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Gerry and Kate McCann: Full interview transcript

HOMEPAGE NEWS REPORTS INDEX GERRY & KATE PHOTOS TRANSCRIPTS NEWS MAY 2008
Original Source: TELEGRAPH; FRIDAY 02 MAY 2008
By Nick Britten
Last Updated: 2:09AM BST 02 May 2008
 
The Telegraph talks to Gerry and Kate McCann as they launch a new campaign on the anniversary of their daughter Madeleine's disappearance.

Kate McCann says she still feels Madeleine is out there Photo: AP

Gerry, talking about the launch of a new campaign, said: This is something we've been working behind the scenes. We knew there would be massive media attention and we wanted to capitalise on that.

The documentary is a platform and told a bit of a story about where we're at. We want to bring the focus back completely to what this is about finding Madeleine.

Kate: There has been that much speculation. I find it upsetting for our family but it's upsetting for Madeline.

Gerry: There so much noise you can't tell the noise from the real messages. Any angle leads to column inches when it doesn't deserve it.

When you think about the last five months how much new information - there's very, very little and we need to focus is back on what people do know and what are the real issues here.

Q: Is this the best hope now of finding Madeleine?

Kate: I'm not sure about that but the media interest will wane without any developments and I guess you've got to use this opportunity. We need that information and we strongly believe that information is out there, somebody knows something.

Dubbing today "May Day for Madeleine", Gerry said: It's the last chance to capture a lot of the information that's gone into the investigation that we're not privy to and clearly we need to know everything that's been done. What we're asking people to do is if you've given information to police, Crimestoppers, Portuguese police, we're asking you to give it to us as well.

We're a year down the line and seemingly no closer to finding Madeleine. We've got little bits of jigsaw but huge gaps.

We have set aside considerable resources on this task and we have processes set up and ready to go but of course we don't know what information has been generated.

I personally don't think running stories on Madeleine makes that much difference. Her image is everywhere.

It's about that key bit of information - someone has it but they might not necessarily put it together.

At this time, a year on, it's to try to jog people's memories. Portugal is a small country, she could have been moved, we've clearly got an international case and we're desperate for information.

There are people who haven't come forward who might have been involved on the periphery.

Q: When the arguido status is lifted will this story go away?

Kate: Being made arguido has not helped the search for Madeleine. I'm sure when the arguido status is lifted it will be a major development and huge headlines.

Q: There is lots and lots of media coverage but has it helped the searched?


Gerry:
A lot of people think Madeleine is dead. Today is about us stating our absolute categoric belief that there is no evidence that Madeleine has been seriously harmed.

Q: How do you feel Madeleine?

Kate: It's a sense really, Madeliene is very close, it's kind of a sensation that she's there. You try and be objective and think that it's just because I'm her mum and because I want to believe.

Gerry: The more research we've done and the more we've looked into these types of cases the stronger my belief is now that there's a better chance Madeleine is alive.

The bulk of data is actually based from the US. From the 115-a-year stereotypical kidnappings by strangers 40-50 per cent are killed, which means that the majority are not killed. The younger the child the less likely is that child will be seriously harmed or killed.

Madeleine really is the right low limit. We've not said it's impossible. How many of the children who are never found and assumed to be dead are actually being brought up somewhere else? It's frightening to think of Natasha Kampusch (held for eight years) and Shawn Hornbeck (four years) and other kids...

Kate: The story in Austria shows how people can go off the radar. But they are still there and you owe it to that erson to keep looking.

It still give you hope, it's horrible to think of the length of time and stuff and you think of a year ago. Imagine what it would have been like to get to a year, it would have killed me. A few days at that point were forever but it [Elisabeth being found] gives you hope and it could be today, tomorrow or next week and you've got to keep hold of that hope.

Gerry: It all gives you hope. People want to help. She's a completely innocent child and surely we can find her if everyone pulls together. Whatever anyone thinks of the situation Madeleine is innocent and she's a child.

When we went to Washington and spoke to the people who had the most expertise we came out thinking she is out there.


Gerry:
There's a really good chance she is still out there, based on years of experience of missing and abducted children

What Earnie Allen's (national center for missing and exploited children in Washington) exact words were are there are a host of scenarios by which Madeleine could still be out there.

The experts are saying there is a strong chance Madeleine is out there but its back to what we need to do which is address the situation: Who took her? Is that person alone? If they are alone they don't live in isolation, they live in a town, in a holiday resort, they interact with people and they might have accomplices we don't know what motivates them.

They have to shop, they have to buy things. People have got a description of a man. It's trying to find a link somewhere, we feel incredibly passionate about it.

Kate: Even people who are classed as loners are known as the loner down the road.

About Sean and Amelie:

Sean and Amelie talk about her constantly,. They include her in everything. They ask about her. They essentially still play with her and that's really heartening for us. A year down the line, our three-year-old twins still see it as that and if Madeleine walked in the door tomorrow they'd say which one do you want and play with her.

They would shout 'Madeleine's home, lets go and play'. She is still a huge part of their life and ours.

Explaining to them what has happened:

Kate: I've got my journal but we took advice and haev done everything that we thought was best for Sean and Amelie. A psychologist we spoke to said basically be honest. The problem is you haven't got a story to tell and can't fill in the facts.

Gerry: I hope she's back with us before they're of an age when they're on the internet and searching. We will face difficult decisions down the line and we are not forcing information on them.

As they ask the questions, they are being told straight and the situation now is still they know Madeleine is missing. They have some understanding of the concept of being lost and that people are looking for them and they say heartbreaking things to us like they're going to find Madeleine and bring her home.

Kate: They will say things like that because we talk about when Madeleine comes home.

About the new campaign:

Gerry: This is a local call number, no premium. It functions from abroad. My strong understanding is that will be a local call from abroad as well. People can leave information anonymously and we guarantee confidentiality.

Kate: We don't know what has been done and what hasn't been done (in the investigation). As parents not knowing what's being done, it gets to a time when we have to find out ourselves.

Gerry: We need to know and we want to know. The bulk of the information in the inquiry came from the UK. We knew there were thousands of leads that came through Crimestoppers and Leicestershire police.

The bulk of the people in Praia da Luz were British, Irish, Dutch and German. We need to co-operate with the authorities. We're not taking the law into our own hands. There will be jurisdictional issues.

We believe it's an international investigation and our investigation in independent. It's cross border and focused on finding Madeline.

Kate: We don't know what the Portuguese (police know)

Gerry: Who can object to us, a year down the line, diverting resources. It's a year. We're not being given information that people are under supervision - if so we'd be keeping very quiet.

People had a fair crack. We just want as parents to make sure everything possible is being done.

There's been a huge response. We don't know what came into Crimestoppers or Leicestershire. We have not had access and clearly we want access, what's been done and not been done.

Kate: We're not taking over the investigation but we're obviously trying to do something ourselves.

Gerry: We are running an independent investigation and we believe it is an international enquiry and we will direct as much resources as we've got available into following up every lead.

Any information coming in will be scrutinised, graded, followed up and acted on.

Kate and I have been working behind the scenes on this with a few core people to launch today. There has been a considerable degree of planning over several weeks.

We need every call. Every bit of information is important to us. Considerable resources are being directed into this.

We might be overwhelmed.

There might be multiple reasons why people have not come forward. In isolation it might not mean anything but it might when you look at the bigger picture.

Kate: I hope its not a bind for people and they will understand but can you give it again and there might be some key information in there. Maybe it might make this move.

Gerry: We have a right to information and what has been done to our daughter and if we are not given the information we will try and do anything. Anybody who has contacted any authority should contact us.

Q: How do you see her?

Kate: When you picture her it's memories. I don't speculate on what situation she's in. It's memories. I don't have any vision if where she is now.

I just sense her still being there. It's hard to explain really. It's a sensation, a feeling. It is comforting, very comforting, that she's that bit closer.

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