The McCanns return to Portugal this week

By LIZ GRIFFITHS [email protected]

Kate and Gerry McCann returned to Portugal this week to visit their lawyers in Lisbon to update them on their search for their missing daughter, Madeleine.

This is the first time Kate has visited Portugal since she was questioned by police in connection with Madeleine’s disappearance.

The couple’s spokesman Clarence Mitchell said on Wednesday: ‘’I can confirm that Kate and Gerry McCann have this morning returned to Portugal. They will be attending a series of meetings with their lawyers and advisers in Lisbon and they are planning to return to the UK tonight. Obviously, this is Kate’s first return to Portugal since Madeleine’s abduction and whilst this is undoubtedly difficult for her she remains determined to do whatever is necessary to assist in the search for her daughter.’’

Back in the UK, lawyers for Kate and Gerry McCann have demanded the removal of a website which claims their daughter Madeleine is dead.

The Madeleine Foundation site has also been ordered to hand over leaflets published to support its claims.

The site alleges Madeleine was not abducted and that her parents bear some responsibility for her death.

Clarence Mitchell, spokesman for the McCanns, said: “Kate and Gerry have consistently made it clear they will not dignify the actions of the so-called Madeleine Foundation with any comment whatsoever.”

But he said the position of the McCanns’ lawyers, libel specialists Carter-Ruck, was “clear”.

The Madeleine Foundation says it received legal letters from Carter-Ruck at the beginning of September.

A statement on its website said response letters were sent to Carter Ruck on Friday, September 18.

Following on from the appeal over an Australian woman, Kate and Gerry McCann have revealed they have received 1,000 reports from the public after a witness revealed the Victoria Beckham lookalike asked him whether he had her ‘new daughter’.

The McCanns’ private detectives are now following up the calls and emails, which are said to include “viable leads”.

Meanwhile, the private detective leading the hunt for Madeleine McCann told the Belfast Telegraph that he is convinced that she is imprisoned in a lair in the area surrounding Praia da Luz.

Dave Edgar said the reappearance of Jaycee Lee Dugard, Elisabeth Fritzl and Natascha Kampusch, who were all kidnapped and held captive, has confirmed his suspicion.  Even though there have been fresh leads taking the hunt to Australia and Barcelona, the detective has insisted that he believes Madeleine is being held by a captor near to where she disappeared.

He told the British newspaper that the “rural, sprawling terrain makes it extremely difficult to search” and “you could quite easily keep a child there for years and no-one else would know”.

Dave Edgar said he still believes she was taken by the man spotted by the McCanns’ friend Jane Tanner. On the night Madeleine went missing she said she saw a man carrying a girl in her pyjamas in a blanket from the area of the Ocean Club in Praia da Luz.

Dave Edgar said he believes this is the person who took Madeleine and is now holding her captive.

He also said told the Belfast Telegraph that “the key thing is a body had not been found” and until there is evidence that she is dead he will “keep going”.

The former detective inspector was employed by Gerry and Kate McCann in November 2008 after Spanish detectives leading the search had failed to find any new leads.

Madeleine McCann disappeared on the night of May 3, 2007 from the family’s holiday apartment in Praia da Luz, whilst her parents were dining nearby.

A Portuguese judge has banned further sales and publications of Gonçalo Amaral’s book, The Truth of the Lie, that claimed Madeleine McCann was dead.

The former Portuguese police investigator had worked on the investigation of Madeleine McCann but was later removed from the case after he criticised British police.

Kate and Gerry McCann released a statement stating that they hoped the injunction will go towards “reducing further unnecessary and unjust distress” and will allow people to concentrate on finding Madeleine.

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