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Madeleine's parents: We WERE wrong to believe she was safe alone

Original Source: MAIL: 04 SEPTEMBER 2007
Last updated at 11:06am on 4th September 2007
Gerry and Kate McCann have admitted that they were wrong when they believed their daughter Madeleine would be safe alone while they were just yards away.

In a new interview they said that when they were eating outside at the tapas bar they could see the verandah of the apartment.

"It's difficult because if you are at home cutting grass in the back with the mower, and that takes about half an hour, and the children are upstairs in their bedroom, you'd never bat an eyelid," Mr McCann said.

Kate and Gerry McCann: They vow to continue the search for Madeleine

"That's similar to how we felt. We've been unfortunately proved wrong, out of the blue. It's shattered everything."

Mrs McCann added: "Everyone I know who has been to Portugal with their children said it was very family friendly, and it did feel like that.

"If I'd had to think for one second about it, it wouldn't have happened. I never even had to think like that, to make the decision. It felt so safe that I didn't even have to - I mean, I don't think we took a risk.

"If I put the children in the car the chances of having an accident would be greater than somebody coming in, breaking into your apartment and lifting a child out of your bed. But you never think I shouldn't put the children in the car."

Mr McCann said he was given hope after meeting Ernie Allen, the chief executive of the National Centre for Missing and Exploited Children, who explained to the couple how there have been times when kidnapped children have been found after a long time gap.

"I've no doubt in my mind that she was take by somebody from the room," he told The Times. "We don't know if it was one person, two, or if it was a group of people, but I know she was taken.

"There's still hope because we don't know who's taken her. We don't know where they've taken her and we certainly don't know where she is.

"Don't get me wrong, we're not blinkered. The scenario that everybody thinks about is that a paedophile took her to abuse her. But we don't know that and that's the difficulty we're dealing with.

"There are a range of scenarios and we want every single avenue explored because they're all pretty rare. That doesn't mean they should be represented in front page headlines as if all of them are likely, because they're not."

In the heart-rending interview to The Times, Mrs McCann also describes how hard it is to receive no information from the Portuguese police - a practice which occurs in all investigations in the country.

She said: "For us as parents it's beneficial having information. We know that from our own jobs - the main complaint from patients' families is lack of communication and not being informed. It's detrimental."

The McCann's bid for information from the public has also been hampered by the slow start to the investigation and the language barrier.

"The whole situation makes you angry, that's part of the whole grief that something like this has happened to Madeleine and to us," Mrs McCann said.

"They're all normal emotions and sometimes you do just want to explode."

In the immediate aftermath of Madeleine's disappearance, her parents found solace in their Catholic faith and were greeted warmly in the Nossa Senhora da Luz - the local church.

Mr McCann said: "I felt cosseted. We felt so fragile and vulnerable. People kept saying 'you'll get her back'.

"It was what we needed to hear because we just had the blackest and darkest thoughts in the first 24, 36 hours, as if Madeleine had died. It was almost uncontrollable grief."


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