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Kate and Gerry McCann divided on helping police

Original Source: TIMES: 23 SEPTEMBER 2007
From The Sunday Times Steven Swinford
September 23, 2007
The parents of Madeleine McCann are agonising over whether to co-operate fully with Portuguese police or to do no more than comply with basic requests.

A friend said: “Gerry wants to co-operate with the police but Kate does not trust them so at times they are at cross-purposes. Kate is insisting that the police cannot be trusted and they don’t know what to do for the best.

“She is more cynical [about the Portuguese police] but Gerry has rolled with the punches and doesn’t care what it takes. He says they need the police [on side].” The source said they could not agree on what to do.

It is unclear whether they fear that the police will use any information they volunteer about the events on the day of Madeleine’s disappearance to pursue them rather than to help the search for their daughter.

The couple’s uncertainty has emerged after the Portuguese prosecutor’s office said that there was not enough evidence to question the couple again. The McCanns’ lawyers believe it is a sign that the focus of the investigation is shifting away from them.

Last week, however, a senior police source told a Portuguese newspaper that officers were still suspicious about the McCanns’ movements during the “missing six hours” before Madeleine’s disappearance.

Sources close to the family say that David Payne, one of the holiday party, saw Madeleine being put to bed when he visited the McCann apartment at 7pm. Previously the last confirmed sighting of Madeleine was at 2.29pm when a photograph of her and Gerry was taken at the swimming pool.

Kate and Gerry McCann believe Payne’s testimony will be crucial in proving their innocence. They arrived at the tapas bar at 8.30pm, which would leave just an hour and a half in which they are supposed to have killed their daughter and disposed of the body.

A source close to the legal team said: “If they were responsible for killing their daughter, how would they have have done so and hidden the body in that time? There is a very limited window of opportunity.”

A friend revealed that the McCanns feel they are now in a “catch 22” situation. “Normally you would come out fighting, destroy your opponents and clear your name,” the friend said. “But the ‘opponents’ in this situation are your only lifeline to finding your daughter. You can’t go Portuguese-bashing, even though that’s your instinct, because it will be counter-productive.”

Gerry McCann is now considering returning to Portugal next month to try to gain access to details of the case against him and his wife. He will meet his team of Portuguese lawyers to discuss making a formal application for the dossier of police evidence, including the results of forensic tests. The move comes after legal changes relaxing Portuguese secrecy laws. A source close to the legal team said: “We are considering the effects of the new Portuguese law and whether it can help us get a clearer picture of precisely what Gerry and Kate are being accused of. At the moment we are in the dark.”

The fighting fund has been boosted by a donation from Brian Kennedy, the home improvements tycoon, who is worth an estimated £350m. Kennedy, who owns the rugby union team Sale Sharks, is paying the £75,000 salary of Clarence Mitchell, the McCanns’ spokesman.

Kennedy is also making his company’s lawyer available to advise the McCanns. He said: “In light of the quite incredible allegations against Gerry and Kate McCann, which are exacer-bating their emotional torture, I felt compelled to offer my financial, logistical and legal support.”

Friends of Robert Murat, the only other suspect in the case, yesterday played down claims in the Portuguese press that he was about to be cleared. “Robert thinks that there’s too much red tape for them to clear him – that it’s a bureaucratic nightmare,” one friend said.


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