Madeleine McCann's father returns to Portugal

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The Independent Online

Missing Madeleine McCann's father was in Portugal today for the first time since returning to the UK.

Gerry McCann made the journey yesterday to meet his Portuguese lawyers to discuss what more could done to help find his missing daughter, family spokesman Clarence Mitchell said.

It is understood that Mr McCann's wife Kate did not travel with him, and that he will not see any Portuguese officials during his short trip.

Mr Mitchell said: "I can confirm that Gerry McCann returned to Portugal for a brief visit to meet his lawyers to see what more can be done to help find his daughter."

Mr McCann, 40, from Rothley, Leicestershire, flew into Faro Airport in the Algarve yesterday morning and was met by British officials.

He then travelled to Lisbon for talks with his legal team, led by Rogerio Alves. He will fly back to Britain today.

Madeleine was nearly four when she went missing from her family's holiday apartment in the Algarve village of Praia da Luz on May 3 2007 while her parents dined with friends nearby.

Despite a massive police operation and huge publicity worldwide, she has not been found.

Four months after she disappeared, Portuguese police made both Mr and Mrs McCann "arguidos", or formal suspects, in the case.

Two days later, on September 9 2007, they returned to Britain with their two other children, twins Sean and Amelie.

Last July the Portuguese attorney-general shelved the investigation and lifted the arguido status of Mr and Mrs McCann.

The couple insist they will continue to believe Madeleine is still alive until presented with firm evidence to the contrary, and have vowed to keep looking for her for as long as it takes.

Keyword 1 POLICE Portugal

Reference PA