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Kate McCann 'has alibi for missing six hours'

Original Source: 24 DASH: 21 SEPTEMBER 2007
Publisher: Jon Land
Published: 21/09/2007 - 23:41:23 PM
A detailed account of Gerry and Kate McCann's movements in the crucial 'missing six hours' before their daughter Madeleine's disappearance emerged today.

A source close to the family said the couple, who have been declared suspects by police, could prove where they and Madeleine were throughout the afternoon of May 3.

The account follows claims that there is a 'window of opportunity' which detectives believed could be key to the case.

Madeleine disappeared from her parents' rented apartment in Praia da Luz on the Algarve while her parents were dining at a tapas restaurant opposite that night.

Her disappearance sparked a worldwide missing person hunt and the most high-profile campaign of its kind ever seen.

But in recent weeks the spotlight has turned on Madeleine's parents after DNA tests taken as suggesting her body may have been transported in the car the family hired almost a month later.

The last photograph of Madeleine was taken by Kate McCann at exactly 2.29pm on May 3, sitting laughing in the sunshine dabbling her feet in the pool at the Ocean Club complex in Praia da Luz with her father by her side.

The digital time reading on the photograph shows 1.29pm but it is understood the camera clock was exactly an hour out and had not been reset.

The McCanns joined friends for dinner at around 8.20pm that evening after putting Madeleine, four, and her younger twin siblings Sean and Amelie to bed.

The source told for the first time today how the couple account for the intervening six hours adding that witnesses could prove that Kate McCann was never alone with Madeleine that afternoon.

But the account differs from that of staff at a local beach front restaurant who claim CCTV shows the family were there until around 6pm, feeding the children before they put them to bed.

In the days after the abduction, with the McCanns' faces constantly on television, a member of staff at the Paraiso restaurant claimed to have remembered seeing the McCanns there early on the evening of May 3.

A source at the restaurant said they had called in detectives from the Policia Judiciaria (PJ) to look at the footage which he said showed Gerry McCann dancing with Madeleine next to swings and a slide below the terrace.

He said they say had watched the footage together with the police to check that it was the McCanns before the detectives took it away.

He insisted that it was them but admitted the footage was grainy.

The couple are understood to have told police that Madeleine spent much of that afternoon at a kids' club in the resort while her parents relaxed, Gerry playing tennis with the resort's professional coach while Kate stayed by the pool.

The source said that Madeleine had eaten at the kids' club, rather than being taken to the Paraiso. She was then picked up by her parents two and a half hours before the couple went for dinner, leaving Madeleine and her siblings Sean and Amelie in bed.

The last time the couple say they saw Madeleine was when Gerry McCann went back to check on her shortly after 9pm that night.

He now believes her abductor could have been hiding in the apartment, yards away from him, while he did so.

The source said today: "Madeleine went to kids' club in the afternoon, after the photograph was taken at the swimming pool.

"There are records for that, written records, and witnesses.

"Madeleine was there while Kate and Gerry played tennis with the tennis professional and other witnesses.

"Madeleine had high tea at 5.30pm with staff at the kids' club. She was picked up shortly before 6pm by Kate and Gerry.

"After that Kate and Gerry went home, got the kids ready for bed and got ready to go out for their meal.

"Kate was never alone with Madeleine that afternoon. There were always other witnesses present."

Kate and Gerry McCann, from Rothley, Leicestershire, strenuously deny any involvement in their daughter's disappearance.

They remain "arguidos" or official suspects despite a recent announcement by the lead prosecutor in the case that there was insufficient evidence to justify calling them in for further interviews.


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