FRIDGE:Kate and Gerry McCann's friends refute ‘missing hours’ claim as smears continue
The parents of Madeleine McCann have pleaded for an end to the distressing smear campaign that has suggested that they may have killed their missing daughter. Tomorrow is the 150th day since Madeleine vanished. Kate and Gerry McCann will attend a church service near their home in Rothley, Leicestershire, but there will be no special event to generate publicity for the search.
It was claimed yesterday that police in Portugal believe that Kate McCann killed Madeleine while putting her to bed at their holiday apartment in Praia da Luz between 7pm and 8.30pm on May 3 and then hid her corpse in a fridge, with the help of friends.
The respected Diario de Noticias newspaper said that officers believed that Mrs McCann accidentally killed Madeleine while her husband was playing tennis.
The child’s body then “passed through various locations” before going into the boot of the car hired by her parents 25 days later, it reported. As a result, detectives want to inspect fridges at the Ocean Club complex where the McCanns were staying with a group of seven British adults.
It is claimed that there is a window of six hours in Madeleine was killed and her body hidden.
Friends of the couple have refuted this by releasing details of the family’s movements. The police theory was described as “total rubbish”. A source close to the McCanns said: “Have you seen the size of the fridges in those apartments? Of course they did not stuff her in a fridge.
Kate was not in the apartment alone with Maddie.
They had both been playing tennis, then they put her to bed together and were then down for dinner \ by 8.20pm.”
The report is the latest in a series of allegations in the Portuguese media credited to anonymous detectives from the Polícia Judiciária. There are concerns that the McCanns are victims of “black propaganda” put out by police to explain why they were made arguidos, or official suspects, over their daughter’s disappearance.
Clarence Mitchell, the McCanns’ spokesman, said: “We do not know who is putting all this out in Portugal but for the family’s sake it’s time for it to stop. Every one of these nonsensical allegations causes real pain and hurt for both Gerry and Kate, who cannot help but be aware of them. It makes a most awful situation far, far worse, because they know it’s not true.
“I am very grateful for the media support — it is immeasurable in terms of what has been done to help find Madeleine, but these reports are increasing the pain for Kate and Gerry. We just hope that everyone can see these ridiculous rumours for what they are. It is very hard on the couple because they are not allowed to talk about the investigation and cannot defend themselves.”
Mr Mitchell said that the McCanns would attend church tomorrow. “It will be just another day without Madeleine. The only thing which would make Gerry and Kate happy is to see her safe return,” he said.
It was also reported that the couple, both 39, may speak out about their ordeal in a television interview.
The McCanns have previously turned down requests for interviews with Oprah Winfrey and Larry King but are said to be considering a request from the veteran American broadcaster Barbara Walters for an interview to coincide with the launch of an £80,000 advertising campaign for the search for their daughter.
The couple, who previously rejected interview requests saying that they did not want to be seen as celebrities, are now said to be furious that they cannot speak out because of Portuguese judicial secrecy laws. The law, however, prohibits them only from discussing evidence in the case.
The McCanns had used their campaign to find Madeleine as an opportunity to raise awareness about other missing children and to call for better alert systems.
Portugal, which is the present holder of the rotating EU presidency, is to call for an EU-wide alert system.
It will ask member states at a meeting this week in Lisbon if they want to expand to all 27 countries a new French alert system involving a nationwide media campaign and messages in stations and on motorways. Counting the hours
2.29pm The last photograph of Madeleine is taken, at the Ocean Club pool. The camera’s clock reads 1.29pm, but the family says it was out by one hour. Mr and Mrs McCann spend afternoon playing tennis. The family insists that there are records of Madeleine attending the resort’s children’s club
5.30pm Madeleine has high tea at children’s club. Staff at the Paraiso restaurant insist that the McCanns dined there with their children, but the family say this is incorrect
6pm Madeleine is picked up from the children’s club by her parents
8.20pm The McCanns join seven friends for dinner at a nearby restaurant after Madeleine has been put to bed
9.05pm Mr McCann checks on the children and sees Madeleine asleep in her bed. He says that he recalls a door being left ajar
9.15pm Jane Tanner, a friend of the family, says she remembers seeing a man carrying a child wearing pink pyjamas similar to Madeleine’s
9.30pm Matthew Oldfield, a dinner companion, checks on the children, but only listens at the door; he does not physically see them