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McCanns' SOS to Miliband

Published Date:  11 September 2007

Plea...Kate and Gerry McCann

David Miliband

THE parents of missing Madeleine McCann plan to appeal directly to Foreign Secretary David Miliband as pressure mounts on them as suspects behind her disappearance.
Kate and Gerry McCann, both 39, have been in touch with Mr Miliband since the start of their ordeal 131 days ago, and see the South Shields MP as their last option for support if they were charged with killing their daughter.

Speaking to the Gazette today, David Hughes, one of the McCann family's inner circle of advisers, said: "If the situation progresses much further, we'll make direct contact again with Mr Miliband to ask for his help and support."

The likelihood of Kate and Gerry McCann being charged over the death of their daughter was dramatically increased this morning, after DNA found in the family's hire-car was reported as 'almost certainly' Madeleine's.

Embattled and broken-hearted, the McCanns returned to England this week without their missing daughter Madeleine.

Portuguese detectives are gathering evidence in the hope of charging Mrs McCann with homicide by failing to prevent her death the equivalent of the British charge of manslaughter.

It is believed she, along with her husband, both 39, will also face charges of helping to dispose of the four-year-old's body.

Missing...Madeleine McCann

Now the couple could be about to turn to Mr Miliband again for help.

Missing...Madeleine McCann
A whispering campaign in the Portuguese media cast doubt on the McCanns' version of events long before Madeleine's parents were officially declared 'arguidos' or suspects.

Today, unnamed police sources said tests returned from the Forensic Science Service in Birmingham on a specimen taken from a Renault Scenic hired by the McCanns revealed a full match of Madeleine's DNA.

The results could prove that Madeleine, aged three when she went missing, was in the boot of the car, which was not hired until 25 days after she went missing.

Police in Portugal revealed the evidence to the McCanns during questioning last week.

It has also emerged that the family's phone lines and e-mail accounts have been tapped by police.

Now back in Britain, the couple are set to continue their close relationship with the Foreign Office, headed by Foreign Secretary David Miliband.

Mr McCann has already spoken to Mr Miliband on the phone.

Family friend David Hughes told the Gazette: "Both Gerry and Kate have been in touch with Mr Miliband, and Gerry once spoke to him for more than an hour about the situation."

Mr Hughes sat with Mrs McCann as she was grilled by Portuguese police as a witness, and then as an official suspect, earlier this month.

He said: "We've had the British Consul from the Foreign Office present during the questioning, and the department has been helpful with the provision of translators and advice.

"We've no idea just how likely it is that Portuguese police will pursue charges against Kate and Gerry.

"But it is a possibility that if the situation progresses further, we'll make direct contact again with Mr Miliband."

Another friend of the couple said they are urging Mr Miliband to give "any help he can".

The friend added: "There is a danger of a shocking injustice here.

"Kate and Gerry are appalled that anybody could think Kate would harm any of her children."

Mr Miliband said: "This is an independent judicial process we fully respect. Consular services are being provided.

"Above all, this is about a little girl."
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