carrying a child on the night of Madeleine's disappearance could provide a breakthrough.

"We feel sure that this sighting of the man with what appeared to be a child in his arms is both significant and relevant to Madeleine's abduction," said Mr McCann.

The man, aged between 35 and 40, dressed in a dark jacket and light-coloured trousers and carrying a bundle that could have been a sleeping child, was seen by a friend of the McCanns at 9.30pm on May 3.

Portuguese police have known about the sighting for three weeks but only released the information on Friday after the McCanns reportedly threatened legal action to ensure the details were made public and after a series of private conversations between the McCanns and Gordon Brown, the Chancellor, who has pledged the Government's full support.

A source close to the McCann family said: "Within a day of the family speaking to Gordon Brown and expressing their frustration about certain things, the whole attitude of the Portuguese police changed and they found them much more open. The sequence of events suggests some influence was exerted from above."

News of the delay drew criticism. Mark Williams-Thomas, a former detective at Surrey police who has worked on many paedophile investigations, said: "It is quite amazing they didn't release this information."

Robert Murat, the only person so far named as a "formal suspect'' by police, was yesterday seen in public for the first time since he was questioned by officers earlier this month. Mr Murat has denied any involvement in Madeleine's disappearance.

Gerry's blog, 25 May 2007

Gerry's blog that covered the interviews on 25 May 2007
Note: This blog actually appeared on 26 May 2007 but was a combined blog for the 25th and 26th.
 
Yesterday was relatively quiet although we did meet the British ambassador and the senior British Police Officer who has been working here in Portugal on the case. This was a productive meeting. There was a flurry of activity amongst the media here stating the family was openly critical of the Portuguese policed which was not true. We did our best to dampen this down but a couple of papers carried stories with our 'frustration' with the investigation rather than what we said it was frustrating that 3 weeks down the line we still have not got Madeleine back. This would be the case which ever country we were in. Some of you may have noticed that Sean and Amelie did manage to squeeze in a hair cut!

Today was extremely busy and tiring. We met with our press officer Clarence Mitchell, to discuss strategy for the fortcoming interviews. Kate attended a luncheon in aid of International Missing Child day and John, my brother, attended a similar event in London. After this John and Brian Kennedy, Kate's uncle, who are both directors of Madeleine's fund appointed an interim fund manager. We are now actively looking for a campaign manager who will be needed once our government press officer disappears.
 
The interviews were our first for TV and we were happy how they went. We did 10 min interviews for Sky, BBC, ITV, Portuguese TV/radio and one for the press association. A shorter interview with GM TV will be shown on Monday morning along with stuff from our fabulous web team. The interviewers were very kind but did not shirk from asking us some extremely difficult questions. We answered them all and although painful will allow us to move on in our search for Madeleine. Importantly, shortly after our interviews finished the Portuguese Police held a press conference and gave details of man they would like to interview who was seen carrying a child on the night of Madeleine's disappearance. We have not had a transcript of what was said but this is an encouraging development and hopefully will result in further calls to the police with information from people who were in Praia da Luz around the time of Madeleine’s abduction. We remain very optimistic that the criminal investigation will lead to Madeleine's safe return but we need everyone to be alert and vigilant to any suspicious activity.

Tomorrow will be a family day. We are doing a photo-shoot with the twins for the Sunday newspapers in the morning but will involve stuff that we want to do with them anyway. We also need to recharge our batteries after what has been a very busy week.

With thanks to Nigel at McCann Files

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