I’m told that behind the scenes quiet negotiations have been underway for some time to try to persuade Portugal to cooperate with a review of the Madeleine McCann case.
The last government commissioned an inquiry into whether it was possible. Whether the evidence gathered by detectives in Portugal, Leicestershire Police and the McCann’s own team could be brought together. I’m told that report concluded that Portugal’s government would need to agree to it.
Hence the negotiations that have been underway which might well lead to a breakthrough at some point.
If this is the case, it looks as if the government have not kept Kate and Gerry McCann informed in the way you might expect. They have issued an open letter to the Prime Minister. In it their frustration is clear.
We could only use some of it in tonight’s ITV News at Ten. So here it is in full:
Dear Prime Minister
As a devoted father and family man, you know the importance of children. Our beloved eldest child, Madeleine, was abducted from Praia da Luz, Portugal, four years ago. Since then, we have devoted all our energies to ensuring her safe return.
Today we are asking you – and the British and Portuguese governments – to help find Madeleine and bring her back to her loving family.
We live in hope that Madeleine will be found alive and returned to us. One call might be all that is needed to lead to Madeleine and her abductor.
To this end, we are seeking a joint INDEPENDENT, TRANSPARENT and COMPREHENSIVE review of ALL information held in relation to Madeleine’s disappearance. Thus far, there has been NO formal review of the material held by the police authorities – which is routine practice in most major unsolved crimes.
A key piece of the ‘jigsaw’ could easily have been overlooked and not joined up with another.
We have tried in vain to get the authorities in the UK and Portugal to play their part.
But, sadly, our requests have seemingly fallen on deaf ears. It is simply not acceptable that they have, to all intents and purposes, given up on Madeleine.
I know you will share our concern that no law enforcement agency in the world is currently searching for Madeleine. Our small team of investigators is working alone. They do not have access to all the information gathered during the course of the investigation and have no statutory powers.
It is fundamental for any major incident that a case review is undertaken to identify all the avenues that could be explored that might lead to new information coming into the inquiry. The information in Madeleine’s case is not even held on one central, searchable database capable of linking data.
The benefits of pulling together different bits of evidence can be enormous but until this is done we cannot be sure what, if anything, has been missed. Four years may have passed but Madeleine is still findable. As we have said before we don’t want hollow, meaningless words.
We want action. We want the authorities to help us. Madeleine’s abductor is still out there – other children may be at risk.
It is not good enough to just say it’s a Portuguese investigation.
It is not right that a young vulnerable British citizen has essentially been given up on. This remains an unsolved case of a missing child. Children are our most precious gift.
Please don’t give up on Madeleine.
Kate and Gerry McCann
in ITV blogs, May 11, 2011
Read as well SkyNews Martin Brunt's blog: What Next For Madeleine Search?
«(...)There have already been high-level discussions between the Foreign Office and Portuguese officials to find a way of conducting such a review.
One plan is for a team of UK detectives - probably from Scotland Yard - to got to Portugal and pore over the police files.
One crucial exercise would be to do the mobile phone cell-site analysis that wasn't done(...)»
(...) Kate added: "We hope David Cameron will show he cares about children - about Madeleine, about one of his citizens, and demonstrates this not just with words but with actions.
Leicestershire Police, the McCanns' local force in Rothley, are the liaison between the UK and the Portuguese authorities on the probe.
The force holds detailed files from UK inquiries. Most have not been shown to Kate and Gerry. (....) in The Sun
«(...) David Cameron's spokeswoman said: "The Prime Minister met Kate and Gerry McCann while he was leader of the opposition and he has followed their plight very closely.
"He and the Home Secretary want to make sure the Government does all it can to help them."
A Downing Street source added: "Our priority is that we find Madeleine McCann. Clearly this is a matter for the Portuguese authorities.
"But we will continue to work with the Portuguese authorities."
The official Portuguese inquiry into Madeleine's disappearance was formally shelved in July 2008, although private detectives employed by the McCanns have continued the search.»