Kate McCann has accused Portuguese police of covering up a series of
child sex abuse cases before her daughter Madeleine was abducted.
McCann Photo: REUTERS
The claim is made in a new book Madeleine, in which Mrs McCann writes
honestly about her torment in the four years since her daughter went
missing from a holiday apartment in Praia da Luz in Portugal.
In the forthcoming book, Mrs McCann writes of her fear that her daughter
was kidnapped by a paedophile and admits that she was at one time
consumed by the mental image of her eldest child being 'defiled' by her
Mrs McCann and her husband Gerry, both of them doctors from Rothley in
Leicestershire, were first warned of an alarming number of cases in the
Algarve by Bill Henderson, the British consul in the region. He told the
McCanns shortly after the abduction that there had been "several cases
of men getting into bed with children". When police made public their
files on the case in the summer of 2008, Mrs McCann discovered five
cases of British children being sexually abused in their beds while on
holiday and while their parents slept in another room.
The incidents are said to have occurred within a one-hour drive of Praia
da Luz in the three years before Madeleine, then aged three, went
missing on May 3rd 2007. She believes the Portuguese police failed to
investigate any possible links between the cases and the disappearance
"It broke my heart to read the terrible accounts of these devastated
parents and the experiences of their poor children," writes Mrs mcCann,
adding: "What these cases do demonstrate, however, is that British
tourists in holiday accommodation were being targeted... It is so hard
not to scream from the rooftops about how these crimes appear to have
been brushed under the carpet."
Mrs McCann, 43, says she was consumed by the fear her child was being
abused in the days after she went missing. She writes: "When 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
"I 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. I hated
him. I wanted to kill him."
In an interview published yesterday in The Sun newspaper to coincide
with the book's publication on May 12th - on what would be Madeleine's
8th birthday - the McCanns talked candidly of how their own relationship
had suffered in the aftermath of the kidnapping. Mr McCann, 42, who has
gone back to work as a heart consultant at a teaching hospital, told the
sun: "There were times when I thought she would never get back to being
the woman I love.
"Early on I could understand why something like this destroys
relationships. It's been so hard to keep your own head above water at
times. Now we're more or less on an even keel."
Mrs McCann said: "I didn't know if I would ever get back to the person I
was. I was conscious about the effect this had on Gerry. He needed me to
be together and I just couldn't get myself there."
The book was written by Mrs McCann, who has never returned to work as a
GP, in about nine months and is expected to raise £1 million for the
fund established by the couple to find their child. The sum will pay for
private detectives to continue their search for about another two years.
She hopes it will also trigger further information for their detectives
to follow up as it inevitably garners publicity around the world.
Even before publication, the book tops the Amazon best-seller list based
on pre-orders. In Madeleine, Mrs McCann tells of the couple's guilt at
leaving Madeleine and their twins Sean and Amelie unattended in their
apartment while they ate supper with friends about 100 yards away.
In the most detailed account of what happened on the night the child
went missing, Mrs McCann tells of how she frantically searched for the
child on discovering Madeleine was no longer asleep in her bed. She
writes of the panic that took hold and how her 'heart lurched' on
discovering a window in the child's bedroom was opened. She ran out of
the apartment in the direction of the table where her husband and
friends were eating and began screaming: "Madeleine's gone. Someone's
Mrs McCann also admits to turning 'amateur detective' during a return
visit to the resort, getting a friend to re-enact the sighting of a man
seen carrying a child, believed to be madeleine, as he walked away from
the apartment on the night the little girl vanished.
She reveals she has had three similar dreams of getting her daughter
back. "She says 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," she admitted.