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McCanns may order own DNA tests on car

Original Source: GUARDIAN1: 13 SEPTEMBER 2007
Thursday September 13, 2007 The Guardian
Giles Tremlett, Brendan de Beer in Praia da Luz and Esther Addley

Parents have not received details of police evidence 'Find Madeleine' fund will not pay for legal defence 

The parents of Madeleine McCann are considering commissioning their own independent forensic testing of the vehicle in which the Portuguese police allege that traces of their missing daughter's body were found, it was reported yesterday.

A Portuguese magistrate is currently studying a dossier of evidence against Kate and Gerry McCann, which includes details of their daughter's DNA allegedly found in their hired Renault Scenic car. The evidence is said to relate to two samples found in the car, one of blood, the other of unspecified bodily fluids, and to a further quantity of hair allegedly discovered in the car's boot.

But the BBC last night quoted a source close to Mr and Mrs McCann who said they were considering carrying out their own tests on the vehicle, which was being kept in a "safe place to avoid any possibility of evidence being planted".

Local police are investigating a theory that the couple killed their daughter on May 3, perhaps by accident, and used the vehicle to transport her body at a later time. The Renault was not hired until 25 days after Madeleine disappeared from the family's holiday apartment in Praia da Luz, southern Portugal. Mr and Mrs McCann have spoken of their fears that they are being framed.

Despite having been named as official suspects in the investigation, the couple have not been given details of the evidence around which the police are building their case. In further unconfirmed reports yesterday it was claimed that the Portuguese investigating magistrate, Pedro Anjos Frias, who was given the 4,000-page dossier on Tuesday, may demand that they hand over some of their possessions for further investigation, including Mrs McCann's diary and the Cuddle Cat toy she has carried since Madeleine's disappearance.

In a separate development yesterday, the McCanns said that they would not seek to use money raised as part of the campaign fund to find Madeleine to pay for their defence. "They have decided not to seek to use those funds for their legal support," a spokesman, David Hughes, said. "Gerry and Kate's view is that if they take money from the fund it might be that 90% of people who made donations aren't bothered about it. But if 10% of people are bothered about it, they don't want to upset them."

The fund's trustees later said that they had decided not to permit the money to be used for lawyers' fees, despite expert advice that it would have been legal.

There was speculation in Portugal's Jornal de Noticias newspaper yesterday that Judge Anjos was considering asking British police to question the friends of the McCanns who were on holiday with them when Madeleine vanished from their apartment in the Praia da Luz resort, presumably to check their statements against answers given to police by the McCanns in interviews last Thursday and Friday.

Under Portuguese law Judge Anjos has until the end of next week to decide whether to take further action in the investigation, which might include ordering further searches or reviewing the couple's bail conditions.


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