SURROUNDED by photos of Madeleine, brave Kate McCann spent months
writing her heart-rending book based on diaries kept after her daughter
said: "My reason for writing is simple - to give an account of the
truth. The book was written for Madeleine for when she comes back and
also for her brother Sean and sister Amelie, so that as they grow up
they can read it too.
"Along the way there were often tears and I would not be able to carry
on. But I was determined to do it. Every penny we raise through its
sales will be spent on our search for Madeleine. Nothing is more
important than finding our little girl."
this extract, edited and abridged by ANTONELLA LAZZERI and
OLIVER HARVEY, Kate tells how in the early days she was tormented by
thoughts of Madeleine's possible fate at the hands of a child sex
truly awful manifestation of what I was feeling was a macabre slideshow
of vivid pictures in my brain that taunted me relentlessly.
was crying out that I could see Madeleine lying, cold and mottled, on a
big grey stone slab.
Looking back, seeing me like this must have been terrible for my friends
and relatives, and particularly my parents, but I couldn't help myself.
all this needed to come out. I dread to think what it might have done to
me if it hadn't.
Later on it was the nights that were the worst. Not only did lying awake
in the dark take me straight back to the most awful night of all, but my
brain, finally free of the preoccupations of the day, would wander
unbidden down black and terrifying avenues.
struggled constantly to think nice thoughts and drift off to sleep, but
the demons had me in their grip and would torture me mercilessly with
images too frightening and painful to share.
Where is my Madeleine? Please, God, do something!
entry in my diary from that time: "Crying in bed again - can't help it .
The thought of Madeleine's fear and pain tears me apart. The thought of
paedophiles makes me want to rip my skin off."
Shortly after Madeleine went missing I recall Bill Henderson, the
British Consul for the Algarve at the time, telling me that there had
been several recent cases of men getting into bed with children, but no
don't know why this didn't ring a million alarm bells. As it was, it
remained locked away in the dungeons of my mind for many months.
the time my brain simply couldn't connect such cases with Madeleine's.
These were abuse victims, and as awful as such crimes were, Madeleine's
was much worse. Our child had been stolen.
Saturday May 5 was the day we should have been going home. Gerry and I
awoke at 4am, having slept for barely a couple of hours, still feeling
wretched and utterly abandoned by the Portuguese Judiciary in Portimao.
verging on hysteria, we were incapable of comforting each other. It was
clear we were struggling to keep our heads above water. We rang holiday
company Mark Warner's overseas manager and asked if the trauma
psychologist Alan Pike could come and see us.
is a clinical partner at the Centre for Crisis Psychology, pioneers in
psychological trauma aftercare following disasters at home and abroad.
He got us talking, encouraging us to think rationally about what we were
saying, and we talked a lot, for hours. We faced our biggest fear - that
Madeleine had been taken by a paedophile and killed.
pointed out that these thoughts could be no more than speculation. We
didn't know what had happened.
"Madeleine might walk through that door at any minute," he said. "You
need to be ready for that."
Having spent much of the previous few days cooped up, first with the
police and then with the lawyers, by the Sunday afternoon Gerry and I
felt the need to escape into the open air. We decided to go for a walk
along the beach. I remember this walk well. It had been a chaotic and
confusing ten days, shot through with unremitting cold dread and dark
I asked Gerry apprehensively if he'd had any really horrible thoughts or
visions of Madeleine. He nodded. Haltingly, I told him about the awful
pictures that scrolled through my head of her body torn apart.
Although I knew I had to share this burden, just raising the subject out
loud to someone else, even Gerry, was excruciating.
Admitting the existence of these images somehow confirmed them as a real
possibility, and with that came renewed waves of fear.
Everybody has their own mechanisms for self-protection and surrounding
yourself only with "nice thoughts" is one. I wished I could do that. The
pictures I saw of our Madeleine no sane human being would want in her
head, but they were in mine.
simply couldn't rid myself of these evil scenes in the early days and
weeks. That walk with Gerry was, however, a small watershed. The mutual
acknowledgement of such delicate and deeply upsetting responses drew us
would be some time before we could get far enough past the terrible
scenes seared into our minds to think logically about that night.
we did begin to function within what felt like an endless bad dream, we
started to comb through our memories, searching for something
she was first stolen, paedophiles were all we could think about, and it
ate away at us. The idea of a monster like this touching my daughter,
stroking her, defiling her perfect little body, just killed me, over and
over again. It didn't make any difference that this might not be the
explanation for Madeleine's abduction (and, please God, it isn't). The
fact that it was a possibility was enough to prevent me from shutting it
would lie in bed, hating the person who had done this to us - the person
who had taken away our little girl and terrified her.
hated him. I wanted to kill him. I wanted to inflict the maximum pain
possible on him for heaping all this misery on my family.
was angry and bitter and I wanted it all to go away. I wanted my old
Monday July 21 2008 the Portuguese attorney general's office announced
that the investigation of Madeleine's disappearance was to be archived,
pending further evidence.
case files were to be released. One of the most concerning and upsetting
pieces of information to emerge quite early was the record of sexual
crimes against children in the Algarve.
discovery made me feel physically sick. I read of five cases of British
children on holiday being sexually abused in their beds while their
parents slept in another room.
three further incidents, children encountered an intruder in their
bedrooms, who was presumably disturbed before he had the chance to carry
out an assault.
guessed these were the reports that Bill Henderson had told me about.
These incidents had occurred within an hour's drive of Praia da Luz over
the three years prior to Madeleine's disappearance.
PJ had never mentioned any of them to us. In fact, I gathered from the
files, some hadn't even been recorded by the authorities.
they might never have come to light if the parents of these children
hadn't been brave enough to come forward to the British police after
Madeleine was taken and relive their nightmares.
did so in the belief there could be a link between what had happened to
their children and what had happened to her.
broke my heart to read the terrible accounts of these devastated parents
and the experiences of their poor children.
Unbelievably (or maybe not, by this time), there was a familiar thread
running through them all.
parents had called the police. They hadn't felt that the crime was taken
seriously, by the police or by their tour operators. Statements were
often not taken. DNA and fingerprint evidence was frequently not sought.
In most instances there was no sign of a break-in.
cried for hours after reading a letter of complaint from one mother
regarding the sexual abuse of her daughter and the lack of proper
attention paid to it.
final line in particular has haunted me ever since:
is difficult to see with this lack of investigation or interest how a
profile of this man can be built up.
did not appear to us that there was any great incentive or determination
to find the offender and bring him to justice.
"Furthermore, it could all have been so much worse... indeed this man
could go on to do much worse to another child if he's not stopped now."
Six months later, our beloved Madeleine was grabbed from her bed. Of
course, none of these children was abducted and these crimes may be
completely unrelated to what happened to Madeleine. We do not know who
has taken our daughter and for what purpose.
these cases do demonstrate, however, is that British tourists in holiday
accommodation were being targeted.
the very least, the possibility of a link between these incidents and
Madeleine's disappearance should have been investigated.
is so hard not to scream from the rooftops about how these crimes appear
to have been brushed under the carpet.
authorities have known of them for a long time and yet the perpetrators,
as far as the families are aware, remain free. Children are involved and
they need to be protected.
are extremely grateful, however, to their parents for having the courage
and compassion to share their experiences with us to try to help us find