BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Sunday, 4 November 2007, 13:33 GMT
Unseen Madeleine picture released
Madeleine McCann (13 April)
The picture of Madeleine McCann was taken on 13 April
The parents of missing Madeleine McCann have released a previously unseen picture of their daughter to mark six months since she disappeared.

The photograph of Madeleine sitting on a Shetland pony beside her mother was taken 20 days before her disappearance.

On Saturday Kate and Gerry McCann renewed their appeal for information and attended a prayer service.

Madeleine, of Rothley, Leics, vanished from a holiday apartment in Portugal on 3 May, days before her fourth birthday.

Work return

The photograph was shot at the Hatton Country World park in Warwickshire on 13 April.

Following Saturday's vigil at the Church of St Mary and St John in Rothley, family spokesman Clarence Mitchell spoke to BBC News 24 about recent speculation surrounding the case.

He played down reports that friends who dined with the McCanns on the night of Madeleine's disappearance are soon to be designated as suspects by Portuguese police.

The first stage of that will be that Kate and Gerry should be eliminated from the inquiry because they are entirely innocent. They have nothing to hide
Clarence Mitchell
Family spokesman

He said: "If the Portuguese police choose to re-interview some of their friends, it may happen, that is for the Portuguese police and Portuguese authorities to decide.

"So far they have not said that... we've had no indication whatsoever that the friends will be made arguido."

The McCanns, both 39, remain suspects with "arguido" status in the case, but deny any involvement.

Mr McCann plans to return to his job as a consultant cardiologist at Glenfield Hospital, Leicester, full-time in January.

On Thursday, he went back to work for three half-days a week and with no direct contact with patients.

'Entirely innocent'

Mr Mitchell also responded to speculation that the Portuguese authorities may shortly close the case.

He said: "Well, I hope they wrap it up by finding Madeleine of course, that's what we all want.

"If the Portuguese police are in a position to one, find Madeleine, or at least establish what has happened to her within the next seven weeks, well then that's good news.

"The first stage of that will be that Kate and Gerry should be eliminated from the inquiry because they are entirely innocent. They have nothing to hide."

Mrs McCann has also appealed for new information about her daughter's whereabouts to mark six months since her disappearance.

In a statement to mark sixth month since their daughter's disappearance, Mrs McCann said: "There is no doubt that the best place for her to be is with her family.

"We know somebody somewhere can make this happen. That person has the ability and power to bring about so much joy as well as bring peace to themselves."

She urged anyone with information regarding the child's whereabouts to "pass it on".

The background to Madeleine's disappearance

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit


Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific