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PostPosted: Tue Sep 01, 2009 2:01 pm 
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Saturday December 15,2007
By David Pilditch

A BOOK has revealed that the detective in charge of the Madeleine McCann investigation was so convinced of her mother’s guilt that he discussed plans to remand Kate in custody.

It also details the dramatic police interviews when Kate protested her innocence.

In his book, The Guilt of the McCanns, Manuel Catarino describes what happened at Portimao police headquarters on September 7.

Investigators asked Kate what happened in the apartment between 6.30pm when she arrived home with the children and 8.30pm – the time the couple joined their friends for dinner at a nearby tapas restaurant.

Mr Catarino wrote: “Kate, exhausted, keeps repeating the same. She played with the
children in the living room, she put them to bed – and by 7.30pm they were already asleep.

“The police don’t believe her. They think Madeleine died accidentally in the living room and the parents, in a panic, fearful of the consequences, interested only in defending their reputation, hid her body and staged her abduction.

“Kate challenges them to present her with the proof of such an absurd theory. They have the blood stains in the apartment and the car. She explains the blood stains on the wall and the floor with the fact the little girl had a nose bleed.”

The book adds: “Kate only choked on the explanation for the blood found in the car.

“She had a moment of silence – and shyly suggested a hypothesis: a piece of her daughter’s clothing, stained with blood, may have left those traces which were now so damning.”

The book says investigators quizzed her about the scent of death that sniffer dogs detected.

It adds: “Kate smiled. She reminded the police that she was a doctor – and shortly before setting off on holiday, unfortunately, some patients had died in the health centre on the outskirts of Leicester where she works.”

Last night the McCanns’ spokesman, Clarence Mitchell, dismissed the book as “another shameful attempt to make money out of the situation”.

He said: “I would refer any fair-minded person to the fact that neither Kate nor Gerry have been charged with any offence.

“There is one good reason for that – there is no evidence because they are not involved
in any shape or form in their daughter’s abduction.”

Catarino’s book claims Policia Judiciaria Inspector Goncalo Amaral, who has since been taken off the case, talked with Portimao District Attorney Jose Magalhaes e Meneses the night before Kate was interviewed by police on September 7.

They discussed remanding her in custody but could not agree on the offence she should be accused of, preferring to wait for better evidence. Kate and Gerry, both 39, of Rothley, Leics, have both been named as official suspects.

PostPosted: Tue Sep 01, 2009 2:01 pm 
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Maddie went missing in May

Sunday December 16,2007
By James Murray

The FBI has been asked to examine CCTV footage of three men acting suspiciously near the Algarve apartment that Madeleine McCann disappeared from.

The night before she vanished, two men were seen acting nervously near the complex and on the evening she went, the same men were seen with a third man.

One of the men captured on camera on both nights bears a strong resemblance to a man with long, dark hair seen carrying a child, as reported by the McCanns’ friend Jane Tanner.

Today we can also reveal that sniffer dogs taken to a disused barn 30 miles from Praia da Luz have shown strong interest in two sites.

"Their behaviour does not look normal. It clearly looks furtive and suspicious"
Investigation sources

One is what appears to be a 14ft mineshaft opening to an underground cavity, and the other is where earth has been disturbed, possibly covering a shallow grave.

Detectives have asked for specialist imaging equipment to be brought in and are planning to excavate the shaft.

Portuguese police are desperate to identify the three men seen on the CCTV footage and have had long discussions with British detectives on how to enhance the grainy footage to get clear images of the three faces.

They have been told to send all the footage to an FBI lab in America, which has the best equipment in the world for zooming in on CCTV images.

The footage was gathered in the early days of the investigation. It was set aside because detectives could not see the faces clearly.

But now that the investigation has been reinvigorated by the new chief investigator, Paulo Rebelo, old material is being reviewed.

A source close to the investigation revealed: “There is a great deal of interest from the new team in the CCTV footage taken from a business premise between 50 and 100 yards from the apartment where Madeleine was staying.

“On May 2 in the evening two men are clearly seen hanging around in the area. One is smoking and both are seen with their heads down, glancing from side to side.

“One of them looks similar to the artist’s impression of a man seen taking a child away.

“They are in the area for a time and then one disappears and comes back into view. The non-smoker who stays is the one who looks like the drawing of the man seen carrying a child from the apartment.

“Their behaviour does not look normal. It clearly looks furtive and suspicious but because of the quality of the film it is difficult to make out their facial features.”

Kate and Gerry issued a statement yesterday, thanking their supporters as they prepared for “an incredibly difficult Christmas”, their first without Madeleine.

The couple are staying in Britain but it is not known how much of the holiday will be spent at their Rothley, Leicestershire, home.

PostPosted: Tue Sep 01, 2009 2:01 pm 
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Sunday December 16,2007

The parents of Madeleine McCann thanked their supporters as they prepared for "an incredibly difficult" Christmas.

Gerry and Kate McCann revealed that they had been inundated with media inquiries about their plans for what is set to be a heart-rending time without their missing four-year-old daughter.

In a brief statement issued through their spokesman, Clarence Mitchell, they said: "We have had many inquiries as to our plans for the festive period. Christmas 2007 will be an incredibly difficult time for us if Madeleine is not found before then.

"We plan to have a very quiet, private Christmas with family in the UK. We would like to thank everyone who has supported us over the last seven months and ask you to stay with us as the search for our daughter continues.

"If you have any information that might be relevant please contact your local police or our private investigators on +34 912 300 213 if they have any information which might be relevant."

The Leicestershire couple would not comment on where they planned to be at Christmas but it is understood they will spend some of the festive period in their home village of Rothley.

Mr and Mrs McCann, both Catholics, plan to attend midnight mass on Christmas Eve at which prayers for Madeleine will be said.

The couple would not comment on whether anything else will be done, including the buying of presents, for their oldest child in her absence.

But it is understood Christmas trimmings, including a tree, will adorn the McCann home so their other children, twins Sean and Amelie, can have as normal a Christmas as possible.

Mr Mitchell added: "I would ask that the media now respect Kate and Gerry's request for a private Christmas."

PostPosted: Tue Sep 01, 2009 2:01 pm 
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Monday December 17,2007
By David Pilditch in Praia da Luz
Detectives trying to solve the mystery of Madeleine McCann have questioned a crucial witness for the third time.

Portuguese police believe he could prove that her parents are lying over her disappearance.

Yesterday it emerged that the witness – a waiter at the tapas restaurant where Kate and Gerry McCann dined with their friends every night – has provided investigators with key evidence.

The Portuguese man is said to have been the first person to see Kate McCann as she raised the alarm after discovering her daughter had gone missing from the family’s holiday apartment in Praia da Luz. He has allegedly given a dramatically different account of the events on May 3 from statements made by the McCanns and their friends.

It is because the waiter’s testimony is considered so critical that he has been interviewed three times.

The latest interview took place just days ago as detectives were drawing up a list of questions to be put to the so-called Tapas Nine. The group are set to be interviewed in Britain by police in the presence of the Portuguese officers heading the case.

As part of the process, the McCanns and their friends could later be summoned back to Portugal for a face-to-face showdown with the witness.

In Portugal, detectives can set up a confrontation between key witnesses and suspects to find out who is telling the truth.

Yesterday one report in Portugal said: “The employee’s testimony will be one of the ‘trump cards’ in clearing up the McCanns’ contradictions and those of their friends.”

The witness claimed that instead of running back to the tapas restaurant, which is part of the Ocean Club complex where they were staying, Kate raised the alarm from the balcony of her apartment.

He told investigators that Kate screamed: “They’ve taken her. They’ve taken her”.

A series of other witnesses have since come forward to back his evidence, including British nanny Charlotte Pennington, 20.

Kate’s first words became a central issue as they appeared to indicate she had already rejected the possibility that Madeleine had simply wandered off. Police questioned why the 39-year-old GP was so certain that her daughter had been abducted, and regard it as possible evidence that she was already engaged in a cover-up.

In contrast, friends insisted that rather than shouting from the balcony, Kate ran straight back to the restaurant crying: “Madeleine’s gone. Madeleine’s gone.”

The waiter also disputes the Tapas Nine’s claims that they were taking it in turns to check on their children every half an hour.

He is said to have told police that members of the party left the table much less frequently.

Yesterday a report in respected Portuguese newspaper Diario de Noticias said: “This waiter is a witness considered crucial to the investigation.

“The investigators want to find out about what happened during dinner – the conversations and the McCanns’ behaviour as well as their alleged trips to the apartment.

“The employee still insists it is not true that the child’s parents checked their children every half hour.”

Alleged inconsistencies in the Tapas Nine’s evidence have been raised by a series of independent witnesses.

Another waiter at the tapas restaurant, Jose Baptista, told The Daily Express that only male members of the party
had left the table during the evening.

His evidence led Portuguese detectives to question why it was Kate who discovered her daughter had vanished.

But last night the McCanns’ spokesman, Clarence Mitchell, dismissed reports of the waiter’s testimony as “all lies”.

He conceded that Kate may have said “They’ve taken her” at some point but they were not her first words.

He said: “Kate has consistently and categorically absolutely denied she said that on the verandah. She may have said it at some stage as a general remark, but she did not run out with this phrase.

“Whoever this guy is, and if he is saying this, he is either making it up or he is mistaken.

“Kate, Gerry and their friends told the truth. They will continue to maintain their stories, because it is the truth. Whatever this guy is saying we reject it – it is not true.”

PostPosted: Tue Sep 01, 2009 2:02 pm 
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Tuesday December 18,2007
By David Pilditch in Praia da Luz

THE key witness in the missing Madeleine McCann case was in hiding last night after fleeing Portugal.

Police have sworn the waiter to secrecy over his vital testimony and know where he is.

But friends say he is terrified his identity is about to be revealed and that he will come under pressure from rival factions in the case.

He is scared of British and Portuguese government influence in the probe. Friends claim he is also wary of the team of private eyes hired by Kate and Gerry McCann to help find their daughter.

The mother of expat British estate agent Robert Murat – the only other suspect in the case – has accused investigators of bribing witnesses into changing their stories.

The tapas bar waiter – described by police as their “trump card” – has given what detectives believe is the most reliable account of what happened the night the four-year-old vanished. They have questioned him three times, most recently last week.

Officers say his story can prove Madeleine’s parents are lying over her disappearance. Many of the 100 questions officers want to ask the McCanns and their holiday friends – the so-called Tapas Nine – are thought to be based on his information. But, according to former colleagues at the Ocean Club resort in Praia da Luz, the knowledge he is playing such a vital role in the case that has gripped the world has horrified him.

One said: “He does not want to be involved in any of this. He was just a restaurant worker. His only problem was remembering food orders. He’s terrified.”

The waiter was the only resort worker to see Kate, 39, raise the alarm after apparently discovering her daughter missing just after 10pm on May 3. She insisted she ran into the tapas bar where her husband Gerry, 39, and their friends were eating and screamed: “Madeleine’s gone. Madeleine’s gone.”

But the waiter is understood to have told police Kate raised the alarm from the apartment balcony 75 yards away, screaming: “They’ve taken her. They’ve taken her.’’

Detectives want to know why she assumed so quickly her daughter had been abducted – and not simply wandered off to look for her parents.

Police value the waiter’s account because they cannot understand why – if Kate thought Madeleine had been snatched while unattended – she would then leave her twins Sean and Amelie in the apartment to run back to the tapas bar.

PostPosted: Tue Sep 01, 2009 2:03 pm 
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Wednesday December 19,2007
By David Pilditch in Praia da Luz

NEW tests are to be carried out on forensic evidence discovered by investigators in the hunt for Madeleine McCann.

Portuguese detectives believe that the DNA samples could provide a major breakthrough in the case.

The evidence, thought to have come from the holiday apartment where Madeleine was last seen, will be sent to Britain for analysis by experts of the Forensic Science Service laboratory in Birmingham.

The development indicates that Portuguese police are continuing to build a case against parents Kate and Gerry. They believe that Madeleine died in an accident in the family’s Ocean Club apartment in Praia da Luz on May 3.

Officers are working on the theory that GP Kate and heart consultant Gerry hid her body to mask their negligence after leaving their children alone as they dined with seven holiday friends – forming the so-called Tapas Nine.

The police are convinced that the couple later disposed of Madeleine’s body in a Renault Scenic hire car they rented 25 days later.

The parents were named as official suspects – arguidos – after British sniffer dogs uncovered microscopic spots of blood in the living room of the apartment. Further crucial samples, which included body fluids and hair, were uncovered in the hired Renault Scenic.

But months of painstaking analysis by the British scientists failed to establish a link with Madeleine’s DNA and proved inconclusive.

Investigators from Portugal’s Policia Judiciaria now hope that the new samples will unlock the investigation which is into its eighth month. It is believed the latest tests are designed to bolster the original forensic results in a bid to bring them into “sharper focus”.

Investigators want to remove any possible alternative explanations for the findings.

The British experts will also conduct separate tests to establish the origin of DNA already found in the McCanns’ apartment. Samples taken from dozens of people who were in the apartment before or after Madeleine disappeared are being sent to the laboratory.

Scientists have examined DNA samples and fingerprints taken from 100 British holidaymakers and staff at the Ocean Club resort.

The decision to submit the new forensic material was taken after a meeting in Leicestershire last month between Portuguese detectives and British scientists.

A Portuguese police source said last night: “We have asked the laboratory to carry out more tests so that every possibility of obtaining results can be exhausted.”

It comes as Kate and Gerry, both 39, face interrogation for a second time by police in Britain. UK officers will question the couple and their friends over alleged inconsistencies in statements.

Kate and Gerry have always denied being involved in their daughter’s mystery disappearance. They believe that she was snatched by an abductor.

PostPosted: Tue Sep 01, 2009 2:03 pm 
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HUNT: Kate McCann is still an official suspect

Thursday December 20,2007
By David Pilditch in Praia da Luz

PORTUGUESE detectives are trawling the phone records of hundreds of residents in Praia da Luz in a major new operation to find Madeleine McCann.

Investigators want to question everyone who made a telephone call after 9.30pm on May 3 – the night she vanished.
The probe has been ordered by Paulo Rebelo, the new police chief in charge of the investigation.

He hopes it will provide a breakthrough in the search for Madeleine, now in its eighth month.

Sources said last night that Mr Rebelo was carrying out the massive trawl to uncover evidence of a potential conspiracy.

Senior officers are still working on the theory Madeleine, four, died in an accident in her family’s Ocean Club apartment in the Algarve resort. Her parents Kate and Gerry were named as official suspects in September.

Now detectives want to establish if anyone was involved in an operation to hide her body. The new initiative could also reveal evidence of an abductor working with an accomplice or as part of a network.

In the painstaking operation teams of officers have been handed detailed lists of all calls made on mobile phones and landlines in the area that night.

They are focusing on “suspicious activity” and are quizzing residents on who they called and why.

In a bid to eliminate them from their inquiries, detectives are checking their stories against records they have obtained from Portuguese phone companies.

The region around Praia da Luz has a population of 27,000 but it is believed police have already narrowed down the calls made after 9.30pm that night to less than 1,000.

Last night one local woman told how she was questioned by two plainclothes Policia Judiciaria detectives on Tuesday afternoon.

She lives just a two-minute walk from the Ocean Club complex and yards from the resort’s church where police have carried out two searches in the hunt for Madeleine.

The woman, who asked not to be identified, said the officers quizzed her about a single call she made on her mobile phone at 9.50pm on May 3.

She told the Daily Express: “Two officers, whom I recognised because I had seen them in town earlier in the investigation, knocked on my door at 1pm.

“They were carrying a file of papers full of names and telephone numbers. The numbers related to both mobile phones and landlines.

“One of the officers asked me to confirm my mobile phone number which I did.

“They wanted to know about a call I had made on the phone at 9.50pm on the night Madeleine disappeared.

“They asked me who I had telephoned that evening but it was some time ago and I could not remember. One of the men read out a number which I did not recognise at first but I later realised was my husband’s.

“As they were leaving my son asked them why they had come here now and they said they were investigating all calls made within Praia da Luz from 9.30pm onwards on May 3.

“It was clear I could not help with their investigation but they are going round to everyone in a process of elimination. I have spoken to other people, and four of my immediate neighbours said they have also been visited.”

Mr and Mrs McCann categorically deny being involved in their daughter’s disappearance. They insist that she is still alive and are convinced Madeleine was taken by an abductor.

Last night the couple were said to be “encouraged” by the development. Their spokesman Clarence Mitchell said:
“This would appear to be a totally new line of inquiry.

“It is possible one of those phone calls made in Praia da Luz that night may hold the key to this.

“At 9.30pm we believe Madeleine would have been with her abductor in the Praia da Luz area. It is obviously possible whoever took her called someone – a possible accomplice. A record of that call will exist somewhere.

“Kate and Gerry are encouraged by this police work because it shows the investigation is now active and thorough.

“The police appear to be doing a very thorough job of tracking down people who were in the area at the time. Clearly Paulo Rebelo seems determined to leave no stone unturned.

“That is good news for them because – as they are entirely innocent – they are confident a thorough investigation can only lead to them being eliminated as suspects. Crucially they also hope it may lead to them being reunited with Madeleine.’’

Mr Mitchell added: “It is possible the police have received information that has led to them targeting calls made after 9.30pm. If they have we are not aware of it, but it is an interesting development.’’

Mr Mitchell said the McCanns’ mobile phones were seized by police the night Madeleine went missing. Officers have had seven months to investigate all their calls thoroughly.

They have also studied records of British expat Robert Murat – the only other official suspect in the case. Detectives investigated phone calls made between Murat, 34, and Russian computer expert Sergey Malinka on the night of May 3.

PostPosted: Tue Sep 01, 2009 2:04 pm 
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Saturday December 22,2007

KATE and Gerry McCann may have to apply to the European Court of Human Rights to clear their names, legal sources said last night.

The couple believe they are likely to remain official suspects for many years, making it difficult for them to begin rebuilding their lives.

Despite a lack of progress in the police investigation and little solid evidence, it is believed that the Portuguese authorities will not lift the McCanns’ “arguido” status in the coming months.

It raises the prospect of a protracted legal battle through the Portuguese courts, which could eventually end in the human rights court.

Lawyers representing Kate and Gerry, who were declared suspects in September – four months after Madeleine disappeared – will attempt to clear their names officially in the New Year.

But should that fail, they are prepared for a lengthy and bitter legal battle.

The couple had hoped they would be officially cleared next month – eight months after Madeleine vanished and the normal legal limit for a police investigation in Portugal.

But because of the high profile of the case the authorities have granted it exceptional status, meaning the deadline will not apply.

“They could be arguidos for ever,” a source close to the McCanns said yesterday. “It could take years to have the status lifted.”

The only other official suspect, British expat Robert Murat, also remains an arguido in the case.

PostPosted: Tue Sep 01, 2009 2:04 pm 
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Monday December 24,2007
By Martin Evans in Praia da Luz

A MISSING sports bag could hold the key to the disappearance of Madeleine McCann.

Police are keen to trace the blue tennis hold-all which allegedly belonged to her father Gerry.

According to a new investigation, the bag went missing from the family’s holiday apartment around the time that Madeleine vanished, and it has not been seen since.

Police sources confirmed that the whereabouts of the gym bag, in which Gerry is said to have carried his tennis kit to the courts at their holiday complex, is now one of their main lines of inquiry.

They claim that the bag was large enough to conceal a child’s body, and detectives are keen to locate it in order to conduct forensic examinations.

One theory being considered is that an abductor sedated Madeleine and then used the bag to carry her from the apartment unseen. Gerry played tennis on the afternoon of May 3 before Madeleine vanished. He left his wife Kate with their three children in their apartment in Praia da Luz while he took part in a mini-tournament with a group of friends.

Last night the McCanns’ official spokesman denied that any of the couple’s luggage had gone missing.

Clarence Mitchell said Gerry had not had a blue tennis bag with him on holiday and insisted the reports were inaccurate.

He said: “As far as Kate and Gerry are concerned, there’s no missing tennis bag. They came back from holiday with everything except of course, tragically, Madeleine.”

A close friend of the McCanns also insisted Gerry did not have a blue tennis bag with him.

The friend said: “I can categorically state that Gerry did not have a blue tennis bag.

“They hardly played any tennis and he certainly did not bring any equipment with him to do with tennis.”

But a source close to the Portuguese police investigation said: “There are still a number of leads being investigated which are potentially significant.

“The police are examining all the local phone records for the hours around the time of Madeleine’s disappearance and are also looking into the possibility that a bag was missing from the McCanns’ apartment.

“Obviously, any item which may have disappeared will be of major interest to the detectives and they will want to trace that item.

“The secrecy of justice laws means that officers are not at liberty to disclose details of their investigation but they remain very focused.” As Kate and Gerry, both 39, prepare to endure a painful Christmas without their four-year-old daughter, detectives insist they are still systematically investigating a number of leads.

The mystery tennis bag is one of a number of new lines which is discussed in a Sky News re-investigation of the case to be screened tonight at 7.30.

Police in Portugal, working alongside their UK counterparts, are also understood to have identified a British sex offender whom they want to question.

The unnamed man was one of 52 paedophiles with connections to Portugal identified by the London-based Child Exploitation and On-line Protection Centre, whose specialist staff arrived there within days of Madeleine’s disappearance.

Officers eliminated the vast majority from the inquiry, but one British individual does remain a potential suspect.

The source said: “They were given the names of 52 sex offenders and they’ve worked very hard to find them and rule them out.

“There is still one man they are concerned about.”

PostPosted: Tue Sep 01, 2009 2:05 pm 
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Monday December 24,2007
By Martin Evans in Praia da Luz
THE case against Kate and Gerry McCann has been dealt a severe blow by doubts over controversial DNA techniques.

Forensic evidence is thought to be crucial in the Portuguese police case against the couple.

But DNA was gathered and analysed using the techniques that led to the collapse of the Omagh bomb trial last week.

The subsequent decision by the Association of Chief Police Officers to suspend the use of it as evidence in criminal investigations has provided the McCanns’ legal team with a major boost.

With huge concerns over the accuracy of such evidence, friends of the couple now want the case against them to be dropped.

The technique at the centre of the controversy – known as Low Copy Number DNA analysis – was developed by the UK’s Forensic Science Service.

It allows investigators to analyse tiny samples of evidence, sometimes many times smaller than a grain of sand.

Scientists are able to produce the all-important genetic fingerprint from tiny samples by growing the DNA until it is large enough to test fully.

It is a highly specialised technique which has been crucial in a number of high-profile cases, including that of Australian Bradley John Murdoch who was convicted of murdering British backpacker Peter Falconio.

It is understood that it was evidence produced using the technique which convinced the Portuguese police of the McCanns’ guilt over Madeleine’s disappearance. In the early months of the case, detectives in the Algarve insisted that Kate and Gerry were being treated as victims and witnesses rather than suspects.

But following a second round of detailed forensic examinations at the apartment where daughter Madeleine went missing, the focus of the entire case changed.

Detectives using highly trained sniffer dogs claimed to have uncovered tiny specks of blood on the walls as well as other minute samples of evidence.

Strands of hair allegedly belonging to Madeleine and traces of a body fluid were also found in the boot of the car the McCanns hired 25 days after Madeleine vanished.

Analysis of these samples using the Low Copy Number technique was carried out at the Forensic Science Service laboratory in Birmingham, and partial matches with Madeleine’s DNA were isolated.

The Portuguese believe that the evidence points to the McCanns’ involvement and in September declared the couple official suspects in the case.

But following last week’s doubts over the validity of the evidence, the McCanns’ supporters are demanding that their arguido, or suspect, status is lifted.

A source close to the family said: “We would demand that any doubts are investigated and cleared up before the technique is allowed to be used.

“It is ridiculous to form a case against someone using evidence that is fundamentally flawed. The case against Kate and Gerry should be dropped at once.”

While Portugal’s strict justice laws mean details of the investigation cannot be released, it is understood the police believe that Kate accidentally killed Madeleine and then disposed of her body with the help of Gerry.

The couple, from Rothley, Leicestershire, deny any involvement in their daughter’s disappearance and insist there is an innocent explanation for any forensic evidence discovered.

The McCanns’ official spokesman Clarence Mitchell said last night: “Officially we have never been told that Low Copy Number analysis has been used.

“Everyone talks about it but we have never officially been informed by the police that this particular sort of DNA testing has been used.”

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