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Kate and Gerry McCann to be cleared over Madeleine's disappearance

Original Source: TELEGRAPH: 01 JULY 2008
by Nick Britten and Aislinn Simpson  3:11PM BST 01 Jul 2008
Gerry and Kate McCann are to be cleared over their daughter Madeleine's disappearance as the Portuguese police announced they are to close their investigation.

The McCanns, along with fellow suspect Robert Murat, are expected to have their arguido status lifted in the coming weeks Photo: GEOFF PUGH



One year and two months since the four-year-old went missing, the final police report into her disappearance offered no insight or conclusion as to what happened to her, heightening concerns that the police operation was in disarray.



Reports from Portugal said that the Policia Judiciaria probe into Madeleine's fate has been shelved and will be archived.



The McCanns, along with fellow suspect Robert Murat, are expected to have their arguido status lifted in the coming weeks.



Mr McCann, 39, and his 40-year-old wife have been told they will know their fate by the middle of August.



Yesterday their spokesman, Clarence Mitchell, said while they were waiting for official confirmation, they had "no reason" not to believe that the McCanns were about to be released from the investigation.



He added that despite the authorities shelving their inquiry, they would never give up searching for Madeleine and demanded that the police papers into the case be released.


He said: "On the one hand that will be welcome because the wider world will see Kate and Gerry to be the innocent and wronged couple that they are and all the pain and unnecessary suffering they have gone through on top of losing Madeleine.


"They are innocent of any involvement in Madeleine's disappearance and have been since day one, and this wrongly-imposed arguido status must be lifted as a priority and our lawyers will be pressing for that.


"On the other hand, if the police are to shelve it, who's going to be looking for Madeleine in Portugal? Does that mean they've just given up the search? She's still out there."


Mr Mitchell said that leaks to the Portuguese police probably reflected the police recommendation to the public prosecutor.


The couple's lawyers have lodged a claim at the High Court to be given access to documents relating to the case, which they could then use for the private investigation they are running through the Portuguese detective agency Metodo 3.


Once their arguido status was lifted, they will be able to talk publicly about the investigation since it was imposed last September. It should also mean they could see the police papers, although the authorities may still block them.


Mr Mitchell said: "If the case is closed completely, but the files remain closed to anybody's observation, then that is wrong.


"Surely it's only humane and decent that information that could help find Madeleine comes to the investigators who will keep looking for her even if the Portuguese investigators feel they can't.


"We have a very sophisticated intelligence gathering operation under way now - it's happening on several fronts in several countries. We would urge anybody out there who may have anything, no matter how minor it is, that may be relevant to finding Madeleine, to let us know."


He said they were following up "new and good" information since the round of media interviews the couple did for the first anniversary of Madeleine's disappearance on May 3 2007 from their holiday apartment in Praia da Luz.


While the police investigation is being closed, it can be re-opened in the light of any new evidence.


According to a source in the Policia Judiciaria, the final report on the investigation is only descriptive of the facts which have been verified and those that have not been ascertained in the case. It means it has not reached any conclusions over whether Madeleine's disappearance involved abduction, homicide, or concealing of a body.


Technically the public prosecutor could still press ahead with a prosecution but in the light of such lack of evidence and the police shelving their investigation it is virtually inconceivable


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