They have spoken out after a Portuguese newspaper claimed police had 'intercepted' emails and phone calls between Kate and Gerry McCann and their friends.
These, the newspaper reported, provided 'decisive proof' that Madeleine was not kidnapped, but died in the family's holiday apartment in Portugal.
Anger over rumours: Kate McCann and Gerry McCann pictured with their twins, hidden by the pushchair canopy
Diario de Noticias, a respected national daily, said 'police sources' insisted the intercepted 'messages' were key evidence.
Other newspapers have already made a series of lurid and unsubstantiated claims about the McCanns.
Yesterday, stung by such claims, their friend Rachael Oldfield, a 36-year- old London recruitment consultant, suggested the police could be 'leaking' confidential information to the Press.
"I think there are some leaks coming from the police, but a lot of what I have read recently has been completely untrue," she said.
"Whether a journalist has had a bit of information and made the rest up, or the police are feeding some truth or untruths I just don't know."
Rachael Oldfield and Fiona Payne who were with the McCanns in Portugal
Another of the party, Dr Fiona Payne, said: "You cannot attach any significance to what is being reported (in the Portuguese press)."
Mrs Oldfield, who is married to doctor Matthew Oldfield and has a one-year-old daughter, said: "It is very hurtful and it is all rather ludicrous. But it is difficult to defend because the investigationand everything in it is confidential. We don't want to jeopardise the investigation in any way or Madeleine's life. We are a bit stuck, really."
The Oldfields were at dinner with the McCanns and the rest of their party, Jane Tanner and Russell O'Brien from Exeter, Fiona and David Payne from Leicester and an unnamed woman, when Madeleine vanished from her bed in the holiday apartments in Praia da Luz on May 3.
The adults told police they had taken it in turns to check on their sleeping children, including Madeleine and her twoyearold twin brother and sister, in nearby apartments.
The McCanns during their interview on Sky News said that they would not comment on any speculation regarding Madeleine's disappearance
Madeleine has been missing for three months
In statements to the Policia Judiciaria investigators, which were leaked to Sol magazine, Mr McCann said he first checked his three children at 9.05pm and thought it 'strange' that the bedroom door was ajar. He checked the window and shutters, which were both closed, and left.
Jane Tanner said she took her turn ten minutes later and saw a darkhaired man carrying a child in his arms as she came back.
Minutes after her return, according to police statements, Matthew Oldfield checked the children and noticed nothing unusual.
Mrs McCann went at 10pm and said she found the apartment window open, heavy metal shutters raised and her daughter missing.
Police say there are discrepancies between the timings given by the McCann party and staff and other diners in the restaurant that night.
One Portuguese newspaper yesterday, which quoted 'police sources', said: "If everything happened as the English holidaymakers say, in terms of their checking the children, it would be almost impossible for a kidnap to have taken place."
Mrs Oldfield said: "There would only be a small window for somebody to do it (abduct Madeleine), but presumably if somebody had been watching our movements then it would have been possible."
The McCanns, who on Tuesday denied stories in the Portuguese press that implied they had 'accidentally' killed their daughter, spent an hour with detectives yesterday afternoon.
They learned that a possible sighting of Madeleine in a Belgian cafe had been largely discounted after tests on a drinking straw used by the little girl spotted showed the DNA of an adult male.
Reader views (44)
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It looks increasable likely to me that the Portuguese Police suspect the McCanns (albeit murder or covering up an accident) and are waiting to gather enough info before charging them.
With all the media publicity surrounding this, they cannot afford to be wrong and on the end of a worldwide media bashing.
- R Hamilton, Wishaw, North Lanarkshire, 17/08/2007 16:17
I have said all along that there is something very strange about this case. Firstly, if the parents were checking every 30 mins how can someone unknowningly go into an apartment and abduct a child?
It seems odd that an abductor would take the time to clean the walls and hide the evidence.
I think there is something more sinister in this case, I just hope I'm wrong.
- Greg, Watford, UK, 17/08/2007 15:17
My heart goes out to the McCann family who have borne enough innuendo and insinuations in their search for their missing daughter. The media should allow the police to do their duty and stop the speculation without concrete evidence.
- Michael Goodman, Golders Green, 17/08/2007 15:17
It is truly shocking the amount of speculation that is going on regarding this case. No one knows anything much. It is partly the Portuguese police's fault. If they gave proper press briefings and were a bit more professional (there is obviously a paid police informer who is tipping the press off) they would be more in control of what is said to the public. This does not bode well for any future prosecution(s). It is also very distressing to read some of the bizarre comments/theories made about the McCann family and friends on some of these forums.
- M, Bedford, 17/08/2007 15:17
I think little Maddy is still alive, I just feel it, I hope everybody's prayers that Madeleine will be returned will be answered.
- Kristina, Ireland, 17/08/2007 15:17
It looks to me like the Portuguese police are chasing their tails. They handled this case badly from the beginning. They don't know yet whether the blood was Maddy's and they can't assume that she died from any injuries that she may have sustained from the abduction.
They haven't had the results back from the DNA tests from the sighting in Belgium yet - who knows, it could have been her. Maybe I'm just being overly optimistic.
- Diana, Edinburgh, 17/08/2007 15:17
If the Portuguese Police told people what was going on, they would very quickly reveal their utter incompetence.
- Frank, Home Counties, England, 17/08/2007 15:17
For those who are supporting the Portugese police I have one question for you: If they are so good, then why were they filmed chatting and letting all those cars drive out of the country, when they were clearly told to search every single car on the border? If they had done their jobs we would at least know what country she was in!
- Rachel, London, 17/08/2007 15:17
I don't see how anyone could think that the parents would have anything to do with this! They are doctors, they were with other doctors. Their first instinct, if an accident would have happened, would be to treat her. They went through IVF and waited 5 years for her. You only have to see from all the photos they took of her and their extended family how much this little girl is loved. This is just a ludricous smear to deflect criticism from the bungled police investigation. Also, a few spots of blood on a wall hardly justifies the recent reports and headlines, it could be anybody's.
- M, Bedford, 17/08/2007 15:17
These reports smack of the Portuguese press trying to re-invigorate the story for the sake of sales. The language being used is inflammatory and unnecessary. The family are already suffering beyond what most of us can imagine. If these reports are not based on solid forensic evidence the press should not be allowed to publish this kind of irresponsible conjecture for the publics' titilation.
- A Maxfield, Watford Hertfordshire, 17/08/2007 15:17
Since day one I have followed the horrific Madeleine story and I really hope that either the blood on the wall of the apartment or the DNA results from Belguim gives a lead on finding Madeleine McCann. Nobody deserves to be put through the process of the possibility of losing a child this way. I really do feel for her parents.
- Beth Lewis, Swansea UK, 17/08/2007 15:17
It's sad to see how the Portuguese police is seen throughout this news article. They are doing an excellent job, and they do not have dogs trained to carry out this job mainly due to the fact that there is no need to do that in Portugal in comparison with the UK, where these type of incidents tend to happen very often.
- Incredible, London UK, 17/08/2007 15:17
I once worked in a holiday apartment complex abroad and pretty much every apartment had blood on the wall that had to be cleaned up from squashed mosquitos that people had squashed after being bitten. Just a thought..
- Ara, London, UK, 17/08/2007 15:17
The Portuguese police have done all they can with their resources. The blood was invisible to the human eye for goodness sake.
- Rachel, London, 17/08/2007 15:17
Someone in the middle of hurriedly abducting Madeleine would not bother to take the time to wash blood off the wall. If it is her blood, then you have to ask who would?
- Daizy, N England, 17/08/2007 15:17
One of the things that makes Portuguese Police so good is that they care way more about the investigation than about media. Secrecy is very important on these matters and we probably know nothing about what's going on really.
- J.A., Scotland, 17/08/2007 15:17
There should be a European Special Police Investigations Unit. Cases like this need expertise immediately. I know we have Interpol, but we don't have a dedicated murder/abduction team, that can fly out immediately and share resources and intelligence. In short, professionals.
Time is vital in investigations like this. Some of the police work has been woeful.
- Paul, Bromley, 17/08/2007 15:17
Why don't the Portuguese do their job and find out what happened to this wee girl. It is shocking how the Portuguese police seem to be leading and playing the blame game to shift criticism from them, first to an innocent British citizen, and more recently the parents and even their friends.
- Dr. Christopher Wood, Cardiff,, 17/08/2007 15:17
I pray that this little girl defies all odds and is still alive and well. Whoever took her that night needs to come forward now because the police will uncover the truth. This particular case will not go unsolved because of the enormous attention it's received. I have always thought that more than one person was involved in Madeleine's abduction. Let's hope that the case gets solved this week. Keep strong Kate and Gerry, your campaign is working. God bless and protect your daughter.
- M, UK, 17/08/2007 15:17
If (and at the time of writing its still an IF) the blood is the missing child's then I would imagine that the focus of the investigation will shift to the events of the evening it happened and to those who had access to the room and time/materials to clean it.
How long a gap was there between the disappearance and the initial police arrival?
I too am dismayed by the continual implied criticism of the Portugese police. After all our own police are infallible aren't they ...
Birmingham 6, Stefan Kiszko, Bridgewater 3, the de Menendez shooting, etc
- Charlie, Lancashire, 17/08/2007 15:17
It's horrible to even think that she may not be found alive.
With every report that comes out, I pray it's a step closer to finding her alive.
I also think it's important before everyone starts pointing the finger of blame to take a step back and think about what has actually happened.
A 4 year old little girl has been apart from her Mummy and Daddy for 3 months, in a strange place and whatever has happened to her in that time, she must be terrified.
- Siobhan, Essex, 17/08/2007 15:17
I am so very sad about this little girl and watch the news for any fresh info. I have just travelled through France and Spain in a campervan and have her posters in the windows of the van. I have put her posters in petrol stations, picnic areas and supermarkets but she is still not found.
Whoever has taken Maddy let her go she is too small to remember you.
- Ann Preston, Tyne & Wear, England, 17/08/2007 15:17
God bless Maddy the whole wide world is thinking about you, our thoughts and prayers are with the whole of the McCann family.
- Sarah, uk, 17/08/2007 15:17
God bless her but I can't help but feel that this high profile campaign will make Madeleine more vulnerable. If anyone has got her then they may do something awful. I feel so sad that we live in a world where a beautiful little girl is abducted and it doesn't bear thinking about what may have happened to her. With lots of love and support for her parents.
- Jo Wood. London, London, 17/08/2007 15:17
I am sure that everything is being in the the correct way, but it does seem very belated - we are nearly 100 days on and only just are the police searching their main suspect's home and gardens. Because nothing is seemingly found, we are now told that a second suspect is now being sought - maybe that is because Murat is not the one and they cannot find anything on, or that this second person might be the owner of the mystery DNA found in the apartment. I for one am very frustrated by the lack of evidence in this crime, I cannot imagine being the parent and also having to suffer this frustration. Let's hope that this second suspect does something to allow the police to arrest and put this whole thing to an end. I really hope that it allows Madeleine to be found safe and well.
- Rachel, Orpington, 17/08/2007 15:17
The Portuguese police investigation has been a disaster from the start and its woeful inadequacy is probably the reason that Madeleine is still missing. Vital clues were lost at the beginning as the crime scene was not properly sealed off. They put their own pride above finding Maddie by only inviting an outside review after all this time.
- Nicky, London, 17/08/2007 15:17
I just wish people could put as much effort into trying to find Madeleine as they do offering self-righteous opinions on their superior childcare and supervision skills. Such insensitivity beggars belief.
- Claire, East London, 17/08/2007 15:17
Many children go missing every year. It is sad that only the disappearance of a white middle class child has generated public interest in an admittedly sad but unremarkable story. Hopefully she will be found alive but whatever the outcome the parents will live to reget the media circus they have been responsible for creating and sustaining.
- Peter White, Bath, UK, 17/08/2007 15:17
My thoughts are with the parents and families of all missing children. I can not begin to understand the amount of anguish they are all suffering. Newspapers that make definite statements without facts being confirmed only add to this anguish. How on earth can papers report that poor Maddy is dead and actually died in that bedroom, when it has not even been confirmed that the blood found was Maddy's?
Please stop adding anguish on these poor parents.
- Terri, Bexleyheath, Kent, 17/08/2007 15:17
Please God find this little girl. Lead police to the person/people responsible for her abduction. Reveal the truth to all concerned and bring justice to her family.
- A Christian, Newtownabbey, N Ireland, 17/08/2007 15:17
Everyone is very quick to criticise the Portuguese police about their lack of progress and results, but how long did it take our police to find the bodies of Ian Huntley's victims? We shouldn't be so quick to judge - we don't know the facts but we're all very good at jumping on the bandwagon and pointing the finger. It's a terrible world we live in and the thought of what could have happened to Maddie makes your blood run cold - but let's let the professionals get on with their job and we can carry on sending our love and support to Maddie's parents.
- Hilary, Stockport, UK, 17/08/2007 15:17
Has anyone thought that perhaps the bloood on the wall had been there from before the McCann's arrived at the apartment? The modern techniques that are used to detect blood spatters at crime scenes can pick up minute traces of blood from months before. Perhaps a previous tourist in that room had an accident of some kind and tried to wipe up the mess.
- Bridget, Woking, UK, 17/08/2007 15:17
Why are the Portuguese media doing this to the McCanns? It seems strange that they have started to attack the McCanns. Are the Portuguese reacting to the criticism levelled at their Police? If so, don't take it out on the parents. Madeline went missing in their country, that is fact, laying blame will not help Madeline's return. The Portuguese police have stated they have limited resources, therefore assistance from the British police has arrived. The limited resources are not the fault of the McCanns, so leave them alone.
- Karen, London UK, 17/08/2007 15:17
It's really frustrating that a British detective who worked on the Sarah Payne case & is an expert in child abduction cases, who visited the scene of the Madeleine enquiry in its early days, - recommended that the Madeleine case should be reviewed by the British specialist detectives & sniffer dogs brought in, 2 weeks into the case.
I simply can't believe that Portuguese forensics didn't show up Madeleine's blood on the walls earlier - if it's true that is.
- Manon, London, UK, 17/08/2007 15:17
I am deeply saddened with this fresh news. Our thoughts and prayers are with the McCann family.
- Murali Mohan, Maida Vale, London, 17/08/2007 15:17
Obviously the media should focus on finding out the truth, instead of attacking the Portugese and hindering the investigation by turning it into a political matter.
- Tom, Portsmouth, 17/08/2007 15:17
First of all this blood could belong to anyone who has used the apartment during its existence. Secondly even if it is Maddy's and it does appear that someone has tried to clean it, haven't all parents at one time or another had to deal with a child's nosebleed, fall, cut, etc and wouldn't you also clean up any blood? My own children have all at various time suffered nosebleeds and in trying to deal with it themselves left bloody fingerprints, smears on walls etc, which I've had to clean. So I really don't see how this is going to help matters at all unless of course Maddy's parents can catagorically state that Maddy didn't suffer any blood loss of any kind whilst they were there.
- Dawn Smith, Walsall, UK, 17/08/2007 15:17
At this time, I would ask everyone who cares to assume she is still alive, until officially stated otherwise, and to pray for her, for her mind, her body and her spirit. Please remember, others are so very concerned about her, about her pain, her fears, her confusion and so on.
- Mrs N C Hern, London UK, 17/08/2007 15:17
The blood hasn't even been tested yet. It could be anyone's. And even if it were Madeleine's - such a tiny amount of blood doesn't point automatically to murder - it could be an accident.
- Manon, London, UK, 17/08/2007 15:17
All my sympathies lie with little Madeleine and the Portuguese police are doing an excellent job under the criticism they have been under. Well done to the Portuguese police.
- Pauline Higgins., Liverpool England, 17/08/2007 15:17
Anyone who has followed this heart-rendering tragedy and watched Kate and Gerry speak from the heart will like me be unable to believe that they had anything to do with Maddie's disappearance. Hang in there Gerry and Kate - the thoughts and prayers of millions of us are with you now more than ever.
- Trevor Roll, London, 17/08/2007 15:17
Despite very horrified at the case, I'm sorry for all the criticism of Portuguese police and media. I've lived here since I was ten, and this case has outraged the natives. The police are trying hard to end this and find answers; people seem to forget that this is not England, the police are not as well equipped and there are not as many people qualified to investigate. They're trying their hardest and that's the most they can do. This new development will hopefully not mean poor Maddie is dead, and the only thing we can do is cross our fingers and hope.
- Xana, Portimao, Portugal, 17/08/2007 15:17
If I asked you to retrace your steps in an enormous sandy desert would you walk back exactly the same way as you came? If I asked you to find a valuable ring, which you had inadvertantly dropped in the hot sand whilst on a day out, would you be able to retrieve it?
Our world is as enormous as the desert you visited, so how on earth would you set about locating one specific grain of sand in that vast area, if that grain of sand were to represent the poor little girl called Maddy who was abducted recently?
You would not know where to start. You could look across all four points of the compass through hundreds of miles of rolling dunes and you would never come any closer to locating her whereabouts.
Maddy has disappeared like a grain of sand into the desert. If you believe in miracles then you should only praise the police for what they have done already with the information they have at hand. Those members of the public who are quick to criticise the actions of the force should try finding that grain of sand themselves.
- Antoni Nowakowski, London UK, 17/08/2007 15:17
I pray that Madeleine will be found safe and uninjured. There are so many questions in this case, not only about the night of May 3rd, but also about the parents. For example, the distance from the apartment to the tapas bar has been reported as 130 yards, 100 yards, 40 yards, and even 20 yards (Kate interview at the weekend). There are conflicting reports from the parents and their friends as to when and how often they went to "check" on the children. Time for some very firm, objective investigative reporting please. God bless all missing persons.
- Bentley Simons, UK, 17/08/2007 15:17
Whose cadaver scent and bodily fluid was found in the McCann's apartment and hire car if not Madeleine's?
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