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McCanns: Haunted

HOMEPAGE NEWS REPORTS INDEX TRUTH OF THE LIE MADELEINE THE BOOK PROMOTION NEWS MAY 2011
Original Source: SUN2: 07 MAY 2011
Interview by ANTONELLA LAZZERI and OLIVER HARVEY
Published: 07 May 2011

 

FOR the first time since she went missing, Kate McCann opened the door to Madeleine's pretty pink bedroom at their home and peeped in. Dolls and teddies still lay where the little girl had left them.

Kate said: "I could see her, in bed, looking at me, her blonde hair on the pillow, saying, 'Lie with me, Mummy. Lie with me'."

Then she broke down. Kate has had her share of critics, people who call her cold, callous and incapable of showing emotion.

But anyone seeing her sob at the memory of that moment would have to have a heart of stone not to weep with her.

Four years after Madeleine was abducted from a holiday apartment in Praia da Luz, Portugal, the memory of her is almost frozen in time.

The little girl in a red dress - staring out from an iconic photo. It was released not long after she disappeared, days before her fourth birthday.

The reality is that Madeleine would now be nearly eight.

Kate, 43, admitted: "I find that quite shocking. I can't even imagine her. Eight sounds so old.

"I do sometimes think about what it would be like to have an eight-year-old now. I find it really strange. How has that time flown by? It was her fourth birthday - and then suddenly it's her eighth.

"I see girls of eight and I try to imagine Madeleine like that. And I just can't."

Kate still dreams of her daughter as she was when she vanished - cherubic face, a mop of beautiful blonde hair, huge eyes.

She explained: "I've had three dreams of her, all of them similar. We get a call that Madeleine's been found. And there she is and I'm cuddling her."

Reaching out her arms, as if she is holding a small child, she said: "The thing is, it's so tangible, I can feel her, smell her, feel her snuggling into me, like she always did.

"She's there, I'm holding her, I'm so happy. And then I wake up. And of course, she's not there. The pain is crippling."

It is at times like that when Kate and her husband Gerry are so grateful that they have their twins Amelie and Sean to give them hope and love.

Kate said: "I was chatting to Amelie and she said, 'Mummy's sad because Madeleine is not here. But Amelie's here and Amelie and Sean will always be here'.

"Sean said to me recently, 'When you're old, me and Amelie will look for Madeleine'."

The way the twins, now six, have dealt with Madeleine's disappearance has helped their parents cope.

Kate went on: "I don't know what we would have done if we hadn't had them.

"They're great. I've written down everything they've said. They include Madeleine in everything. If they have sweets, they ask if they can put their last one in her room.

"We've been as honest as we can. They know that Madeleine was stolen. They call the person who took her 'the naughty man'. They know it happened in Portugal. Amelie said, 'We went to Portugal and then we woke up and Madeleine was gone'."

At the twins' Leicestershire school, the one Madeleine was due to attend, teachers are keen to make sure Sean and Amelie are treated as normally as possible.

Kate explained: "Madeleine's very much part of the school. Every child knows what happened. The school have handled all the little incidents that have happened. They've been ready for it."

Gerry joined in: "There was an incident recently when a new kid to the school said to Sean, 'Madeleine is dead, someone shot her'."

Kate said: "The child's mum was really upset and flagged it up to the school. Sean was telling me as we came out of the school gates. I was like, 'uh'. But Sean said calmly, 'How would they know?"

Gerry, 42, said: "He was very matter of fact. He said no one knows where Madeleine is. The logic is undeniable."

Kate went on: "All the parents there have been really supportive and I don't blame the child at all, they are only young. Children do say things. But I think Sean and Amelie have handled it brilliantly.

"I am well aware, if God forbid we are still in this situation, that the pain and the anger and the upset will come as they get older and they realise what actually happened." Since Portuguese police called off their investigation in 2008, the search for Madeleine has been carried on by private investigators, paid for out of a campaign fund set up by Kate and Gerry.

The couple have also fought to raise the awareness of missing children everywhere. As a result, the EU is bringing in a system similar to America's Amber Alert.

When a child disappears, cross border alerts are put out on posters, TV and radio.

The McCann private detectives have followed up leads and sightings, some hidden away in Portuguese police files.

Desperate Kate also revealed she has turned amateur detective during return visits to the resort where her ordeal began in 2007. There she tries to get into the mind of the abductor.

She revealed: "I look at the apartment, I kind of step into that person's shoes - and I think, 'Where did you go?'

"I think it was someone who knew our movements. I don't think someone was passing by chance and took a child.

"I find it helpful, trying to work things out. I just want to try to understand it. I'm probably wasting my time but I just have this need to do it."

Kate got a friend to re-enact a sighting of a man holding a child, crossing the road near the apartment on the night Madeleine disappeared. The sighting was by Jane Tanner, one of the group holidaying with the McCanns. Kate said: "I got my friend to walk across the road at night. I said to her, 'I can see exactly what you're wearing'.

"Jane has been almost discredited, with people saying she couldn't have seen this person.

"But there are street lights there, you CAN see things."

As she stood on the same spot, Kate understood why Jane was feeling tormented because she had not challenged the man. Kate said: "She was actually quite close. I felt I could almost reach and stop him, could have saved Madeleine."

Recalling the arrival of her precious first child, Kate said: "She was born after IVF and felt very special. I thanked God every day that we'd finally got our little girl."

Gerry said: "Sometimes I look back and the things Madeleine was doing at three, nearly four, I find incredible. She has a very obvious sense of humour. She knew things were funny. She could do accents, she was a very good mimic.

"And she has a really good imagination. She loved things at a young age that you wouldn't think she would. She really liked Harry Potter, she really liked Dr Who.

"That was her time with me. When the twins had gone to bed, she would sit with me and watch TV. You could have a full conversation with her." Kate added: "She seemed older. I look at Amelie and Sean now, and we were having conversations like that with Madeleine.

"She is very gregarious, she would talk to older children like she was looking after them. She's very bright, enjoys company, and enjoys speaking to people."

Kate also revealed that Gerry and Madeleine always had a "very special bond".

She explained: "She had colic very badly as a baby and Gerry was there to take over when I was tired. She would be on Gerry's tummy writhing in pain.

"She would pull the hair out of his chest because she was in such pain. I'm sure it was having gone through those difficult times, that's why they had such a close bond." Thinking back to those intimate moments when he cradled Madeleine, Gerry, a hospital consultant cardiologist, recalled: "The amazing thing is that, as a baby, she was always awake, eyes always open.

"She really loved being held. She loved that interaction."

 

 

Kate, a part-time GP before Madeleine's disappearance, thinks of those times when she sits in her daughter's room in Rothley, Leics.

It is full of birthday and Christmas presents left over the last four years, along with drawings and notes left for her by the twins.

Kate said: "I always pop in to say 'Night, night' and 'Good morning.' I like to sit there, talk to her. It's one of the places I feel closest to her. When I finished writing the book, I went in there and read it to her. It's for her.

"Sometimes I feel that girl in the red dress in the famous photo of her has become almost a fictitious character. But Madeleine is our daughter, a real little girl."

All profits will fund hunt for our child

KATE and Gerry will use "every penny" of the book's profits for the Madeleine search fund.

In the months after Maddie's disappearance, coffers rose to ?2million - but that has now dwindled to just over ?130,000.

Without more funding, Madeleine's Fund: Leaving No Stone Unturned is likely to run out within three months.

The money has been spent on private detectives who follow up every clue. At one stage, they were costing ?50,000 a month, such was the number of leads.

It also pays for a website, posters and appeals.

The fund has been the only means the family have had to maintain the hunt.

The couple hope the book will re-energise the campaign they launched for an independent joint review by British and Portuguese authorities into Madeleine's disappearance.

Ex-GP Kate spent nine months drafting the 384-page volume. She said: "The book was written to get the truth out.

"But also, Madeleine's fund is running low and we need to maintain the search."

Gerry added: "Our hope is it may prompt those who have relevant information, knowingly or not, to come forward.

"At the same time it's our record of where we came from and where we ended up."

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