Kate McCann 'will not be reinterviewed in Portugal'

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The judge considering evidence in the Madeleine McCann case has rejected a request by prosecutors to bring her mother back to Portugal for further questioning, it was reported yesterday.

The Correio da Manha said that, following Pedro Frias's rejection of the request, Portuguese detectives' only likely contact with Kate McCann in the near future would be to sit in on any interviews conducted by Leicestershire police. Although reports in the Portuguese press have suggested that interviews with Mrs McCann, and her husband, Gerry, could start as early as tomorrow, the journalist Jose Oliveira, who is covering the case for the Diario de Noticias paper, said his Portuguese police sources did not expect the interviews to begin until the end of this month. A spokeswoman for the McCanns said yesterday that the couple had to date received no request for a new interview.

Before interviews can take place, a "letter of appeal" will be sent to Britain, setting out all the questions Portuguese detectives want to ask the couple, along with details of the evidence against them, Correio da Manha reported. If that report is accurate, this may provide the McCanns with their first real indication of the police case against them.

One Portuguese newspaper claimed that police wanted to analyse Mrs McCann's medical history and possible hereditary illnesses. An interview before she and her husband became arguidos (suspects) revealed that the first six months of Madeleine's life were difficult because she "had lots of colic and cried practically for 18 hours a day", but she had settled down when her siblings were born.