to the Find Madeleine McCann fund fell from almost £2million to £650,000
in just one year, it was revealed yesterday.
Only cash received
in libel payouts to friends of Gerry and Kate McCann - dubbed the Tapas
Seven - enabled the search for their daughter to go on, latest accounts
About £260 an hour flooded into the fund as a wave
of public sympathy swept the UK after Maddie's abduction in Praia da Luz
in the Algarve in May, 2007.
It had £1.4million in bank donations alone in the
first 10 months of the search.
But contributions fell away after the McCanns
became one-time suspects. And the fund's income dropped to £629,181 in
the year up to March 31, 2009 - while spending rose from £815,113 to
more than £1million.
Outgoings covered investigators, publicity and the
pair's legal fight against Portuguese policeman Goncalo Amaral.
Kate and Gerry, both 41, have been granted a
temporary injunction on his book claiming Maddie died the day she
vanished aged three.
The couple's friends were paid £375,000 in October
2008 after false newspaper allegations about them.
In a foreword to the accounts lodged at Companies
House, fund chairman, Gerry's brother John, said: "Rather than accepting
libel damages, the friends requested a donation was made to the fund.
This has enabled us to continue our search for Madeleine."