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Post by Verdi on 04.08.19 14:03

Verdict on the McCanns' treatment: little short of a national disgrace

Evidence from Gerry and Kate McCann to the Leveson inquiry has given experts much to consider about regulation of the press

23rd November 2011

Media Mayhem - MCCANN MEDIA NONSENSE OF THE DAY - Page 32 Gerry-and-Kate-McCann-lea-007
Gerry and Kate McCann leave the Leveson inquiry. Their evidence gave the Lord Justice plenty to contemplate. Photograph: Reuters


It took Kate and Gerry McCann to transform the Leveson inquiry, which in its first three days had struggled to reach a serious tone. Hugh Grant did offer a compelling account of a life lived at the centre of media attention, but he is still a highly paid film star with the kind of colourful love life newspapers and the public find hard to resist. Other witnesses fell flat, notably Steve Coogan, who spent too much of his evidence complaining about how interviewers had artfully prised personal information out of him, which is hardly something that needs to be regulated. Not every interviewee, after all, is supposed to like the resulting piece.

But what happened to the McCanns at the hands of the tabloid press in the 18 months or so after their daughter's disappearence was – as their lawyer, David Sherborne, said – little short of a national disgrace. The inquiry heard an account of repeated violations of truth and privacy by every major tabloid, built up over two measured hours of testimony from Gerry McCann, punctuated by Kate's more emotional contributions. While the couple acknowledged help and support from the press when they received it, their criticisms amounted to a plea for reform that will be very difficult for Lord Justice Leveson to dismiss.

It was Richard Desmond's newspapers, the Express and Star titles, that paid out £550,000 in libel damages after a string of defamatory articles. Their apology was on the front page – "unprecedented", as both papers could not help trumpeting – but as Gerry McCann observed, despite all the mistakes, nobody had resigned. "I've seen no journalist or editor brought to account, be it the Express or any other group ... repeat offenders should lose their privilege of practising," he said.
He might have said the same about the News of the World, which printed a copy of Kate McCann's personal diary.

Her husband pleaded for the judge to find out how the diary – taken as evidence in Portugal where Madeleine went missing – ended up in the hands of the paper in a version translated from Portuguese and back into English again. Leveson noted that he had the legal powers to find out what happened – and in an instant, statutory regulation of the press had arrived.

Kate McCann described the actions of the paparazzi. They would wait every day for her to get in the car with her two other children, and on some occasions "they'd bang on the window" to get the expressions they wanted. The picture was enough, she observed, to attach "fragile, furious or whatever they wanted to put in the headline" – carrying on despite the fact that the Press Complaints Commission code of practice says quite clearly that "journalists must not engage in intimidation, harassment or persistent pursuit". So, when, later, Gerry McCann demanded a change in the rules when it comes to the taking of the photographs in public places, his call for reform packed a real punch.

"You should not be able to publish photographs of private individuals going about their private business without their explicit consent," he argued. To bring in such a rule really would require the introduction of a privacy law, and while few in the press would welcome that, after hearing both the McCanns speak it would take a brave onlooker to conclude that they did not have something of a point. And as a result of their contribution, Lord Justice Leveson has plenty to contemplate.

https://www.theguardian.com/media/2011/nov/23/leveson-verdict-gerry-kate-mccan


angry2



What the illustrious Grauniad fails to mention, is the McCanns privileged position of being awarded the personal services of a government media monitoring director.

So Mr Mitchell, where were you hiding when all these negative reports were being published by the media - the media that you were appointed to monitor. 

Where were you hiding when Ms McCann's private diary was splashed across the News of the World headlines in September 2007, curiously only days after the McCann family's return to the UK.  Not hiding behind a source, I trust Mr Mitchell?

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Post by Verdi on 04.08.19 21:53

Leveson Inquiry: I wanted to climb into a hole, I felt so worthless, says Kate McCann

For more than four years they had suffered, often in silence, as the disappearance of their daughter Madeleine was followed by a “sinister” campaign to portray them as her killers.

By Gordon Rayner, and Martin Evans

9:11PM GMT 23 Nov 2011

Threatened with jail if they discussed details of the Portuguese investigation, Kate and Gerry McCann had “wanted to shout out” the truth to the world, but could not.

Today, at the Leveson Inquiry into media ethics, the couple finally had the chance to give evidence under oath in public for the first time since Madeleine vanished during a family holiday in Praia da Luz in May 2007.

They did not shout, nor were there any tears; just quiet dignity and an even tone as they allowed the facts to tell the story of their unbearable ordeal. Lord Justice Leveson began by telling the McCanns that no parent could fail to appreciate the “terrible impact” of Madeleine’s abduction, adding: “Words of sympathy for these appalling circumstances are utterly inadequate.”

After nodding their appreciation, the McCanns, sitting side by side, began detailing the “long lasting damage” caused to their family by elements of the media, which had left Mrs McCann feeling “totally worthless” and her husband in disbelief.

For almost an hour, Mrs McCann hardly spoke, sometimes putting a comforting hand on her husband’s arm as he took the lead in giving evidence. But the former GP took over when it came to describing what happened when the News of the World “mentally raped” her by printing extracts from her diary, written immediately after Madeleine’s disappearance.

She had been at church on Sunday, Sept 14, 2008, when she received a text from a worker at the nursery attended by the couple’s twins, Sean and Amelie, saying: “Just seen your diary – heartbreaking. Hope you are OK.”

She said: “It was totally out of the blue. I got a horrible panicky feeling of confusion. I didn’t have a clue. I went to look at it online, which was five pages, and got my original handwritten copy out and it was lifted in its entirety and put in the newspaper without my knowledge.”

She said “subtle differences” in the wording showed it had been translated into Portuguese and then back into English, and she suspected it had been leaked by the Portuguese police even though a judge had ordered all copies to be destroyed.

“I felt totally violated,” she said. “I had written those words at the most desperate time of my life and it was my only way of communicating with Madeleine.

“There was no respect shown for me as a grieving mother or for my daughter Madeleine and it made me feel very vulnerable and small. I just couldn’t believe it.”

Mrs McCann, 43, said that before the article appeared, the couple’s spokesman, Clarence Mitchell, had received a call from Ian Edmondson, the then news editor of the News of the World, who had said the newspaper was going to run a “supportive story” criticising the Portuguese police.

Mr Edmondson, who was arrested earlier this year by detectives investigating phone hacking at the newspaper and was sacked before it closed in July, made “no mention” of the diary.

“I just recently read through my diary entry at that point in that week,” said Mrs McCann, “and I talk about climbing into a hole and not coming out because I just felt so worthless that we had been treated like that.”

Several months earlier, on the first anniversary of Madeleine’s abduction, the couple had agreed to an interview in Hello magazine, which incurred the wrath of the News of the World’s editor, Colin Myler. The Sunday tabloid had put up a reward for information leading to Madeleine’s discovery, and, said Mr McCann, Mr Myler phoned him in person, “irate and berating us for not doing an interview with the News of the World”.

He added: “He beat us into submission verbally and we agreed to do an interview.”

Wearing green and yellow “Find Madeleine” wristbands on their right arms, “Doctor and Doctor McCann”, as they were referred to by Lord Justice Leveson, occasionally touched each other’s hands below the table, and at one point Mr McCann put an arm around his wife’s back.

Their expressions rarely reflected the suffering they were describing, but as the couple flicked through files of newspaper headlines which later led to front-page apologies and substantial damages payouts, they involuntarily shook their heads in disbelief. They said that when the media first descended on Praia da Luz, they felt it was “a good thing” for their daughter’s picture to appear on front pages.

But with “not much happening” in the investigation and a lack of information from the police, tabloid newspapers started to print stories that were “untruthful and sometimes made up”.

Headlines began to appear such as “Police believe mother killed Madeleine”, based on reports of DNA being found in the couple’s hire car, even though, said Mrs McCann, “there was no DNA found”.

She said that they had been unable to tell reporters the stories were not borne out by what police had shown them, because they were bound by strict laws of judicial secrecy punishable by a two-year prison sentence.

“We wanted to shout out, 'It’s not true,’ but when it’s your voice against the powerful media there’s no point,” she said. Mr McCann added: “We were being tried by media and unable to defend ourselves adequately.”

When the couple eventually returned home to Rothley, Leics, Mr McCann said the journey to the airport in Portugal was “one of the most terrifying experiences that anyone could possibly have”.

He said: “Cars were coming across us, coming in front, cameras, people hanging out of windows, motorbike riders. Dangerous.”

Mrs McCann said photographers camped outside the family home until Dec 2007, waiting for her to drive out.

“They would spring out from behind a hedge to get a startled look that they could say 'fragile, furious’, whatever they wanted to put in the headline. They were banging on the windows, sometimes with lenses, and Amelie would say to me, 'Mummy, I’m scared’.”

In January 2008 the couple took legal action against Express Newspapers, which had falsely claimed, among other things, that Madeleine had been “sold by hard-up McCanns” and that they had killed their daughter and stored her body in a freezer.

At first, the Express group offered the McCanns an interview in OK! magazine, owned by Richard Desmond who also owns the Express, which Mr McCann described as “breathtaking”.

Then, in March 2008, Express Newspapers admitted to printing “entirely untrue” articles and paid £550,000 to the fund set up to find Madeleine. The News of the World also apologised for using the diary and made a donation to the fund.

But while the couple’s treatment by the media improved markedly as a result, Mr McCann said there had still been abuses and numerous weekends had been ruined by having to take legal action to prevent articles appearing in Sunday newspapers, including a false claim that the couple were having IVF treatment “with a view to getting a new baby to replace Madeleine”.

Mr McCann was also angered in July of this year when the Daily Mail printed a picture of a child spotted in India who looked similar to Madeleine. He said that he and Mrs McCann had already seen the picture and confirmed it was not Madeleine, but the newspaper published it anyway.

The hearing continues on Thursday, when JK Rowling, the author of the Harry Potter stories, will give evidence.

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/leveson-inquiry/8911318/Leveson-Inquiry-I-wanted-to-climb-into-a-hole-I-felt-so-worthless-says-Kate-McCann.html

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Post by Verdi on 04.08.19 22:06

Madeleine McCann fund received £125,000 from News of the World

Confidential deal towards search fund for Madeleine was part of apology for tabloid's publication of mother Kate's diary extracts

Daniel Boffey - 17th December 2011

Media Mayhem - MCCANN MEDIA NONSENSE OF THE DAY - Page 32 Gerry-and-Kate-McCann-Lev-007
Kate and Gerry McCann giving evidence at the Leveson Inquiry over coverage of their daughter Madeleine's disappearance. News of the World made a confidential payment for publishing Kate's private diaries. Photograph: Pool/Reuters

The News of the World paid £125,000 to the fund supporting the search for Madeleine McCann as part of an apology for publishing Kate McCann's diaries – on condition that the terms of the deal remained secret.

The payment was made after the missing girl's parents expressed their outrage at the story, which Kate McCann said made her feel "mentally raped". All the parties involved in the negotiations over the payment, which was agreed in September 2008, were asked to sign a confidentiality agreement hiding the scale of the newspaper's culpability.

The payment was made despite claims by the defunct newspaper's editor at the Leveson inquiry last week that he believed he had had the full support of the McCanns to publish. Colin Myler, who edited the NoW from 2007 until it closed this year, told the inquiry he had received repeated assurances from his head of news, Ian Edmondson, that the McCanns' spokesman, Clarence Mitchell, supported publication – a claim which has been strenuously denied.

Myler told the inquiry that he subsequently ran an apology and paid a "substantial sum" because "he felt very bad that she didn't know". However, the Observer has learned that the NoW initially tried to minimise the compensation. A source at News International, the owner of the newspaper, said there were hours of negotiations between the company's lawyers and Carter-Ruck, the solicitors hired by the McCanns, in the days following publication of the story on 14 September 2008.

A deal was finally struck in which a £125,000 payment was agreed, but all parties were obliged to sign agreements that they would not talk about the size of the compensation. Last night Kate and Gerry McCann's spokesman and News International declined to comment.

The Leveson inquiry into the media will hear this week from former NoW sports journalist Matt Driscoll, who was awarded almost £800,000 for unfair dismissal in April 2007 while on long-term sick leave for stress-related depression following a campaign of bullying provoked by the newspaper's then editor, Andy Coulson.

It will also hear via video link from Piers Morgan, former editor of the Daily Mirror and the NoW, who now works for CNN in New York. At 28, Morgan was appointed editor of the NoW, making him the youngest tabloid newspaper editor in history. He was editor of the Daily Mirror for more than 10 years, but was sacked in 2004 after the newspaper conceded that photos it published apparently showing British soldiers abusing an Iraqi were fake.

Morgan claimed in a GQ magazine interview in 2007 that phone hacking was "widespread" and that "loads of newspaper journalists were doing it" when Clive Goodman and Glenn Mulcaire were jailed in January of that year.

Asked in the interview whether he knew about voicemail interception while he was editor of NoW, Morgan said: "Well, I was there in 1994-95, before mobiles were used very much, and that particular trick wasn't known about. I can't get too excited about it, I must say. It was pretty well known that if you didn't change your pin code when you were a celebrity who bought a new phone, then reporters could ring your mobile, tap in a standard factory setting number and hear your messages. That is not, to me, as serious as planting a bug in someone's house, which is what some people seem to think was going on."

In 2006 Morgan wrote an article for the Daily Mail claiming that he was played a tape of a message Paul McCartney left on the mobile phone of Heather Mills. "The couple had clearly had a tiff, Heather had fled to India, and Paul was pleading with her to come back," he wrote. "He sounded lonely, miserable and desperate, and even sang We Can Work It Out into the answerphone."

https://www.theguardian.com/media/2011/dec/17/news-of-world-mccanns-payment

...................

What an eerie coincidence.  Kate McCann's scribbles suddenly appear in the News of the World, of all the salacious gutter press possible, it had to be 'dial M for Murdoch's' the News of the World that gets it's grubby mitts on the secret diary - the diary Ms McCann had every intention of publishing in the form of a book for later publication and worldwide sale.

The PJ, contacts in the News of the World?  I don't think so!

So who did leak this secret diary to Murdoch's most mucky tabloid Mr Mitchell?  The leak that led to a substantial out of court settlement?

You scratch my back I'll scratch yours. Nice little earner.

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Post by Verdi on 05.08.19 16:07

McCanns 'didn't say Madeleine probably dead'

By Aislinn Simpson in Praia da Luz and Richard Holt

12:01AM BST 17 Oct 2007

Media Mayhem - MCCANN MEDIA NONSENSE OF THE DAY - Page 32 News-graphics-2007-_648157a
Spokesman: 'They have not given up hope that she could still be alive

Madeleine McCann's father has contradicted the family's official spokesman and said that he does not accept the fact that his daughter is probably dead.

We know it is a possibility, however the fact there is no evidence Madeleine has been seriously harmed gives us ongoing hope that she will be found alive.
Previously, the couple's spokesman said that the balance of their feelings about what has happened to the four-year-old had tipped towards accepting the worst possible outcome, nearly six months after she vanished.

"Kate and Gerry are realistic enough to know that there is a probability she is dead," Clarence Mitchell said.

"They have not given up hope that she could still be alive and is being looked after somewhere.

"And they cling to that and have not given up, but human nature is that you always fear the worst and they need to know what has happened.

"This open-uncertainty cannot hang over them for the rest of their lives."

The sad milestone came as Kate McCann's mother admitted her daughter and son-in-law made a "terrible mistake" to leave Madeleine and her twin siblings alone, and said the repercussions had ripped their "perfect" family apart.

In a wide-ranging interview with her local paper, Susan Healy and her husband Brian spoke of their hope that Madeleine would one day come home.

But Mrs Healy told the Liverpool Echo that news about renewed police searches in Portugal, and the appearance of police officers at a reservoir to the north of the Algarve resort town of Praia da Luz, left her "scared" that Madeleine's body would be found.

Mrs Healy said her daughter was tormented by the "scurrilous rubbish" about her and Gerry's culpability in Madeleine's disappearance that is reported daily in the Portuguese press and repeated in the UK.

She said the couple continue to have counselling and have relaunched a publicity campaign in the UK and Portugal in a bid to find their daughter.

But she Mrs Healy said the strain of the case was taking its toll.

"They have to keep trying to get their daughter back - that overrides everything else they are feeling," she said.

Madeleine disappeared from the McCann's rented apartment in Praia da Luz on May 3.

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/1566419/McCanns-didnt-say-Madeleine-probably-dead.html

https://jillhavern.forumotion.net/t14941p75-gerry-mccann-s-blog-highlights#405319

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Post by momac on 05.08.19 17:02

"There's no evidence that Madeleine is dead"... in the case of a genuine abduction would be a really stupid thing to say! 

Imagine a kidnapper who, after 12 years or whatever time span, would send a postcard to say "sorry, but Madeleine is dead, and here is the proof!"
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Post by worriedmum on 05.08.19 20:04

@momac wrote:"There's no evidence that Madeleine is dead"... in the case of a genuine abduction would be a really stupid thing to say! 

Imagine a kidnapper who, after 12 years or whatever time span, would send a postcard to say "sorry, but Madeleine is dead, and here is the proof!"
Or even, 'if you are the abductor. please get in touch and tell us ?
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Post by Verdi on 12.08.19 2:22

Another repeat example of the truth according to the British press..

Madeleine McCann's former nanny breaks silence to describe night three-year-old went missing


18 April 2017 • 8:08am

A child minder who had looked after Madeleine McCann has broken her silence about the night the three-year-old went missing 10 years ago.

The former nanny said the image of Madeleine's parents, Gerry and Kate, desperately trying to find their missing daughter still haunts her.

Speaking for the first time about the child's abduction, she recalled Mrs McCann crying and saying “they’ve taken her”.

The witness also claimed the Praia da Luz resort in which the McCanns were staying was considered so unsafe for nannies at the time that staff were handed rape alarms and warned against going out alone.


Describing the resort as radically different to other resorts owned by the Mark Warner travel firm, she added that a girl had been attacked in the area a year before Madeleine's disappearance.
 
Mark Warner, a global travel firm, quit Praia da Luz in 2015.

The nanny, who did not wish to be named but looked after Madeleine on a number of occasions, also criticised Portuguese police for their handling of the case, suggesting crucial opportunities to collect evidence were missed.

Describing the night the three-year-old was snatched, she told of how she attempted to comfort Mrs McCann, who was in a "catatonic state", while Mr McCann searched under cars in the area. 

“That’s the one thing I really remember from him, looking under the cars. I can’t forget that," she told the Daily Mirror.

“We were told to start looking in bins in case her body was in there. It was at that point we realised this was serious.”

The child minder said she and other staff at the Ocean Club resorted to searching through bins into the early hours of the morning in the hope of finding Madeleine.

She said: “It’s probably very naive, but the best case scenario of a very horrible situation, is that she was procured and taken for a rich person who didn’t have children.

“I can’t go anywhere else in my head.”

The nanny also claimed it took local police 90 minutes to arrive - by which time the crime scene, the apartment from which Madeleine had vanished, had been contaminated and potentially vital evidence lost.

She added she was astonished that Madeleine's parents were ever considered suspects.

“I know I didn’t step into that apartment but pretty much everybody else did. So, evidence gone, nothing. There was nobody there to say, ‘We need to lock this off now’," she added.

The former nanny said that when she was questioned by Metropolitan Police investigating the case, she discovered her five-page statement to Portuguese police had not been passed on to them in full, with key information missed out. 

Madeleine was mostly cared for by Catriona Baker, the nanny allocated to her, but other childminders would occasionally watch the toddler. The woman said she was a favourite among the carers, and remembered her "shy, very sweet" temperament.

The abduction occurred in May 2007 when the three-year-old was sleeping in the family's apartment with her siblings, twins Amelie and Sean.

At the time, her parents were eating dinner with friends at a restaurant around 40 yards away, something the former nanny described as completely normal in the resort. 

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/04/17/madeleine-mccanns-former-nanny-breaks-silence-describe-night/
...................
Forsooth Mr Telegraph, forsooth bignono .

Mmmmm ....

Media Mayhem - MCCANN MEDIA NONSENSE OF THE DAY - Page 32 Zzocnanniesd

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Post by Blackpied on 13.08.19 16:47

Probably the Telegraph wrote that twaddle a nanny would have
given her name for extra kudos with the McCanns
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Post by CaKeLoveR on 13.08.19 17:43

Is that a 'photo of the 'nannies'? Is nannying their second job, then?
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Post by sandancer on 13.08.19 17:50

@Verdi wrote:Another repeat example of the truth according to the British press..

Madeleine McCann's former nanny breaks silence to describe night three-year-old went missing


18 April 2017 • 8:08am

A child minder who had looked after Madeleine McCann has broken her silence about the night the three-year-old went missing 10 years ago.

The former nanny said the image of Madeleine's parents, Gerry and Kate, desperately trying to find their missing daughter still haunts her.

Speaking for the first time about the child's abduction, she recalled Mrs McCann crying and saying “they’ve taken her”.

The witness also claimed the Praia da Luz resort in which the McCanns were staying was considered so unsafe for nannies at the time that staff were handed rape alarms and warned against going out alone.


Describing the resort as radically different to other resorts owned by the Mark Warner travel firm, she added that a girl had been attacked in the area a year before Madeleine's disappearance.
 
Mark Warner, a global travel firm, quit Praia da Luz in 2015.

The nanny, who did not wish to be named but looked after Madeleine on a number of occasions, also criticised Portuguese police for their handling of the case, suggesting crucial opportunities to collect evidence were missed.

Describing the night the three-year-old was snatched, she told of how she attempted to comfort Mrs McCann, who was in a "catatonic state", while Mr McCann searched under cars in the area. 

“That’s the one thing I really remember from him, looking under the cars. I can’t forget that," she told the Daily Mirror.

“We were told to start looking in bins in case her body was in there. It was at that point we realised this was serious.”

The child minder said she and other staff at the Ocean Club resorted to searching through bins into the early hours of the morning in the hope of finding Madeleine.

She said: “It’s probably very naive, but the best case scenario of a very horrible situation, is that she was procured and taken for a rich person who didn’t have children.

“I can’t go anywhere else in my head.”

The nanny also claimed it took local police 90 minutes to arrive - by which time the crime scene, the apartment from which Madeleine had vanished, had been contaminated and potentially vital evidence lost.

She added she was astonished that Madeleine's parents were ever considered suspects.

“I know I didn’t step into that apartment but pretty much everybody else did. So, evidence gone, nothing. There was nobody there to say, ‘We need to lock this off now’," she added.

The former nanny said that when she was questioned by Metropolitan Police investigating the case, she discovered her five-page statement to Portuguese police had not been passed on to them in full, with key information missed out. 

Madeleine was mostly cared for by Catriona Baker, the nanny allocated to her, but other childminders would occasionally watch the toddler. The woman said she was a favourite among the carers, and remembered her "shy, very sweet" temperament.

The abduction occurred in May 2007 when the three-year-old was sleeping in the family's apartment with her siblings, twins Amelie and Sean.

At the time, her parents were eating dinner with friends at a restaurant around 40 yards away, something the former nanny described as completely normal in the resort. 

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/04/17/madeleine-mccanns-former-nanny-breaks-silence-describe-night/
...................
Forsooth Mr Telegraph, forsooth bignono .

Mmmmm ....

Media Mayhem - MCCANN MEDIA NONSENSE OF THE DAY - Page 32 Zzocnanniesd


Where were they hiding the " rape alarms " then ?

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Post by Verdi on 17.08.19 2:02

Madeleine's mother turns to the church for comfort and strength

Media Mayhem - MCCANN MEDIA NONSENSE OF THE DAY - Page 32 News-graphics-2007-_635325a
Kate McCann is blessed by Father Haynes Hubbard during a special service in Praia da Luz yesterday

By Richard Edwards and Fiona Govan in Praia da Luz
12:01AM BST 11 May 2007

[For those who still believe the Telegraph published Madeleine McCann's disappearance at midnight on 3rd/4th May 2007 - please note time]

For seven days she has prayed for the ordeal to end. Yesterday Kate McCann, the mother of missing Madeleine, sought solace in church again.

Her Roman Catholic faith has given her strength, but the pain she is suffering in the face of the unknown is now visible in each step she takes.

In the absence of her husband, Gerry, Mrs McCann held on to an old school friend as she entered the local church she has visited regularly since her daughter went missing. Looking pale and drawn, she slipped into the front row. She was holding Madeleine's favourite toy, from which she has been inseparable since the ordeal began.

Many of the 200-strong congregation wept as they sang hymns. Mrs McCann fought to hold in her emotions as the vicar led prayers.Father Haynes Hubbard said: "We give to you little Madeleine, and ask your protection on her, we ask your grace to be upon her."

A tall Easter candle was placed at the front of the church as a symbol of light. Father Hubbard invited the congregation to come forward and touch it as they prayed for Madeleine's safe return.

Mrs McCann was the first to come forward. She stood silently touching it, her head bowed, and offered a short prayer. She left quietly during the final hymn.

The specially arranged prayer and communion was attended by around 200 people - hotel staff, tourists and parishioners of both Protestant and Roman Catholic churches.

The strong ex-pat community in the Algarve has become protective of Mrs McCann, and praised her bravery. Denise Ryans, who has lived in the Algarve for 12 years, said: "I am so pleased that Madeleine's mother felt strong enough to come to the service. I can't imagine what she is feeling.

"The fact that she was able to be here meant a lot. I was sitting behind her and could feel the emotion from her.

"The service was wonderful. It was a great comfort. We hope for the best. All we can do is pray."

In Britain the mother of a boy who was held captive nearly two months before being found safe and well said yesterday that she was praying for Madeleine.

Sally Jones spent 56 days desperately waiting for news of her four-year-old son, Simon, who had been held in a hostel only two miles from her home in Hemel Hempstead, Herts. Simon's kidnapper, Peter May, was jailed for 10 years last June.

Mrs Jones said: "You just go numb after a while. I had two other boys to look after, so that helped occupy my mind.

"My message to Madeleine's parents is 'You have got to hope until there is no hope.' "


https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/1551268/Madeleines-mother-turns-to-the-church-for-comfort-and-strength.html

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