Saturday, May 21, 2011

"I feel guilty every day of my life."

Woman magazine (paper edition)

In a frank, exclusive interview, Kate McCann tells Siân Merrylees how she and
her family have coped over the four years since her daughter's disappearance

Edition: 23 May 2011, Published: 16 May 2011

This week, Kate McCann, 42, should celebrating her daughter Madeleine's eighth birthday at home in Rothley, Leicester. It's been a long and painful four years for her, husband Gerry, 42, and twins Sean and Amelie, now six, since Madeleine vanished while on a family holiday in Portugal.

About four months after Madeleine disappeared, I dreamt about her. In the dream, someone at her nursery rang to tell me she had been found there and suddenly she was smiling at me and I was holding her. But then I woke up.

Waking crucified me, because holding her had felt so real. At times, I've felt as if I'd embarked on a slow, painful death.

Not knowing where your child is, how she is, who she is with, and when you will see her again is a glimpse of hell.

For the first two years I couldn't let myself relax or do anything enjoyable. I couldn't watch TV, read or go out for a meal. Taking pleasure in anything felt so wrong. With Madeleine still missing, I felt guilty that we weren't spending every second looking for her.

I also felt slight resentment in the early weeks that my husband Gerry seemed able to do normal things, like playing tennis. I couldn't understand how he wasn't totally consumed with grief. But he was just dealing with his despair differently, and now I'm glad that he did.

It wasn't until the summer of 2008, when we went to stay with my aunt in Canada, that I let myself relax. I'd had a run and was soaking in a warm bath with a glass of red wine. For the first time, I felt the full weight of our lives lift. But even as I acknowledged that, I had a wave of guilt.

Four years on, we still don't know what's happened to Madeleine. I just hope
with all my heart she wasn't taken by a child sex offender, although of course I know it's one of the possible scenarios.

In the days after her disappearance, I was tormented with a macabre slide show of images that no sane human being would want in her head. I would see her lying cold and mottled on a big grey stone slab, and awful pictures of her being torn apart scrolled through my mind.

I was desperate to talk to someone about them, and when Gerry and I took a walk on the beach in Portugal, I confided in him. Of course, he'd had similar thoughts, so we could comfort each other and it brought us even closer together.

When Gerry returned to work as a heart specialist in Leicester, in November 2007, I had a lot of time to grieve. I cried every day for 18 months, went to church several times a day and also spent a lot of time analysing our relationship. I was worried that I would never again be the Kate that Gerry had fallen in love with.

Somehow, life goes on

And as it was hard to get those horrific images out of my head, it is not surprising that the idea of sex repulsed me. But I was determined not to let the evil person who had taken Madeleine destroy anything else in our life. I knew sex is important, so I focused on what Gerry meant to me, how special he was, and the beautiful family we'd created together, and gradually worked through it.

We were determined to let everyone realise our little girl was missing but suddenly becoming well-known ourselves was difficult.

I've always been self-conscious, not one to stand out in a crowd, but now I found myself worrying that if I nipped into a shop to buy some fruit, somebody would be thinking: 'They're asking us for money for their fund, but they're buying strawberries in M&S. Why don't they shop at Aldi and save some pennies?'

And when the twins had tantrums, I wondered if onlookers were thinking sympathetically: 'All kids do that,' or judging me and saying: 'Her child looks
unhappy.' It all added to the stress.

Milestones missed

The day Madeleine was due to start school was awful, as she was so looking forward to it. On every one of the twins' milestones, from starting school to celebrating their fourth birthday (and every birthday since), I inevitably dwell on what I haven't had with Madeleine.

The twins often talk about her and we have a keepsake box next to her bed where we put pictures they have drawn, leaves they've collected for her - even the last sweet in a packet. We've been overwhelmed with gifts for her, so her room is now full of teddy bears, hand-knitted blankets and prayer books.

I go in every day to open and close the curtains, and sometimes just sit there thinking of her.

Before all this happened, I remember thinking how lucky Gerry and I were. We'd been through IVF and ended up with three wonderful children. I was so grateful. I know that other families who have lost children go on to have others and although you can never replace a child, I can see the joy can have a slightly healing effect. But for us, having another child would mean IVF treatment, and that would be a very conscious decision. And we'd be under constant scrutiny.

Sean and Amelie have always known their sister is missing, but recently we explained that a man took her. When I told Sean he couldn't stay in the car while I went into the petrol station the other day, he asked: 'Because someone might take me?'

They are very matter-of-fact about it, rather than fearful. Sean suggested we ask
the police to help us find Madeleine.

But shockingly, no official organisation is looking for her. The Portuguese authorities have priority over the case.

They shelved it in July 2008, and no one else is allowed to reopen it or work on it unless requested by them. We're currently lobbying the British and Portuguese governments to review the case, and we continue paying private investigators to
follow up leads. Many, frustratingly, come to nothing but they have to be eliminated.

The search continues

Even when there is only a couple of thousand pounds in the fund, it seems like a lot of money to me.

But when the accountant told us last year that we only had enough to cover six more months of investigations, we organised three fund-raisers. And I hope the sales of the book I've written will help with funds and bring in information.

We have to keep appealing for leads, as someone is carrying around a big burden.

Whoever took Madeleine is someone's son, cousin or neighbour. We have to keep prodding that someone's conscience until if s the right time for them to pass details on.

I've come to accept that taking time out from our search is important so, since writing the book, I am stepping back from the investigation for a bit. It will coincide with the children's summer holidays but, to be honest, I'm not sure what I will do.

I still havea restless, anxious sense that we have to be doing something to find her in every waking moment.

When we do find her, I know it's going to be a challenge, but bring it on!

We'll deal with anything. It's upsetting thinking she might be living a different life and calling someone else 'Mummy'.

And I've stopped speculating on other possible scenarios.

We had such a great four years together with Madeleine, I'm sure there's something that would help us reconnect.

We just need to be given that chance.

The Questions l Ask Myself

'There have been so many questions in my brain and there have been many days when all I wanted was to pull the duvet over my head,' says Kate.

Did the tapas bar booking tip off the abductor?

Although not usual, the receptionist at the holiday resort let Kate and friends book the tapas restaurant near their apartments for the week ahead. Kate noticed in police reports that the receptionist had left a note at the pool reception explaining she'd let them do so because they were leaving their kids sleeping alone in nearby apartments. When she saw the note, Kate was horrified as It was accessible to staff, guests and visitors to the complex, and obviously a risk'.

Who is this man?

'My friend Jane noticed a man carrying a child a few minutes' walk from our apartment the night Madeleine disappeared. A family from Ireland saw him too and all had noticed, despite the chilly night, that the child was barefoot, not covered in a blanket and the man looked as if he was not used to carrying a child.' Kate points out that if he was an innocent father, surely he would have come forward to be eliminated from the investigations.

Why did we leave the kids alone?

The listening service at the resort involved staff periodically checking on sleeping children by standing outside their doors. Kate and her friends chose to leave their children alone, but go one better and check them themselves. This is a decision they 'now bitterly regret and will do so until the end of our days'.

Was Madeleine drugged?

'The day she went missing, Madeleine was pale and tired and asked me to carry her from the pool back to the apartment,' says Kate. 'It was odd as usually she has loads of energy.' Was her daughter tired from holiday activities or had she been given something during that day - or the previous night - to make her sleepy? einforcing Kate's fears is the fact that despite the chaos, lights and screaming that went on after their sister's disappearance was discovered, the twins slept soundly on. Were they drugged too?

Was someone in the room the night before?

The day before she went missing Madeleine asked why her parents hadn't come to
them when she and Sean had cried in the middle of the night. 'I'm haunted by those words,' says Kate. 'I'm convinced someone was in their room to wake them and blame myself for not sitting down with Madeleine and drawing more information out of her.'

Why did we become suspects?

Kate and Gerry became suspects in September 2007 and were not cleared till 10 months later. Kate was incensed that while the police focused on them, the man she thinks took Madeleine was free. 'He was probably smiling and thinking: 'Keep blaming the parents and I'll keep on taking children."

What was the stain on Madeleine's top?

'I didn't think of it at the time but the day Madeleine disappeared I noticed what I thought was a tea stain on her Disney pyjama top,' she says. 'I washed it without thinking but looking back, the children hadnt drunk any tea that day and I can't remember her mentioning that she'd spilt anything.'

Does she miss her Cuddle Cat?

'Madeleine's favourite toy, Cuddle Cat, goes everywhere with me now! And when Sean or Amelie have lost their own toys, they always ask to borrow it.'

Source: Woman magazine 16/05/11

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Friday, May 13, 2011

Kate McCann: Kidnapper drugged twins night Madeleine taken

Posted in the UK's Mail Online on 12th and 13th of May:

* McCanns hope book will raise £1m to be spent on hunt for Madeleine
* Parents say David Cameron has 'suffered his own loss as a father' as they make a personal plea for his assistance in hunt
* Downing Street responds, saying Government will do 'all it can to help'
* Maddie's siblings asked only yesterday: 'How tall is she now?'
* Mrs McCann: 'Kidnapper may have approached the night before snatching'
* She also revealed that she won't have any more children
* Husband says: 'As long as Maddie is missing, we will never give up search'

Kate McCann said the kidnapper who seized Madeleine may also have drugged her other two children, as she launched a new appeal in the hunt for her missing girl today.

Mrs McCann said she had to check that twins Sean and Amelie were still breathing because they did not wake as they began a frantic search for the missing three-year-old.

And the mother revealed she believes the man who snatched Maddie may have approached their Portuguese holiday flat the night before - but fled when he was disturbed.
Kate and Gerry McCann attend a press conference for the launch of Mrs McCann's new book Madeleine about her daughter's disappearance. Today would have been her eighth birthday

Kate and Gerry McCann attend a press conference for the launch of Mrs McCann's new book Madeleine about her daughter's disappearance. Today would have been her eighth birthday

Their pain: Gerry and Kate have vowed never to give up the hunt for Madeleine - and they have called for David Cameron to intervene

She carried out a fresh round of media interviews today as she publishes a new book about her daughter's disappearance, called Madeleine.

Kate and husband Gerry hope sales will raise £1million to provide continued funding for their private investigation.


* Maddie's new outfit may have tempted kidnapper to snatch her, says Kate McCann

Asked if the twins had been drugged, she said on BBC Radio 4's Woman's Hour today: 'On the night I just remember the twins lying in the cot and not moving - with lights going on and people moving around.

'There was a lot of noise and they just didn't move and I remember several times checking for chest movements. I did feel it was a bit strange that they were not moving let alone waking up.
New outfit: Kate McCann writes that she admired Madeleine in her new pink outfit - but fears someone else did too

'I did consider with Madeleine perhaps she had been given something too.'

Madeleine disappeared from her bed on May 3, 2007, during a family holiday in the Algarve, and has not been seen since.

The mother added the morning before Maddie vanished she had been crying and complained that she had not slept.

Mrs McCann said: 'I just think it is too much of a coincidence but I never thought for one moment that there was anything sinister.'

She added: 'When we discovered she had gone it seemed very likely that someone had tried the same thing the night before.'

Today, as the McCanns mark Madeleine's eighth birthday, Kate revealed that the missing girl's siblings Sean and Amelie asked only yesterday: 'How tall is Madeline now?'

As she held her husband's knee, she said on Daybreak this morning that the family still feel the presence of the missing girl four years on.

She said: 'Madeleine is everywhere, she is with us all the time and it was only yesterday that Sean and Amelie were asking "how tall is Madeline now?".

'I was trying to explain she will be a bit taller than you but a bit shorter than her best friend.'

And in a pre-recorded interview with the BBC, Madeleine's mother, a doctor, said that medics don't stop treating the sick if they cannot diagnose the condition.

She asked: 'Why is it with a missing child you can stop going?'

She revealed this morning that she does not intend to have any more children.

The McCanns fear that potentially vital information given to Portuguese and British police has been ignored, and are calling for an independent review of the case.
Kate and Gerry McCann hope the book, which Kate has written without the help of a ghost writer, will raise £1million to go towards the private investigation

They have written to David Cameron calling for a 'transparent and comprehensive' review of all the information about their daughter's disappearance.

In their letter to the Prime Minister, published in The Sun, the McCanns wrote: 'One call might be all that is needed to lead to Madeleine and her abductor.

'To this end we are seeking a joint independent, transparent and comprehensive review of all information held in relation to Madeleine's disappearance.
'There's no evidence to say that she's dead,' said Kate McCann, with her husband Gerry, in an interview with Lorraine on ITV this morning as they launched a fresh appeal

'Thus far there has been no formal review of the material held by the police authorities.'

This afternoon they made a personal appeal to David Cameron to assist them.

Referring to the tragic death of the Prime Minister's son Ivan, Gerry told a London press conference: 'he has suffered his own loss' as a father.

A spokesman for David Cameron said he would do 'all he can' to assist the McCanns.

'The Prime Minister met Kate and Gerry McCann while he was Leader of the Opposition, and he has followed their plight very closely,' he said.

'He and the Home Secretary want to make sure the Government does all it can to help them'.

A Downing Street spokesman later added: 'We are considering what the McCanns have said and we will see if there is any more we can do. We want to help.'
Four year search: Kate and Gerry held a marathon round of interviews today as they launched a fresh information appeal four years after Maddie, then three, vanished

Four year search: Kate and Gerry held a marathon round of interviews today as they launched a fresh information appeal four years after Maddie, then three, vanished

In her new book, serialised in The Sun, Mrs McCann told of her fear that the ‘lovely’ sight of Madeleine in a new outfit may have tempted someone to kidnap her.

She said the pink smock top and shorts were bought specially for the family holiday in Praia da Luz.

Her final photo of her daughter shows her wearing the new outfit and sitting with Mr McCann, 42, and younger sister Amelie by the pool just hours before she disappeared.

In an extract from the book, Mrs McCann described Madeleine’s Monsoon shorts and Gap smock, saying: ‘A small extravagance, perhaps, but I’d pictured how lovely she would look in them and I was right.’

She adds: ‘I was following her with my eyes admiring her. I wonder now, the nausea rising in my throat, if someone else was doing the same.’

Mrs McCann told The Sun that she and Gerry remain convinced their daughter is still alive, and cannot give up just because she has been missing for four years.

She said: ‘Certainly in my heart I feel she is out there. We’ve never given up on finding her. What parent would give up on their child?’

The McCanns insist there is no evidence to say Madeleine is dead, and so they have to assume she is not.

They have embarked on a marathon round of TV appearances to rekindle worldwide interest, including an hour-long interview with Piers Morgan, televised in the U.S. last night.

Mr and Mrs McCann cling to examples of children being returned home many years after going missing, such as American Jaycee Dugard, abducted at 11 in California and freed aged 18. *Note: This should say Miss Dugard was 28 when found.*

The couple have also drawn inspiration from meeting another girl, Elizabeth Smart, who was snatched from her home in Salt Lake City, Utah, at the age of 14 and found after a year.

Pre-order sales of Mrs McCann’s book mean it has already topped the bestseller list on

All profits will go to the Find Madeleine fund, which employs a team of private detectives to comb through clues, and funds a hotline to gather information.
Missing for four years: Madeleine McCann

Distraught: Kate McCann has told of her fear that the sight of Madeleine in a new outfit may have tempted someone to kidnap her

Whirlwind: Kate and Gerry McCann speak to Lorraine Kelly this morning as they begin a new round of television interviews on Madeleine's eighth birthday

In her book, Mrs McCann also reveals that her family nearly chose to holiday at Center Parcs in the UK before making the fateful decision to switch to the Algarve instead.

‘It was the first in a series of apparently minor decisions I would give anything to change now,’ she says.

During the CNN interview, the McCanns were asked why they had not hired a nanny to look after their three children while they went out for dinner with friends.

Mr McCann replied: ‘It’s not a question of money. Child abduction is so rare. It didn’t enter our head.’

For details of ways to donate to the Find Madeleine fund, visit


Here is the full text of Kate and Gerry McCann's letter to Prime Minister David Cameron, as published in the Sun:

Dear Prime Minister

As a devoted father and family man, you know the importance of children. Our beloved eldest child, Madeleine, was abducted from Praia da Luz, Portugal, four years ago. Since then, we have devoted all our energies to ensuring her safe return.

Today we are asking you - and the British and Portuguese governments - to help find Madeleine and bring her back to her loving family.

We live in hope that Madeleine will be found alive and returned to us. One call might be all that is needed to lead to Madeleine and her abductor.

To this end, we are seeking a joint INDEPENDENT, TRANSPARENT and COMPREHENSIVE review of ALL information held in relation to Madeleine's disappearance. Thus far, there has been NO formal review of the material held by the police authorities - which is routine practice in most major unsolved crimes.

It is not right that a young vulnerable British citizen has essentially been given up on. This remains an unsolved case of a missing child. Children are our most precious gift.

Please don't give up on Madeleine.

Kate & Gerry McCann

Source: Daily Mail 13/05/11

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Wednesday, May 4, 2011

McCanns Mark Madeleine Disapperance Anniversary

BBC News Leceister

Published 3 May 2011

Kate and Gerry McCann Kate and Gerry McCann will mark the anniversary with family and friends.

The parents of Madeleine McCann are marking the fourth anniversary of her disappearance with family and friends.

Kate and Gerry McCann are preparing to publish their account of how she disappeared while on a family holiday in Portugal.

Madeleine, of Rothley, Leicestershire, was nearly four when she vanished in Praia da Luz, Algarve, in May 2007.

A service is being held in Liverpool, at the Roman Catholic church attended by her maternal grandparents.

Family spokesman Clarence Mitchell said: "It will be a private day marked with family and friends. The anniversary is normally a very low-key occasion at home for them."

He added that there were no plans for them to return to Portugal for the four-year landmark.

The McCanns hope the publication of a book, entitled Madeleine, will prompt people holding vital information about what happened to Madeleine to come forward.

It was originally due to be published last week but publishers Transworld postponed the release date until 12 May to avoid clashing with the royal wedding.

The official Portuguese inquiry into Madeleine's disappearance formally ceased in July 2008 but private detectives employed by the McCanns have continued the search for the missing child.

Source: BBC News Leceister 03/05/11