Abductor was tipped off: Madeleine's mom

2011-05-10 13:04
London - Four years after British toddler Madeleine McCann vanished from a holiday apartment in Portugal, her mother describes in a book how she believes the abductor was tipped off about the family's movements.

Kate McCann reveals she thinks the case was sparked by a comment in a restaurant reservation book at the Algarve resort of Praia da Luz, saying where the parents would be eating while the children slept in the apartment nearby.

In Madeleine, the 43-year-old says that despite her composed appearance in the days following the disappearance, she was wracked by grief and contemplated committing suicide by drowning in the sea.

Madeleine went missing from the apartment on May 3, 2007, a few days before her fourth birthday, as her parents and a group of friends they were spending the holiday with dined at the restaurant in the holiday complex.

The case triggered massive interest in Europe but despite a huge investigation, she has never been found.

Portuguese police wound up their investigation after 14 months, but her parents say they will not stop their search until they have found their daughter.

Hope for new information

Proceeds from the book, to be published in Britain on Madeleine's eighth birthday on Thursday, are designed to replenish the dwindling campaign fund to find her - a fund that reportedly once stood at $3.3m.

Kate and her husband Gerry also hope the new details of the case will jog the memory of anyone who may have information about their daughter's disappearance.

"We hope and pray that it will bring us the result we long for and that not only the book but this whole ordeal and heartache will be behind us before too much longer," Kate McCann said.

In the book, she describes her shock at discovering a year after Madeleine vanished that an abductor could have found out the family's movements from the restaurant reservation book.

"When I was combing through the Portuguese police files... I discovered that the receptionist's note requesting our block booking was written in a staff message book, which sat on a desk at the pool reception for most of the day.

"To my horror, I saw that, no doubt in all innocence, the receptionist had added that we wanted to eat close to our apartments as we were leaving our young children alone there and checking on them intermittently.


"This book was by definition accessible to all staff and, albeit unintentionally, probably to guests and visitors, too."

The McCanns, who are both doctors, have been criticised for their decision to leave their children - Madeleine and her then baby brother and sister - in the apartment while they dined and take it in turns with their friends to check on them.

"This decision has naturally been questioned time and again, not least by us," Kate writes.

"It goes without saying that we now bitterly regret it, and will do so until the end of our days.

"But it is easy to be wise after the event," she writes, adding that if she had had any doubts about the children's safety, she would have hired a babysitter.

She said that in the days following her daughter's disappearance, "I had an overwhelming urge to swim out across the ocean, as hard and as fast as I could... until I was so far out and so exhausted I could just allow the water to pull me under and relieve me of this torment."

Five months after Madeleine's disappearance, Kate and Gerry McCann were made formal suspects in the case by Portuguese police but were later cleared.

They later won a $620 000 libel payout from a British newspaper group which had doubted their innocence.

Read more on:    madeleine mccann  |  portugal  |  abductions

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24


Miley Cyrus can’t get enough of her new puppy

Miley's new dog is too adorable.



13 guilty pets
Meet SA's top poacher-catcher
The unusual pets of Instagram
Bertie sets a new world record!

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts

The Leo moon adds an element of drama and entertainment. A significant person that you may consult or confide in may play an...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.