THE official hunt for missing Madeleine McCann was dramatically back on
tonight after the PM acted on her parents' heartfelt plea for help, The
Sun can reveal.
Moved David Cameron ordered the Met Police to reopen all the Madeleine
files for a full review of all the evidence ever gathered on her.
the probe finds any fresh leads over how the little girl disappeared
four years ago, a full-blown police investigation will then begin.
PM's decisive move comes as more than 20,000 Sun readers signed our
online petition today calling for an independent and transparent review
of the Maddie files.
Met's Commissioner Sir Paul Stephenson was tonight pulling together a
"sizeable" elite team of detectives for the job.
will go over every jot of evidence gathered by cops in the past "with a
fine-tooth comb", a senior government official insisted.
and Gerry McCann told The Sun: "We welcome the Government's response.
This is clearly a step in the right direction. The expertise of the
Metropolitan Police is renowned and we are reassured by our government's
commitment to the search for Madeleine.
would like to thank Mr Cameron and the Home Secretary for committing
such a significant resource as the Metropolitan Police to begin the
would also specifically like to thank The Sun, News International and
the general public for supporting the campaign to find Madeleine in the
way that they have."
Madeleine was abducted from a holiday apartment in Praia da Luz,
Portugal, on May 3, 2007. Today is her eighth birthday.
parents, Kate and Gerry McCann, made their appeal to the nation's leader
in an open letter to him published in today's Sun. Kate's book on her
daughter - titled simply Madeleine - has been serialised all week in The
Clearly touched by the McCanns' painfully emotional words, the Premier
held urgent talks with Home Secretary Theresa May today on what they
could do. Father-of-three Mr Cameron met the McCanns 18 months ago when
he was Opposition Leader and has followed their ordeal closely.
Sun can also reveal that Home Office officials have been secretly
working on reopening the hunt for Maddie - for the last nine months.
Kate, 43, and Gerry, 42, spent an hour with Mrs May in August last year
to ask for her help with their fruitless search.
May told The Sun tonight: "We all want to see this beautiful little girl
returned to her parents.
"That's why we have been doing everything we can behind the scenes in
the search for Madeleine.
"Although it might not always be in the public eye, the British
authorities have never given up on their work to find Madeleine."
The Home Secretary has also agreed to foot what is likely to be a
substantial bill for the case review from her department's budget.
Leicestershire police, as the McCanns' local force, were the 'liaison
force' responsible for collating all investigation work done by cops all
over the UK.
British police, at the request of the Portuguese cops, carried out
interviews with UK witnesses and also collated sightings reported to
police in this country.
the information was then sent onto Portuguese police.
There was never a British investigation into Madeleine's disappearance
as her abduction happened in Portugal.
was one of the reasons why the Leicester police force constantly refused
to comment on the case, even to Kate and Gerry, simply stating: "This is
a Portuguese investigation."
case review tonight won cross party backing in Westminster.
Shadow Home Secretary Yvonne Cooper gave it her full backing, saying:
"We fully back Kate and Gerry McCann's request for information in
Madeleine's case to be reviewed."
Madeleine's parents have been campaigning for a review of her case for
couple feel it is 'crucial' to finding their daughter - fearing vital
leads, sightings and other clues are hidden in Portuguese police files.
are desperately hoping that a fresh look at the files, similar to a
criminal 'cold case' review, may discover something that was overlooked
in the original investigation.
Gerry said: "The files are not held on a single database anywhere. By
putting them all together we could discover that vital piece of the
couples' fears, of vital clues being missed, seemed to be borne out when
The Sun obtained files of sightings and other reports which had been
collated by the Portuguese and British police AFTER Madeleine's
case was shelved by them in July 2008.
we reported at the time most of the reports were stamped 'No action' by
the Portuguese detective in charge of collecting them and then left to
gather dust in a filing cabinet.
Speaking at the time Kate described the revelation as "heartbreaking"
adding "it is just not fair to Madeleine".
the files relating to Madeleine's case are currently held by the
Portuguese Judiciary at police headquarters in Portimao, Portugal.
files include witness statements and details of sightings.
month after the Portuguese police investigation into Madeleine's
disappearance was shelved in July 2008 over 30,000 pages of files were
released in Portugual.
they were only released to people who had made a court application for
the right to see the police files - the McCanns included.
Lawyers on behalf of the couple had to journey to Portugal to make the
application on their behalf.
the released files did not include all the documents held by Portuguese
cops. Some of those were held back, with police saying they could not be
years later files which contained evidence and sightings collected
AFTER Madeleine's case was effectively closed in 2008 were also
again not all the documents were made available.
McCanns have collected all the information that has become available and
their private investigation team have put it together as best they can.
they are hampered by the fact that all the documents and pieces of
evidence have still not been handed to them.
investigators, and Kate and Gerry themselves, have spent the last three
years ploughing through the files and trying to follow up as many leads
as they can - but as Gerry admitted recently they are a 'small team' and
only able to do so much.
it stands it would take them years and years to effectively investigate
all the clues and sightings in the files - and the money from the Find
Madeleine fund which pays for the team would run out well before they
could do that.