Madeline McCann’s parents spoke to GMTV today as the third anniversary of her disappearance nears.
In a pre-recorded interview to be broadcast tomorrow (Wednesday 28 April), Kate and Gerry McCann told GMTV’s Lorraine Kelly, that police had given up on their daughter ever being found and said:
“It’s not right that an innocent, vulnerable British citizen is essentially given up on.”
Below is a transcript of some of the interview with Lorraine and you can watch the video of the appearance above.
LK: I know, and I just wondered if you, in any way, can have any sort of normal life? Three years on, can you? It must always be there, always in the forefront of your mind?
KATE: I mean it is always there and obviously Madeline is in our life every day. But we do have periods of normality. In fact, I’d say it’s just changed – in that it’s a different kind of normality now. I mean we still have – Gerry obviously works full time. You still have to do the cooking and washing. We’ve got Sean and Amelie – we have lots of time with them. And we go on trips, they go swimming.
LK: So you are able to do the sort of normal family things. Gerry, you have gone back to work as you’ve said. But there almost is this thing where sometimes you feel almost guilty about enjoying yourself sometimes? Or laughing or having fun with the twins. Do you sometimes feel like that?
KATE: No, definitely. I think sometimes you can have them at a really good time, and suddenly you realise it’s actually tinged because it will just suddenly stop you. And we had a lovely day last week and it was really sunny, and you could smell the grass being cut and I thought, oh it’s really nice. And then it just kind of gets you – Madeline is still not here.
LK: [To Gerry] And you’ve gone back to work, was that difficult for you? Did you sense people’s awkwardness around you or did that dissipate quite quickly?
GERRY: It was a little bit awkward at the beginning, but at that time I found it much easier when I’m mentally active in doing things – both from a campaign point of view and work-wise as well. And it was actually difficult when were Aguido and there wasn’t so much happening. It was, you felt you almost had your hands tied behind your back somewhat. So it was definitely the right decision for me to go back. I went back part time and then built up to full time. And to be honest, most people are just really glad to see me and most of the patients, initially, have been quite reserved or just left messages with the staff. But it was awkward in the early months when I went back and I was doing ward rounds and quite often it would be Madeline on the front page of newspapers or ourselves and various other things. So that was a little bit awkward, but generally it’s not been a problem.
LK: Because it is sometimes difficult – people don’t really know what to say to you? There’s that sense of awkwardness – they’re not quite sure. They want to say how sorry they are or that they are thinking of you, but they don’t quite know how to broach the subject, it’s quite difficult.
KATE: I think it is difficult and I think it depends on the person really. Some people feel comfortable coming and asking you how it’s going. Other people just kind of tap you on your arm and say ‘thinking of you’. And other people just feel that maybe they shouldn’t invade your privacy.
LK: Does it help when people…
KATE: It does. I mean I’ve said all along really it actually makes me feel better when people acknowledge Madeline essentially.
GERRY: I think it’s very important as well that a lot of time people will want to skip round it, they don’t know whether to mention it or not. And of course we live with this everyday of our life and it’s a huge part of it. And that even applies to friends and people as well who you haven’t seen for a while. And obviously we spend so much of our time outside, particularly when the kids are in bed, actually thinking about ways how we can improve the search and keep it going.
LK: Because that’s really what this is all about and the search has to keep going. What sort of stage is the investigation at, or what sort of stage is the campaign at right now?
GERRY: From an investigation point of view, I think it’s very important to say that from law enforcement – they are not doing anything actively, and haven’t been for a long time. And that’s incredibly frustrating, so we’ve had our small team working away in the background. And in terms of new leads, I think we put out most of the important information that we had this time last year. We had a very good response and most of those leads have been worked probably as much as we can with Dave and his team. So at this point what we are really trying to do is to get the Government to review everything. And it’s very difficult because there is a lot of information being held with British police, there is a lot in Portugal. It’s not all in one file. Whereas other information we’ve got – we are happy to make available. But there hasn’t been a comprehensive review, there hasn’t been anything about which lines of enquiries merit further investigation, and that is something we just feel is fundamental and should happen. And it’s not right that an innocent, vulnerable British citizen is essentially given up on. And I don’t think it’s right that as parents, that we have to drive the search. Of course we will, but not everyone has had the same resources and support that we have had to be able to do that. And I think it’s pretty cruel.
LK: Very frustrating for both of you. And another aspect of it is the kind of criticism that you have come in for as well. There has been a lot of that, and that must be very, very difficult to deal with. I mean you got a lot at the start about the fact that you had left the kids and you had gone off and had a meal, and all of that had happened. And then even to this day, there are people who are convinced that you have something to do with it. How on earth do you deal with that?
KATE: Well I think it has changed. Certainly we don’t get the same level of criticism that we did. And even then, to be fair, it was the minority really. I think most people, even if they don’t agree with what we did, then they wouldn’t feel it right or fair to add to our suffering.
LK: Because it does, doesn’t it? It does add to your suffering.
KATE: Absolutely, and particularly in the early weeks and months, you know, I wasn’t expecting it because all I could see was our daughter has been taken and she is being subjected to something terrifying, and that’s the most important thing. So for people to start shouting at us, when really we needed to keep the focus on Madeline. But having said that, I think there is just a small minority now. And, you know, there is a certain group out there who – this is their job really – is to pick on a vulnerable family. And I’m sure after us they will move onto another family.
GERRY: It’s very interesting, I think, anyone who is in the public eye for whatever reason gets criticised. And early on when we were campaigning, you know, you would say, ‘Oh my goodness, we are getting criticised for doing this and doing that,’ and you start to let that influence what you do. But then you realise you get criticised whatever you do from some quarter. And what you need to do is make the decisions for the right reason and do it with the best intentions and really stick to your guns. Take advice, but ultimately we make our own decisions. But I think probably more than anything I’d say is after – if we could turn back the clock and change what happened, obviously we wouldn’t have done it. We can’t. And what I would say is, you know, people have got to put themselves into our position. What would you do if it was your daughter? After this, what would you do?
LK: You would move heaven and earth. You would do everything you possibly could.
GERRY: That’s what we are trying to do as much as possible, and trying to think of – just constantly – ways where we can improve things or get additional things done.
LK: You are doing this pack that is specifically aimed at people who are going on holiday anywhere – it doesn’t have to be Portugal – it can be absolutely anywhere. And in the pack there are posters that people can put up, there are stickers, there is a bookmark, there is all of this, so again, this is all about you being proactive and you trying to do as much as you can. They can get this on your website can’t they? And you know, hopefully, that’s going to again just keep everything in the public eye – that’s what you want to do – keep her name there.
GERRY: It comes, a lot of what we’ve done is taken advice from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children in Washington, and it’s very much about keeping her image out there, that’s really important. So there’s an age progression photograph there which we released last year. Just other things, car stickers. And it’s simple things. Who knows who will end up seeing her? But if you don’t have her image out there then it’s less likely.
LK: It’s very difficult for both of you, it’s been absolutely horrendous. You’ve stayed at home, haven’t you Kate? You’ve stayed at home looking after the twins. How much do the twins know, how much are they aware of because they are five now?
KATE: They know quite a lot, we have kind of – it’s changed a little bit. Initially for them, they would say ‘Where’s Madeline? [Kate would reply] ‘Madeline’s lost’. And then as they got older and started to ask more questions then obviously the pictures unfolded a little bit for them. And, I mean basically – I think it was last year – Amelie said to me, ‘Has Madeline run away Mummy?’ And she kept asking me in a public place so it was bit tricky at first. And she said, ‘Because it’s not nice to run away’. And that really upset me because I thought I don’t want her to think that Madeline is at fault here. So probably about the third time she asked when we were at home – rather than out in the supermarket – we just explained really that somebody had taken Madeline. But we tried to obviously make them understand it in as gentle a way as possible.
LK: You don’t want to frighten them do you? You don’t want to make them scared?
KATE: So it is a little bit like, you know, stealing really. We said just because you really want something or you really like something, if it belongs to somebody else you shouldn’t take it. So that’s how they understand it. So they know somebody has taken her and they actually – they know it’s wrong.
LK: Do you still have, I mean three years is a long time, have you still got her image in your head? Can you still hear her?
KATE: Yes. I mean obviously the image that we have is the Madeline that we knew – so Madeline at four years minus nine days. And I can still hear her voice and we do obviously have video film of her. And every so many months we sit down and we will watch that really.
LK: That must hard. I suppose it is in some ways comforting in a way, but very, very difficult to do that.
GERRY: Sean and Amelie like watching the stuff of us and they have watched old videos of us. And they have put it all together now, you know, the sort of temporal sequence of events and they know about – they went to Portugal, they went to bed and Madeline was taken. And just to expand a bit on what Kate says, you know, they know, they believe that it was a man that took her, and it was a naughty man and we need to try and find him. So it’s part of what they say – that Mummy is working to help find Madeline.
KATE: Sean said to his little friend in school, who said, ‘Kate, are you a doctor?’ and Sean just came in and said: “Mummy was a doctor but her job now is to find Madeline.’ He was just straight in there. So they understand what we are doing and why are doing it, and they understand that we have got a lot of support. They will constantly spot things like a car sticker or a luggage tag or a wristband and they will point it out and say, ‘Look, they are helping us too’.
LK: Are you convinced she is still out there somewhere?
KATE: Certainly in my heart I feel she is out there. I mean I know there is nothing to say that she isn’t, so we have to carry on working and thinking like that. I mean logically I can’t say, I mean none of us can say for definite other than the people involved. But I know we can’t give up because there is no evidence to say that she is not.
LK: That was what I was going to say to you – do you think there will ever be a time when you will say, ‘Enough is enough, we’ve done all we can, there is no more we can do’?
KATE: You can’t. If we haven’t found Madeline, if we don’t know what has happened, you haven’t done enough. I mean there is obviously more that can be done. And it might just be time. There could be a group of people out there who are sitting with this on their conscience. And every time Madeline is mentioned or every time there is an image – again, it’s just pricking their conscience. And it might just be a question of time until they come forward. Their situation might change and they may then feel comfortable to come forward.
GERRY: As hard as it is, there are lots of examples – particularly from the States – of children who have been abducted at a younger age and kept for a long time. I think the key thing is we don’t know who has taken her and what the motive is. And until we find that person, it is very hard, but we have just got to keep going and keep working away. But more importantly we need to have a proper review of all the information – that’s how we will move the investigation forward. And at the end of the day, the person that has taken Madeline is still out there and they are a potential danger to other children, so they need to be brought to justice.
KATE: We do this in medicine. You know, if there is a case that you don’t seem to be getting the diagnosis, somebody will come in and review it. They’ll go back to square one, they will go through all the information, all the data, all the results that you’ve got and work through it. And that’s where you find out what else needs to be done and it will help point you in the right direction.
LK: And it will be her birthday soon, what will you do that day?
KATE: I was just explaining to someone before, her birthday is actually much more difficult, day for us than May 3. May 3 really is just another day without Madeline, but the 12th is obviously a day when we should be celebrating Madeline, celebrating with Madeline. Last year we just had a little tea party, we had close family and Madeline’s friends round, and I guess we’ll probably do something similar. It is a little bit difference this year because Sean and Amelie are in school, but after school we can have a little tea party or something.
LK: Thank you both for coming in and talking to us. Like everyone else, I just hope for a happy ending one day.