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You will be 'arguido' ... suspects

Original Source: SUN3: 09 MAY 2011
Published: 09 May 2011

MONTHS had passed since Madeleine had disappeared. Desperate Kate and Gerry were still in Portugal with their two-year-old twins Amelie and Sean.

In this extract of Kate's book, edited and abridged by ANTONELLA LAZZERI and OLIVER HARVEY, she recalls the nightmare moment she and her husband were turned into suspects by the police.

On August 2 as I was dropping Sean and Amelie at toddler club I had a call from Gerry. The police wanted to come over at 10am. Something to do with forensics.

It was 5pm when they eventually showed up. They told us they wanted to shoot some video footage of our clothes and possessions.

The forensics people would then take these away and return them the following day.

They offered no explanation as to why they were doing this. Left with only the clothes we were wearing, we were all asked to leave the villa. When we were allowed back, we found four detectives in the house. They went through the list of what had been removed.

I was not only confused, I was devastated - as well as all of our clothes, they had taken my Bible, Cuddle Cat and my diaries.

Why had they taken my diaries' Obviously not for any forensic purpose - the abductor couldn't have been in contact with them because they hadn't existed until half-way through May.

And the Bible had been lent to me by my friend Bridget's husband Paddy a week after Madeleine's abduction. My journals were private and full of personal thoughts and messages to Madeleine. I felt violated.

It was on Monday August 6 that the atmosphere changed.

At the Policia Judicicia's request, Gerry went to meet them at a cafe in Portimo. He returned minus the car. The police had impounded it for forensic testing.

Madeleine had been missing for over three weeks when we'd hired the car, but perhaps it still needed to be ruled out of the investigation. That lunchtime, having collected the twins, I was pushing them in the double buggy when we were suddenly ambushed by a horde of journalists and TV cameras.

It emerged that there had been stories in some of the Portuguese papers that morning suggesting that Gerry was somehow involved in Madeleine's disappearance.


Sniffer dogs had discovered traces of Madeleine's blood in apartment 5A, it was claimed.

It was insinuated that she had died there and her body had been dumped in the sea. The following day it was reported that a sample of "blood" had been sent to the UK to see whether a DNA profile could be extracted from it.

We had seen no blood that night - neither, as far as we knew, had any been found by the police or the forensics team from Lisbon.

Gerry and I were approached by a BBC journalist. He appeared genuinely worried. "Do you know what they're saying' They're saying that you killed Madeleine." I'm not sure if there was anything in the world that could have been more offensive to us.

WEDNESDAY AUGUST 8. At the police station we were greeted by Lu' Neves and Guilhermino Encarna'o, director of the Algarve Policia Judici'ia.

There had been a shift in the investigation, they said. They had always been optimistic Madeleine was alive, but things had changed.

Tell us about that night, they said. Tell us everything that happened after the children went to bed. I gave them every detail I could remember, as I had before.

This time they responded by just staring at me, shaking their heads.

Neves stated bluntly they didn't believe my version of events. It "didn't fit" with what they knew.

Didn't fit' What did they know' I began to wail hysterically, drawing breath in desperate gasps.

They proposed that when I'd put Madeleine to bed that night, it wasn't actually the last time I'd seen her. But it was. It was! I felt I was being bullied, and I suppose I was. I assume these tactics were deliberate - knock her off balance by telling her that her daughter is dead and get her to confess.

On and on it went. They tried to convince me I'd had a blackout - "a loss of memory episode", I think they called it.

My denials, answers and pleas fell on deaf ears. This was their theory and they wanted to shoehorn me into it, end of story.

At last they seemed to decide that the interview was over. Then it was Gerry's turn. Through his tears he pleaded with the two men: "Do you have evidence that Madeleine is dead' We're her parents. You have to tell us."

"It's coming," Neves told him. "It's coming!"

Gerry wanted to know if the case had now become a murder inquiry. The answer was indirect: "You can probably guess that from our lack of response."

SATURDAY AUGUST 11. Here we were - Day 100. A day we'd hoped we'd never reach.

Our liaison officer Ricardo Paiva arrived. His tone was sombre as he told us about the two springer spaniels that had been brought out to Portugal by the British police to assist in the search.

Keela, who could alert her handler to the tiniest trace of blood, had done so in apartment 5A. Eddie, a victim-recovery or "cadaver" dog trained to detect human remains, had indicated that somebody had died there.

The police appeared to be telling us, on the say-so of a dog, that someone had definitely died in apartment 5A and it must have been Madeleine.

THURSDAY AUGUST 30. It was another milestone we could hardly bear to think about. It should have been Madeleine's big moment - her first day at school.

It was an awful day. Every hour, I'd see her standing there in her new uniform, smiling at me.

On the night of Saturday September 1 I dreamed about Madeleine for the first time in four months. We had a call from one of the girls at the children's nursery. "Guess what'" she said. "Madeleine's here! She's been here for a couple of days. She's fine."

We rushed to the nursery immediately. And sure enough, there was our Madeleine.

She looked beautiful, just as I remembered her. I ran over to her, my face split by the widest smile, the tears running down my cheeks, and just held her and held her and held her.


Although I was dreaming, I could feel her. And Madeleine was holding me, her little arms wrapped tightly round me, and it felt so good. I could smell her. I could feel her with every one of my senses as I soaked up this heavenly moment.

My Madeleine. I wanted to stay like this for ever. Then I woke up.

How could this be' I could still feel her! Please God, don't let her go! Stay with me. Madeleine. Please stay with me. Don't go - stay with Mummy. I started to cry. The crying built into seismic sobs. An unearthly sound, like the howl of a wounded animal, was coming out of my mouth.

The crushing pain in my chest intensified to the point where I thought I was going to die. I'd been with her. And then she was gone. Again.


At 4.30pm on Monday Ricardo arrived. He told us that the PJ wanted to interrogate me on Wednesday and Gerry on Thursday. We should bring our lawyer with us to the police station.

Gerry smelled a rat. "Isn't it unusual for witnesses to be questioned with their lawyer present'" he asked. Ricardo finally admitted it was. "So what will our status be, then'" Gerry pressed him.

"It's called arguido."

THURSDAY SEPTEMBER 6. Strangely, I was feeling OK. My instinct to protect my child was more powerful than my fear and I could see very clearly what needed to be done. At 1.15pm Gerry drove me to the police station in Portim'. Carlos Pinto de Abreu, my lawyer, was there.

Police said my version of events 'didn't fit' theirs

There were three PJ officers in the room. Jo' Carlos asked most of the questions, which I answered in as much detail as I could. Back at the apartment later that night my lawyer Carlos reiterated that the situation was not good. The PJ had a lot of "evidence" against us, and I was certain to be made an arguida in the morning.

First he cited video footage the police had shot of the reactions of the blood and cadaver dogs in apartment 5A and also around our hire car.

I was totally perplexed. If, as the PJ alleged, Madeleine's blood was in the boot of our car, which we had not rented until May 27, how on earth had it got there' Did this mean someone had planted it' I could see no other explanation.

The police theory, it seemed, was that we had hidden Madeleine's body, then moved it later buried it elsewhere.

Next came the matter of the crumpled pages the police said they had discovered in my borrowed Bible. It seemed this was felt to be highly significant because the passage on that page dealt with the death of a child. I knew nothing about any pages being crumpled, let alone in which part of the Bible. The fact I had asked to see a priest on the night of Madeleine's disappearance was also seen as evidence of guilt.

"Don't people in Portugal talk to priests in times of need'" I asked Carlos. Apparently not. They only called for a priest when they wanted their sins to be forgiven.

A witness claimed to have seen Gerry and me carrying a big black bag and acting suspiciously. This was absolute nonsense, but "evidence" of this kind came down to one person's word against another.

"If you were Portuguese," Carlos said with an air of resignation, "this would be enough to put you in prison."


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