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Six months to find Maddie: Scotland Yard set to GIVE UP on hunt for missing girl



Original Source: Express Sunday 03 April 2016

By TRACEY KANDOHIA AND JAMES MURRAY, EXCLUSIVE PUBLISHED: 00:01, Sun, Apr 3, 2016 | UPDATED: 13:14, Sun, Apr 3, 2016


SCOTLAND YARD detectives have been given just six more months to find out what happened to Madeleine McCann.


Scotland Yard detectives have been given six months to find out what happened to Madeleine McCann


The Home Office has set a budget for this year of just under £95,000, which will pay for only half a year of investigations by the team of four working on the case.


The sum will just about cover their wages and leaves little left for flights to Portugal or paying for expensive forensic work.


Once the money runs out in the autumn, Scotland Yard will almost certainly shelve Operation Grange, their five-year review and investigation, which has cost close to £12million but has failed to bring anyone to justice or discover what happened to Madeleine.


Soon the child’s parents, Kate and Gerry McCann, face the emotionally daunting prospect of paying for a new private investigation with a war chest of some £750,000, raised largely through sales of Kate’s widely praised book on the enduring mystery.

We will never give up

Kate McCann

At the height of the Yard’s inquiries more than 30 detectives and support staff were working on Operation Grange, based at Belgravia police station in central London.  

When the inquiry was in full swing a team of specially trained officers carried out detailed searches of carefully chosen scrubland near where Madeleine was taken at Praia da Luz on the Algarve on May 3, 2007.


Now Detective Chief Inspector Nicola Wall, who leads the small team, has the unenviable task of trying to make a breakthrough with limited resources and a ticking clock. Scotland Yard has said there are no “immediate” plans to further cut the team working on the case and insisted “there are still focused lines of investigation to be pursued”.


However, it remains to be seen whether those inquiries will produce meaningful results. A Home Office spokeswoman said: “Following a request from the Metropolitan Police Service, we have agreed to provide nearly £95,000 of further funding.


Kate and Gerry McCann had funded their private investigation through the sales of Kate's book


“The funding reflects the reduced scale of the investigation, which was announced by the force last year.”


The spokeswoman said the £94,592 will cover the first half of the 2016/17 financial year.


Kate and Gerry, who face the agonising ninth anniversary of their daughter’s disappearance next month, remain convinced their daughter, who would now be aged 12, could still be alive.


They had invested huge hopes in Operation Grange to end their nightmare and were relieved that the once well-financed formal police probe allowed them to halt their own private investigations.


Madeleine McCann disappeared in May 2007


After Grange was launched in May 2011 the doctors from Rothley, Leicestershire, resumed relatively normal lives with heart expert Gerry working full time at Glenfield Hospital, near their home, and Kate concentrating on bringing up their twins, Sean and Amelie, now aged 11.


Madeleine, though, is never far from their thoughts. Kate said recently: “The urge to look for Madeleine absolutely hasn’t changed at all. We will never give up. I want an end, an answer. Whatever that it is.”


Last December the couple said of Operation Grange: “Thankfully, the police investigation has made progress over the year. We are moving in the right direction and that’s the positive.”


They have employed several private eye agencies over the years but admitted that the hard-working small teams have limitations. Their first investigators, who started work in October 2007, five months after Madeleine went missing, were the Spain-based agency Metodo 3.


The apartment at the Ocean Club, Praia de Luz Portugal where Madeleine McCann disappeared


However, they were dropped after the agency’s chief investigator insisted they would have Madeleine home by Christmas, even though they found no evidence to support the claim.


Then came US-based Oakley International, hired for six months in March 2008, but problems over payments ended the contract. Retired British detectives Dave Edgar and Arthur Cowley were next on board but their diligent work was stopped months after Operation Grange got underway.


A source close to Kate and Gerry said at the time: “It was felt the lead should be taken by Scotland Yard detectives working on the review. Dave and Arthur passed over all their material to officers.”



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