NOTW editor ‘verbally beat’ Madeline McCann’s parents into submission over interview
THE NEWS of the World's editor "verbally beat into submission" missing child Madeleine McCann's parents after they gave an interview to another publication, they said today.
Gerry and Kate McCann agreed to speak to Hello! magazine around the first anniversary of their daughter's disappearance to promote a European alert system for missing children, they told the Leveson Inquiry into press standards.
But when Colin Myler, then at the helm of the now defunct Sunday tabloid, found out that his newspaper had been spurned, he was "irate", Mr McCann said.
"He was berating us for not doing an interview with the News of the World and told us how supportive the newspaper had been," he said.
"He basically beat us into submission, verbally, and we agreed to do an interview the day after."
Sitting next to her husband and appearing to rest a hand on his knee, Mrs McCann added that this had come during "an extremely stressful time" for the couple.
"To get a call like this - you actually almost feel guilty", she said.
Mr McCann explained that they had chosen to give an interview to Hello! as it is sold across Europe and it was a European Amber alert system they were campaigning for.
Describing Mr Myler's reaction, Mr McCann wrote in a statement submitted to the inquiry: "In the end we were made to feel so guilty we agreed to give an interview to the News of the World, despite not really wanting to do so."
Madeleine was nearly four when she vanished from her family's holiday apartment in Praia da Luz in the Algarve on May 3, 2007, as her parents dined with friends nearby.
Despite a massive police investigation and huge publicity worldwide, she has not been found.