Madeleine’s parents named as suspects
Kate McCann was accused of killing her daughter, Madeleine, in questioning by Portuguese detectives yesterday as she and her husband Gerry were formally declared to be suspects in the investigation into the girl’s disappearance. They now face the prospect of being charged at a later date.
The astonishing twist came as more than 400 local people massed outside an Algarve police station, and there were jeers and shouts as Mrs McCann attended her second day of interviews. The scenes were in stark contrast to the applause she and her husband received three months ago when they went to church in the resort where Madeleine vanished. Emerging after more than three hours of questioning at the Polícia Judiciária headquarters in Portimão she looked exhausted as some people whistled and shouted.
Late last night Mr McCann emerged from the same police station looking drawn and emotional after more than ten hours of questioning. Both are now held on bail, with no conditions.
Madeleine’s aunt, Philomena McCann, claimed yesterday that Portuguese detectives had offered Mrs McCann a deal if she “confessed to accidentally killing Madeleine”. She told ITV News: “They tried to get her to confess . . . by offering her a deal through her lawyer — ‘if you say you killed Madeleine by accident and then hid her and disposed of the body, then we can guarantee you a two-year jail sentence or even less’.”
The questioning of Mrs McCann focused on scientific tests suggesting that Madeleine’s blood was found in a car the couple hired 25 days after the child disappeared from Praia da Luz in May. The vehicle was seized a month ago and examined before being returned to the couple. Local papers claimed the child’s bloodstains had been found in the boot and on the key fob, but police refused to confirm this. The couple hired the Renault Scenic only days before embarking on their tour of Europe, when they met the Pope.
Two detectives questioned Mrs McCann in the presence of two lawyers and an interpreter for three hours yesterday, after nine hours of questioning the day before. A family spokesman said Mrs McCann was “shocked and angry” at the decision to ask her if she was involved in killing the child.
Family and friends reacted with outrage at the suggestion that she had killed her child accidentally, possibly with sedatives. The implication that she had then disposed of the girl’s body was condemned as even more preposterous. Shortly before he was questioned, Mr McCann posted a statement on the Find Madeleine website insisting that his wife was “completely innocent”. It is understood the couple will ask for the case to be reviewed by British police over fears that the Portuguese have “misread” evidence.
Detectives have also received results from tests on samples believed to include traces of blood taken from the holiday apartment. Other reports claim that police found a syringe in the apartment, raising the suggestion that Madeleine had been sedated. Mrs McCann’s lawyer, Carlos Pinto de Abreu, has advised her there is “a possibility” she may be charged, a friend of the family said. “There’s currently a ludicrous suggestion that blood was found in her hire car. That’s been put to Kate and it’s been suggested it’s connected to the death of her daughter.”