GUARDIAN: 16 MAY 2007
Fred Attewill and agencies Wednesday
May 16, 2007 Guardian Unlimited
A fighting fund intended to help secure the return of the missing
four-year-old Madeleine McCann was launched as her family thanked
the public for their support today.
The findmadeleine.com site enables people to donate money online to
help the search, which is now approaching its second week.
Robert Murat, a 33-year-old estate agent, was questioned by police
as a formal suspect, but released after the detective running the
investigation said there was not enough evidence to charge him.
However, he will not be allowed to leave
and must report to police regularly.
Madeleine's family held a press conference in Leicester to launch
the fund, attended by colleagues of her parents, Gerry and Kate
McCann, and the former England and
Leicester Tigers rugby captain Martin Johnson.
"We want Madeleine back," her uncle, John McCann, said. "A lot of
people have offered help in different ways, and this fund will help
our family to get our darling wee niece back.
"If, as a result of this fund, we are successful in getting
Madeleine back and we can help other families in a similar
situation, that would be fantastic."
Dr Doug Skehan, colleague of Gerry McCann, paid a warm tribute to
him and his wife. They remain in the Portuguese resort of Praia Da
Luz, where their daughter disappeared on May 3.
"They have become very successful doctors in our community," he
said, adding that staff at Leicester's
hospitals had donated £10,000 in the last day.
"It was very much part of daily conversation to learn of their
family. It has been a very great shock to all of us when we learned
of Madeleine's abduction."
Johnson said Madeleine's disappearance had "touched everyone",
adding: "As a parent, it really does hit home."
Madeleine's great uncle, Brian Kennedy, thanked the public for their
"moving" support which had helped "keep her parent spirits up."
Tonight, video images of the missing child will be broadcast at
half-time in the Uefa Cup final between Sevilla and Espanyol, being
played at Hampden Park,
A two-minute film, Find Madeleine, will be screened in an attempt to
raise awareness of the case among visiting fans from the two Spanish
Leaflets with pictures of the youngster, who was abducted in Portugal nearly
a fortnight ago, will also be placed on seats at the stadium.
Earlier today, Gordon Brown told Madeleine's family that he was
prepared to help "in any way he can".
Her aunt, Philomena McCann, met the chancellor while in Westminster lobbying MPs for support, and
said: "It's been extremely helpful and I'm very grateful to Gordon
Brown for taking the time to listen to us. "
Mr Brown said the government would continue to urge the Portuguese
authorities to keep the investigation at "maximum intensity".