Sunday

McCann's Christmas Appeal 2008: No 'sporting hero', no Amelie and no Gerry's elbow



The parents of Madeleine McCann have issued a Christmas video of their daughter, including an emotional plea for their family to be reunited.

The footage was filmed in December 2006 - the family's last Christmas together before Madeleine vanished from a Portuguese holiday flat on 3 May 2007.

It shows Madeleine dancing in a fairy outfit and showing off some pink shoes.

In an on-screen message her parents say: "Christmas is a time for children. Please help bring our daughter back."

"This will be our second Christmas without our daughter. Please help us make sure we don't have a third," Kate and Gerry McCann urge.

Madeleine was nearly four when she vanished from the apartment in Praia da Luz, as her parents dined with friends nearby. This is a timely and appropriate reminder that she is still out there

The previously unpublished footage shows her sitting on the stairs of the McCanns' home in Rothley, Leicestershire, flanked by her younger siblings, twins Sean and Amelie.

In the first recording of her speaking to be made public, she encourages her brother and sister to copy her gestures, saying: "Clap your hands together and one, two, three."

Madeleine then holds up her new pair of shoes and says: "These are my shoes."

Behind the camera Mr McCann asks her what colour they are, and she answers: "Pink."

The little girl - who was three at the time - then leaps up from the stairs and dances around the wooden floor, waving her shoes and looking up at the light streaming in from a window.

The short film, which has Snow Patrol's hit song Chasing Cars on its soundtrack, also features a montage of clips of Madeleine.

She is seen turning over a Christmas present and pointing at the camera as a smiling Mrs McCann holds her.

Vital information

McCann family spokesman Clarence Mitchell said: "Kate and Gerry do not wish to say anything further. They feel the video will speak for itself.

"This message is entirely focused on Madeleine, as it should be at this time of year.

"Kate and Gerry are still very much continuing a lot of hard work behind the scenes in the search for their daughter.

"This, they feel, is a timely and appropriate reminder that she is still out there and that somebody somewhere may still have that vital piece of information that may lead to her being found."

Mr and Mrs McCann will spend Christmas with their twins and close family and friends, but their spokesman acknowledged it will be a "difficult time of year".

Mr Mitchell added: "Producing a video like this is itself making it more difficult.

Painstaking

"But they are doing it because they believe Madeleine is still out there and they want that piece of information."

Prosecutors initially placed "arguido" - or formal suspect - status on the McCanns but this was lifted in July when the case was shelved as detectives stopped actively searching for the youngster.

Mr and Mrs McCann, who say they will believe their daughter is alive until given clear evidence to the contrary, have since had thousands of pages from the police files translated into English.

They continue to painstakingly go through them and it is understood they are being assisted by a small team of retired senior British police officers.

Source: BBC