Madeleine McCann disappearance: 48 questions Kate McCann refused to answer reemerge

Gerry McCann hits out at hurt that speculation and conspiracy theories have caused family

Rachel Roberts
Tuesday 14 March 2017 14:00 GMT
Kate and Gerry McCann vow to do 'whatever it takes for as long as it takes' in search for Madeleine

A list of police questions which Madeleine McCann’s mother Kate refused to answer three months after her daughter disappeared has re-emerged in the media as the 10 year anniversary of her disappearance approaches.

In an interview with Fiona Bruce, Madeleine’s father, Gerry McCann, hit out at “fake news” and the hurt that speculation and conspiracy theories have caused to the family.

But the list of 48 questions Mrs McCann refused to answer has made headlines again a decade after the four-year-old vanished from the family’s holiday apartment in Praia da Luz, Portugal.

A transcript of the interview from 7 September 2007 – three months after Madeleine disappeared in June – was included in extensive police files released to the public in 2008.

Ms McCann, a former GP, was told she was a suspect – or “arguido” – by Portuguese police and questioned in detail over an 11-hour period about the night Madeleine went missing.

She was asked about Madeleine’s relationship with her younger siblings, who are twins, her method of parenting and whether she routinely medicated her children.

The questions Ms McCann refused point blank to answer were:

1 On May 3, 2007, around 22:00, when you entered the apartment, what did you see? What did you do? Where did you look? What did you touch?

2 Did you search inside the master bedroom wardrobe?

3 (Shown two photographs of her bedroom wardrobe) Can you describe its contents?

4 Why was the curtain by the sofa near the side window tampered with? Did someone go behind the sofa?

5 How long did your search of the apartment take after you detected Madeleine’s disappearance?

6 Why did you say Madeleine had been abducted?

7 Assuming Madeleine was abducted, why did you leave the twins to go to the ‘Tapas’ and raise the alarm? The supposed abductor could still be in the apartment.

8 Why didn’t you ask the twins then what happened to their sister or why didn’t you ask them later on?

Madeleine McCann(Family handout/PA) The little girl as she looked when she disappeared a decade ago (PA)

9 When you raised the alarm at the ‘Tapas’ what exactly did you say – what were your exact words?

10 What happened after you raised the alarm there?

11 Why did you go and warn your friends instead of shouting from the verandah?

12 Who contacted the authorities?

13 Who took place in the searches?

14 Did anyone outside the group learn of her disappearance in those following minutes?

15 Did any neighbour offer you help?

16 What does “we let her down” mean?

17 Did Jane Tanner tell you that night she’d seen a man with a child?

18 How were the authorities contacted and which police force was alerted?

19 During the searches, with the police there, where did you search for Maddie, how and in what way?

20 Why did the twins not wake up during that search or when they were taken upstairs?

21 Who did you phone after the occurrence?

22 Did you call Sky News?

23 Did you know the danger of calling the media, because it could influence the abductor?

24 Did you ask for a priest?

25 By what means did you divulge Madeleine’s features, by photographs or by any other means?

26 Is it true that during the searches you remained seated on Maddie’s bed without moving?

27 What was your behaviour that night?

28 Did you manage to sleep?

29 Before travelling to Portugal, did you make any comment about a foreboding or a bad feeling?

30 What was Madeleine’s behaviour like?

31 Did Maddie suffer from any illness or take any medication?

32 What was Madeleine’s relationship like with her brother and sister?

33 What was Madeleine’s relationship like with her brother and sister, friends and school mates?

34 As for your professional life, in how many and which hospitals have you worked?

35 What is your medical speciality?

36 Have you ever done shift work in any emergency services or other services?

37 Did you work every day?

38 At a certain point you stopped working. Why?

39 Are the twins difficult to get to sleep? Are they restless and does that cause you uneasiness?

40 Is it true sometimes you despaired at your children’s behaviour and it left you feeling very uneasy?

41 Is it true that in England you even considered handing over Madeleine’s custody to a relative?

42 In England, did you medicate your children? What type of medication?

43 In the case files, you were shown canine forensic testing films. After watching them, did you say you couldn’t explain any more than you already had?

44 When the sniffer dog also marked human blood behind the sofa, did you say you couldn’t explain any more than you already had?

45 When the sniffer dog marked the scent of corpse coming from the vehicle you hired a month after the disappearance, did you say you couldn’t explain any more than you already had?

46 When human blood was marked in the boot of the vehicle, did you say you couldn’t explain any more than you already had?

47 When confronted with the results of Maddie’s DNA, carried out in a British lab, collected from behind the sofa and the boot of the vehicle, did you say you couldn’t explain any more than you already had?

48 Did you have any responsibility or intervention in your daughter’s disappearance?

Ms McCann answered just one question put to her by the police during the interrogation, when she invoked her right to remain silent in protest at being treated as a suspect. She later said that she refused to co-operate because she thought the police treating her as a suspect was distracting them from the work they should have been doing to find Maddie.

Senior detectives in Portugal and the UK have said repeatedly the McCanns are no longer suspects in the case while the couple, from Leicestershire, have always denied they had any involvement in the disappearance of their daughter.

Their Portuguese lawyer has described the idea that the couple were guilty of any wrongdoing as “unfounded and absurd”.

Claiming they had been demonised in ‘industrial doses’ and describing them as “human beings experiencing deep suffering”, he said the far more logical explanation was that she had been snatched.

Scotland Yard chief Mark Rowley confirmed last week that Madeleine’s parents – who had their suspect status removed in July 2008 when the original Portuguese police probe was archived – were no longer seen as possible suspects.

He said: “The parents’ involvement was dealt with at the time by the original investigation by the Portuguese.

“We’re happy that’s completely dealt with and there is no reason whatsoever to re-open that or start rumours that that’s a line of investigation.”

Mr McCann, a cardiologist, said in the interview with Ms Bruce for the BBC: “I think in this era of ‘fake news’ it is extremely topical and I think people just need to think twice before they write and the effects it has.”

Ms McCann said she and her husband stay away from social media and try to shield their twelve-year-old twins as much as possible.

The couple have received years of abuse because of their decision to leave their children sleeping alone in the apartment while they spent the evening in a nearby tapas bar with friends, taking turns to check on the children..

Mr McCann said of the abuse and accusations: “I’m sure it is a very small minority of people who spend their time doing it, but it has totally inhibited what we do. Personally, we don’t use social media, although we have used it in Madeleine’s campaign.

“But for our twins who are growing up in an era where mobile technology is used all the time, we don’t want them not to be able to use it in the same way that their peers do.”

The couple, who are Catholics, said they still believe their daughter is alive because there is no evidence that she is dead.

Artists have produced impressions of how Maddie might look today, approaching her fourteenth birthday.

The McCanns hold up an image of how their daughter might look today, as a young teenager (LEON NEAL/AFP/GettyImages)

Four Metropolitan Police officers still work full-time to try and solve the case, which has attracted criticism from some that the force should not be spending so much money ten years on from the disappearance.

Ms McCann, who revealed she is working in medicine again although not as a GP, said she believes progress is still being made as there have been fresh lines of enquiry in the past five years.

“Just keeping in mind actually how much progress we have made and you know nothing’s ever going to be quick enough from our point of view but the last five years, we’ve come a long way and there is progress and there are some very credible lines of enquiry that the police are working on and whilst there’s no evidence to give us any negative news, you know, that hope is still there.”

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