Pressure on McCanns eases as police back off

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The Independent Online

Prosecutors in the Madeleine McCann case have said that "no new evidence" has emerged to justify reinterviewing the missing girl's parents, as the relentless pressure on Kate and Gerry McCann appeared to be – momentarily at least – lifting last night.

A statement from Portuguese prosecutor Luis Bilro Verao said there were no significant leads incriminating the McCanns since they were questioned by detectives in Portimao earlier this month.

"Following the interrogations carried out on7 September, no new evidence justifying new interviews has been determined," the statement said.

But the Portuguese authorities said the couple would remain "arguidos" – official suspects – in the case of their daughter, who went missing on the evening of 3 May. "According to the evidence gathered so far, the conditions are considered adequate," the statement said.

Clarence Mitchell, Mr and Mrs McCanns' spokesman, said the couple welcomed the news. "On the face of it, it does appear to be encouraging," he said. "Beyond that, I cannot comment on the detail of it but Gerry and Kate were obviously pleased to hear this news."

Last week, the Portuguese press reported that the authorities there would leave any further interviewing to Leicestershire officers.

The development came as it emerged that the McCanns believe their telephones and emails have been bugged by Portuguese police. Portuguese police sources have indicated that evidence may revolve around attempts to electronically track the couple's movements over the past four months.

The couple also believe that DNA in the hire car – which Portuguese authorities have now admitted is inconclusive – could be explained by trips to the rubbish dump with soiled nappies and other detritus made because of a lack of rubbish collection service at the villa to which they moved.

Mr and Mrs McCann have been told that the Portuguese police will be pursuing "other lines of inquiry", it was reported last night. They emphatically deny any involvement in Madeleine's disappearance.

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