Madeleine McCann: Why Maddy’s parents weren’t made suspects in investigation

The reason why Kate and Gerry McCann were not made suspects in Maddy’s disappearance has been revealed

Kate and Gerry mcCann

by Kayleigh Dray |
Updated on

Madeleine McCann was three-years-old when she disappeared from her bed in a holiday apartment in Portugal in May 2007.

Maddy’s parents, Kate and Gerry, had left the little girl and her two-year-old twin siblings sleeping in their holiday home as they dined with friends at a restaurant 50 metres away.

They checked on the children throughout the evening, at roughly half-hour intervals, until Madeleine's mother discovered she was missing at 22:00.

Since then, they have campaigned tirelessly for information as to their daughter’s whereabouts.

And now it has been revealed that Kate and Gerry were not made suspects for abandoning their daughter because police believed it was “natural” for British parents to leave their children alone.

The disappearance of Madeline McCann Netflix documentary: ten most shocking moments


Madeleine McCann netflix documentary: 10 shocking moments Stacked

1. Never-before seen footage of Madeleine boarding the plane1 of 10
CREDIT: Getty images

1. Never-before seen footage of Madeleine boarding the plane

The documentary showed never-before seen footage of Madeleine boarding the plane to Portugal with her family and their friend's children.

2. Kate'su2018 soul-destroying’ howl2 of 10
CREDIT: Getty images

2. Kate's‘ soul-destroying’ howl

A fellow tourist at Gerry's holiday tennis club said she overheard Kate letting out a 'soul-destroying' howl the night of Madeline's disappearance.

3. Police at the scene made shocking claims3 of 10
CREDIT: Getty images

3. Police at the scene made shocking claims

Police at the scene made shocking claims that Madeleine had probably wandered under a bush and simply fallen asleep.

4. The contaminated scene4 of 10
CREDIT: Getty images

4. The contaminated scene

Inspectors found a messy, contaminated scene at the McCann's apartment and were horrified by the lack of preservation of the scene – they compared it to the scene of a robbery.

5. Potential suspect5 of 10
CREDIT: Getty images

5. Potential suspect

A friend on holiday with Gerry & Kate claimed she saw a man walking briskly and carrying a child similar to Maddie at 9.15pm – less than an hour before Maddie was discovered missing.

6. Madeleine's message the night before her disappearance6 of 10
CREDIT: Getty images

6. Madeleine's message the night before her disappearance

It was reported that Madeleine asked her mum, 'Why didn't you come last night when [the twins] were crying?'. Theories claimed that it could have been the kidnapper making their first attempt but got spooked.

7. 'Praia De Luz is a honeypot of strange people'7 of 10
CREDIT: Getty images

7. 'Praia De Luz is a honeypot of strange people'

Although lots of locals and tourists said they felt safe and secure in the Algarve, one resident said, 'Praia De Luz is a honeypot of strange people. People come here to change themselves'. The Police Inspector also claimed there were a lot of violent drug-related crimes in the area.

8. Former suspect Robert Murat appeared in the documentary.8 of 10
CREDIT: Getty images

8. Former suspect Robert Murat appeared in the documentary.

Former suspect Robert Murat appeared in the documentary, he gave lots of in-depth interviews surrounding his time as a former suspect in the investigation.

9. Portuguese police monitoring the Spanish border9 of 10
CREDIT: Getty images

9. Portuguese police monitoring the Spanish border

The documentary claimed that Portuguese police monitoring the Spanish border were spotted sitting in their car for 40 minutes to avoid the rain, rather than checking cars.

10. Suspect drawing10 of 10
CREDIT: Getty images

10. Suspect drawing

The police initially released a suspect drawing, which was simply an oval shape with no facial features, just hair. Kate admitted to a friend that she had no faith in the Portuguese police.

Former minister of internal affairs Rui Pereira has since slammed this decision, telling Portuguese channel TV CMTV: "The error was not constituting the parents as arguidos for the crime of abandonment.

"At the beginning there was an extraordinary and ridiculous theory that said the English have very peculiar cultural customs.

"And therefore it was natural for them to leave the two-year-old twin siblings and the other three-year-old child alone in a bedroom for the parents to go out a few hundred metres away to socialise with their friends."

He added that there was "compassion" from Portuguese police towards the parents, as they believed the English "truly have very specific cultural customs and it was natural to dine and drink”.

Moita Flores, a former police chief, also addressed the issue on the show, insisting that Kate and Gerry would have been arrested for abandonment if they had been Portuguese.

He said: "Have no doubts. If this had involved a Portuguese child our public ministry would have immediately set off measures which are in place to protect children.

"In our culture this kind of behaviour would have not been tolerated as reasonable. I am not even sure it is tolerated under Anglo-Saxon cultural values."

However a friend of the McCann's has since hit back at the allegations, telling The Daily Star: “They were well aware that they could be charged with child neglect.

“They’d have fought tooth and nail. In legal terms Kate and Gerry were doing everything well within the bounds of respectable parenting.

“A court would have to show they had wilfully neglected their daughter and they did not.”

The McCanns' spokesperson Clarence Mitchell has also said they deny neglecting Madeleine.

It has been nine years since Madeleine McCann disappeared - and she would be 13-years-old this Thursday (12th May).

On 3rd May 2016, the anniversary of Madeleine’s disappearance, her parents shared a message on their Find Madeleine website.

It read: “As yet another anniversary comes around, we’d like to thank all our supporters for your continued help and commitment in the search for Madeleine, and the hope for her safe return.

“It has been a very long time but the investigation continues, information is still forthcoming and our hope and resolve continue. Until we have answers, until there is news, there will always be hope and we will continue to do everything we can to help find Madeleine.

“The charity Missing People is releasing the single I Hope on May 20 ahead of International Missing Children’s Day. Please support the charity to help all missing children and their families by downloading the song.”

Tragically, the couple are still no closer to finding out where Madeleine is - or what happened that fateful night in Praia Da Luz.

However, in a new interview, police officers have revealed that there is a chance that Maddy could be found alive - nine years after her disappearance.

Detective Chief Superintendent Mick Duthie, the head of Scotland Yard’s homicide squad told the Evening Standard: “There is ongoing work. There is always a possibility that we will find Madeleine and we hope that we will find her alive.

“That’s what we want and that’s what the family and the public want and that is why the Home Office continue to fund it.”

He added: “There is work that needs to be done still.”

It was recently revealed that Scotland Yard had been given more money to help with the Find Maddy investigation - but the funds came with a time frame.

They now look set to close the investigation in six months, whether or not they manage to track down the little girl.

Operation Grange will now continue until early October, until the extra £94,592 runs out.

Once the money is gone, Scotland Yard will have to end the five-year inquiry, which has cost £12 million already.

A Home Office spokesperson said: “Following a request from the Metropolitan Police Service, we have agreed to provide nearly £95,000 of further funding for Operation Grange.”

A Scotland Yard spokesperson said: “The inquiry has not reached a conclusion. There are still focused lines of investigation to be pursued.

“There are no immediate plans to reduce office numbers further at this time.”

You may also wish to read:

Just so you know, whilst we may receive a commission or other compensation from the links on this website, we never allow this to influence product selections - read why you should trust us