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McCanns: Police chief advised parents against media campaign

By Rich Bowden, M&C Staff Writer Nov 7, 2007, 15:24 GMT

McCanns: Police chief advised parents against media campaign

An unnamed passer-by (L) shows his solidarity with Kate (R) and Gerry (2-R)McCann, parents of the disappeared Madeleine, accompanied by Clarence Mitchell (2-L) while they are on their way to meet with Governing Mayor of Berlin Klaus Wowereit at the City Palace in Berlin, 06 June 2007. EPA/SOEREN STACHE

(M&C) - A senior Portuguese police officer in the investigation into the disappearance of missing girl Madeleine McCann has said he warned the parents of the girl against their media campaign to find their daughter.

Madeleine disappeared from her family's holiday apartment in the Portuguese Ocean Club resort in Praia da Luz on May 3. Both Gerry and Kate McCann have been named as official suspects in the case though have yet to face charges.

Both have denied any involvement in their daughter's disappearance, saying four-year-old Madeleine was abducted from the apartment while the couple were out dining with friends.

Carlos Anjos, president of the Association of Criminal Investigation Staff, criticised the McCanns for their use of the media in trying to trace Madeleine saying it has "...clearly not helped solve the case".

“Quite honestly I don't know if that is good or bad for an investigation,” he told BBC Radio 4. “We were against this from the start. And importantly, we were against the release of Madeleine McCann's photo all over the world."

“We thought the photos that were released should not show the distinct mark Maddie had in her left [sic] eye. From our experience in criminal investigations this was a kidnap, which was what we believed from the start, the revealing of such a distinct feature would put that person's life in danger.”

Mr Anjos went on to blame the McCanns for the "monster of information" surrounding the case.

“Writing terrible stories in the papers, some of which have clearly affected the McCanns. . . . now we have to say that the McCanns are partly to blame for this. Because it was something they created."

“It was the McCanns who first gave the story to the press. It was them, together with their press advisers — whose instructions I assume they were following — who gave all those press conferences. It is our opinion that the McCanns created a monster of information about the ‘Maddie case' which they then lost control of.”

However family spokesman Clarence Mitchell rejected the claim the media reports had hindered the investigation calling it "utter nonsense".

“We have done our absolute best to make people aware that Madeleine is out there,” he said “possibly still alive, and we still need their help."

“Everything Kate and Gerry did from the minute she went missing, they have not regretted, nor have I, nor have any of the family.”

Criticising some of the reporting he added, “The coverage in certain directions has been most unhelpful.” 

“ And we feel very disappointed by certain aspects of this which keep getting repeated and repeated and repeated until the wider public — who have no real inside information on this for very good reasons, because we can't put it out there — they believe these headlines," he said.



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