The Portugal Resident Thread by DJ

Reference Forum for all information regarding translations and PT Law etc and other useful information.

The Portugal Resident Thread by DJ

Postby Maya » Fri Nov 30, 2007 3:37 pm

I am going to post archived/up-to-date articles from The Portugal Resident on this thread. They offer interesting insights from closer to the crime scene.

DJ ... p?ID=19243

Updated: 05 June 2007

Innocent until proven guilty

Robert Murat is described by friends as calm, gentle and "very devoted" to his daughter.

By: Ruth Sharpe

ROBERT MURAT arrived in Portugal from the UK on May 1 this year for one of his regular visits to see his mother and girlfriend. Three weeks later, his "life has been ruined" after being named the only suspect in the disappearance of Madeleine McCann.

In the words of Gerry McCann when asked about his feelings towards any potential suspects, he said: "I hope that they are treated the same way as they are at home and considered innocent until proven guilty."

The Resident spoke with several of the Murats' closest family friends to gain an insight into how they are coping with the media intrusion into their lives.

Jenny Murat moved to Portugal over 35 years ago and has since run several businesses in Burgau, Almadena and Praia da Luz. Robert, 33, grew up in Portugal until he was 16 and attended local schools Barlavento and the International School of the Algarve. His father died when he was 12 years old.

Tuck Price has been acting as a spokesman for Jenny and Robert since their house was searched on Monday, May 14, and has known the family for more than 10 years. He said that Robert was a "generous and helpful man. He likes to help and I think that is something that should be rewarded as opposed to being frowned upon".

Robert is well known for his love for his family and devotion towards the young and elderly, especially his grandmother who died last year. Since then, he has spent his time working on his grandmother's house in the UK in order to rent it out as he and Jenny were keen to keep the property in the family. His plan was then to move back here permanently to start up a business with his girlfriend Michelle (Michaela Walczuch).

"He is very in love with Michelle. They were looking forward to setting up Romigen, an online website where you pay to advertise your property," said Price. The name Romigen stands for Robert, Michelle and Genesis, the latter word symbolic of 'a new beginning'.

Another item reported in the news questioned why Robert Murat hired a car in the days following Madeleine's disappearance. Tuck Price explained: "The police had asked him to come to Portimão to help with their investigation. One of his cars was being repaired and the other was being used by his mother, so he had to hire a car to get himself to Portimão. The police know this and are not investigating it as suspicious."

When speaking about the actions of Sunday Mirror journalist Lori Campbell, who went to the police about her suspicions of Robert, Price said: "I'm sure she is starting to regret what she said." Several Praia da Luz residents have expressed anger towards Campbell's actions which have had such a negative impact on the community.

According to Price, Robert feels terrible about how this has affected his family here and in the UK and is almost punishing himself because his arguido status has been the cause of such grief.

Long term resident, Bridget Hicks, is one of Jenny's closest friends and has known her since 1981. She has spoken with her several times since the house search on May 14. Bridget said: "Her strength lies in the fact that Robert was with her at the time of the abduction. Although nothing can compare with the heartbreak of losing a child, thought should be also given to the mother of Robert."

Kate Roberts, who works in a fashion boutique in Praia da Luz, has also known the Murats for a long time; in fact, it was Jenny who gave Kate her first job at the garden centre in the nearby village of Almadena in the eighties. "Robert is just not capable of doing something like this," she said.

Sally Vincent from Burgau has known the Murats since the family moved here and watched Robert grow up. She described him as calm, gentle and "very devoted" to his daughter.

The Resident spoke with a Murat family member who could not make any official statement but confirmed that Max Clifford was currently looking after the wellbeing of certain family members.

Sources close to the Murats have confirmed that Robert was contacted again by the police earlier this week and that he is allowed to travel freely as long as he informs the police of his whereabouts. These sources also confirmed that the Murat's pool was not drained during the May 14 search and that there was no phone call from Sergey Malinka to the Murat house on the night of Madeleine's disappearance.

The media intrusion now means that Robert's family in Portugal and the UK are in hiding and some in need of police protection but, despite this, they remain positive and are grateful for the great support they have received from the community.

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Postby Maya » Fri Nov 30, 2007 3:38 pm ... p?ID=21272

McCanns now both official suspects


KATE AND Gerry MCann plan to stay in Portugal to prove their innocence after both were named official suspects in the case.

Jon Corner, a family friend, said the couple were determined the search for their daughter would not be "derailed".

Gerry McCann was officially made an arguido on Friday evening, about 12 hours after Kate, after they had been questioned separately.

The move allows the PJ investigators to put certain questions to the couple and also gives them the right to remain silent.

Neither has been charged with any offence and no bail conditions have been imposed.

Earlier on Friday, a family spokesman said Portuguese police believed Mrs McCann, had killed Madeleine accidentally inside the apartment and that with the help of Gerry she then hid the body temporarily and then moved it later using the couple's hire car.

The McCanns vehemently deny such claims.

Jon Corner also said Kate McCann had told him officers had tried to "cut her a deal" where she would serve only two years in jail if she confessed.

However, under Portuguese law there is a set sentence for each crime which not even a judge can change and it would not be possible for the police to make such a deal.

Mr and Mrs McCann were expected to attend church this morning (Saturday) in Praia da Luz, as they have done often in the days since Madeleine disappeared.
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Postby Maya » Fri Nov 30, 2007 3:39 pm ... p?ID=21325

Updated: 13 September 2007

The McCanns leave the Algarve – but what now?

Under close scrutiny from a motorbike TV crew, the McCanns, led by a car containing Campaign Manager Justine McGuinness, head to Faro airport.


AFTER MORE than four months in the public gaze in Portugal, Gerry and Kate McCann returned to the UK on Sunday to await their fate.

They had arrived in the Algarve for what should have been a straightforward family holiday with a group of friends, full of expectation and anticipation.

They left devastated, emotionally drained and bewildered after being made official suspects or arguidos in the disappearance of their daughter Madeleine, who vanished from their holiday apartment in Praia da Luz on May 3.

Since Gerry and Kate left the Algarve, events have moved on swiftly.

The PJ dossier on the case, passed to Algarve-based public prosecutor Judge Jos├® de Magalh├úes e Menezes.

It is not clear why Jos├® de Magalh├úes e Menezes acted so quickly on the 100-page dossier, as he had been expected to take longer to study the files.

And it has been reported that requests for emergency powers to seize several items have gone to a judge.

It is not known what or where the object is but a judge was deciding whether to grant the order as The Resident went to press.

A decision on the PJ dossier is expected within 10 days after the judge has considered the content of the files and reviewed the evidence. Kate and Gerry McCann, both 39, were named as suspects last week and Robert Murat, a 33-year old British expatriate, was named as a suspect in May.

Options available include ordering more search warrants, changing the arguido status of the McCanns or Robert Murat, asking for more interviews or for stricter bail conditions to be imposed. He can also request further information from the PJ or dismiss the case as not having sufficient evidence for prosecution.

Thanks to a high-profile campaign run by the McCanns, which included the setting up of a fund that has topped 1.5 million euros, the appointment of a campaign manager and even an audience, albeit very public, with the Pope, Madeleine's face has rarely been out of the public consciousness or off the front page.

But because of the apparent lack of clear evidence, and the well documented Portuguese secrecy laws, there are few firm details about the most important factors in the whole sorry saga - what actually happened the night Madeleine went missing?

Amid a mass of false sightings, extortion attempts, rumour, conjecture and leaks to the press, only a few facts have really emerged.


It cannot be disputed that Madeleine went missing from the family apartment at the Ocean Club on May 3. She was put to bed with her twin brother and sister, Sean and Amelie.

It is known Gerry and Kate McCann then went for dinner with a group of friends at a tapas restaurant around 75 metres from the apartment.

They have said that at 21.05 Gerry McCann went to check on the children, followed by Dr Matthew Oldfield, one of their friends, at 21.30.

Kate McCann told police that when she went to the apartment to check again at 22.00 she found the outside shutter and window to Madeleine's room had been opened and her daughter missing.

Over the next few days, searches of the immediate area were carried out, by police, hundreds of volunteers and staff and guests from the Mark Warner Ocean Club resort.

The McCanns made several public appeals for information about Madeleine's disappearance, including on May 12, Madeleine's fourth birthday. Three days later British-born Robert Murat was made an official suspect, or arguido, after a journalist from the Sunday Mirror reported what she described as his "suspicious" behaviour to the police. The villa he shared with his mother Jean was searched. Casa Liliana is 150 metres from the apartment where Madeleine went missing.

The McCanns kept their daughter in the public eye, and raised the profile of missing children in general, with visits to several European countries, returning to the Algarve in mid-June.

In early July, Robert Murat was re-questioned and later that month, British sniffer dogs, trained to detect minute quantities of blood and to detect dead bodies were flown out to Portugal to search the apartment and several cars, including the hire car the McCanns rented 25 days after Madeleine disappeared.

A second search at Robert Murat's home early in August failed to turn up any new evidence but suspected traces of blood, found by the British sniffer dogs in Madeleine's apartment were sent to the UK for forensic tests to be carried out in a Birmingham laboratory.

Series of events

On August 11 Portuguese Police acknowledged for the first time that, in light of new evidence, Madeleine may be dead. Chief Inspector Olegário Sousa added that Mr and Mrs McCann were not being considered as suspects following newspaper speculation that they were under suspicion.

At the end of the month the McCanns launched a libel action against Portuguese newspaper Tal & Qual which claimed "police believe" they killed their daughter. The McCanns said they were "deeply hurt" by the allegations.

Portuguese police then interviewed Kate McCann for 11 hours on September 6 as a witness in the presence of her lawyer. Separately, detectives confirmed they had the partial results of forensic tests by a UK laboratory.

The following day, last Friday, Madeleine's mother is declared an official suspect and fears she could be charged, friends said. Gerry McCann is also named as a formal suspect following more questioning.

Later, a family representative says officers believe they have found traces of Madeleine's blood in the McCanns' car, hired 25 days after she vanished.

Kate and Gerry McCann returned home on Sunday to Rothley in Leicestershire. On arrival at East Midlands airport, Gerry McCann said: "Despite there being so much we wish to say we are unable to do so, except to say this: we played no part in the disappearance of our lovely daughter, Madeleine."

On Monday, police and social services in the UK met to discuss the case. And on Tuesday, 131 days after Madeleine disappeared, the PJ's files are transferred to Judge Jos├® de Magalh├úes e Menezes.

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Postby Maya » Fri Nov 30, 2007 3:49 pm ... p?ID=21469

Updated: 20 September 2007

PJ spokesman back to normal duties

Chief Inspector Olegário Sousa, now back on normal police duties.


THE MAN who gave a public face to the PJ investigation into the disappearance of Madeleine McCann has returned to police duties in Lisbon.

Chief Inspector Olegário Sousa, who was not a member of the investigation, became the PJ team's press officer due to his previous experience in another case involving intense media exposure a few years ago.

Now, as the official PJ reports are with a judge in the Minist├®rio P├║blico, it was a natural that Chief Inspector Sousa would be released from his PR role.

The chief inspector has returned to normal police duties, leading a team of investigators in a department at the Lisbon PJ office dedicated to art robberies and connected crimes.

Olegário Sousa faced many difficult moments during his time as PR for the Madeleine investigators, declining to comment officially on numerous occasions about articles published in the press, particularly the Portuguese-language media.

The reason is now clearer, as it is understood he was kept away from the more sensitive information of the case throughout to ensure nothing was said to the press.

This was said to be a strategic decision by the investigators, so that no official statement could compromise the investigation.

It is also understood that he is very critical about the systematic violation of the secrecy of justice rules that prohibit official comment, in the form of leaks to the media.
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Postby Maya » Fri Nov 30, 2007 3:50 pm ... p?ID=21470

Updated: 20 September 2007

Former BBC man is McCanns' new spokesman

Clarence Mitchell: "All I witnessed was a loving family that had been plunged into the most dreadful situation."

UPDATED 11.15 HOURS, 18.09.07

FORMER BBC journalist and government media executive Clarence Mitchell has become Gerry and Kate McCann's new spokesman, replacing Justine McGuinness.

His appointment brings a wealth of media experience, and a bulging media and government contact book, to the couple's campaign to find Madeleine.

Mr Mitchell is not being paid by the McCanns – his salary is being met by an anonymous benefactor who he will join once the Madeleine case is resolved.

Today (Tuesday), he released his first official statement, which The Resident reproduces here in full.

"I am extremely grateful to Kate and Gerry for asking me to return to become their official spokesman. When the proposal was put to me, with the full support of their legal team and their financial backers, I had absolutely no hesitation in accepting it.

"I am therefore proud to be able to help them deal with the pressure of the continuing, immense international media interest in their situation. I will also be working with the media here to ease any inconvenience faced by the local community in Rothley.

"Clearly, however, given the inter-Governmental sensitivities surrounding Kate and Gerry's case, my position as an impartial civil servant working for the British Government became untenable from the moment I accepted the role. To speak freely on their behalf, therefore, I have resigned from my role as Director of the Central Office of Information's Media Monitoring Unit in Whitehall.

"More importantly, I have done so simply because I feel so strongly that they are the innocent victims of a heinous crime that I am prepared to forego my career in Government service to assist them.

"Therefore, I wish to stress that from now on I am in no way speaking on behalf of the British Government. I will simply be representing Kate and Gerry as a private individual, one who believes utterly that they are innocent of any involvement in the disappearance, let alone the death, of their daughter Madeleine.

"I spent nearly a full month with Kate and Gerry in Portugal whilst representing the Foreign and Commonwealth Office between May and June – sometimes I was with them for up to 14 hours a day. During that time I never saw or heard anything that gave me cause for concern or suspicion. All I witnessed was a loving family that had been plunged into the most dreadful situation, and two parents trying to cope amidst their loss. To suggest that they somehow harmed Madeleine, accidentally or otherwise, is as ludicrous as it is nonsensical. Indeed, it would be laughable if it wasn't so serious.

"Because of the legal position in Portugal I cannot go into further detail, suffice to say there are entirely innocent explanations for anything the police may have found during their enquiries and the McCanns are very happy to continue their co-operation with the Portuguese authorities to establish the truth of what has happened to Madeleine.

"The focus must now move away from the rampant, unfounded and inaccurate speculation of recent days to return to the child at the very centre of this: Madeleine. The task is simply to find her. Kate and Gerry are again urging everyone to keep looking as they firmly believe she could still be alive.

"Finally I would like to take this opportunity to remind media organisations around the world, in particular television stations and picture desk editors, that Madeleine's brother and sister, Sean and Amelie, were brought back to England to resume, in privacy, as normal a life as possible under the circumstances. Kate and Gerry again urge you not to use their image in your coverage, as the privacy of infants must surely remain paramount."
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Postby Maya » Fri Nov 30, 2007 3:50 pm ... p?ID=21663

Updated: 28 September 2007

Murat on hold


ROBERT MURAT, the first official suspect in the case of the disappearance of Madeleine McCann, has not been contacted by any officials concerning the removal of his arguido status.

According to his lawyer Francisco Pagarete, nobody from the investigation has contacted Robert Murat about possible changes to his status.

"I think it is a strange situation if that happens", he told The Resident, adding that if what some newspapers are saying is true, his "client will be very happy".

Mr Pagarete explained that in some circumstances what happens is that the arguido status is altered to the witness status, to protect the secrecy of justice, although he doesn't believe this might happen with its client.

Reports that Robert Murat's situation would be changed surfaced at the weekend when the Portuguese language weekly newspaper Sol revealed he was going to be informally "told that he wouldn't have to face any charges" in the case.

According to Sol, Robert Murat would continue as suspect only to protect the investigation and that the situation was to be explained to him by officials from the investigation.

Francisco Pagarete told The Resident that he considered this information strange, adding: "I don't see police inspectors using their time with those kind of procedures."

However, he added, "if that happens and if we are to be called to the police because of that, we will go."

Police contact

Meanwhile, The Resident can reveal that the apartment at Praia da Luz used by the McCann family was occupied by other people for four weeks in June and July.

It had been closed on police orders following Madeleine's disappearance until the middle of June and then released to the owners.

It is understood that owners themselves stayed there for two weeks and some of their friends for another two weeks. It was eventually closed again at the end of July and remains so under police order at the present time.

Private security

On Tuesday this week, the McCann family refused to confirm reports that they have hired a private security firm to help in the search for Madeleine.

However, official spokesman Clarence Mitchell said: "Kate and Gerry have always made it clear they would leave no stone unturned in the search for Madeleine."

Several newspapers had said Control Risks Group had been employed by the family soon after the young girl disappeared in May. CRG was formed in the 1970s to help free kidnapped businessmen.

It employs many former special forces personnel as well as ex-police and secret service members and has a former SAS commander on its board.
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Postby Maya » Fri Nov 30, 2007 3:51 pm ... p?ID=21739

Updated: 01 October 2007

Girl in Morocco is not Madeleine

THE GIRL spotted in Morocco by a Spanish tourist is not four-year old Madeleine McCann.

She is, in fact, Bouchra Benaisse, a five-year old who is the youngest member of a Moroccan family living in a small village of Zinat near Tetuan in the north of the country.

Hafida Achkar, mother of the little girl, was said to be very surprised by the fact her daughter's face was in the media spotlight due to the Madeleine case.

The family was visited by a team of reporters from the French news agency AFP, and are said to have proved the girl's identity with birth certificates and other documents, like her parents' identification. Father Ahmed Ben Mohamed Benaissa and Hafida Achkar are both farmers.

Bouchra Benaisse was thought to be Madeleine, after Spanish tourist Clara Torres alerted authorities in Spain about a holiday photo she had taken at the beginning of August.

It showed a little blond girl being carried by a woman along a road.

Clara Torres reported the photo to the police after she heard about another tourist's sighting in the region.

Meanwhile, the spokesman for the Procuradoria Geral a Rep├║blica, head of the public prosecutors board, told The Resident that "all lines of the investigation are being followed, including, obviously, the kidnapping scenario".

He also said that investigation is analysing all documents it has received and following up leads on "all the people that might help to resolve the disappearance of Madeleine McCann".

The public prosecutor is also said to have in place all procedures he considered necessary and convenient for the investigation.

There are three official suspects, or arguidos, in the case – Robert Murat and Kate and Gerry McCann.
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Postby Maya » Fri Nov 30, 2007 3:52 pm ... p?ID=21832

Updated: 04 October 2007

Police chief removed from Madeleine case


CONTROVERSY HAUNTS the reputation of the police investigator who was dismissed this week from the Madeleine Case investigation.

In 2004, when Gonçalo Amaral was heading the criminal investigation into the case of another missing child, Joana Cipriano, the PJ agent was accused by the child's mother of not reporting the torture she allegedly suffered in the hands of four other investigators while she was in preventive prison.

The accusations were brought against the inspector after the investigation of the Joana case was closed, but Gonçalo Amaral has never been accused or suspended from his post.

The mother, Leonor Cipriano, was eventually convicted of murdering and concealing her daughter's body, which mirrors the reasoning behind Gerry and Kate McCann's arguido status.

Gonçalo Amaral, the police coordinator leading the investigation into the disappearance of Madeleine McCann, was removed from his position in a move that was not totally unexpected. The decision was made by the national office of the PJ after he made several controversial statements on the Madeleine case earlier this week.

Amaral, who has headed the investigation since the early days and who was also the head of the Portimão Office of the Polícia Judiciária (PJ) was relieved of his duties by a direct order from Alípio Ribeiro, the national chief of the PJ.

He confirmed the decision when leaving an international conference entitled War, Women and Rights, held on Tuesday afternoon in Lisbon.

Questioned by the journalists, Ribeiro said: "I ordered the end of Gonçalo Amaral's service in Portimão and it seems to me that the reason why I gave that order is obvious."

Alípio Ribeiro refused to make any further comments on the case or accept allegations of political pressure. However, Portugal Justice Minister, Alberto Costa, also speaking on Tuesday, had to step in publicly to assure all parties that the relationship between the Portuguese and British police forces working on the Madeleine McCann case was still strong and of "beneficial co-operation".

Alberto Costa claimed that "it is important that all teams are focused on the investigation work and not on the comments" and was reacting to comments made by Gonçalo Amaral to a daily newspaper where he criticised British police action. Gonçalo Amaral, who has said he thought his statements were being made "off the record", had accused British police of "working exclusively on the information wanted by the McCanns and that suits them better."

He was commenting on reports in the British media on Monday about an anonymous email sent to the official website of Prince Charles.

The email accused a former employee of the Ocean Club of being responsible for the abduction of Madeleine McCann in a revenge action to destroy the resort's credibility. But the PJ investigator said this information "had no credibility for the Portuguese police" and therefore "it was completely excluded" from the investigation.

Gonçalo Amaral also said that by following the couple's tips, the British investigators were continuously "forgetting the fact that they are prime suspects of their daughter's death," adding that the kidnapping scenario now being explored was nothing more than "another fact worked by the McCanns".

Joining Gonçalo Amaral in making critical comments this week was Carlos Anjos, the president of ASFIC, the national union of the criminal investigators.

Also interviewed by Diário de Notícias, he accused Gerry McCann of "negligence" when he claimed that Madeleine's abductor was hiding in their holiday apartment.

"If he was suspicious that there was a man in the apartment, and then he calmly went to dinner, then words cannot describe how negligent he is as a father", Carlos Anjos said. The president of the national union of criminal investigators accused Gerry McCann of negligence when he claimed that Madeleine's abductor was hiding in their holiday apartment. adding: "Since their daughter disappeared, Gerry and Kate have followed a strategy of almost daily announcements of new facts."

In response, Clarence Mitchell, the McCann's spokesman, said Gerry McCann's fears came to him only after Madeleine's abduction and Mr Anjos had "totally misunderstood" what he said. He told the UK's Daily Telegraph: "This was in the original witness statement. There is nothing that has come out recently that should be of surprise to the officers."
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Postby Maya » Fri Nov 30, 2007 3:52 pm ... p?ID=21920

Updated: 10 October 2007

New police chief for Madeleine investigation

Paulo Rebelo, the new chief investigator in the Madeleine McCann case.

UPDATED 10.55 ON 09.10.07

PORTUGUESE police have appointed a new top man to lead the investigation into the disappearance of Madeleine McCann.

Paulo Rebelo was unveiled as the new director in the Portimão office of Polícia Judiciária late yesterday (Monday) by the national chief of Polícia Judiciária, Alípio Ribeiro, based in Lisbon.

Paulo Rebelo is said to have extensive experience in criminal investigation and "a natural capacity for leading his teams with tact." He is also said to have "a strong attitude".

Portuguese daily newspapers are reporting that the reaction to Paulo Rebelo's appointment was positive in the Portimão office, with investigators pleased by the fact that this coordinator fits the old fashioned discretion style of the PJ, particularly where media coverage of difficult cases is concerned.

Described as a very diplomatic and prudent investigator, Paulo Rebelo worked for several years in the Drugs Combat departments, first in Porto and latter in Lisbon. He was nominated as PJ director in 2002 and rose quickly in the police hierarchy.

Unlike his predecessor, Gonçalo Amaral, who operated under the supervision of the Faro PJ department, headed by Guilhermino Encarnação, Paulo Rebelo will report directly to the national chief, Alípio Ribeiro.
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Postby Maya » Fri Nov 30, 2007 3:53 pm ... p?ID=22245

Updated: 25 October 2007

McCanns set up new hotline for Madeleine information

UPDATED 18.07 ON OCTOBER 24, 2007

GERRY AND Kate McCann have broken their silence since being named suspects in their daughter Madeleine's disappearance by speaking to Spanish television, primarily to promote a new telephone hotline.

In an emotional half-hour interview to be shown tonight (Wednesday), the missing girl's mother breaks down in tears.

"We discover a Kate very different to that seen by the public. A mother who fills up with emotion and cries upon remembering her daughter," the TV station Antena 3 claims.

Reporter Roberto Arce travelled to Manchester to meet the McCanns and question them about life back in Britain.

The couple talk about their personal and legal situation and they fight back at claims made by newspapers in Portugal and Britain.

"It's ludicrous," says Mr McCann when asked whether the couple sedated their children - a question which Kate McCann refuses to answer.

Clarence Mitchell, spokesperson for the family, told Sky News that investigators advised them to do the interview as a way of raising awareness for thehotline set up for people to call with information about Madeleine's disappearance.

The line will be manned on a confidential basis and people are encouraged to ring in with sightings or evidence.

Portuguese and Spanish police have given the McCanns their full backing in setting up the number, which will be based in Spain.

The operators of the line will speak a range of differerent languages, including Spanish, Portuguese, Arabic, French and English.

Anyone with information about Madeleine is asked to call + 34 902 300213 if they have any information, 24 hours a day.

They are concentrating on north Africa and the Iberian Peninsula because it is thought to be the area where the little girl is "most likely" to be.
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Postby Maya » Fri Nov 30, 2007 3:54 pm ... p?ID=22367

Updated: 30 October 2007

McCanns: We had nothing to do with Madeleine's disappearance


IN THEIR first TV interview since becoming suspects, the McCanns insisted they had nothing to do with Madeleine's disappearance.

The couple spoke on Spanish television, so the broadcast would reach Spain, Portugal and north Africa.

During an emotional interview, Kate McCann was clearly distressed at times and the tears she shed are nothing compared to the grief she has hidden from the cameras, the family's spokesman said.

The couple, whose daughter was last seen nearly six months ago, gave the interview to a Spanish TV network, broadcast last night (Wednesday) in order to publicise a new hotline for people to ring with information about Madeleine.

In the interview, the McCanns talked about life without their daughter, and remembered Madeleine as a "very loving and very happy" little girl.

"I feel sad and I feel lonely and our life is not as happy without Madeleine," said Kate McCann, who added: "I feel anxious she is not with us."

Gerry McCann described how one of the most difficult things about life without his first-born child was having "The hardest thing for me is when the twins say 'when is Madeleine coming back home?' and we have to say 'we don't know, but everyone is looking for her'," he said.

The interview, which showed Kate McCann breaking down towards the end of the reporter's questions, was billed as revealing a rare public show of emotion from the couple.

Their composure in previous televised appeals has attracted criticism and suspicion from some commentators - a response that spokesman Clarence Mitchell has described as "the height of arrogance".

"I would suggest to anyone who criticises Kate, in particular, for being cold and calm and a little strange, ask how you would react if your child was missing in these circumstances," he said.

"It is the height of arrogance, I feel, to suggest that somebody must act in a certain way. To suggest that if she has not cried it is wrong. Kate and Gerry cry a lot in private. I have seen it. But it doesn't prove anything. They are normal emotional human beings like you and me."
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Postby Maya » Fri Nov 30, 2007 3:54 pm ... p?ID=22368

Updated: 30 October 2007

Madeleine McCann investigation team travels to the UK


RUMOURS AND speculation about the results of the analysis being done at the Birmingham Lab in the UK are still taking over the main pages of daily newspapers in Portugal and the UK, although officials say all lines of investigation are open and that they are still waiting for the test results.

Meanwhile, national director of the Polícia Judiciária, Alípio Ribeiro, gave an interview to a Spanish newspaper last week saying that a team of investigators from the Portimão PJ office was expected to travel to the UK at any moment to re-interview some of the McCanns' friends who were at the Ocean Club at the time of Madeleine's disappearance on May 3.

Ribeiro said the team will be travelling with a "representative of the Public Prosecutor from Portimão" and that they intend to obtain more detailed information "from the friends of the couple" who were at the Tapas bar with Gerry and Kate on the night Madeleine went missing.

The PJ head director also told Spanish reporters that despite all lines of the investigation being kept open, the theory that Madeleine may already be dead "has gained some credit and strength" and admitted that the beginning of the investigation had maybe focused too much on the kidnapping theory.

Gerry McCann, who is said to be negotiating his return to his previous cardiologist job at the Leicestershire hospital, stated this week that he was very pleased with the fact that the Portuguese police were going to re-interview his friends.

On his blog, at the Find Madeleine Campaign website, Gerry also says: "We do not know how many other 'witnesses' will be interviewed but obviously we want to be eliminated from the inquiry as soon as possible. We constantly hope that one of the other lines of investigation leads to Madeleine being found safe and well".

This same desire is shared by Robert Murat, who was the first person to be named an "arguido" by the PJ in the Madeleine McCann case.

The expatriate, who lives at Praia da Luz with his mother Genny Murat, owner of Villa Liliana, has seen his name return to the spotlight this week after a British newspaper reported that the forensic analysis detected Madeleine's DNA at his property.

The information was not confirmed by the police, and Robert Murat's lawyer, Mr Francisco Pagarete, has already assured that the several searches held at Villa Lilliana by the Portuguese police have not found any evidence.

Meanwhile, a source close to Robert Murat, who has been waiting in silence to see his name cleared from the Madeleine case, said to The Resident that he is struggling with financial problems as a result of this case.
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Postby Maya » Fri Nov 30, 2007 3:55 pm ... p?ID=22378

Updated: 31 October 2007

Madeleine fund used by McCanns to make mortgage payments


GERRY AND Kate McCann used money from the Madeleine Fund to pay for their mortgage.

The fund, which was set up to help find the couple's daughter and support the family, was used to make payments in June and July.

Once the McCanns were made arguidos or official suspects by Portuguese police in August, they decided not to use the money for personal payments.

The McCann's spokesman Clarence Mitchell said: "The fund has always had the ability to assist the family financially if necessary, and they've only used it to pay for two mortgage payments earlier this year.

"When they were made arguidos, it stopped, which was a mutual decision on the part of the fund and the McCanns - they were happy to accept that their changed status meant they were no longer entitled to that assistance."

Donations to the Find Madeleine Fund currently stand at almost 1.1 million pounds.

.The use of donations had previously been called into question after it was revealed about a third of the money had been used to meet the McCanns' living costs, publicity fees and to pay staff.

But the family defended the fund, saying they would not use it for their legal fees.

Meanwhile it has been reported that Kate McCann is unlikely to return to her job as a part-time GP but Gerry McCann is expected to return to his work as a consultant later this week, a move likely to help ease the financial pressures on the family.

On Saturday, her family will hold a church service to mark six months since she was last seen in the Algarve resort of Praia da Luz.

Gerry McCann wrote in his latest internet diary entry: "We will be marking this milestone very quietly with an ecumenical prayer service for Madeleine and other missing children in the local Anglican church."

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Postby Maya » Fri Nov 30, 2007 3:56 pm ... p?ID=22385

Updated: 31 October 2007

Tapas seven deny pact of silence


SEVEN FRIENDS who were dining with Kate and Gerry McCann when their daughter Madeleine vanished have denied making a pact of silence to protect the couple.

Portuguese police reportedly believe the group were hiding damaging facts about the parents.

It has been alleged the details could implicate the couple in their daughter's disappearance.

But the friends insist that it was only at detectives' request that they had avoided speaking about the case publicly.

The seven had joined the couple at a tapas restaurant in the Algarve resort of Praia da Luz before Madeleine went missing on May 3.

They issued a formal statement through the McCanns' spokesman, Clarence Mitchell.

"We wish to state that there is categorically no 'pact of silence' or indeed anything secretive between us - just the desire to assist the search for Madeleine," the statement said.

It added: "From day one, the police in Portugal told us not to discuss our statements.

"We have always tried to honour this request as well as respecting Portugal's judicial secrecy laws, despite the very large number of inaccurate, speculative and often unpleasant articles that have been published."

The holidaying adults who ate together in the Ocean Club resort have been nicknamed the 'Tapas Nine'.

They were the McCanns, Russell O'Brien and his partner Jane Tanner, Rachael and Matthew Oldfield, Fiona and David Payne, and Mrs Payne's mother Dianne Webster.
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Postby Maya » Fri Nov 30, 2007 3:56 pm ... p?ID=22388

Updated: 01 November 2007

Gerry McCann returns to work


GERRY MCCANN returned to work today (Thursday) for the first time since Madeleine went missing in May.

The consultant cardiologist at Leicester's Glenfield Hospital has been on leave since his daughter disappeared in Praia da Luz nearly six months ago.

"Unless Madeleine is found, we are not expecting any significant developments in the near future. I'm very keen to get back in," he said.

Staff at the hospital and in the NHS Trust were thanked for their support during the family's ordeal.

Trust bosses have said he will not be seeing patients immediately but would start work on MRI scans and admin.

Clinical director Dr Doug Skehan said the time was right for a return after the distress and pressure the McCanns had had to endure.

"He has demonstrated great personal qualities that we know he possesses," said Dr Skehan, who asked the media to respect the care of the hospital's patients.

The first phase of his return will involve "limited contact" with patients, such as discussions with them about their MRI scan results, he added.

It is planned that Dr McCann will be involved in direct contact with patients in clinic after one month.
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