courtesy of the sun newspaper’s website 2.5.12
McCanns: We’re more positive than we’ve been in a long time
THE parents of Madeleine McCann made a heartfelt plea today for people to circulate a new picture of what their daughter would look like
On the eve of the five-year anniversary of Maddie’s disappearance, Kate and Gerry McCann also thanked the public for their support in making sure David Cameron ordered a review of the case last year after a campaign by The Sun.
Their appearance came on the day a taxi driver told how he reported picking up Maddie with three men and a woman the night after she vanished – but was never quizzed by Portuguese police.
Kate and Gerry’s spokesman said it was “deeply shocking” that detectives never interviewed Antonio Castela about the sighting.
Antonio, 72, said: “I never heard anything from them again. They did not seem to take me seriously.
“I am absolutely certain it was her.”
Speaking about the anniversary of Maddie’s disappearance, Kate, 44, said this morning: “I think we’re probably as positive as we have been in a long time.
“We are realistic. We don’t know what has happened but we know there is a very good chance that she could be alive – there is no evidence to the contrary.
“We know year after year, missing children, children that have been abducted, are found alive.”
But Kate revealed she doesn’t dare imagine what it would be like to be reunited with her daughter.
Video: McCann parents interviewed
KATE and Gerry McCann believe Madeleine’s case will be reopened
Asked if she ever imagined a reunion, she replied: “I don’t that often because it’s almost like it’s so good, it’s so beautiful I guess, that I don’t want to take myself there and for it not to be real.
“Obviously I’ve had a few dreams along the way, not recently, and they’ve been so tangible it’s incredibly painful because that’s what we want every single day. ”
Madeleine was taken from the family’s holiday apartment in Praia da Luz, Portugal, on May 3 2007 while Kate and Gerry dined nearby with friends.
Kate revealed her seven-year-old son Sean has even offered to help find his missing sister when he’s old enough.
Kate said: “He said ‘you know mummy, if you haven’t found Madeleine when we get older, you know me and Amelie will look for Madeleine’ and I have absolutely no doubt about that at all.
“But I don’t want them to be in the position where they’re carrying round this kind of sadness and frustration. We want to find her now.”
An age progression image of what Madeleine would look like aged nine was issued by Scotland Yard last week. She was snatched nine days before her fourth birthday.
British cops have got 200 potential leads but Portuguese authorities have so far refused to re-open the case.
Kate said she could see the whole family in the picture.
She said: “I really thought ‘wow’. I feel it’s quite good and I can see us all in it.
“We’re definitely there with something that at least has a strong family resemblance.
“We would be really keen – the general public helped us with the last age-progression – so we would be really keen for them, really grateful, if they could circulate that image as far and wide as they can.”
The couple, of Rothley, Leics, said they were a normal family though the hard work of finding Madeleine continued.
Gerry said: “In some ways it’s been the longest five years and the quickest five years of our life. I don’t think five years ago we could have imagined it would pass so quickly.”
Kate added: “I think we’ve kind of reached that point, certainly the last few years, where we can do a lot of normal things.
“We still have the Madeleine work going on day in day out, that’s inevitable until we find her.”
She added: “You can’t not have a normal life. We have our family days out. They (Sean and Amelie) do all the normal things that kids do.”
But Kate said they had to fight the inevitable temptation to be overprotective.
She said: “You have to kind of fight against it a little bit to be honest, to let them develop and enjoy life like other children but it’s inevitable I think.”
Gerry said: “It’s a battle all parents go through every day. I’m certainly more protective than what I was. But you can’t mollycoddle them at the same time.
“They have got to develop and become independent. I do feel strongly about that. We have got to remember that what happened to us is incredibly rare.”
Gerry said twins Sean and Amelie know what they are doing but added: “To a casual observer we would look like an ordinary family.”
The couple told how delighted they were with the police review and Kate said it was all thanks to the public’s support.
“We’re really grateful to the general public because I don’t think we would have got the review without their support.
“People have petitioned and petitioned and petitioned and you know, wrote letters, and here we are. And we just hope, obviously, that the case will get reopened in due course because we certainly believe that is our best shot at finding Madeleine.”
Gerry added: “It’s such a difference for us at the minute to have the Metropolitan Police driving that.
“In previous years we have felt like we have been on our own to a large extent and now we have got (a) tremendous resource, doing a great job.
“We fell so much better supported. We’re happy to be led by the police and let the Met Police do the negotiations with the Portuguese authorities. It does feel now, finally, the British authorities are actually trying to find Madeleine who is completely innocent of course.”
Gerry said he was in “no doubt” the case would be reopened.
He said: “We weren’t expecting a knee-jerk reaction by any means. This is an ongoing dialogue, and I am sure the investigation will get opened again in due course.
“I have no doubt about that. It will get reopened.
“The only way everyone will be able to move on is for the case to be solved, and that is for Madeleine to be found and the perpetrators brought to justice.
“Then everyone can move on. Until then it’s not going to go away. It can’t go away.”
Kate said they still get regular words of support from the public and she appealed to them to help circulate the latest image.
Gerry said: “This week in particular we have had hundreds of letters and cards again.”
The Met’s team of 37 officers have sifted through 40,000 pieces of information and identified 195 “investigative opportunities”.
The detective in charge thinks her disappearance was a stranger abduction and says there is evidence she could still be alive.