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Kate and Gerry McCann: 'The worst pain is not knowing where Madeleine is'

Parents speak of hurt in a prayer service to mark 7 years since Madeleine McCann's disappearance

Seven years since three-year-old Madeleine McCann went missing from her family’s holiday apartment in Portugal, her parents have said that the “worst pain is not knowing where Madeleine is.”

During a speech at an open-air prayer service exactly seven years after the three-year-old went missing, Madeleine’s parents, Kate and Gerry McCann, said they were still “continuing to hope” that they would get a “happy outcome” from police investigations.

They also thanked the 100 people in attendance for turning up to the service and their continued support throughout the years since Madeleine’s disappearance.

Speaking at the event, which was held in the Madeleine’s’s hometown of Rothley, Leicestershire, Kate McCann said: “Here we are again, and more significantly, here you are again, having your support has made a huge difference, so thank you.'

Madeleine’s father, Gerry McCann, told journalists after the service that the Metropolitan Police team investigating the disappearance were now entering a “very active” period in their investigations and that they were grateful to the police for their efforts.

This comes less than a week after Kate McCann had talked about her frustrations with the Portuguese police force and the need for both police forces to work together on the case to help with the investigation.

In an interview with the BBC, she said: "As a parent, I find the slowness of action in Portugal really hard to take. I find it quite distressing."

Adding: "The concern that we have, and I think also that the Metropolitan Police have, is that at the minute, there are almost parallel investigations going on, which doesn't make sense," he said.

The last few months has seen new leads come to light for those investigating the case.

On April 23, Metropolitan Police deputy assistant commissioner Martin Hewitt said that he was “cautiously optimistic” that they would soon begin to see some activity in the case after it was found that a Portuguese man in 2005, just two years before Madeleine’s disappearance, had been attacking and sexually assaulting British girls between seven and ten while they slept in their beds.

It is believed that the person involved in carrying out these actions could be closely linked to the disappearance of Madeleine.

Madeleine went missing on May 3 2007, after she disappeared from her bed in the Portuguese resort of Praia da Luz.