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Madeleine McCann: "no decision" over case

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Madeleine McCann: "no decision" over case


Little more than a year after she disappeared, there is confusion over whether the hunt for the missing British child Madeleine McCann will continue.

Portuguese newspapers have claimed police have shelved the inquiry due to a lack of evidence.

But Portugal’s Attorney General has said the investigation is being assessed and no final decision has been taken.

Madeleine disappeared after being left sleeping in an apartment with her younger brother and sister in the Algarve resort of Praia de Luz on May 3, 2007.

Her parents were in a restaurant nearby with friends. Police and volunteers searched all night for the little girl, but to no avail.

A few days later, a British-born man living nearby was made an official suspect after police searched his villa. Robert Murat has always maintained his innocence and no charges have ever been brought.

Followed everywhere by cameras, the McCanns quickly decided to make use of the worldwide media interest to launch a global campaign. A website was set up, as well as an appeal for donations to fund the campaign. Making use of the latest technology, a clip of Madeleine was posted on the internet.

But in September 2007, there was an unexpected twist. The Portuguese police were now looking at a theory of unlawful killing, not abduction, and Kate and Gerry McCann found themselves named as official suspects.

The McCanns launched libel action over some of the British coverage of the case, and were eventually awarded more than 600,000 euros in damages. The sum was paid into the fund to help find their daughter.

Finally, four months after Madeleine’s disappearance, the McCanns left Portugal to return home to the UK, still protesting their innocence.

Since then, the trail has gone cold. Yesterday, the former police chief who was removed from the case last October took early retirement to write a book about his work on the inquiry.

Madeleine’s parents have asked the Portuguese police to hand over all the information they have so the search can continue. A formal application will be heard by a UK court next week.

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