Police to interview Madeleine's mother again

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The Independent Online

Portuguese police will today re-interview the mother of missing Madeleine McCann, a family friend said.

Kate McCann will attend the police station in Portimao in the Algarve at 2pm, accompanied by her lawyer, Carlos Pinto de Abreu.

Her husband Gerry will be questioned by detectives separately at the same police station tomorrow.

Portuguese police called Mr McCann on Monday to request the interviews,

specifying that Mrs McCann should be questioned first.

It is only the second time she has been formally interviewed by the police, the first being on May 4, the day after Madeleine went missing.

Detectives have already questioned her husband twice.

It is expected that Mrs McCann's interview will be longer than the three to four hour one she gave officers in May.

It is now 126 days since four-year-old Madeleine went missing from her bed in her family's holiday apartment in the Algarve resort of Praia da Luz while her parents dined in a nearby tapas restaurant.

The McCanns have so far remained in Portugal with their two-year-old twins Sean and Amelie to help with the search for their daughter.

The friend said the couple were happy to help the police investigation and saw the interviews as a "positive development".

"They have been asked to come to these interviews. If it develops the investigation obviously they will stay," the friend added.

The McCanns lawyer has separately applied for the couple to be made " assistants" in the case.

This is a legal designation that would give them access to more information about the case than they have as witnesses.

The McCanns had planned to return to their home in Rothley, Leicestershire on Sunday, but have had to postpone this because of the police interviews.

But this is purely a result of the practical problems of packing everything up and saying thank you to all the people in Praia da Luz who have helped them.

It is understood that none of the seven friends on holiday with the McCanns at the time of Madeleine's disappearance have been asked to return for further interviews.

The development comes amid reports that arrests could be imminent following a forensic breakthrough.

A source said information from the Forensic Science Service in Birmingham, which is testing samples taken from the McCann holiday flat, had been returned to Portuguese investigators.

Portuguese police have so far given the McCanns no briefing on the forensic results, and did not say they would be returned this week when they contacted Mr McCann on Monday.

The official line remains that the tests are still ongoing.

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