Scotland Yard find Maddie' The Met joined the hunt for
Madeleine McCann last night after her parents begged David
Cameron for help - Kate McCann is pictured at the launch of
the book Madeleine
Scotland Yard joined the hunt for Madeleine McCann last night after her
parents begged David Cameron for help.
Kate and Gerry McCann made an anguished personal plea to the Prime
Minister to intervene, warning: 'We are at the end of our tether.'
Within hours of their desperate appeal, Home Secretary Theresa May
announced that Scotland Yard would help Portuguese police review key
evidence about Madeleine's disappearance, aged three, from an Algarve
resort in 2007.
The McCanns believe potentially vital clues were missed in the botched
Portuguese investigation, which was formally shelved in 2008. The
Portuguese have been reluctant to reopen the failed inquiry into
Madeleine's disappearance but they have now agreed that the Met should
lead a review of the evidence.
It is not clear whether British officers will travel to Portugal.
The McCanns have previously asked three Home Secretaries for help,
including Mrs May. If new leads or missed opportunities are thrown up,
the inquiry could be formally reopened, Government sources said.
Ministers hope the Met team can bring a 'new perspective' to the
controversial case and have agreed that the Home Office will fund their
work, which will be conducted in tandem with Portuguese police.
But the move has prompted questions about why the review could not have
been carried out earlier, when evidence was fresher.
And critics will question whether there is any realistic prospect of a
breakthrough in the case, which has seen no major developments since
Madeleine's disappearance on May 3, 2007.
Mrs May said: 'The Government's primary concern has always been and
remains the safe return of Madeleine. Although she disappeared in
Portugal, and the Portuguese retain the lead responsibility in the case,
law enforcement agencies here have continued to follow up leads and pass
information to the Portuguese authorities as appropriate.
'The Prime Minister and I have today agreed with [Met boss] Sir Paul
Stephenson that the Metropolitan Police will bring its particular
expertise to this case. Clearly, the detail of what that will entail
will be a matter of operational judgment.'
Madeleine disappeared in May 2007 from a holiday resort in
The Home Secretary did not reveal if it would amount to little more than
a cursory 'paper review' in which detectives only had access to
documents in the case files.
Police sources stressed last night that the Yard has 'no jurisdiction'
in Portugal and that officers would not be taking over the inquiry. One
official said: 'Any such move would cause a major diplomatic row. We
will be providing expertise and assistance.'
A team of officers in the Met's Specialist Crimes Directorate will be
formed in the next few days. It is expected they will report to
Assistant Commissioner Cressida Dick.
The shambolic handling of the Portuguese police investigation, in which
the McCanns were named as suspects only to be cleared months later, has
proved a major embarrassment to Portugal, which has been reluctant to
accept international offers of help.
British detectives have expressed dismay over flaws in the
Portuguese investigation into Madeleine's disappearance
Grief: Kate and Gerry McCann launched the new book yesterday
on the day which would have been Madeleine's eighth
birthday. She was snatched
British detectives have expressed dismay over flaws in the
investigation, in which dozens of people were allowed to trample over
the crime scene and evidence was found to be contaminated with cigarette
At a press conference yesterday, on Madeleine's eighth birthday, Mr
McCann said: 'We really have come to the end of our tether, we want to
see action from the Government, not rhetoric.'
The heart consultant, 42, had made a personal appeal to Mr Cameron, and
recalled Mr Cameron's own suffering over the death of his six-year-old
son Ivan in 2009, saying: 'He will understand what we've gone through.'
Mr and Mrs McCann, of Rothley, Leicestershire, have used public
donations to their Find Madeleine fund to pay for their four-year hunt
for their daughter. They have spent more than '1million on their search,
including hiring private detectives.
Leicestershire Police ' the McCanns' home force ' sent three family
liaison officers to Portugal in May 2007 to support the couple.
The force also carried out investigations on behalf of Portugal's
Policia Judiciaria, including gathering DNA evidence and interviewing
the McCanns' holiday friends after they had returned to Britain.
For details of ways to donate to the Find Madeleine fund, visit
by PAUL HARRIS
Some time in the future, if all their prayers are answered, Kate and
Gerry McCann will walk hand in hand into a press conference without
those haunted looks on their faces, without all the uncertainty.
There will be no more appeals, no pleas for public or government help,
no need to defend themselves against criticism and accusations.
They will face the cameras with beaming smiles and announce the good
news they always believed they would one day be able to share.
Yesterday wasn't that day.
Grief: Kate and Gerry McCann, pictured here
with the world's eyes on them at a press conference
yesterday, said they refuse to give up searching for their
daughter who disappeared four years ago
Four years after she vanished, as a mother and father should have been
celebrating their beloved daughter's eighth birthday, Madeleine McCann
was still missing. All the money, hope, effort and determination they
had poured into finding her these last 1,471 days had come to nothing.
They still couldn't declare she had been found safe and well.
And so, in a movingly familiar re-run of their anguished appearances
during those weeks in the spring and summer of 2007, Kate and Gerry
McCann entered another phase of the struggle.
With remarkable fortitude, they laid themselves bare before worldwide
audiences in the hope it might lead them to their little girl. They
wouldn't give up, they told us. They still harboured the image of her
running back into their arms.
How could anyone abandon hope when there was 'absolutely no evidence' to
suggest Madeleine had come to harm' Remember the other missing children
who had turned up after months and years away. 'I feel that she's out
there,' Kate said in one of the marathon round of interviews marking
publication of her book yesterday.
'I don't know if all mums would feel like that but what I do know is
that there's nothing telling me to stop or slow down. I truly believe
that she's out there and if we can get the help we need then one day we
might find her and get her home.'
Seeing the couple like this turned the clock back four years to the
Algarve, where Madeleine disappeared, and to the travelling appeal that
took them through Europe, Morocco, America and the Vatican
The Ocean Club in Praia da Luz, Portugal, from where
Madeleine McCann went missing in May 2007
Yesterday the revitalised tour took them to a succession of TV and radio
In the space of a few hours we learned that the couple believe
authorities have given up any possibility of finding her; that reported
sightings and bits of information being given to Portuguese police are
simply put in a stagnant file; and that not a single law enforcement
agency anywhere in the world has been looking for Madeleine for the past
That was why they had called on David Cameron to launch an independent
review of all the information relating to the case ' in the belief, as
Gerry put it, that there 'must be' some detail somewhere which is worthy
of investigation, and could provide a lead on Madeleine's abductor.
Holding it back, he said, was 'not acceptable'.
Yet it was the depth of personal and incidental information they were
prepared to make public which underlined how desperate they are to
rekindle the astonishing wave of public help and support that hallmarked
those first few weeks of the search.
Kate ' who held her husband's hand discreetly throughout the
45-minute QEII press conference ' admitted she did not want any more
children. Sean and Amelie, the couple's six-year-old twins, now knew
what happened to their big sister and say she was taken 'by the naughty
The 43-year-old GP still wakes up every morning, she told us, 'thinking
this could be the day we find her'. Most of Madeleine's toys were still
in her room back home in Rothley, Leicestershire, minus a couple that
the twins had quietly liberated.
But one question seemed genuinely to puzzle her. Would they ever reach a
point where she felt she could do no more'
'I don't feel we'll ever reach a point where we feel we've done
everything we can,' she said. 'If Madeleine's still missing then we
haven't done enough.
She bowed her head slightly and looked momentarily upset. Even when she
found a few seconds to laugh yesterday, she quickly brought herself in
check. She admitted that she struggles to overcome a sense of 'shame' at
the times when she is able to enjoy life.
But she has worn the same pained expression for so long now it has
changed her face for ever, and little wonder. You had only to look at
photographs in her book to realise how much she has lost ' not just a
daughter, but so many happy moments together as a family of five, and
the irretrievable joy of seeing Madeleine grow up.
In the book, the smiling child is frozen in time less than two weeks
short of her fourth birthday.
Copies of it were everywhere the couple went yesterday as figures showed
it was already topping sales charts, an indication that it might be on
the way to raising the '1million the McCanns need to fund their
They also hope it could jog memories of potential witnesses, and rebuild
the kind of political support they critically need.
There are clearly still a lot of questions to ask, and still no answers.
And still no sign of Madeleine