Madeleine McCann: How Kate recalled ‘unexplained detail’ from morning of disappearance

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In July, authorities investigating the 13-year case announced that the youngster is “assumed to be dead” and opened a murder investigation into a 43-year-old German man, named as Christian B. It came following an appeal for information regarding an individual who was seen driving a camper van in the area of Praia da Luz around the time of the disappearance on May 3, 2007, and a 30-minute call made to his phone in the area where Maddie vanished. Last week it was claimed in Portuguese media that the suspect had a “female partner in crime” who was an accomplice in a series of burglaries in the Algarve in 2007, tipping him off with the “best properties to rob”.

Kate and Gerry McCann have always supported the theory that Maddie was snatched by a criminal working in the local area and some reports have also indicated that a hotel employee may have tipped them off about British tourists leaving valuables in their apartments while going out for long dinners.

In her book, ‘Madeleine: Our Daughter’s Disappearance and the Continuing Search for Her,’ Kate recalled the events of the day before her daughter disappeared.

She wrote: “On Thursday, May 3 I awoke in the children’s bedroom. I can’t remember who was up first but I know we had all surfaced by about 7:30am.

“At breakfast time, Madeleine had a question for us – ‘why didn’t you come when Sean and I cried last night?’

“We were puzzled, did she mean when they were having their bath? we asked them, or just after they’d gone to bed?

“Children often get a bit fractious around bedtime, though I had no recollection of any tears from either Madeleine or Sean before they settled the previous evening.

“It certainly hadn’t been in the early hours, because I’d been in the room with them, even closer than usual.”

Kate continued, revealing her fears that the children may have woken up while the group were out for dinner.

She added: “Madeleine didn’t answer or elaborate, instead she moved on to some other topic that had popped into her head, apparently unconcerned.

“She certainly didn’t seem to be at all anxious or upset. Madeleine is bright, articulate and has never been backwards in coming forward.

“If something had happened to make her cry, it was pretty unlikely that she wouldn’t tell us about it, assuming she remembered what it was.

“Gerry and I were disconcerted, could Madeleine and Sean have woken up while we were at dinner? If so it was worrying, obviously, but it didn’t seem probable.

“If they had done so on this occasion, it would mean they’d woken up, cried for a while, calmed themselves down and fallen asleep again – all within the space of half an hour, or 45 minutes if it had been our last check.”

Kate went on to clarify that the possibility seemed implausible but still worried her.

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She continued: “Children usually need some soothing back to sleep once they’ve woken, especially if two of them are awake and upset at the same time, and it seemed highly unlikely they’d have gone through all these stages without one of them overlapping with one of our checks.

“It wasn’t impossible, but it seemed implausible.

“Not for a moment did we think there might be some sinister reason for this occurrence if indeed anything had occurred.

“If only foresight came as easily to us as hindsight. Within hours, the explanation for this would seem hugely important and so haunted have I been ever since by Madeleine’s words that morning.”

But, there was also a second bizarre detail that Kate noticed that morning.

She explained: “The only other unexplained detail I remember from the morning was a large stain I noticed on Madeleine’s pink Eeyore pyjama top.

“I couldn’t recall seeing it the night before and had no idea how it might have got there, but it looked like a tea stain.

“Gerry and I do drink quite a bit of tea, and Madeleine, too, would have the odd small cup.

“So at the time I just assumed it was a drink spillage that had escaped our attention, and that might well be all it was.

“But now, of course, we can no longer make assumptions about anything that can’t be accounted for.”

On Thursday, ITV will air its new documentary ‘Madeleine McCann: The Hunt for the Prime Suspect’ into the recent developments.

The series, presented by Julie Etchingham, will probe why it has taken more than a decade to link the new prime suspect to the case.

 ‘Madeleine: Our daughter’s disappearance and the continuing search for her’ was published by Transworld Publishers Ltd and is available here.

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