Tuesday 20 March 2018

McCanns' joy at support for Maddie case review

Over 24,000 sign online petition but couple renew appeal for funds

Ellen Branagh

KATE and Gerry McCann are "delighted" at the huge support for a petition that was launched last week, their spokesman said yesterday.

The couple launched the petition to lobby the British and Portuguese governments for a joint or independent review of the case on Wednesday -- exactly three-and-a-half years since their daughter Madeleine disappeared.

By yesterday, more than 24,000 people had signed, with the numbers rising by the minute. And the couple said the support showed finding Madeleine was still a cause close to people's hearts.

The couple's spokesman said: "They are delighted. It shows the public support that they know is out there.

"Hopefully, both the Portuguese and British governments will take notice and there will be a review."

Madeleine was three when she went missing from her family's holiday flat in Praia da Luz in the Algarve on May 3, 2007, as her parents dined with friends nearby.

Portuguese police launched a huge investigation with the support of British officers, but the inquiry was shelved in July 2008 with no firm conclusions. Private detectives employed by the McCanns are still investigating.

On Wednesday, the couple appealed for more donations to the official Find Madeleine fund, which is in danger of running out of money in spring 2011 unless more financial backing is forthcoming.

Mrs McCann said last week that she had had enough of "fluffy, worthless words" and wanted more action from the Portuguese and British governments, including a full review of the case.

Yesterday, she said the response to the petition showed the hunt for Madeleine was still important to people. "The fact we still get a bundle of mail shows people still care," she said. "There are a lot of people who would say they are the quiet majority, they desperately want Madeleine back. Family members all over the country get asked how we are getting on."

But she said many people did not understand that the formal inquiry had actually been shelved.

"The public don't realise that the police aren't doing anything now," she said.

"I'm sure if someone gave information to the British police, they would look at it, but there isn't any active investigation as such. I think when people realise that it's quite hard to get your head around.

"There's a little girl still missing. If there was a homicide case, there would be an investigation until it was solved."

Her husband Gerry said: "Whatever people think about us, the key thing is Madeleine. She is completely innocent, vulnerable and missing.

"Madeleine has been let down more than anybody else by the lack of activity."

Mrs McCann said everybody wanted the situation to be "over".

"It's unpleasant, it's horrible for everybody, but the only way we can come to an end of it is to find Madeleine or find out what happened."

Sunday Independent

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