Saturday, October 30, 2010

McCanns called back to Portugal by Madeleine police for kidnap re-enactment

By Vanessa Allen and David Wilkes
Last updated at 2:54 PM on 08th April 2008
Madeleine McCann has been missing since May 3, 2007
Police have asked the McCanns to return to Portugal to take part in a reconstruction of the night their daughter disappeared, it emerged today.

The request was revealed as British officers began questioning members of the so-called Tapas Seven - friends of the couple who dined with them in Praia da Luz the night Madeleine vanished.
But Kate and Gerry McCann's official spokesman, Clarence Mitchell, has already said they will not go back to the resort in the Algarve as long as they remain "arguidos" or suspects in the case.
The revelation came as questioning begun of the friends of Kate and Gerry McCann who were with the couple on the night their daughter Madeleine disappeared.

Three Portuguese officers are sitting in as British detectives in Leicestershire started to interview members of the so-called 'Tapas Seven' - who dined with the couple in Praia da Luz on 3 May last year.

The seven are among a list of 24 people due to be grilled by detectives over the next four days.
But the McCanns themselves will not face new interrogations.
Their spokesman Clarence Mitchell said the couple had planned a pre-arranged visit to Brussels to lobby Euro MPs for a better alert system for missing children, and denied the trip was a "smokescreen".
He said they welcomed the latest police move and would be willing to be interviewed again if it would help the investigation.
But prosecutors in Portugal were reported to have ruled there was no need for the couple to face fresh interrogations, fuelling speculation they could soon be cleared of being named suspects, or arguidos, in their daughter's disappearance.
The Algarve-based team is barred from conducting interrogations on British soil, but will monitor the questioning of the couple's friends by Leicestershire police.

Scroll down for more

Fiona Payne, Jane Tanner, Russell O' Brien, Rachael Oldfield
Interrogation: (clockwise from top left) Fiona Payne, Jane Tanner, Russell O' Brien, Rachael Oldfield
The Tapas Seven will all be interviewed as witnesses and are free to leave at any time, a spokeswoman for Leicestershire Constabulary said. No lawyers will be present.
Portuguese police had requested the interviews and were also said to have asked for the McCanns' computers, Mrs McCann's diary and Madeleine's favourite Cuddle Cat toy to be seized, but it is understood that no property will be searched or seized.
The three-strong team from Portugal is expected to return to the Algarve on Friday but Leicestershire officers will continue to interview other witnesses, including the couple's spokesman Mr Mitchell.
Under Portuguese law named suspects, or arguidos, have the right to ask that police speak to witnesses who support them.

The McCanns have asked for up to 24 of their friends and family to be questioned about their relationship with Madeleine and their behaviour after her disappearance.
They will leave for Brussels on Wednesday to present a draft declaration to the European Parliament, and on Thursday they will give their first press conference since they were made official suspects in the investigation.
As arguidos they are forbidden from speaking about the events of May 3 or the police inquiry but can talk about wider issues about missing children.

Scroll down for more

Kate and Gerry McCann are due to travel to Brussels tomorrow. They will not face further interrogation
Mr Mitchell said it was "pure coincidence" that the McCanns were leaving Britain during the week of the police interviews.
He said: "To say this is a smokescreen is utter rubbish. It is pure co-incidence that police interviews are being conducted at the same time the European Parliament is sitting, and Kate and Gerry are tabling a motion."
Mr McCann, 39, and his 40-year-old wife are also due to talk about their campaign in a TV documentary to be screened on April 30, just days before the first anniversary of Madeleine's disappearance.
Jane Tanner: One of the 'Tapas Seven' who has said she is happy to be questioned again
The couple will not return to Portugal for the anniversary unless their arguido status is lifted, but some of their relatives are expected to go to Praia da Luz for the poignant milestone.
Meanwhile they hope the police interviews could be the next step towards clearing their names over alleged contradictions in their accounts of the night of May 3.
Mr Mitchell said: "No one wants to change their testimony and no one is concerned about the interviews.
"Kate and Gerry hope the police will realise there is no evidence to implicate them and will finally clear them of their arguido status. Their friends are keen to assist the police and wonder why it has taken so long.
"This is a voluntary process, they are not being coerced or threatened, and none of them will be made suspects."
The Tapas Seven - Jane Tanner and her partner Russell O'Brien, Fiona Payne and her husband David and mother Dianne Webster, and Matthew and Rachael Oldfield - have all said they are happy to be questioned again.

Read more: