McCanns face questioning for negligence
As if the McCanns have not been through enough, the Portuguese police are now investigating the possibility that the couple were negligent when they left their daughter, Madeleine McCann, alone in their unlocked holiday apartment the night she went missing.
According to the first published court ruling on the case, the investigation covers abduction, homicide, exposure or abandonment of a child, and concealment of a corpse.
The judgement, released by the Evora Supreme Court of Justice in Portimao, gives the first official glimpse into the course of the police inquiry. A reference to ‘abandonment’ suggests that detectives are looking for evidence that Gerry and Kate McCann were negligent in leaving Madeleine and her twin 18-month-old siblings unsupervised while they ate dinner with friends on the evening she vanished.
Under Portuguese law, the punishment for abandonment carries a 10-year prison sentence.
Madeleine vanished from the McCann’s holiday apartment in Praia de Luz on 3 May 2007, when she was three.
Kate and Gerry McCann have said they were just 50 yards away when their daughter went missing, and had made regular checks on the children throughout the evening.
The court ruling also revealed that the public prosecutor wants access to information on mobiles of the ‘Tapas Seven’ – the friends who were dining with the McCanns on ther night Madeleine disappeared – and access to 14 messages allegedly sent to Gerry’s mobile from an unidentified number the day Madeleine disappeared, and a further four messages from the same number the day after she vanished
Clarence Mitchell, spokesman for the McCanns said: ‘Certainly it’s encouraging that they are investigating whether Madeleine was abducted, because that’s what happened, as Kate and Gerry have always said.
‘Quite frankly, they would like to see them [the Portuguese police] doing more searching on the ground.’
He added that according to legal advice they were given, the actions of the couple on 3 May had been ‘well within the bounds of responsible parenting.’