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

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

McCanns Return To Portugal, 23/09/2009*

MCCANN FILES HOME BACK TO GERRY MCCANNS BLOGS HOME PAGE PHOTOGRAPHS
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McCanns arrive for press conference on 23 September 2009

The McCanns return to Portugal to meet with their Portuguese lawyers and advisers in Lisbon. They also hold a press conference but do not return to Praia da Luz.

McCanns' Press Conference, 23 September 2009
McCanns' Press Conference

Transcript (Note: Despite the title of the video, this is not the full press conference)

By Nigel Moore

Chris Brown: Chris Brown, errr... Daily Mail. Errm... obviously, errm... Kate if I'm right, this is your first time back in Portugal, errm... since you returned back to England; this must be very emotional for you. How... how are you feeling right now and what do you hope to achieve for this particular visit?

Kate McCann: Errm... I mean, I did... I did feel quite apprehensive and nervous but, errm... for me it... it's a good thing to do and I've wanted to come back to Portugal for a long time. Errm... I think it's positive and it's... I think it's an important day for us and particularly important day for Madeleine, and the search for Madeleine, because we want to... we've come here really to try and further the search for her... I mean, we just want to find Madeleine, and I believe this is a good place to be to try and help the search and I think this might be... might be a turning point, in the search, so... errm... I guess emotionally it... it probably doesn't have quite the same impact as going to Praia da Luz, errm... but I believe it's a... a good thing to do.

Sandra Felgueiras: Hello, Kate and Gerry. I hoped I would have plenty of questions to put you but I really don't have time to do it. I would like to ask you Kate, errr... particularly Kate, if you and Gerry... do you want, and do you have any hope, to reopen the files here in Portugal?

KM: I mean, really, we just want to improve the search to find Madeleine, we just want to find Madeleine, and whether that involves reopening the case or not, it doesn't matter because we just want to improve the search, and we want to ask as many people as possible, really, to help us. We want people to believe that Madeleine's alive because there is a very good chance she's alive, errm... I'm sure you'll be familiar with the recent case of Jaycee Dugard, errm... in America being found, after 18 years, and I just think it's so vital and so fair for Madeleine that we don't give up on her, that we... we look for her and we try and find her and I guess I'd like to encourage people to help us and to help Madeleine, you know, and give her a chance 'cause she can't find her way back to us and she deserves to be home.

SF: We haven't talked since you've read the files because [indecipherable]. I would like to ask you if there was anything that surprised you most, even concerning the, errr... Birmingham results. I am... I'm aware that you've already read what is in the files. What do you have to say concerning that? All the evidence that the PJ, the Portuguese PJ, said they had? What did you [indecipherable]?

Gerry McCann: Well, I think the most important thing to say is that the... the evidence that's been presented, errr... by the PJ and the prosecutor to the judiciary, and the judiciary, errr... having reviewed all of the evidence have said that there is no evidence that Madeleine is dead and there's no evidence to implicate us in her death and that's the message, really, which we fully expected to come out after the files were published, errm... and from our perspective the most important thing is that Madeleine, errr... probably still is alive and is out there and, you know, we're asking people to help us continue the search and, errr... help us look for her.

Unknown Portuguese journalist: Do you have any investigators searching for Madeleine?

GM: We have, errm... we have a... a small team of, errr... investigators, errr... lead by a senior ex-policeman, errr... a British ex-policeman and they have been going through all information and, errr... any information that's been sent through to us either on our website, or indeed through the findmadeleine website, or indeed through the helpline number, and obviously there's been hundreds and thousands of pieces of information which continue to be worked through, and I'd like to emphasise, errr... I'm not the investigator, David Edgar's our senior investigator, but when it comes to the point where there is information that needs acted on by the police, that information is passed to the authorities and we want to work with the authorities and continue the search and, I think, probably in relation to the file, you know, we would love to discover evidence that would open the file; that would be great, but the search is continuing, whether the file's open, or not, and we're continuing to look for Madeleine and, as I said, we want people to help us. Errm... you know, she's a... Madeleine's an innocent little girl who's still missing.

Unknown Portuguese journalist: [Indecipherable]

GM: Errm... they're based in England; they'll follow up, errr... information wherever we can, errm... and that information will be passed on to the appropriate authorities if and when jurisdiction is needed.



Further press conference footage Ionline.pt

McCanns arrive at Lisbon airport, 23 September 2009

Madeleine's Mum Returns To Portugal, 23 September 2009
Madeleine's Mum Returns To Portugal Sky News

BREAKING NEWS
10:46am UK, Wednesday September 23, 2009


Kate McCann has returned to Portugal for the first time since being quizzed by police over her daughter Madeleine's disappearance, her spokesman has told Sky.

"Kate and (her husband) Gerry have gone to Lisbon for a series of meetings with their lawyers and other advisers," Clarence Mitchell said.

"They are planning to be there for one day. They are not going to Praia de Luz."

Madeleine was three when she went missing in the resort of Praia da Luz in May, 2007.

Mr Mitchell continued: "It is Kate's first visit back to Portugal since 2007 and it is difficult.

"It's something that has always been daunting for her but she knew she would go back at some stage - and she's always said she'll do anything necessary to keep the search for Madeleine alive.

"If it means a trip to speak to the Portuguese media, then so be it. But she's always said she'll do anything to keep the inquiry alive.

"What keeps her going is a sense of momentum, and important meetings with lawyers and advisers are critical to the campaign."

More to follow...



Updated article, the following text being added to that previously published above:

One of the topics to be discussed will be the recent injunction against further publication of a book by former Portuguese police detective Goncalo Amaral.

Mr Amaral was involved in the initial investigation but was later taken off the case.

In his book, The Truth of the Lie, he claims that Madeleine is dead and questions the McCanns' account that she was taken while they were eating with friends nearby.

Earlier this month a Portuguese judge banned further sale or publication of the book.

The injunction meant Mr Amaral had to ensure that all unsold copies of the book were removed from shops and warehouses across Europe.

The injunction also banned him from repeating his claims about Madeleine or her parents.

At one point, Portuguese police had made Kate and Gerry McCann "arguidos", or formal suspects, in their daughter's disappearance.

They were questioned by detectives but their arguidos status was later lifted.



Madeleine McCann's Parents Return To Portugal
Sky News

Sep 23, 2009

Madeleine McCann's parents Kate and Gerry have returned to Portugal together for the first time since being questioned by police there over their daughter's disappearance. The family spokesman Clarence Mitchell explained the reason for the trip.

(00:01:21)

*

Transcript

By Nigel Moore

Clarence Mitchell: Kate and Gerry have gone to Lisbon for a series of meetings with their lawyers, in Portugal, and some of the other Portuguese advisers that they have. Errr... they're planning to only be there for the one day, they're not going to go to Praia da Luz or anywhere like that, errr... this is, if you like, a... a working trip. Errm... of course, the inquiry, errr... into Madeleine's abduction remains suspended in Portugal, there is no active, errm... police work being down over there unless there is any major breakthrough. My understanding is that they are just meeting their lawyers, errr... and, errr... some other advisers they have there.

Dermot Murnaghan: Okay, are we going to hear anymore about, errm... your own private investigation? Of course, there was that flurry of activity in a press conference in, errr... Barcelona after, errr... errr... thought to be...

CM: Indeed, well...

DM: ...a significant sighting there. Has anything come of that? Are we going to hear anything more?

CM: Well, we've had over a thousand pieces of information come into the investigative side since that news conference; we're very grateful for everybody whose contacted either the website, via email, or phonecalls, errm... and, indeed, to the media for their continuing attention on it. Errm... there is no substantive, errm... detail that I can go into at this stage. All that information is still being processed and the detectives involved will follow the evidence where it takes them. Errm... they've been working in Europe over the last couple of weeks and if anything of any note, errr... comes out of that, we will, of course, announce that in due course.



Madeleine's Mum Returns To Portugal Sky News

12:20pm UK, Wednesday September 23, 2009

Kate McCann has returned to Portugal for the first time since being quizzed by police over her daughter Madeleine's disappearance, her spokesman has told Sky.

Kate and Gerry McCann arrive at Lisbon airport
Kate and Gerry McCann arrive at Lisbon airport

The British woman and husband Gerry, both 41, flew in for a series of meetings with their lawyers and other advisers in Lisbon, Clarence Mitchell said.

"They are planning to be there for one day. They are not going to Praia da Luz," the spokesman went on.

Madeleine was three when she went missing in the resort of Praia da Luz in May 2007.

Adding that Mrs McCann was also to attend a press conference, Mr Mitchell said: "It is Kate's first visit back to Portugal since 2007 and it is difficult.

"It's something that has always been daunting for her, but she knew she would go back at some stage - and she's always said she'll do anything necessary to keep the search for Madeleine alive.

"If it means a trip to speak to the Portuguese media, then so be it. But she's always said she'll do anything to keep the inquiry alive."

One of the topics to be discussed with the lawyers will be an injunction against further publication of a book by former Portuguese police detective Goncalo Amaral.

Mr Amaral was involved in the initial disappearance investigation but was later taken off the case.

In his book, The Truth Of The Lie, he claims that Madeleine is dead and questions the McCanns' account that she was taken while they were eating with friends nearby.

Earlier this month, a Portuguese judge banned further sale or publication of the book.

The injunction also banned Mr Amaral from repeating his claims about Madeleine or her parents, who are from Rothley, Leicestershire.

At one point, Portuguese police made Mr and Mrs McCann "arguidos", or formal suspects, in their daughter's disappearance.

They were questioned by detectives but their arguido status was later lifted.



McCanns Keep Search For Madeleine Alive

Sky News

9:33pm UK, Wednesday September 23, 2009

Madeleine McCann's parents believe their daughter is still alive and may sue a former detective after he wrote a book claiming the missing toddler is dead.

Kate and Gerry McCann at a news conference in Portugal
Kate and Gerry McCann at a news conference in Portugal

Kate and Gerry McCann have flown to Portugal to speak to their lawyers about getting an update on the search for Madeleine and legal matters.

It is the first time Mrs McCann has returned to the country since being quizzed by police over her daughter's disappearance.

"I have had an urge to go back the whole time," Mrs McCann said at a news conference in Lisbon.

"It was the last time I saw Madeleine, it was the last time I held Madeleine and in some ways, for me, there is a pull - a sense of Madeleine there."

The couple are considering launching a defamation action against ex-Portuguese police officer Goncalo Amaral and his publishers, and are believed to be looking for £1.2m in compensation.

They have already successfully taken out an injunction against further publication of the book, called The Truth Of The Lie, by Mr Amaral.

In the book, Mr Amaral claims that Madeleine is dead and questions the McCanns' account that she was taken while they were eating with friends nearby.

Sky News crime correspondent Martin Brunt said the couple thought the book was "very hostile" and "deterred potential witnesses in the case from coming forward".

Mr McCann said: "The judiciary, having reviewed all the evidence, say there is no evidence that Madeleine is dead and there is no evidence to implicate us in her death.

"That's the message which we fully expected to come out after the files were published, and from our perspective the most important thing is that Madeleine probably still is alive."

Mr Amaral was involved in the initial disappearance investigation but was later taken off the case.

Earlier this month, a Portuguese judge banned further sale or publication of Mr Amaral's book.

The injunction also banned Mr Amaral from repeating his claims about Madeleine or her parents, who are from Rothley, Leicestershire.

Madeleine was three when she went missing in the resort of Praia da Luz in May 2007.

The McCanns, both 41, are in Portugal for one day and although they are not visiting Praia da Luz during this trip they are considering it in the future.

"I don't have any plans, but in my head, yes, I will go to Praia da Luz some point soon," Mrs McCann said.

Kate McCann makes emotional return to Portugal, 23 September 2009
Kate McCann makes emotional return to Portugal Daily Mirror

By Mirror.co.uk
23/09/2009


Kate McCann made an emotional return to Portugal
today for the first time since being quizzed by police over her daughter Madeleine's disappearance.

Mrs McCann and her husband Gerry went to the capital,
Lisbon, to update their lawyers on the search for Madeleine, who was three when she disappeared in the Algarve resort of Praia da Luz in May 2007.

Although her husband has been back, this is Mrs Cann's first visit since 2007.

The couple's spokesman, Clarence Mitchell, said: "They will be attending a series of meetings with their lawyers and advisers in Lisbon and they are planning to return to the
UK tonight.

"Obviously this is Kate's first return to
Portugal since Madeleine's abduction and, whilst this is undoubtedly difficult for her, she remains determined to do whatever is necessary to assist in the search for her daughter."

One of the topics to be discussed will be the recent injunction against further publication of a book by former Portuguese police detective Goncalo Amaral.

Mr Amaral was involved in the initial investigation but was later taken off the case.

In his book, The Truth Of The Lie, he claims Madeleine is dead and questions the McCanns' account that she was taken while they were eating with friends nearby.

Earlier this month a Portuguese judge banned further sale or publication of the book.

The injunction also banned Mr Amaral from repeating his claims about Madeleine or her parents, who are both doctors.

At one point Portuguese police made Mr and Mrs McCann "arguidos", or formal suspects, in their daughter's disappearance.

They were questioned by detectives but their arguidos status was later lifted.

Mr Mitchell said discussions between the couple, both 41 and from Rothley, Leicestershire, would remain private.

But it is understood that, as well as updating lawyers about the search for their daughter, who would now be six, they will be meeting representatives from a new PR agency, whom they hope can turn public opinion in Portugal in their favour.

Earlier this month, Mr McCann criticised Mr Amaral, labelling claims in his book "unforgivable".

Mr McCann said the false allegations had done immense damage to the search for their daughter because Portuguese people would be dissuaded from coming forward with information.

Commenting after the injunction was imposed, he said: "There's a lot of people in
Portugal, who might have evidence, that believe Madeleine is dead.

"If people believe that, they won't search for her and they won't come forward with information.

"I know for a fact people have been told Madeleine is dead. There is no evidence to support that and that is unforgivable."

The decision to impose the injunction came after a year-long campaign by the McCanns' lawyers to prevent the publication of the book and a subsequent DVD.

Another topic of discussion between the McCanns and their Portuguese team today is thought to be a possible compensation claim against Mr Amaral.

The couple said earlier that any money awarded by the courts would be ploughed straight back in to paying for private investigators to probe their daughter's disappearance.



Kate McCann back in Portugal: I cry for my Madeleine every day
Daily Mirror

Daily Mirror, 24 September 2009

By Victoria Ward
24/09/2009


Kate McCann fought back tears as she returned to Portugal yesterday. And she told how she will never give up the search for her missing daughter Madeleine.

At an emotional press conference in Lisbon she admitted: "I cry for her every day."

Kate, 41, was making her first trip back since she and husband Gerry were quizzed as suspects by Portuguese police. And she vowed to return to the Praia da Luz resort where Madeleine vanished on a family holiday in May 2007.

She said: "It's where I last saw her, where I last held her.

"I never really wanted to leave because I feel a little part of Madeleine is there for us. But I think the circumstances really made it impossible for us to stay.

"I have an urge to go back the whole time. I don't have any plans of when or what I will do there but yes, I will return at some point to Praia da Luz."

Kate, who has never given up hope of being reunited with her daughter, added: "She's six now, but we've just got to keep going. It has been very harrowing and draining.

"But there is no choice, she needs us to find her and bring her home."

Kate and Gerry were making a brief visit to Lisbon, where they had a series of meetings with lawyers. It was Kate's first time back in the country since their arguido, or suspect, status was lifted.

But Kate admitted that her heart has never really left the Algarve resort.

She fought back tears as she added: "It is hard to describe how painful the past 29 months has been.

"Each day, each week we get through I'm thinking, 'How's Madeleine?'"

Kate said she and Gerry gained strength from their four-year-old twins Sean and Amelie. "They ask about Madeleine every day," she said.

She admitted she was "a little scared" about making the trip to Portugal from her home in Rothley, Leics, but described it as "positive" and an important day for the whole family. She added: "We just want to find Madeleine and I believe this is a good place to be."

Meanwhile, the McCanns are suing ex-cop Gon-calo Amaral for £1million over book claims that Madeleine is dead. Any cash will go back into the search.



I cry for Madeleine each day - Kate Daily Mirror

24/09/2009

Kate McCann has spoken of how she cries every day for her missing daughter Madeleine.

Kate McCann, 23 September 2009

Speaking on her return to Portugal for the first time since being questioned by police over her daughter's disappearance, she said Madeleine was always in her thoughts.

Mrs McCann said: "Each day we get through, each week that we get through, I'm thinking, how is Madeleine?"

She added: "She's six, but we've just got to keep going, and it has been very harrowing and very draining, and it's been a long time to just keep going. But there is no choice, she needs us to find her and bring her home. I cry for Madeleine every day."

She also insisted that she would one day return to Praia da Luz, the resort where Madeleine was snatched during a family holiday.

Gerry and Kate McCann, 23 September 2009

Kate and Gerry McCann were told on Wednesday that they could receive more than £1 million compensation from a former police detective who claimed she was dead.

They are pursuing legal action against Goncalo Amaral after winning a gagging order against the publication of his book. Several thousand copies of the book have been handed over to the family's legal team, it is understood.

After the couple met their Portuguese lawyers and advisers in Lisbon, Mrs McCann said: "Our main worry, obviously, was people believing that Madeleine was dead. If people believe that she is not alive, then people will stop looking for her. I just think that it's so vital and so fair for Madeleine that we don't give up on her, that we look for her. We're not going to stop."

Mr McCann said there was no evidence that his daughter is dead. He said a team of private investigators are still working on the case and going through "hundreds of thousands" of pieces of information.

Legal proceedings are continuing against Mr Amaral but lawyers have told the McCanns their search fund could be in line for a payout worth £1.2 million. Mr Amaral was involved in the initial investigation to find Madeleine but was later taken off the case.

Kate McCann returns to Portugal, 23 September 2009
Kate McCann returns to Portugal Daily Express

By Emily Garnham
Wednesday September 23 2009

THE MCCANNS have returned to Portugal together for the first time since being grilled by police over their daughter Madeleine's disappearance.

Kate McCann and husband Gerry travelled to Lisbon to update their lawyers on the ongoing search for Madeleine, who was just three when she went missing in the Algarve resort of Praia da Luz.

Although her husband has been back, this is Kate's first visit since 2007.

The couple's spokesman, Clarence Mitchell, said: "They will be attending a series of meetings with their lawyers and advisers in Lisbon and they are planning to return to the UK tonight.

"Obviously this is Kate's first return to Portugal since Madeleine's abduction and, whilst this is undoubtedly difficult for her, she remains determined to do whatever is necessary to assist in the search for her daughter."

One of the topics discussed will be the recent injunction against further publication of a book by disgraced former Portuguese police detective Goncalo Amaral, who was involved in the initial investigation.

In his book, The Truth Of The Lie, he claims Madeleine is dead and questions the McCanns' account she was taken while they were eating with friends nearby.

Earlier this month a Portuguese judge banned further sale or publication of the book and ordered Mr Amaral not to repeat his claims about Madeleine or her parents.

At one point Portuguese police made Mr and Mrs McCann "arguidos", or formal suspects, in their daughter's disappearance.

They were questioned by detectives but their arguidos status was later lifted.

Mr Mitchell said discussions between the couple, both 41 and from Rothley, Leicestershire, would remain private.

But it is understood that, as well as updating lawyers about the search for their daughter, who would now be six, they will be meeting representatives from a new PR agency, whom they hope can turn public opinion in Portugal in their favour.

Earlier this month, Gerry criticised Mr Amaral, labelling claims in his book "unforgivable".

He feared the book's damaging claims had hampered the search for missing Madeleine.

Commenting after the injunction was imposed, he said: "There's a lot of people in Portugal, who might have evidence, that believe Madeleine is dead.

"If people believe that, they won't search for her and they won't come forward with information.

"I know for a fact people have been told Madeleine is dead. There is no evidence to support that and that is unforgivable."

The decision to impose the injunction came after a year-long campaign by the McCanns' lawyers to prevent the publication of the book and a subsequent DVD.

Another topic of discussion between the McCanns and their Portuguese team today is thought to be a possible compensation claim against Mr Amaral.

The couple said earlier that any money awarded by the courts would be ploughed straight back in to paying for private investigators to probe their daughter's disappearance.



We'll never stop looking for Madeleine
Daily Express

Daily Express, 24 September 2009

By Nick Fagge
Thursday September 24, 2009

KATE McCann yesterday said she would return to the resort where her daughter Madeleine vanished.

She was speaking in Portugal during an ­emotional appeal for new information.

It was her first visit to the country since she was questioned over Madeleine's disappearance more than two years ago.

She said she would do anything to get her daughter back, including returning to the town of Praia da Luz.

Speaking in Lisbon with husband Gerry at her side, Kate said: "This is a very important day for us and for the search for Madeleine.

"I just think that it's so vital and so fair for Madeleine that we don't give up on her, that we look for her. We're not going to stop."

Asked if she was going back to Praia da Luz, Kate said they would not be going to the Algarve resort on this trip, but added: "We will go back to Praia da Luz some time.

"This could be a crucial point in the search for Madeleine and we will do everything we can to help find our daughter."

Both Kate and Gerry fought back tears as they spoke of their long battle to keep Madeleine's disappearance in the public eye.

The couple said that, "God willing", private detectives working for them would be able to find enough evidence for the Portuguese authorities to re­open the official investigation into the disappearance of Madeleine, who vanished from the family's holiday apartment on May 3, 2007, shortly before her fourth birthday.

The couple, from Rothley, Leicestershire, flew into Lisbon yesterday morning to update their Portuguese legal team on the investigation and to explore ways of moving the search forward.

Gerry has twice returned to Portugal to check on the investigation but it was the first time that Kate had returned to the country.

He said there was no evidence his daughter was dead and that a team of private investigators was working on the case, going through "hundreds of thousands" of pieces of information.

The search for Madeleine was being financed by family, friends and other private donations, he said.

The McCanns were yesterday told they could receive more than £1million compensation from a former ­Portuguese police detective who claimed she was dead. A book by ­Goncalo Amaral, the detective who first worked on the case, was banned earlier this month. The ruling came after the McCanns took legal action to halt its distribution.

Several thousand copies of the book have been handed over to the family's legal team, it is understood.

The family feared the book would prevent anyone with information coming forward.

Gerry has described claims in the book as "unforgiveable".

Kate said: "Our main worry, obviously, was people believing that Madeleine was dead.

"Obviously, if people believe that she is not alive then people will stop looking for her."

Kate had found the prospect of returning to Portugal daunting, the family's spokesman Clarence Mitchell said, but she was prepared to do anything to find her daughter.

He added: "Obviously this is Kate's first return to Portugal since Madeleine's abduction and, whilst this is undoubtedly difficult for her, she remains determined to do whatever is necessary to assist in the search for her daughter.

"They will be attending a series of meetings with their lawyers and advisers in Lisbon and they are planning to return to the UK tonight."

Kate said she and Gerry, both 41, had fresh hope for their daughter following the discovery of Jaycee ­Dugard, who was found in California 18 years after being kidnapped.

Dugard, now 29, was reunited with her family last month after being snatched when she was 11.



I cry for Madeleine each day - Kate Daily Express (identical to Daily Mirror report)

Thursday September 24, 2009

Kate McCann has spoken of how she cries every day for her missing daughter Madeleine.

Speaking on her return to Portugal for the first time since being questioned by police over her daughter's disappearance, she said Madeleine was always in her thoughts.

Mrs McCann said: "Each day we get through, each week that we get through, I'm thinking, how is Madeleine?"

She added: "She's six, but we've just got to keep going, and it has been very harrowing and very draining, and it's been a long time to just keep going. But there is no choice, she needs us to find her and bring her home. I cry for Madeleine every day."

She also insisted that she would one day return to Praia da Luz, the resort where Madeleine was snatched during a family holiday.

Kate and Gerry McCann were told on Wednesday that they could receive more than £1 million compensation from a former police detective who claimed she was dead.

They are pursuing legal action against Goncalo Amaral after winning a gagging order against the publication of his book. Several thousand copies of the book have been handed over to the family's legal team, it is understood.

After the couple met their Portuguese lawyers and advisers in Lisbon, Mrs McCann said: "Our main worry, obviously, was people believing that Madeleine was dead. If people believe that she is not alive, then people will stop looking for her. I just think that it's so vital and so fair for Madeleine that we don't give up on her, that we look for her. We're not going to stop."

Mr McCann said there was no evidence that his daughter is dead. He said a team of private investigators are still working on the case and going through "hundreds of thousands" of pieces of information.

Legal proceedings are continuing against Mr Amaral but lawyers have told the McCanns their search fund could be in line for a payout worth £1.2 million. Mr Amaral was involved in the initial investigation to find Madeleine but was later taken off the case.

McCanns return to Portugal in search of Madeleine - and compensation, 23 September 2009
McCanns return to Portugal in search of Madeleine - and compensation Guardian

• Parents try to convince locals daughter is alive
• Visit also used to finalise plans to sue police chief

Matthew Taylor and Esther Addley
Wednesday 23 September 2009 21.40 BST


The parents of missing girl Madeleine McCann returned to Portugal today to launch a fresh charm offensive aimed at convincing sceptical locals that there is still hope of finding her alive.

The day-long trip, which was also used to finalise plans to sue the former police detective Gonçalo Amaral, who has been openly suspicious of the couple, was the first time Madeleine's mother, Kate McCann, had returned to the country since being named as suspect in her disappearance in May 2007.

The McCanns met lawyers and legal advisers before holding a briefing with local journalists where Kate said it was crucial that they had the support of the Portuguese people.

"This is a very important day for us in the search for Madeleine," she told reporters. "This could be the turning point in the search for our daughter."

The talks with their Portuguese lawyers chiefly concerned the ongoing battle with the former police detective Amaral, who led the initial inquiry into the disappearance of Madeleine, aged three.

The are planning to sue Amaral for €1.2m for allegations he made in his book The Truth of the Lie, in which he claimed Madeleine was dead and questioned the McCanns' account that she was snatched from their holiday apartment in the resort of Praia da Luz on the Algarve as they ate dinner in a nearby restaurant.

The couple have successfully secured an injunction banning the further sale or publication of the book, which was about to be translated into English, and earlier this month Gerry McCann labelled the claims "unforgivable" and said that the false allegations had done immense damage to the search for his daughter.

"There's a lot of people in Portugal, who might have evidence, that believe Madeleine is dead," he said. "If people believe that, they won't search for her and they won't come forward with information."

He added: "I know for a fact people have been told Madeleine is dead. There is no evidence to support that and that is unforgivable."

The McCanns' Portuguese legal team confirmed that Amaral, who was removed from his position in charge of the inquiry after persistent criticism of his handling of the case, was being sued in a civil claim for the allegations in his book. "We are currently demanding €1.2m in damages," said Ed Smethurst, legal coordinator for the McCanns.

"But we are reserving the right to increase this value as soon as we can ascertain what profits have been generated from the sale of this book."

Public opinion in Portugal, initially sympathetic, has become increasingly hostile towards the couple since they were named arguidos, or official suspects, in September 2007, even after they were formally cleared of any involvement by Portuguese investigators in May last year.

It also emerged that the couple had hired a Portuguese PR firm to help improve their image with the locals. "It is very important that we can get the message across to the Portuguese media and the public that the search for Madeleine is continuing," said the couple's spokesman, Clarence Mitchell.

Although the McCanns' search for their daughter has taken on a lower profile, one of the private investigators who is now leading the hunt, the former detective Dave Edgar, said this month that he was sure Madeleine was alive and being held just 10 miles from where she was snatched.

Edgar added that the discovery of other missing girls who were presumed dead – like Jaycee Lee Dugard, Natascha Kampusch and Elisabeth Fritzl – support his theory that Madeleine is still alive.

"Maddie is most likely being held captive, possibly in an underground cellar, just like Natascha or Elisabeth, and could emerge at any time," he told a Belfast newspaper.

In May Kate McCann appeared on the Oprah Winfrey chatshow in the US and made an emotional appeal for help to find her daughter that was broadcast in 100 countries.

In the same month there was a flurry of interest when a British paedophile who had been living close to Praia da Luz when Madeleine disappeared was tracked to Germany and questioned.

Three months later Mitchell appealed for information on a woman descried as "a bit of a Victoria Beckham lookalike" who a witness had described as acting suspiciously in Barcelona three days after Madeleine disappeared. Both leads have so far come to nothing.

Tonight Mitchell said that the inquiry team had had more than 1,000 "pieces of information" regarding the woman spotted in Barcelona, which the detectives were working through.

He added that two further leads had taken investigators to Portugal in recent months, and that the campaign currently had enough money to continue the search until spring 2010.


The PR battle


From the earliest days following their daughter's disappearance in May 2007 Kate and Gerry McCann came under intense scrutiny over their dealings with the media.

Assisted at first by a press spokesman for the holiday company where they were staying, and later by Clarence Mitchell, then working on behalf of the Foreign Office, they were soon obliged to hire their own media team to deal with the sheer numbers of British, Portuguese and international media crowding outside the doors of their Algarve apartment and clamouring for comment on every step of the hunt for Madeleine.

Though the couple were careful to feed information to the British media, local newspaper and broadcasters felt they were not given the same access, and as criticism of the Portuguese police grew in British papers, they in turn began leaking prejudicial material to disgruntled local journalists.

By late summer 2007 the couple had already begun legal action against one local magazine, Tal e Qual, for falsely alleging they had been responsible for Madeleine's death.

Their support among the Portuguese population, always fragile, became openly hostile when the couple were named official suspects that September — Kate McCann was booed as she left the police station and they fled Portugal a few days later. Yesterday's visit was the first time she had returned since.

Mitchell left the Foreign Office to work as the couple's personal spokesman weeks later as some headlines in the UK became almost equally critical. The following March the McCanns accepted £550,000 in damages from Express Newspapers, for "grotesque and grossly defamatory" allegations, including that they had sold Madeleine, and were involved in swinging or wife swapping. They have since been formally cleared of any involvement in the crime.

In Portugal, however, there remains a widespread lack of sympathy and, among many, an open suspicion of the couple, which was fed by the publication of the former police chief Gonçalo Amaral's book A Verdade da Mentira (The Truth of the Lie) in July 2008. The McCanns' decision todayto speak privately to local rather than British media may be the first sign of a change in strategy from their new Lisbon PR advisers.

Esther Addley

*

Note: The headline of this article was amended at 01.33 BST on Thursday 24 September 2009 to read: 'McCanns return to Portugal in search of Madeleine - and to sue police chief'.

'Every day I cry for Maddy': Kate McCann returns to Portugal for first time since being quizzed over daughter's disappearance, 24 September 2009
'Every day I cry for Maddy': Kate McCann returns to Portugal for first time since being quizzed over daughter's disappearance Daily Mail

By SAM GREENHILL
Last updated at 9:12 AM on 24th September 2009

Courage: Kate McCann's face was etched with pain yesterday, during her first visit to Portugal in two years

Kate McCann revealed yesterday how she still cries for her missing daughter Madeleine every day.

With pain etched on her face, Mrs McCann was clearly distressed as she returned to Portugal for the first time in two years.

She made the 'daunting' trip for a day of meetings with Portuguese lawyers about the disappearance of her daughter Madeleine in May 2007.

Alongside her on the visit to Lisbon was her husband Gerry, who has been back to Portugal twice since the couple returned home in September 2007.

Speaking at a press conference the 41-year-old vowed to one day return to Praia da Luz, the resort Madeleine was snatched from as the McCanns ate dinner during a family holiday.

She said her daughter, who will now be six years old, 'needs us to find her and bring her home'.

'It's all been very harrowing and draining,' she added.

Fighting back tears Mrs McCann said they had gained fresh hope for their daughter from the discovery of American Jaycee Dugard, who was recently found in California 18 years after being kidnapped.

Miss Dugard, now 29, was reunited with her family last month after being snatched outside her South Lake Tahoe home when she was 11. She had been kidnapped and held captive in a backyard.

The McCanns said they had met their Portuguese lawyers and advisers in Lisbon to explore ways of moving the search for Madeleine forward.

A source close to the couple said: 'Although Kate has always felt it reasonably daunting to go back, she thinks it is important to keep the search alive.'

Parts of the Portuguese media remain quite hostile towards the McCanns, and Mrs McCann's decision to face them personally is being seen as a 'mini PR offensive'.

United front: Kate McCann holds husband Gerry's hand during a news conference in Lisbon yesterday
United front: Kate McCann holds husband Gerry's hand during a news conference in Lisbon yesterday

The couple are terrified that people in Portugal will not keep looking for Madeleine if they think she is dead.

They are taking legal action against a Portuguese detective who worked on the case and wrote a book claiming their little girl was no longer alive.

Lawyers have told the McCanns their search fund could be in line for a payout worth £1.2million from Goncalo Amaral, who was taken off the Madeleine case after the initial investigation.

Earlier this month a Lisbon judge banned the sale of Goncalo Amaral's-book, The Truth Of The Lie, after the McCanns took legal action to halt its distribution.

Mrs McCann said: 'Our main worry, obviously, was people believing that Madeleine was dead. Obviously, if people believe that she is not alive then people will stop looking for her.

'I just think that it's so vital and so fair for Madeleine that we don't give up on her, that we look for her. We're not going to stop.'

Mr McCann said there was no evidence his daughter was dead.

He said a team of private investigators was still working and going through 'hundreds of thousands' of pieces of information.

The search is being financed by family, friends and other private donations, he said.

In August 2008, Portugal's attorney general ordered police to halt their investigation because detectives had uncovered no evidence of a crime. The case will remain closed unless new evidence emerges.

A spokesman for the McCanns said last night: 'This was a working day trip. They went to meet their lawyers to get an update.'

With thanks to Nigel at McCann Files

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