TWO NATIONAL British newspapers published unprecedented front page apologies to Gerry and Kate McCann and apologised in court on Wednesday for running more than 100 defamatory stories suggesting the couple were involved in Madeleine’s disappearance.
The Daily Express and the Daily Star also agreed to pay a “substantial” sum, reported as being more than 500,000 pounds sterling, into the Find Madeleine campaign fund.
Similar apologies are expected at the weekend in two other newspapers that are also part of the Express Newspapers group, the Sunday Express and the Daily Star Sunday.
The Express group agreed to all the McCanns’ requests and is also paying all their costs.
This included a public apology in London’s High Court, which was delivered on Wednesday morning by Stephen Bacon, representing the newspapers:
“Express Newspapers regrets publishing these extremely serious, yet baseless, allegations,” he said.
The McCanns were not at the court for the settlement of their action. However, their spokesman, Clarence Mitchell, read a statement on their behalf outside the court.
It stated: “We are pleased that Express Newspapers have today admitted the utter falsity of the numerous grotesque and grossly defamatory allegations that their titles published about us on a sustained basis over many months. The exceptional publication of these apologies, together with today’s statement of full apology in open court before Mr Justice Eady, was the only just and proper response by Express Newspapers following our complaint.”
Meanwhile in the Algarve, searches commissioned by the Madeira-based lawyer Marcos Aragão Correia and sponsored by a Portimão-based company named SPEC, which took place in the Arade dam near Silves uncovered two sacks, one of which contained animal bones.
Marcos Aragão Correia told Portuguese national newspaper Correio da Manhã: “The bags and the bones were brought to the surface by the divers and we telephoned 112.
“The GNR arrived in around 20 minutes, and telephoned the Policia Judiciária.”
Metodo 3, the Spanish private investigation company hired by the McCann family to help find Madeleine, were given four ropes for analysis, which were found in the dam.
It has also come to light that Robert Murat, the first person named as an official suspect in the Madeleine investigation, found a GPS device attached to his green Volkswagen transporter and another on a Skoda Fabia which he borrowed from his colleague Michaela Walczuch.
Robert Murat told The Resident on Wednesday: “Initially, when I discovered the first device at the end of November, I wondered what it was but when I realised and subsequently found another one, I telephoned the Polícia Judiciária.
“The PJ said they certainly did not place the devices there and took them away after taking some photographs.”
Robert Murat also confirmed to The Resident that his estate agency website has been pirated. The website’s email account was redirected to another address and some potentially damaging messages were sent in Robert Murat’s name, including some asking the website’s hosting company in the US to send private access codes.
Madeleine McCann, went missing, aged three, in Praia da Luz on May 3 last year.
If you have any information on the whereabouts of Madeleine McCann, please contact the McCann helpline on 0034 902 300 213 or the Portuguese Police on 00351 282 405 400.
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