Madeleine 'may still be alive'

"They see this as a positive step," the McCann's spokesman Clarence Mitchell told Sky News.

"It means that they can stay at home in Britain with Sean and Amelie in a loving family environment, which is one of the reasons they came back from Portugal."


Gerry and Kate McCann have also been informed by a prosecutor in Portugal that detectives could be following "other lines of inquiry" apart from them.

The couple, from Rothley in Leicestershire, are to remain official suspects - or "arguidos" - in the case, but have been told there are no plans to impose new bail restrictions.

The suggestion that police could follow other lines of inquiry may mean that

 detectives are continuing to keep an open mind - despite the McCanns' status as official suspects.

It has also led to reports that the police case against them is crumbling.

Mr Mitchell would not comment on the state of the case against the McCanns, but reiterated the claim that any DNA evidence found could be "wholly and easily explained".


He said the couple were relieved that they would not have to return for questioning as it allowed them to focus more of their attention on the search for Madeleine.

The McCanns are said to want to keep the search centred on the Iberian peninsula and north Africa, where they believe Madeleine may still be alive.


"Every day that a body isn't found or her remains aren't recovered is a day closer to her possibly being able to walk back through the door of their home," Mr Mitchell said.

"That is their most fervent wish.


"As time wears on with no news, they accept that it is a possibility that she is dead.

"And even if that is the case, tragic and awful as that would be, at least they will know what has happened to her.

"It is the not knowing and on top of that the parallel effort to clear their names that is adding to their already great distress."