Page last updated at 00:14 GMT, Friday, 11 April 2008 01:14 UK

McCanns angry over Madeleine leak

Kate and Gerry McCann in Brussels
Kate and Gerry McCann have been promoting a child alert system

The parents of missing Madeleine McCann have responded angrily to publication of leaked transcripts of interviews with Portuguese police last year.

The transcripts suggest that on the morning she disappeared she asked why her mother did not come when the children were crying the night before.

Their spokesman Clarence Mitchell said the leak was a "deliberate smear".

Kate and Gerry McCann have been in Brussels promoting a new EU-wide monitoring system for missing children.

'Undermine work'

Mr Mitchell said: "For a document covered by Portugal's judicial secrecy laws, to be leaked to the Spanish media on the very day they went to the European Parliament, is stretching all sense of belief to believe it's anything other than a deliberate smear."

He added: "This was the sort of relevant detail that Kate and Gerry put to the police immediately, and that's been in the files for 11 months and it emerges on the day they go to Europe.

"This was a blatant attempt to undermine their work in Europe."

The couple called for the Portuguese Justice Ministry to launch an internal inquiry into the leak which breaches the country's strict judicial laws.

They [Kate and Gerry McCann] had seen no evidence and heard no evidence that she was crying
Clarence Mitchell
McCanns' spokesman

Mr Mitchell described Madeleine's words as a "short aside".

He said: "Madeleine came out and said, 'Why didn't you come to me and Sean [Madeleine's younger brother] when we were crying last night?'

"Now, Kate and Gerry were puzzled by that because they'd been checking her every half an hour and they had seen no evidence and heard no evidence that she was crying.

"Nor was she disturbed when she was checked each time.

"Equally, one of the friends, Rachael Oldfield, was in the apartment next door in a bedroom adjacent to the wall where Madeleine was in her bedroom and she heard no crying at all all night."

The McCanns have been at the European Parliament as part of a campaign to create a dedicated alert system for abducted children.

The couple said it worked well in the US where hundreds of children had been recovered, and in France where it had been used five times and all five children had been found.

Madeleine, of Rothley, Leicestershire, went missing aged three on holiday in the Algarve resort of Praia da Luz, Portugal, on 3 May last year.


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