Thursday

McCanns consider returning to Portugal

Maddie’s parents have launched a new campaign in the Algarve and are thinking about travelling to Portugal to speak about their daughter. But Kate is reticent towards the idea

by Duarte Levy

Kate and Gerry McCann are considering a return to Portugal even before the second anniversary of Madeleine’s disappearance, a source close to the couple has told 24Horas.

“I know that some contacts have been made with the lawyers in Portugal, as well as with some of the couple’s friends in the region, but nothing has been confirmed yet”, the same source said, stressing that among the couple “Kate is more reticent towards a possible return.”

Kate and Gerry McCann abandoned Portugal in September 2007, after two days of questioning at the PJ that culminated with the couple being made arguidos, under suspicion of being involved in Maddie’s disappearance. They would both travel back to the United Kingdom, from where only Gerry would later return to Portugal.

The announcement of the couple’s possible return to our country is not seen with pleasure by part of the Algarve’s population, which can’t forgive the couple for their comments about a country that has done everything to search the world’s most famous missing girl: “That’s like the campaign that they’re doing now. It’s useless and only mocks the Algarve”, 24Horas heard from António Martins, a resident in Praia da Luz, who added that “saying that the Portuguese didn’t help them or that we didn’t give all the information, is ridiculous!”.

“They might as well start by replying to the PJ’s questions and doing the reconstitution, then we’ll see what the police thinks”, he said. Maria Afonso, a local resident, has a different opinion: “This campaign won’t bring the little girl back. Two years later, it’s stupid to think that way. This is only going to soil the Algarve’s name, and our streets. Who is going to sweep away the papers that they’re going to distribute?”

Cost of the campaign not revealed

It’s not known exactly how much the new campaign that the McCanns launched in the Algarve is going to cost , given the fact that the heads of the financial fund that was created by the couple nine days after Maddie’s disappearance, refused to publicise any amount, admitting that “we’re going to spend what is possible and necessary to find Maddie.”

This is an attitude that differs from the one that could be read from the Find Madeleine fund’s provisory accounts, which revealed that only 13% of the almost 3 million euros that entered the coffers were used to search for Maddie, as 24Horas reported.

The campaign, which is foreseen to last two weeks, was commissioned from an Anglo-Portuguese firm that is based in Boliqueime, ‘Atelier do Sul’, directed by Fred Phillips and Suzi Steinhofel, and renowned as one of the best and most expensive firms in the area.

Coincidentally, ‘Atelier do Sul’ was one of the few firms that were visited by the same consul that accompanied Kate and Gerry McCann’s questioning in Portimão.

Just like her predecessor, Bill Henderson, Celia Edwards abandoned our country after the McCann case.

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The Portuguese answer to the 'new' McCann Campaign
Gerry and Kate McCann ask for the Algarvians’ cooperation