'We're more hopeful than ever': five years on, McCanns fight to have case reopened

After a period when they felt authorities had given up, Madeleine's parents speak of fresh impetus

Despite five years having passed without any confirmed sighting of their daughter, the parents of Madeleine McCann said yesterday they are now more hopeful than ever that she would be found. In a round of interviews on the eve of the date she went missing in 2007, Gerry and Kate McCann said the search had been given fresh impetus after a year when they felt that the authorities had given up hope.

They said they had no doubt that the Portuguese authorities would finally reopen the investigation into their daughter's disappearance in the light of a review by Scotland Yard that has already identified nearly 200 new potential lines of inquiry. The investigation in Portugal was closed in 2008, and authorities there said it would remain so unless credible new evidence came to light.

"There's a lot changed in the last year," said Mr McCann, 43. "I think we are more hopeful now of finding Madeleine than we have been at any point since the early days after she was taken." He said that a year ago the couple had "felt that we were on our own and the authorities had given up. We're in a much better place now."

The family appealed directly to David Cameron last year, leading to a review conducted by the Metropolitan Police, bringing together files from British and Portugese officers and from private detectives employed by the McCanns. The team has gone through about a quarter of the vast amount of material and identified gaps in the original inquiry. But the ultimate decision to re-open the case rests with the Portuguese authorities.

"If people want to find Madeleine, we need the case to be reopened," said Mrs McCann. The Met last week released a manipulated photograph to show what Madeleine might look like five years on from the day she vanished while sleeping with her two siblings in the family's holiday apartment in the resort town of Praia da Luz.

"I actually feel really hopeful about that image," said Mrs McCann. "I didn't get upset, I didn't burst into tears. I looked at it and I felt really hopeful." The couple said their twins Sean and Amelie, now aged seven, are "absolutely fine" despite the disappearance of their older sister when they were two.

The McCanns' spokesman, Clarence Mitchell, said it was "deeply shocking" that a taxi driver who claimed to have picked up Madeleine the night after she vanished had never been interviewed by Portuguese police. Antonio Castela, 72, said he told police that three men, a woman and a young girl resembling Madeleine got into his cab an hour's drive from Praia da Luz the day after she went missing.

Suggested Topics
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Teeth should be brushed twice a day to prevent tooth decay
Bryan Cranston as Walter White, in the acclaimed series 'Breaking Bad'
footballChelsea 6 Maribor 0: Blues warm up for Premier League showdown with stroll in Champions League - but Mourinho is short of strikers
Those who were encouraged to walk in a happy manner remembered less negative words
Arts and Entertainment
Princess Olga in 'You Can't Get the Staff'
tvReview: The anachronistic aristocrats, it seemed, were just happy to have some attention
Renee Zellweger as Bridget Jones
Life and Style

Board creates magnetic field to achieve lift

There have been various incidents of social media users inadvertently flouting the law

Life and Style
Stack ‘em high?: quantity doesn’t always trump quality, as Friends of the Earth can testify
techThe proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?
Bourgogne wine maker Laboure-Roi vice president Thibault Garin (L) offers the company's 2013 Beaujolais Nouveau wine to the guest in the wine spa at the Hakone Yunessun spa resort facilities in Hakone town, Kanagawa prefecture, some 100-kilometre west of Tokyo
CSKA Moscow celebrate after equalising with a late penalty
footballCSKA Moscow 2 Manchester City 2: Premier League champions let two goal lead slip in Russia
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

Indiana serial killer? Man arrested for murdering teenage prostitute confesses to six other murders - and police fear there could be many more

A new American serial killer?

Police fear man arrested for murder of teen prostitute could be responsible for killing spree dating back 20 years
Sweetie, the fake 10-year-old girl designed to catch online predators, claims her first scalp

Sting to trap paedophiles may not carry weight in UK courts

Computer image of ‘Sweetie’ represented entrapment, experts say
Fukushima nuclear crisis: Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on - and may never return home

Return to Fukushima – a land they will never call home again

Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on from nuclear disaster
Wildlife Photographer of the Year: Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize

Wildlife Photographer of the Year

Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize
Online petitions: Sign here to change the world

Want to change the world? Just sign here

The proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?
Ed Sheeran hits back after being labelled too boring to headline festivals

'You need me, I don’t need you'

Ed Sheeran hits back after being labelled too boring to headline festivals
How to Get Away with Murder: Shonda Rhimes reinvents the legal drama

How to Get Away with Murder

Shonda Rhimes reinvents the legal drama
A cup of tea is every worker's right

Hard to swallow

Three hospitals in Leicester have banned their staff from drinking tea and coffee in public areas. Christopher Hirst explains why he thinks that a cuppa is every worker's right
Which animals are nearly extinct?

Which animals are nearly extinct?

Conservationists in Kenya are in mourning after the death of a white northern rhino, which has left the species with a single male. These are the other species on the brink
12 best children's shoes

Perfect for leaf-kicking: 12 best children's shoes

Find footwear perfect to keep kids' feet protected this autumn
Anderlecht vs Arsenal: Gunners' ray of light Aaron Ramsey shines again

Arsenal’s ray of light ready to shine again

Aaron Ramsey’s injury record has prompted a club investigation. For now, the midfielder is just happy to be fit to face Anderlecht in the Champions League
Comment: David Moyes' show of sensitivity thrown back in his face by former Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson

Moyes’ show of sensitivity thrown back in his face... by Ferguson

Manchester United legend tramples on successor who resisted criticising his inheritance
Two super-sized ships have cruised into British waters, but how big can these behemoths get?

Super-sized ships: How big can they get?

Two of the largest vessels in the world cruised into UK waters last week
British doctors on brink of 'cure' for paralysis with spinal cord treatment

British doctors on brink of cure for paralysis

Sufferers can now be offered the possibility of cure thanks to a revolutionary implant of regenerative cells
Ranked seventh in world’s best tourist cities - not London, or Edinburgh, but Salisbury

Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel 2015

UK city beats Vienna, Paris and New York to be ranked seventh in world’s best tourist destinations - but it's not London