www.mccannfiles.com

Home
Latest News
Madeleine McCann
Madeleine McCann (2)
Madeleine McCann - Age Progression
Madeleine or Maddie?
Maddie Christmas Appeal Video 2007
Maddie Christmas Appeal Video 2008
Kate McCann
Kate's Interviews
Kate's Diary
Gerry McCann
03 May 2007
Apartment 5A
The 'Abductor' & The 'Eggman'
The Smiths' Sighting
Jeremy Wilkins
Maps/Aerial Shots
04 May 2007
The First Reactions
The First Searches, 03/04 May 2007
05 May 2007 - Media Reports/Videos
06 May 2007 - Media Reports/Videos
Lori Campbell/Ross Hall Articles to Sept 2007
Lagos Marina - The 'Sighting' & The 'Vision'
Nannies/Childcare & Najoua Chekaya
Charlotte Pennington
Pat Perkins / The e-mail Campaigns
Philomena McCann
The McCanns' PDL Media Statements
Control Risks Group
Gerry's 1st Trip Home / The 'Last Photograph'
The McCanns' First Interviews 25 May 2007
McCanns' European Campaign - Rome
McCanns' European Campaign - Madrid
McCanns' European Campaign - Berlin
McCanns' European Campaign - Amsterdam
McCanns' European Campaign - Morocco
'De Telegraaf' Letter
Gerry's 2nd Trip Home
Gerry's 3rd Trip Home / Kate's 1st Trip Home
Gerry's USA Trip
The Huelva Trip
The Tongeren 'Sighting'
Telecinco Interview / Gerry in Edinburgh
The Antena 3 Interview
The McCanns' TV Appeals/Interviews
The Rothley Meeting, 17 November 2007
BBC Panorama: 'The Mystery of Madeleine McCann'
Channel 4 Dispatches: 'Searching for Madeleine'
Bridget O'Donnell / David James Smith
The McCanns' Movie
Vanity Fair Interview
Gail Cooper's 'Creepy Man' - Media Reports
Gail Cooper's 'Creepy Man' - PJ Files
LSE Event 30/01/2008
António Castela Sighting
Express Group Apology
The Brussels Trip
El Mundo Article
The Sun One Year Anniversary Review
ITV1 'Madeleine, One Year On' documentary
One Year: Interviews (01 May 2008)
One Year: Interviews (02 May 2008)
One Year: Anniversary Articles (Media)
One Year: Anniversary (Family/Friends)
One Year: Anniversary (Church Services)
The Strasbourg Trip
Case To Be Archived?
Madeleine: Ward of Court, LP Information
21 July 2008 - Arguido Status Lifted
The PJ's Final Report & The Archiving Dispatch
Sky News Crime Scene Picture Galleries
Case Files Released: UK Reports (1)
Case Files Released: UK Reports (2)
Case Files Released: UK Reports (3)
Case Files Released: Portuguese Reports (1)
Case Files Released: Portuguese Reports (2)
Case Files Released: The Sightings (1)
Case Files Released: The Sightings (2)
Case Files Released: Press Comments
Correio da Manhã Exclusive Reports (July)
Correio da Manhã Reports (August)
Eddie and Keela
The Eddie and Keela Searches/Videos
The Eddie and Keela Extended Videos
PJ Files: Table of Contents (Part 1)
PJ Files: Table of Contents (Part 2)
PJ Files: The McCanns' Statements
PJ Files: The Tapas Group's Statements
PJ Files: Pamela Fenn Statement
PJ Files: Graham MacKenzie Statement
PJ Files: The Paraiso CCTV Pictures
PJ Files: Timeline for 03/04 May 2007
PJ Files: GNR Officer Statements
PJ Files: Apt 5A Photographs
PJ Files: Mark Harrison Reports
PJ Files: The FSS/Lowe Report
PJ Files: The Cancelled Reconstruction
PJ Files: Portuguese Police Reports
PJ Files: Creche Records/Catriona Baker
PJ Files: Creche / Diagram of Events
The PJ's Final Report - Summary (Part 2)
Carta Rogatoria - 04, Statements 1
Carta Rogatoria - 05, Statements 2
Gonçalo Amaral
Gonçalo Amaral (2)
'A Verdade Da Mentira', 'The Truth Of The Lie' (1) - Book Summary
'A Verdade Da Mentira', 'The Truth Of The Lie' (2) - Book Launch
'A Verdade Da Mentira', 'The Truth Of The Lie' (3) - Word Spreads
'A Verdade Da Mentira', TVI Documentary
'A Verdade Da Mentira' - Videos and Transcript
'A Verdade Da Mentira' - English Version
L'Enquête Interdite - 'The Forbidden Investigation' (1)
L'Enquête Interdite - 'The Forbidden Investigation' (2)
L'Enquête Interdite - 'The Forbidden Investigation' (3)
Gonçalo Amaral - The Interviews (July '08)
Gonçalo Amaral - The Interviews (Aug/Sep '08)
Gonçalo Amaral - The Interviews (Oct '08-2010)
Gonçalo Amaral - The Interviews (2011-2012)
The Expresso Interview
The Joana Case
The Joana Case (2)
The Joana Case (3)
The Joana Case (4)
The Joana Case Verdict
Gerry returns to Portugal, 13 Jan 2009
Gerry: Culture, Media and Sport Committee
New Appeal Campaign March/April 2009
Gerry Returns To PDL - Channel 4 Doc (1)
Gerry Returns To PDL - Channel 4 Doc (2)
The Oprah Show / New Maddie Image
The Oprah Show / New Maddie Image (2)
Two Year: Anniversary Articles
C4 Cutting Edge: 'Madeleine Was Here'
'Madeleine Was Here' - The Documentary
'Madeleine Was Here' - 'Scarface' / 3 Witnesses
McCanns: SIC / This Morning Interviews
McCanns Try To 'Gag' Gonçalo Amaral
Gonçalo Amaral - The Civil Court Injunction
McCanns Try To 'Gag' Gonçalo Amaral (2)
'A Mordaça Inglesa' - The English Gag
Tears, Lies and Videotape
McCanns/Polygraph/Lie Detection Information
Case Study: Maddie Crying
Raymond Hewlett - The "New" Suspect
Raymond Hewlett - A "Person Of Interest"
Raymond Hewlett - A Person Of No Interest
Raymond Hewlett - The Story Continues
The 'Victoria Beckham' Lookalike Suspect
The 'Victoria Beckham' Lookalike Suspect - 2
The 'Victoria Beckham' Lookalike Suspect - 3
McCanns Return To Portugal, 23/09/2009
Gerry McCann: IBA Conference, Madrid
'A Minute For Madeleine' Campaign
'A Minute For Madeleine' Interviews
Kevin Halligen & The Fund - 2008/2009
Kevin Halligen & The Fund - 2010-2012
Kevin Halligen & The Fund - 2013
Gonçalo Amaral's Court Hearing (adjourned)
McCanns Return To Praia da Luz
Gonçalo Amaral's Court Hearing (Day One)
Gonçalo Amaral's Court Hearing (Day Two)
Gonçalo Amaral's Court Hearing (Day Three)
Court Appeal Hearing - Live Text
The 1,000 Day Anniversary Events
Gonçalo Amaral's Court Hearing (Final Day)
Gonçalo Amaral's Court Hearing (Final Day) 2
Temporary Injunction - Decision and Reaction
Temporary Injunction - Civil Court Decision
Temporary Injunction - Press Conference
Dossier Of Sightings Released To UK Press
Dossier Of Sightings Released To UK Press 2
Dossier Of Sightings Released To UK Press 3
McCanns Return To Portugal / Fun Run / Aled Jones Interview
Three Years: GMTV & Age-Progression Image
Three Years: McCann Media Interviews
Three Years: Appeal Video & Services
Peace Service, Maddie's 7th Birthday, Gerry's Cycle Event
Charles O'Neill and William Lauchlan - 1
Charles O'Neill and William Lauchlan - 2
Appeals Court Lifts Ban On Amaral's Book
McCanns' Appeal For Donations & Case Review (Media Reports)
McCanns' Appeal For Donations & Case Review (Videos)
McCanns Appeal To The Supreme Court
McCanns Announce Book Deal
WikiLeaks Release
Kate McCann and Claudia Lawrence
Alpha Investigations Group
McCanns: 'Miles for Missing People' 2011
Kate's Book & JK Rowling Denial
Four Year Anniversary
Serialisation Of 'Madeleine' Begins
'Madeleine' Media Opinions
'Madeleine' Media Opinions (2)
Media Interviews - 12 May 2011
Met. Police Review Announced
Met. Police Review / Kate Commons Inquiry
News of the World Hacking Scandal
The Leh 'Sighting' - India
McCanns Appear At The Leveson Inquiry
McCanns' Evidence To The Leveson Inquiry
Leveson Inquiry: Crone, Myler and Sanderson
Met. Police Review / Spanish Connection
Leveson Inquiry: Pilditch, Flanagan and Fagge
Leveson Inquiry: The Newspaper Editors
Leveson Inquiry: PCC / Sir Christopher Meyer
Leveson Inquiry: Dacre, Edmondson and Clifford
Leveson Inquiry: Misc Witnesses
Gonçalo Amaral v. Marcos Aragão Correia & António Pedro Dores
Met. Police Review / Portuguese Connection
Five Year Anniversary 'Sightings'
Madeleine: The Last Hope? - Panorama
Maddie's Body Found? Stephen Birch - 1
Maddie's Body Found? Stephen Birch - 2
Maddie's Body Found? Stephen Birch - 3
Bianca Jones / Trial of D'Andre Lane
April Jones
The Leveson Report - Publication
The Leveson Report - Further Debate
The Royal Charter - Draft Publication
Madeleine Sightings / Searches / Leads - 2013
Met. Police Review - Jan to May 2013
Kate McCann: London Marathon 2013
Six Year Anniversary - Media Interviews
Six Year Anniversary - Media Reports (1)
Six Year Anniversary - Media Reports (2)
Met. Police Review - June/July 2013
Urs Hans Von Aesch
Met. Police Review - 2013 (continued)
Gerry McCann: London Triathlon 2013
McCanns v. Gonçalo Amaral: Libel Trial
McCanns v. Gonçalo Amaral: Libel Trial - Day One
McCanns v. Gonçalo Amaral: Libel Trial - Day Two
McCanns v. Gonçalo Amaral: Libel Trial - Days Three/Four
McCanns v. Gonçalo Amaral: Libel Trial - Day Five
McCanns v. Gonçalo Amaral: Libel Trial - Day Six
McCanns v. Gonçalo Amaral: Libel Trial - Days Seven to Ten
McCanns v. Gonçalo Amaral: Libel Trial - Closing Arguments
McCanns v. Gonçalo Amaral: Libel Trial - Court Reports
SY Mobile Phone Traffic Announcement
Scotland Yard New E-fit Announcement
Scotland Yard Release E-fit Image
Crimewatch Appeal - UK, Germany, The Netherlands
Crimewatch - The Reaction
Public Ministry Reopens Investigation
Euclides Monteiro - The Dead Suspect
Kate McCann: Missing People Charity Events
Michael Schneider: Searching For Madeleine
CMTV Reconstruction / Studio Debate
'Joint Investigation Team' and Crimewatch Update
Scotland Yard Investigation - Jan 2014
Scotland Yard Investigation - Feb 2014
Scotland Yard Investigation - Mar 2014
LCN DNA Review
Robert Murat
Robert Murat (2)
Robert Murat (3)
Murat Libel Settlements
The Tapas Seven
David Payne
Rogatory Interviews - Russell O'Brien
Rogatory Interviews - Matthew Oldfield
Rogatory Interviews - Rachael Oldfield
Rogatory Interviews - David Payne
Rogatory Interviews - Fiona Payne
Rogatory Interviews - Jane Tanner
Rogatory Interviews - Dianne Webster
'Tapas Seven' Libel Payout, 16 Oct 2008
Investigating Team
Portuguese Penal Code
Método 3
Libel Lawyers, PR and Security Companies
Freedom Of Information
Brian Kennedy
Clarence Mitchell
Clarence Mitchell - Dubai Presentation
Madeleine 'Sightings'
Alex Woolfall/John Hill
Danie Krügel
Colin Sahlke and Stephen Taylor
Dr Joe Sullivan
Church at Praia da Luz
Ray Wyre
Esther McVey
Cuddle Cat
The Official Site
Madeleine's Fund
Madeleine's Fund Accounts to 31/03/2008
Madeleine's Fund Accounts to 31/03/2009
Madeleine's Fund Accounts to 31/03/2010
Madeleine's Fund Accounts to 31/03/2011
Madeleine's Fund - Review & Investigation of Accounts
Madeleine's Fund Accounts to 31/03/2012
Madeleine's Fund - Analysis of Accounts to 31/03/2012
Madeleine's Fund Accounts to 31/03/2013
Madeleine's Fund - Analysis of Accounts to 31/03/2013
Pat Brown, Criminal Profiler
Pat Brown - The Portugal Trip
Dr Martin Roberts - 2009
Dr Martin Roberts - 2010
Dr Martin Roberts - 2011
Dr Martin Roberts - 2012
Dr Martin Roberts - 2013
Dr Martin Roberts - 2014
Paulo Sargento
The Blacksmith Bureau - 2010
The Blacksmith Bureau - 2011
The Blacksmith Bureau - 2012 (Jan-Jun)
The Blacksmith Bureau - 2012 (Jul-Dec)
The Blacksmith Bureau - 2013
The Blacksmith Bureau - 2014
The Interrupted Investigation
The Cracked Mirror
Various Transcripts
CNN Transcripts
Articles by Duarte Levy
Reports Pre-Arguido (May 2007)
Reports Pre-Arguido (Jun-Sep 2007)
Reports Post-Arguido (September 2007)
Reports Post-Arguido (Oct-Dec 2007)
Reports Post-Arguido (Jan-Dec 2008)
Sol Reports
People magazine
HELLO! magazine
The Madeleine Foundation - 2009
The Madeleine Foundation - 2010
The Madeleine Foundation - 'Gonçalo Amaral Day'
The Madeleine Foundation - 'Inside Out' Programme
The Madeleine Foundation - 163 Questions and 50 Facts
The Madeleine Foundation - 2011
McCanns v. Bennett - Contempt of Court (1)
McCanns v. Bennett - Contempt of Court (2)
McCanns v. Bennett - Court Report
McCanns v Bennett - Judgment & Sentencing
McCanns v Bennett - Judgment & Sentencing Remarks of Judge
Misc. Media Comments (03 May - 31 Aug 2007)
Misc. Media Comments (01 Sep - 31 Dec 2007)
Misc. Media Comments (01 Jan - 30 Jun 2008)
Misc. Media Comments (01 Jul - 31 Aug 2008)
Misc. Media Comments (01 Sep 2008 - Date)
Madeleine Related 'Art'
CBS 48 Hours: 'Where's Maddie?'
RTE: Mystery Still Surrounds McCann Case
RTP: 'Anatomy of a Mystery'
Sky: 'The Mystery of Madeleine McCann'
MSNBC: 'Missing Madeleine'
Al Jazeera: 'The McCanns v. The Media'
Madeleine McCann: Haunting Evidence
Las Mañanas de Cuatro - Spanish TV Discussion & McCanns Interview
2007: May (1-28)
June (29-58)
July (59-89)
August (90-120)
September (121-150)
October (151-181)
November (182-211)
December (212-242)
2008: January (243-273)
February (274-302)
March (303-333)
April (334 - 363)
May (364-394)
June (395-424)
July (425-455)
August (456-486)
September (487-516)
October (517-547)
November (548-577)
December (578-608)
2009: January (609-639)
February (640-667)
March (668-698)
April (699-728)
May (729-759)
June (760-789)
July (790-820)
August (821-851)
September (852-881)
October (882-912)
November (913-942)
December (943-973)
2010: Jan/Feb (974-1032)
Mar/Apr (1033-1093)
May/Jun (1094-1154)
Jul/Aug (1155-1216)
Sep/Oct (1217-1277)
Nov/Dec (1278-1338)
2011 - Jan/Feb (1339-1397)
Mar/Apr (1398-1458)
May/Jun (1459-1519)
Jul/Aug (1520-1581)
Sep/Dec (1582-1673)
2012 - Jan/Feb (1674-1733)
Mar/Apr (1734-1794)
Gerry's Blogs (Days 1-58) May/Jun 2007
Gerry's Blogs (Days 59-120) Jul/Aug 2007
Gerry's Blogs (Days 121-181) Sep/Oct 2007
Gerry's Blogs (Days 182-242) Nov/Dec 2007
Gerry's Blogs 2008-2009
Official McCann Updates, Mar-Dec 2009
Official McCann Updates, Jan-Dec 2010
Official McCann Updates, 2011-2013
Official McCann Facebook Updates
Contact/Links

Gerry McCann

Father of Madeleine McCann

Gerry's first words to Kate's mother, Susan Healy, were: "There's been a disaster. It's a disaster."

Gerry McCann

From Gerry's blogs:
 
"Sometimes people do things for reasons that even they cannot understand."

"An act of madness, an accident or sudden impulse can lead to consequences that people may never have imagined or intended."

"Faced with such a situation we believe any human soul will ultimately suffer torment and feelings of guilt and fear."

 
Gerry McCann on grieving
 
"The first 48 hours was akin to having a bereavement. It was as though Madeleine had died. It was anguish, despair, guilt, helplessness all falling into one.
 
"But it is different to a death, where you grieve and try to move on. Madeleine is not dead. We have been thrown into an ongoing trauma, an ongoing crisis of the unknown."
 
- Telegraph, 31 May 2007
 
"In the first few weeks when I slipped into dark moments of despair, I was finding it quite easy to emotionally switch a light back on.
 
"But I've been finding it increasingly difficult to do.
 
"I don't want to do that any more. I want to be able to grieve and let those emotions out."
 
- Daily Mirror, 11 June 2007

Gerry McCann
Leaving home for fun in the local park, with the twins

Gerry McCann and the long-term agenda

'On the flight to Berlin, Gerry wearily admitted the couple's campaign to find Madeleine could last years.

They refuse to leave Praia da Luz while their precious daughter is still missing.

Asked how long they might stay there, he said: "Well, our kids don't start school for three years."'

- Daily Mirror, 07 June 2007

 
In brief
 
Gerald Patrick McCann
 
Father of Madeleine Beth McCann
 
Date of birth: 05 June 1968
 
Place of birth: Glasgow, Scotland
 
Education: Holyrood R.C. Secondary School, Glasgow
 
Employment: Cardiologist at Glenfield Hospital in Leicester, England
 
Gerry studied medicine at Glasgow University, initially specialising and lecturing in sports medicine. 
 

 
Courageous parents who won respect for dignity and resolve, 12 May 2007
 

Courageous parents who won respect for dignity and resolve Timesonline
 
Gerry and Kate McCann, who once thought that they might never have children, had perfect lives until the unthinkable happened
 
Martin Fletcher
May 12, 2007
 
Today is Madeleine McCann's fourth birthday, but the party that her parents had organised before leaving for their holiday in Portugal two weeks ago will not be taking place. No children will be playing on the outsize climbing frame that Madeleine's father spent three weeks erecting in their spacious Leicestershire garden. He will not be horsing around with delighted youngsters squealing on his back, as is his custom. The Doctor Who cake that Madeleine requested from her great-uncle and aunt has not been made. Cards and presents posted before she was abducted from the Mark Warner resort in Praia da Luz ten days ago remain unopened.
 
The party should have been another joyful occasion for a family whose happiness, before Madeleine's disappearance ten days ago, had seemed complete. Gerry and Kate McCann, both 38, had three lovely children, blossoming careers in medicine, lots of friends and a handsome new house in a pleasant village in the green and comfortable heart of middle England.
 
"Their lives were perfect," said Paul Macintyre, a fellow doctor and old friend from Glasgow. "Life could not have been any better for them until this happened."
 
The McCanns will instead remain in their Portuguese hell, conscious that with every passing day their chances of recovering their daughter diminish. It is a terrible plight, especially cruel for a couple who struggled so long to have children, and who have dedicated their professional lives to helping others.
 
"It always happens to someone else. You can't believe it will ever happen to you," said Mrs McCann's uncle, Brian Kennedy, a retired headmaster who lives in the same village as his niece and looks exhausted after a week of dealing with the insatiable demands of the British media.
 
But the McCanns refuse to despair, even after a week of growing suspicion that Madeleine was abducted by an organised paedophile network rather than some desperate individual. The police are now said to be searching for two men and a woman seen driving a car with British numberplates.
 
Friends and relatives told The Times that the couple were "absolutely floored" immediately after Madeleine disappeared, but that they had recovered some of their poise. Jill Renwick, a family friend from Glasgow, said that Mrs McCann looked haggard and tearful, but "she's very strong, she's bearing up". Mr McCann is concentrating totally on ways of recovering their daughter. The pair have won the admiration of millions of British and Portuguese this past week with their resilience, strength and dignity.
 
It was the McCanns, not the Portuguese police, who decided to issue a direct appeal to Madeleine's abductors, and to release details of what she was wearing. Mr McCann has been lobbying politicians and diplomats and mobilising friends and contacts in Britain. He has been developing ways to keep his daughter’s case in the public eye through e-mail campaigns, internet posters, celebrity appeals, persuading European retail chains to display Madeleine's picture in their stores and even asking medical centres across the Continent to look out for a girl with a slight iris defect. One of the family's great fears is that Madeleine's abduction will fade from the headlines, and with it their hopes that somebody will come forward with that vital snippet of information.
 
His brother, John, who returned from Portugal midweek, said that the Mark Warner group had flown out a counsellor from the Centre for Crisis Psychology in Skipton, Yorkshire, who had advised the McCanns that action was the best way of coping with their loss.
 
Dr Macintyre said of Madeleine's father: "He's incredibly determined. His attitude is absolutely remarkable. He goes into this mode of being very organised and very efficient and that's the only way he can behave in this situation. He said unless he does everything he can to bring his daughter back he can't live with himself."
 
Another friend, who asked not to be named, said that Mrs McCann had needed several rounds of IVF treatment before becoming pregnant with Madeleine. "She really was a miracle child to them. . . . She is the most precious thing in their lives."
 
Determination has always been a hallmark of the McCanns. They are both high-achievers from working-class families, she from Liverpool, he from Glasgow. Mrs McCann studied medicine at the University of Dundee, qualified as an anaesthetist, then retrained as a GP because the work would be easier to combine with motherhood.
 
Her husband was the youngest of five children of Irish immigrants. His father was a joiner; his mother worked in a biscuit factory. He went on to study medicine at the University of Glasgow, became Scotland's under19 1,500 metres running champion and briefly dabbled in sports medicine. It was through contacts that he made working with Scotland's under21 football team that Cristiano Ronaldo and John Terry were persuaded to issue appeals for Madeleine. Yesterday David Beckham lent his voice to the cause.
 
The McCanns met when both were junior doctors at Western Infirmary, Glasgow, and when she left to work in New Zealand for a year he followed and won her heart. They married in 1998 and moved to the Midlands in 2000 when he was offered a job as a cardiologist at Glenfield Hospital, Leicester. She went to work at the Latham House Medical Practice in Melton Mowbray under her maiden name, Dr Healey.
 
Mrs Renwick remembers sitting by the pool with Mrs McCann during a holiday in Majorca six or seven years ago and lamenting their mutual inability to have children. In late 2002, however, Mrs McCann finally became pregnant with Madeleine through IVF, and in 2004 became pregnant again with twins. The McCanns spent that year in Amsterdam, where he was working on new heart-imaging techniques. Back in England the family moved into a large house in an upmarket development in Rothley, a straggling village a few miles north of Leicester where William Wilberforce once plotted his antislavery campaign in the local manor and, much later, Mike Gatting forfeited the England cricket captaincy by taking a barmaid to his hotel room in the same manor house.
 
Rothley boasts the street with the most expensive properties in the East Midlands, according to a Sunday Times survey, although in reality it is a village of mixed incomes with five pubs, three churches, a primary school and library. There they were building a happy family and professional life. Mr McCann would cycle six miles to work and played golf when he had time. His wife would go to the gym and take the children swimming. She was due to start working two days a week instead of one and a half when she returned from Portugal. They attend Rothley's Roman Catholic church.
 
It is hard to find anyone with an unkind word to say about the McCanns, with their energy, zest for life and obvious love for each other.
 
Doug Skehan, clinical director of cardiology at Glenfield hospital, described Mr McCann as "extremely popular, someone we have a deep affection for".
 
Tim Smith, a GP in Melton Mowbray, said that Mrs McCann was "lovely, warm and engaging – everyone thinks that".
 
Valerie Armstrong, landlady of Rothley's Royal Oak pub, where the McCanns sometimes go for lunch or dinner, said: "They are lovely, gentle, caring people." She said that they would let only their nanny or relatives babysit the children, and chose the Mark Warner resort precisely because they thought that it was safe.
 
What incenses the McCanns' friends is the suggestion that they neglected their children on the night that Madeleine was abducted. Mrs Renwick recalled a medical reunion in a Perthshire hotel a few months ago, where Mrs McCann said that her husband should attend the dinner by himself so that the children would not be left alone. Dr Skehan said that Mr McCann was committed to his work but did not stay late because "he genuinely wants to be part of his children's lives". Mrs McCann's uncle, Mr Kennedy, said that the couple were, if anything, overprotective.
 
The McCanns are so easy to identify with as people, and to feel for as parents. There is scarcely a mother or father in the land who has not briefly left a child alone, or experienced the blind panic of momentarily losing one. As Dr Skehan remarked: "We all feel, 'There but for the grace of God go I'."
 
Relatives say that the McCanns have been sustained in their agony by the support they have received.
 
A colleague of Mrs McCann offered a reward of £100,000 even before yesterday announcement of a £1 million reward by the Scottish businessman Stephen Winyard. There have been prayer meetings in Melton Mowbray, Glenfield Hospital and, last night, Glasgow Cathedral. Several hundred people attended a vigil in Rothley on Tuesday; the village's churches have been open around the clock. On Thursday morning 300 pupils from the primary school encircled the war memorial to pray for Madeleine's return.
 
The memorial has become the emotional focal point for the village. Its railings are festooned with yellow ribbons, pictures of Madeleine, teddy bears and poignant handwritten messages. "Dear Maddy," reads one, "I am thinking about you right now. Anyway, you are nice as roses. Love from Vanessa, Jane, Barby. Age 7. PS I left you some flowers."

 
Gerry comments on the concealment of drugs in sport, 31 July 2000
 
Doping: Banned substances BBC Sport
 
By BBC News Online health section
Monday, 31 July, 2000, 16:10 GMT 17:10 UK
 
Athletes are banned from taking thousands of chemical substances that experts believe will give them an unfair advantage.

There are five main categories of drug that are banned:

  • Anabolic steroids - these help athletes to build muscle, and to recover faster from training;
  • Peptide hormones - these are substances that occur naturally in the body, but which produce similar effects to the anabolic steroids;
  • Strong analgesic painkillers - such as morphine and other opiates;
  • Stimulants - drugs like amphetamines and cocaine can raise the heart rate and may improve performance;
  • Diuretics - chemicals that help the body to lose fluids, and may, for instance, be useful in helping boxers to meet their fighting weight.

In addition, to the five main categories there are other types of drugs that are subject to restrictions on their use.

These include local anaesthetics and drugs used to treat medical conditions such as cortico-steroids, used to treat asthma, and beta-blockers, used to treat heart conditions.

Dr Gerry McCann, a lecturer in sports medicine at the Centre for Exercise Science and Medicine at Glasgow University, said the list of banned substances was so comprehensive that it was highly unlikely that an athlete could take a legal substance, but register a positive result in a doping test.

However, he said there were two areas that could catch athletes out.

Some cold and cough remedies include banned stimulants such as ephedrin and pseudo-ephedrin.

However, athletes are warned about the risks associated with taking such medications without first checking the ingredients.

Secondly, some herbal remedies contain banned substances. For instance, Olympic sprinter Linford Christie was cleared of wrongdoing despite failing a drugs test when it was discovered he had drunk ginseng tea.

The problem with many herbal drinks is that they do not provide an exhaustive list of contents.

It is also possible that an athlete has a medical condition that has led to abnormally high levels of naturally occurring peptide hormones.

And - as in the case of middle distance runner Diane Modahl - incorrect storing of a urine sample may alter its chemical components.

Positive test

Dr McCann said: "It a positive test is found two things are likely to have happened. Either the athlete has taken a banned substance by mistake in an over-the-counter medicine, or they have taken a substance which they could only have got hold of illegally.

"If the later is the case then they have either taken it knowingly, or somebody has given it to them without their knowledge. However, quite a lot of these substances have to be taken by injection so it is very unlikely that they will know nothing about it."

Professor Peter Radford, of the sports science department at Brunel University, agreed that there was no way an athlete could have taken anabolic steroids by mistake, but he said there was a "grey area" over some of the other banned substances.

He said: "So many of the proprietory medicines for coughs and colds contain stimulants such as ephedrin that I can see that a young, inexperienced athlete might naively take a chemical in this way, thinking it was perfectly alright.

"However, I would be surprised if an experienced athlete did that because they know how vigilant they need to be."

Professor Radford said another possibility was that vitamin supplements might be contaminated with banned substances.

"A lot of these products are not produced by the major drug houses and nobody can vouch for the way they are prepared,or for their purity."

Fitness supplements

There is also much controversy surrounding a new generation of fitness supplements that are widely used by athletes as a legal alternative to anabolic steroids.

These include creatine, a substance found naturally in the body and in foods such as meat and fish.

Creatine is sold legally over the counter in synthetic form as an amino acid powder. It helps build muscle and speeds recovery from training.

A recent national newspaper poll of top athletes found that more than half had admitted taking the substance.

However, some experts believe creatine could cause long-term damage to health. It has been linked to kidney damage and shorter term problems such as muscle cramping and dehydration.

Other amino acid based supplements that can be legally used by athletes include:

  • Glutamine - claimed to reduce fatigue, build muscle and boost the immune system;
  • Trypthophan or 5HT - claimed to boost production of the "fight or flight" hormone adrenalin;
  • Protein powders - claimed to improve recovery after training and increase strength and muscle growth.

 
Gerry works on 'The Wider Agenda', 14/15 June 2007
 

Gerry at work on the wider agenda
Gerry gets to work on 'The Wider Agenda'

Gerry's flipchart details how the 'Investigation' and the 'Fund Campaign' feed 'The Wider Agenda'
Close up of the 'Summative Overview'

Extract's from Gerry's blogs
 
14 June 2007 - Kate and I picked up a friend [Jon Corner] from Faro airport who has been instrumental in helping with the campaign. He has been fantastic, producing the DVD of Madeleine to 'Don't you forget about me' which has been shown at many sporting events and concerts as well as producing the look for maddie logo and various posters. We spent most of the day updating each other and discussing future campaign ideas.
 
15 June 2007 - We have made some real progress deciding on campaign strategy.

 
Is Gerry the biological father of Madeleine? (24horas' 10 questions)
 

24horas: 'Gerry is not the biological father of Madeleine'
24horas: 'Gerry is not the biological father of Madeleine'

11 October 2007
 
Gerry reacts angrily to reports in the Portugese 24horas newspaper, which suggest that he is not Madeleine's biological father. The paper claims to have tracked the real father to Birmingham.
 
Gerry was forced to reveal intimate details of how his daughter was conceived with a sperm sample in a fertility clinic. Furious Gerry recounted how his sample was collected and mixed with an egg from GP wife Kate after reports in Portugal claimed he was not Maddie’s dad – and that she was created with donor sperm.

Portuguese paper 24horas reported that Madeleine’s DNA was vastly different from that of Gerry and her two-year-old twin siblings Sean and Amelie and claimed police had visited a sperm bank in England and tracked down the missing girl’s "real" father to rule him out of any involvement in her disappearance.

It claimed this was "very relevant" because body fluids with an 88% match to Madeleine’s were found in a car the McCanns hired 24 days after she vanished from their apartment in Praia da Luz, Portugal, on May 3. The McCanns say the DNA in the car could have come from the twins – but the newspaper’s claims that Madeleine had a different father would, if true, make that impossible.
 
A close family pal said the McCanns had reacted "with horror’" to the claims. "The sperm donor could not have been eliminated because the only donor was Gerry," he said. "He damn well knows because of the IVF process he went through that he is 100% the father. He was in the clinic. He did the business. The police don’t even know which clinic they used, so how can they have tracked it down?"
 
Gerry’s mum Eileen, 67, called the claims "ridiculous", adding that Madeleine, who disappeared two days before her fourth birthday, had several "McCann features’".

24horas editor Luis Fontes said his story was confirmed by Portuguese and British police insiders. "It’s true," he said. "Our sources are rock solid. If they think they can sue us, bring it on."
 
Clarence Mitchell says: "Due to further unwarranted, unsubstantiated and totally inaccurate speculation in the Portuguese press today, Gerry and Kate McCann and their lawyers have authorised me to issue the following statement.
 
"For the record, Gerry is the biological father of his daughter Madeleine. A newspaper report in the 24horas newspaper suggesting otherwise is nothing short of lies. It is indeed an absolute fabrication."
 
12 October 2007
 
Rute Coelho

Clarence Mitchell, the McCann's spokesman, denied yesterday, on behalf of the couple and of Gerry and Kate's lawyers, 24horas' headline. "False news, unfounded and totally speculative", said Mitchell. "Gerry is Maddie's biological father. The news published today in 24horas are a succession of fabricated lies", he added in the statement.
 
Gerry and Kate McCann's lawyers, in both countries, remind the editors of both countries that they are monitoring the case's coverage very closely and will not hesitate to act, taking the appropriate legal actions in the two countries, when and how that may be necessary.

24horas tried to talk to Clarence Mitchell yesterday, but his cellphone was off from 16:00 on. Before that time, it was connected but he didn’t answer. Because of that, and after a phone call to Penny Rose, an assessor of the Find Madeleine Fund, she guaranteed us that Mitchell would be "unavailable all afternoon". We sent two more e-mails to Penny, addressed to Mitchell. The first, sent at 17:27, contained the following nine questions:

1. 24horas confirmed today with PJ and Instituto Nacional de Medicina Legal (Portugal's forensic institute), that Gerry is not the biological father. Can you comment?

2. Was Madeleine conceived through artificial insemination? (to this question, Penny Rose answered yes by phone)

3. Does Gerry have a written statement from the laboratory stating who the donor was? If so, can you send us that statement?

4. When did Gerry make the sperm donation?

5. Did Gerry ever had a paternity test? When?

6. Does Gerry consider the possibility that he doesn't know who was the real donor for Madeleine’s conception?

7. How are the McCanns reacting to the PJ's interest in Gerry's paternity and to the importance that this element had to the investigation?

8. Is it true that the McCanns hired their own forsensics team? If so, why?

9. Do the McCanns still harbour hope that their daughter will be found?
24horas mentioned in the e-mail that it would wait until 21:00 for the answers, the deadline for closing the edition. There was no answer. Before this deadline expired, at 20:14, we sent Penny Rose another e-mail with one question:

10. We have confirmed, through police sources, that Maddie's biological father was identified in the UK by the British police and that the authorities verified that he was in the UK when Madeleine disappeared. We'd like you to comment also on this information.

This last question was also left without an answer.

 
'I AM Madeleine's dad': Gerry McCann rejects claims sperm donor was used for IVF, 12 October 2007
 
'I AM Madeleine's dad': Gerry McCann rejects claims sperm donor was used for IVF Daily Mail
 
By VANESSA ALLEN
Last updated at 16:49 12 October 2007
 
Gerry McCann has been forced to issue an extraordinary statement insisting that Madeleine is his natural daughter.
 
The heart consultant said he had acted to counter 'lies and absolute fabrication' in the Portuguese press.
 
According to 24 Horas, Madeleine, who was conceived using IVF, was the child of his wife, Kate, and an unnamed sperm donor.
 
The newspaper claimed that the four-year old's parentage meant her DNA could not be confused with that of two-year-old twins Sean and Amelie.
 
The supposed revelation would prove that bodily fluids found in the family's hire car had come from Madeleine and not from her brother or sister, the tabloid said.
 
Portuguese police are seeking evidence that the girl's body was transported in the Renault Scenic, which was hired 25 days after she disappeared.
 
The sperm donor story was dismissed as 'unwarranted, unsubstantiated and totally inaccurate speculation' by the family's spokesman Clarence Mitchell.
 
In a strongly worded statement agreed by the couple and their lawyers, he said: 'For the record Gerry McCann is the biological father of his daughter Madeleine.
 
"A newspaper report in the 24 Horas newspaper suggesting otherwise is nothing short of lies. It is indeed an absolute fabrication."
 
Mr Mitchell said the family's legal team was monitoring media coverage and would not hesitate to take action 'at the appropriate stage' in Portugal or Britain.
 
The newspaper - one of Portugal's most popular - claimed police there were certain Madeleine was not Mr McCann's child.
 
It claimed investigations in Britain had uncovered her biological father's identity.
 
The report caused 'complete horror and total distress' within the family, a friend said.
 
The McCanns were particularly upset that the latest claim came days after Portugal's most senior policeman vowed to clamp down on the constant smears and leaks from inside the Madeleine investigation.
 
Mr Mitchell said: "We have up to a year to sue and we will do. Gerry and Kate want to concentrate on the case involving Madeleine and don't want to do anything that may compromise that while they are official suspects.
 
"But they plan to sue 24 Horas and any other media outlets that print these claims as soon as the official suspect status is lifted."
 
Mr McCann's mother Eileen, 67, from Glasgow, said: 'To say Gerry is not Madeleine's natural father is utterly ridiculous.
 
"Madeleine is my natural granddaughter. Her eyes and nose are the same as mine.
 
"These allegations are totally unfounded. They are pure speculation and a load of nonsense. Whatever will the Portuguese papers make up next?"
 
Jill Renwick, a close friend of the family, described the report as "absolute rubbish". She said: "Gerry is Madeleine's biological father. I know for a fact there was no donor sperm.
 
"Whoever is coming out with these claims is really clutching at straws. It is corrupt."
 
The McCanns underwent IVF treatment near their Leicestershire home before Madeleine was conceived. They had further IVF treatment to conceive their twins while they were living in Amsterdam.
 
A friend said the 24 Horas report was published without any contact with the family.
 
The newspaper has run a series of articles this week which have all strongly denied by the McCanns.
 
Its co- editor, Luis Fontes, insisted he stood by the sperm donor story.
 
He said it was confirmed by the Forensic Science Service in Birmingham, which has carried out analysis on samples taken from the McCanns' apartment and hire car.
 
The FSS denied it had made any comment on the case.
 
Mr Fontes said he was not aware of any threat of legal action from the McCanns over the article and added: "It is absolutely true. Our sources are rock solid."
 
He added: "If they [the McCanns] think they can sue us, bring it on."
 
Friends also denied claims in another Portuguese newspaper, Diario de Noticias, which said Mrs McCann, a 39-year-old GP, flew into a fit of rage after she was made a suspect in the case.
 
She was said to have broken crockery, pictures and "anything she could get her hands on" in the couple's hired villa in Praia da Luz.
 
Madeleine went missing from the Algarve resort on May 3.
 
Meanwhile, Mr McCann, 39, said he was encouraged by comments from Portugal's most senior detective, Alipio Ribeiro, who said the couple were still suspects but that police would consider other theories.
 
Forensic test results in the case will be given to police next week, it emerged yesterday.
 
The McCanns have been warned they could be asked to return to Portugal for further questioning.
 
The results are expected to be handed over on Monday but there could be further delays because two Portuguese government ministries will see them before they are passed on to the police.

 
Gerry in New Zealand, Source: nzherald.co.nz
 

Parents of girl missing in Portugal met in NZ

6:10PM Monday May 14, 2007

The parents of Madeline McCann, the four-year-old British girl missing in Portugal, got their relationship together in New Zealand.

Gerry McCann, the surgeon father of Madeline, worked in Hawke's Bay and played soccer for Napier City Rovers in 1996, Hawke's Bay Today newspaper reported.

A multi-million pound reward has been offered for the information leading to the return of Madeleine, who was snatched from her bed at a Portugese beach resort on May 3 while her parents were dining at a nearby restaurant.

Gerry McCann was a "down-to-earth, natural, great guy" said Rovers stalwarts Ian Gearey and Jim Scott, who attended his wedding to Kate McCann eight years ago.

The couple's romance flourished after Mr McCann followed his future wife to New Zealand, Mr Gearey said.

"Kate was working as a doctor in Wellington. He told us he'd come for her, he came to woo her, really. He won her heart and, of course they got together here, and not that terribly long after they got married in the UK."

Mr Gearey had tried to contact the McCanns since Madeline's disappearance, to let the frantic family know their Kiwi mates were there for support.

Mr McCann was a "very, very" talented surgeon who was very well regarded and worked in Hawke's Bay, Mr Gearey said.

Mrs McCann is a GP while her husband is a heart specialist.

" Both of them are lovely people."

- NZPA

 
Gerry on 'Friends Reunited'
 
Original entry:

Good to see so many familiar names and a few faces! Is anyone not doing well?

Finished medicine and working as a cardiology registrar in Leicestersince Jan 2000 (hopefully temporarily). Had a brilliant year in New Zealand 1995/96. Married to Kate (Healy, for those docs in Glasgow) and very happy although no kids-yet!

Don't get to Glasgow that often but have bumped into a few old friends around the southside where my mum still lives.

June 2003- Still in Leicester but now family of 3 after birth of Madeleine Beth on 12/05/03. Thankfully she takes after her mother although definitely has my lungs even without a dew drinks.

August 2004- Bones- glad i left after 5th year! Currently in Amsterdam learning some fancy heart scanning(MRI) but returning to UK in New Year when hopefully will become family of 5. Looking for a consultant job and shortlist is Glasgow, Liverpool, Leicester in fact pretty much anywhere north of Birmingham

April 2005- Back in Leicester and looking for a job. Now father of three with Sean and Amelie joing Maddie. Anyone fancy babysitting?

Revised entry:

Finished medicine and working as a cardiology registrar in Leicestersince Jan 2000 (hopefully temporarily). Had a brilliant year in New Zealand 1995/96. Married to Kate (Healy, for those docs in Glasgow) and very happy although no kids-yet!

Don’t get to Glasgow that often but have bumped into a few old friends around the southside where my mum still lives.

June 2003- Still in Leicester but now family of 3 after birth of Madeleine Beth on 12/05/03. Thankfully she takes after her mother although definitely has my lungs even without a dew drinks.

August 2004- Bones- glad i left after 5th year! Currently in Amsterdam learning some fancy heart scanning(MRI) but returning to UK in New Year when hopefully will become family of 5. Looking for a consultant job and shortlist is Glasgow, Liverpool, Leicester in fact pretty much anywhere north of Birmingham

April 2005- Back in Leicester and looking for a job. Now father of three with Sean and Amelie joing Maddie.

May 2007 Thanks to everyone for support and good wishes, it really does help.

 
Gerry talks about his 'vision'
 
In an interview given to the Catholic newspaper The Tablet, published 16 June 2007, Gerry McCann told of an "extraordinary experience" inside the church in Praia da Luz just days after Madeleine's disappearance. The experience inspired him to launch the global campaign to find his daughter.

He said: "When I was praying I started thinking of all the things that were happening. There were lots and lots of ideas in my head and how we could make things better and I was really feeling very down and not sure which way to proceed. I had this mental image of being in a tunnel and instead of the light at the end of the tunnel being extremely narrow and a distant spot, the light opened up and the tunnel got wider and wider and went in many different directions. I talked to you (Kate) about it and said, 'I am not prepared to pursue one path. We are going to do everything in our power to influence things.'

"It was almost like something - I am not saying it was the Holy Spirit - came into me and gave me that image. That is when I really felt I had a clear path."

Was it a religious experience?

"I can't say it was a vision because I am not clear what a vision is but I had a mental image and it certainly helped me decide. I became a man possessed that night. The next day I was up at dawn, making phone calls."

 
'Hope, strength, courage', 16 June 2007
 

'Hope, strength, courage' The Tablet
 
Elena Curti
16 June 2007
 
The parents of missing Madeleine McCann tell The Tablet how these three words, spoken to them by a Portuguese priest, have become a mantra as they continue the search for their daughter, sustained by the power of their Catholic faith

When Kate and Gerry McCann are at a low ebb they quietly murmur three words to themselves in Portuguese: esperança, força, coragem. The words mean hope, strength and courage and they were first addressed to them by a priest during the first Sunday Mass after their daughter Madeleine was abducted from their holiday apartment in Portugal.

The words were repeated to them by parishioners after the service and now are something of a mantra for the couple, evidence of the strength of their Catholic faith. That faith has been apparent in much of what the couple have said and done since four-year-old Madeleine disappeared on 3 May.

The couple agreed to talk to The Tablet, welcoming the opportunity to describe how their beliefs have sustained them. They arranged to meet me in Amsterdam, where they were spending a night before another round of interviews and meetings with officials connected with the campaign to find their daughter.

The pair are noticeably close, sitting together on the sofa unselfconsciously holding hands. Mrs McCann looks tanned after more than a month on the Algarve but is terribly thin. As always, she is holding Madeleine's favourite soft toy - a now rather bedraggled pink cat. She has taken out the green and yellow ribbons she usually wears in her hair but there are ribbons on the toy cat and she and her husband wear green and yellow plastic armbands, the colours that denote hope for the missing.

They begin by telling me their faith background. Both are cradle Catholics of Irish extraction. He is the youngest of five and was brought up in Glasgow. She is an only child from Liverpool. They were medical students at Glasgow University when they started going out and only later discovered that they came from similar backgrounds. He jokes that her Catholicism softened the blow when he told his mother he was going to marry an English girl.

Mr McCann says there were periods when he lapsed, and both concede that religion was not foremost in their minds in their teens and twenties. They nod in agreement when I suggest that their faith began to mean much more to them after their had children. As well as Madeleine they have two-year-old twins, Sean and Amelie.

Two years ago, after spending a year living in Amsterdam, the family moved to Rothley in Leicestershire. Mrs McCann works there as a part-time GP and her husband is a cardiologist at Glenfield General Hospital in Leicester. They particularly liked attending the Catholic church in Rothley where Mrs McCann's aunt is a eucharistic minister and her uncle plays the organ. On Sundays, Mr McCann would stay at home caring for the twins while his wife would take Madeleine to Mass. At the age of three she had just started going to the children's liturgy.

Then came the week's holiday in a complex at Praia da Luz on the Portuguese Algarve coast. Madeleine was taken as she slept in the family's apartment with the twins while her parents dined in a restaurant close by.

In low tones Mrs McCann explains their first reaction: "There was a period of absolute fear and panic. We were both quite hysterical."

After calling their family in Britain, they spoke to Fr Paul Seddon, the priest who married them and baptised Madeleine.

"At one point I would say the only thing we had was prayer and at one point I remember just slumping in the bedroom. I phoned Paul and he asked, ‘What can I do?' And I said, ‘Just pray, please pray,'" said Mr McCann.

At first there was the fear that Madeleine was dead. Two things changed that. The first was a meeting with a psychologist sent from Britain to see them.

As Mr McCann explained: "We couldn't get out of heads that she was likely to be dead and we were truly, truly grieving. But then the psychologist said, ‘Is there any other possibility?' And then he started channelling negatives and saying, ‘Of course there are other possibilities.' And we started to see that."

The second was meeting the local parish priest, Fr José Manuel Pacheco. Fr Zé, as he is popularly known, is a great favourite with the McCanns: warm, genial and inspiring. He speaks fluent English and Mr McCann said he had worked hard to bring together the British expatriate community and Portuguese Catholics.

It was Fr Zé at that first Sunday Mass who exhorted them to have hope, strength and courage. That evening he came to say the rosary with them at their apartment and invited his parishioners as well. Was it all a bit much?

"Not at all, it was lovely. There were about 50 women and they brought the children. It was a huge comfort," she says.

The parish priest also gave the McCanns the keys to the church so that they could pray there alone in the evenings. It was while they were doing this early in the first week that Mr McCann had an extraordinary experience.

"When I was praying I started thinking of all the things that were happening. There were lots and lots of ideas in my head and how we could make things better and I was really feeling very down and not sure which way to proceed. I had this mental image of being in a tunnel and instead of the light at the end of the tunnel being extremely narrow and a distant spot, the light opened up and the tunnel got wider and wider and went in many different directions. I talked to you [Kate] about it and said, ‘I am not prepared to pursue one path. We are going to do everything in our power to influence things.'

"It was almost like something - I am not saying it was the Holy Spirit - came into me and gave me that image. That is when I really felt I had a clear path."

Was it a religious experience?

"I can't say it was a vision because I am not clear what a vision is but I had a mental image and it certainly helped me decide. I became a man possessed that night. The next day I was up at dawn, making phone calls."

A few days later the McCanns attended an evening vigil for Madeleine at Fr Zé's church organised by the local scouts. The service, in a church lit by candles, was, they say, the most uplifting they had ever been to. There came a point where the congregation was asked to unravel a large ball of green wool passing it from one person to another until it encompassed the entire gathering. The very memory of this service seems to give the McCanns a lift and they complete each other's sentences as they remember it.

"We sang a song, and we just kept singing the same verse, ‘Nothing will separate us', over and over again and the church was completely overflowing. The wool finally got all the way round and the message was ‘nothing will separate us and we are all united'. We were joined in this. As we were leaving the people just kept giving us flowers."

The McCanns' campaign has involved every possible avenue being used to raise the profile of Madeleine. There has been a certain resentment about it but Kate McCann says they have been careful to stress they are not the only parents who have suffered in this way.

"Madeleine is incredibly precious to us. Since this happened we have been made more aware of how many missing children there are. It is awful that we didn't know the scale of it before. Madeleine is as special to us as other children are to their parents."

Criticism of the McCanns' high-profile strategy followed their trips to Fatima, Rome and elsewhere. The couple were astonished that their request to meet the Pope was granted immediately after they contacted Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor. The cardinal told them he would do the same for anyone in their situation.

"These comments from people like the cardinal really helped sustain us. We know the criticism is small but when you are clinging to positives and hope and prayer, criticism does hit home quite hard when you would normally shrug it off."

The visit to Rome involved the use of a private jet supplied by the retail multimillionaire Sir Philip Green. While the McCanns realised that using the plane could generate negative reactions they felt they had to be consistent in accepting every genuine offer of help, no matter how large or small. Private jets, they pointed out, shorten considerably the time they have to spend away from the twins.

The hardest thing to ask these parents who have prayed so fervently for their daughter is how they will feel about their faith if she is not returned. Mr McCann was first to respond. "If we don't get Madeleine back alive and well, I am sure our faith will be severely tested. At the end of it, we will still have our faith and we will also have comfort that Madeleine will be looked after. We haven't dwelt on that but I think that is what we will be left with. Our friends, our family, the Church have really rallied round. I think that's the key thing for me."

Then his wife spoke: "I have considered that as well and I have felt guilty asking, ‘Will this make or break my faith?' And yet at the same time you could argue that what's happened in the first place could make or break your faith and it hasn't. It's done the opposite. It has given us hope and strength."