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Madeleine: Mum 'Offered Deal To Confess'

Original Source: SKY: 07 SEPTEMBER 2007
Updated: 22:37, Friday September 07, 2007

Kate McCann has been named as a formal suspect in the "death" of her missing four-year-old daughter Madeleine.
A family member has claimed she was offered a deal by police - that she would serve only two years in prison if she admitted accidentally killing her daughter.

Police are said to believe that Madeleine was killed accidentally and that her body was hidden, then moved and hidden again.

They are not treating Madeleine's disappearance as murder.

There have been reports that Mrs McCann, 39, is likely to be charged with causing the accidental death of her daughter.

She was questioned by police again today but released without being charged. Detectives quizzed her for 11 hours yesterday.

Police have suggested that Madeleine's blood was found in a car hired by the McCanns 25 days after their daughter's disappearance.

Gerry McCann's sister Philomena said Mrs McCann was offered a deal through her lawyer to confess to killing her daughter by accident and then disposing of her daughter.

Mr McCann is now being questioned in the same police station in Portimao, Portugal.

Before he arrived he said that any suggestion that his wife was involved in Madeleine's disappearance from their holiday apartment on May 3 was "ludicrous".

Writing on his blog he said: "Anyone who knows anything about May 3 knows that Kate is completely innocent. We will fight this all the way and we will not stop looking for Madeleine."

Mrs McCann's father Brian Healy told Sky News: "It would be a joke if it wasn't so disgusting. My daughter's not like that. I just want to hug her."

Family and friends in Rothley, Leicestershire, have said there is "something untoward" in the police investigation. Mrs McCann's mother Susan Healy has suggested that evidence may have been planted in the hired car.

Portuguese police have confirmed that they have a new formal suspect - or arguida - in the case but did not identify them. However, family friends have said that Kate McCann is that suspect.

The only person previously named as a suspect is British expat Robert Murat. He has denied any involvement.

Sky News crime correspondent Martin Brunt said Mrs McCann, who has returned to her home after being questioned by police again today, reportedly remains concerned that she could be charged very soon.

The McCann family spokeswoman Justine McGuiness said: "The police are treating Kate as if she is involved in the death of her daughter.

"That suggestion hasn't been put to Gerry, so they are treating them differently. It is a ridiculous suggestion."

A large crowd whistled and shouted as Mrs McCann arrived back in Portimao for more questioning.

One British tourist shouted: "We believe you, Kate." But there seemed to be jeers from other people in the crowd.

Portuguese criminal law expert Luis Rolo told Sky News: "To be named an arguida means the police already have a few suspicions that this person might have committed a crime."

He said a judge may now ask Mrs McCann to hand over her passport or impose other conditions on her behaviour.

A friend of the McCanns said of Kate: "She is shocked and surprised in several ways. First of all that such an accusation could be made against her.

"And obviously she is concerned that such a line of investigation can become a distraction from further attempts to find Madeleine."


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