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Judge to summon Kate McCann back to Portugal for further questioning

Original Source: MAIL: 15 SEPTEMBER 2007
Last updated at 00:23am on 15th September 2007
Kate McCann is named as a suspect

Gerry accused of covering up killing

Social workers check on the twins

Madeleine's hair and blood 'found in car'

Portuguese police demand Kate's diary

Madeleine 'killed by sleeping pills' claim

Kate McCann could be reinterviewed on the orders of a judge as police struggle to gather enough evidence to charge her, it emerged last night.

Investigating judge Pedro dos Anjos Frias is expected to order Madeleine's mother back to Portugal for a fresh grilling over the accusation that she accidentally killed the little girl and then mounted an elaborate cover-up with her husband Gerry.

Detectives failed to extract a confession from the couple in two days of heated confrontations in Portugal, and police fear their case may founder without one.

The embattled McCanns, who were made "arguidos", or official suspects, a week ago yesterday, have challenged officers to come up with a body or abandon their campaign to "frame" them.

If Mr Frias authorises police to conduct more interviews of the McCanns, they have said they are willing to return to the Algarve for further questioning.

This could happen within the next week or so.

Yesterday the couple spent almost seven hours in talks with their legal representatives in London, as relatives declared that they would sell their homes if necessary to fund the couple's legal fight.

The McCanns received a boost when a high-ranking police source in Portugal admitted: "We have nothing concrete."

The source told Portuguese newspaper 24 Horas: "There are a lot of indications, but without more elements it's impossible to determine what happened in those four vital hours in the case - between 6pm and 10pm - on the night Madeleine vanished."

Madeleine's hair and bodily fluids are reported to have been discovered in the boot of a Renault Scenic the McCanns hired 25 days after she disappeared.

Experts at the Forensic Science Service in Birmingham are still carrying out other tests to determine whether Madeleine had ingested any medication such as sedatives.

But even if the police had enough to convince prosecutors Madeleine's body was in the car, proving her parents actually killed her would be another huge step, the source admitted to a Portuguese paper.

"Even if the traces gathered in the car or in the apartment were confirmed to correspond 100 per cent to the little girl's DNA, that wouldn't prove anything,'"said the source.

"Those elements could only confirm - and even that hasn't happened - that the little girl was in the apartment, which is obvious, and in the car.

"In either case nothing would prove homicide."

Kate and Gerry McCann firmly believe their daughter could still be alive and are devastated that the police case against them is undermining the search for Madeleine, who vanished 135 days ago from their holiday apartment in the Algarve.

Yesterday Portuguese police made the heartbreaking assessment that Madeleine's body "may no longer exist".

One senior detective said investigators believed Madeleine could have been killed and her body dumped at sea in a bag weighed down with stones.

It would destroy the one piece of evidence vital for a successful prosecution against the McCanns.

This suggestion, reported in Portuguese newspaper Diario de Noticias, would raise the question of how the McCanns smuggled a body out on a boat without anybody noticing.

But detectives are said to be considering the theory that a British sailor helped out.

This appears to be based on the fact that, when police began investigating the first suspect in the case, Robert Murat, they discovered from emails on his computer that he knew the unidentified man, who moors his yacht at nearby Lagos marina.

Police have been probing possible links between British expat Mr Murat, 33, and the McCanns.

Detectives have asked Mr Murat, who lives in Praia da Luz, if he ever met the couple during visits to England where his ex-wife and daughter live.

His sister lives in Exeter, which happens to be the home town of the McCanns' holiday friends Dr Russell O'Brien and his wife Jane Tanner.

Dr O'Brien has been asked by police if he knew Mr Murat, and said he did not.

Mr Murat has now been waiting for four months for his "arguido" status to be lifted so he can return to normal life with his name cleared.


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