Jane Hill: Kate and Gerry McCann, thank you so much for agreeing to, talk to me. Perhaps you could just tell us a little bit about your holiday here, how it started, why you decided to... to come here and to bring your children here.Kate McCann: We came with a group of friends actually and their children, I mean, I've had lots of good reports about Portugal, a lot of our other friends and family have been and said it's very... very good for children. But, yeah, we came with a... a group of friends and, I mean, it was a great week, we were having a great holiday. It was... we had lots of fun, the children had a really great time, didn't they?
Gerry McCann: Yeah, very much the... the combination of, the child friendly environment and the sporting facilities and errr... a lot of our friends are quite water-sports based but Kate and I were mainly, taking advantage of the tennis facilities but the kids loved it and the kid's club, facilities were good.
JH: And what sort of activities does Madeleine like doing? Does she get in and muck around with all the other children, that sort of thing?
GMC : She's a complete, she might look like Kate but in terms of personality she's much more of a McCann. She's very extroverted and lively, you know, vivacious, she's...KMC : She likes running, she played tennis, as well, didn't she?
GMC : She's very funny and, she's often a little, kind of, ringleader in nursery and with her other friends and cousins and things, as well, you know.KMC : She's very sociable.JH: A... a very big sense of a very big group all having fun together and...KM: Yeah, yeah, it was, yeah.
GMC : You know, often in the evening, just in the play area down by the pool, every night after the kid's tea we would spend an hour and... invariably with the adults chasing the kids with Madeleine shouting... running up shouting 'Be a monster! Be a monster!' then running away and then you would chase her for five minutes and then she would be back over again because there was lots of adults. She was tiring us all out, really.
JH : And then on that Thursday night, Kate, when you realised that she wasn't in her bed where you'd left her. Did you think even momentarily perhaps that she'd just woken up, wandered off of her own accord, perhaps?
KMC : Not at all, no.
GMC : No, I mean, that, I think, was absolutely certain but, you know, before you raised the alarm, we double and triple checked but we certainly had no doubt in our mind that she'd been taken.
JH : And... and... and was there then frantic activity that night? I mean, I've spoken to even local people who've told me they became aware of what had happened pretty quickly and they were looking around, as well.
GMC : From the minute we discovered she was gone, if you actually look at the actions, our own actions and those of the group are actually, response and the speed of the response from all of us in the group and the Mark Warner representatives was excellent, the alarm and the call to the police went out within 10 minutes and the Mark Warner resort manager, John Hill, had, ... missing child, protocol in place within, you know, half an hour and all of the staff, were contacted... returned to the resort here and the, you know, the local search started, errr... so, you know, in terms of that it was done very, very quickly.
JH : And as time went on and I totally appreciate you can't talk about specifics in any way but even one of the things that was hard even for all the journalists who've been here for so long was to... to get their head around this idea that the police aren't... aren't allowed to tell anybody anything, they're not allowed legally to talk about the progress of an investigation.How... how hard has... has that been for you? What sort of guidance were they able to even give you privately just to tell you what was going on?
GMC : I think it's fairly obvious that, you know, the system here and, what we're used to in the UK is very different. I don't think it's any secret that in the early days, ... the information void was the hardest thing for Kate and I to deal with. The not knowing... not knowing anything and taking you back to the darkest places that, really, you don't want to go and... and ultimately doesn't help you. But, ... I think, you know, as the liaison officers and other British police arrived and the consulate, helped us, that, you know, the communication channels have improved, in terms of at least what information we get and how we get it and certainly, you know, at the minute we're... we're happy with the way information is conveyed to us, ... but tho... those first 48 hours are, I think, in particular, when, ... were the most difficult.
JH : And I've spoken to a lot of people, over the weeks, who... local people who'd given up a lot of time. You've talked about the support that they've given you. I met people who didn't go to work for more than a week because everyday they were down on the beach, searching the streets. Did you, as a mother Kate, just sometimes think 'I've got to go and be out there with them. I want to go and just physically look as well'?
KMC : I mean, I did... we'd been working really hard really. Apart... I mean, the first 48 hours, as Gerry said, are incredibly difficult and we were almost non-functioning, I'd say, but after that you get strength from somewhere. We've certainly had loads of support and that's given us strength and its been able to make us focus really so we have actually, in our own way, it might not be physically searching but we've been working really hard and doing absolutely everything we can, really, to get Madeleine back.
GMC : I think that's key, that, in that period, the worst feeling was helplessness and being completely out of control of anything, in terms of getting Madeleine back and, I think, as we started to take control of some issues, particularly influencing the publicity side of it, then you start to feel that there are certain things under your control and, I know, initially that helped me tremendously and more importantly, I think, it helped, ... and being positive about what you can do, has helped people immediately around us, as well, and that... that has spread like wildfire to everyone in the popu... people we don't know are doing so much to help and it's the smallest thing and it makes them feel that they're helping; distributing posters locally; sending them abroad, all of these things, we think, helped and, ultimately, you know, someone will provide the key bit of information.
JH : And... and some of that support has translated into a lot of money that's gone into the fighting fund, I think nearly £300,000 has been pledged, so far. What of the reports that say, perhaps... those people who suggest that some of that money could be sensibly spent on things like private investigators, for example.GMC : Well, you know, the fund, ... was really... really evolved to provide an oulet for people who wanted to contribute financially and these offers, will help us and are helping us and that has helped us to bring in quite a comprehensive legal team and independent sector, consultants as to what we could and should be doing.
I did, address this and the situation hasn't changed that, at this time, with the huge amount of resource from the police, both in the UK and Portugal that the advice is that private investigators will not help. I personally, and we, believe that it's the public who hold the key to this; someone knows something and we would urge that if anyone has any information to come forward and anyone who's been in this area, within the two weeks leading up to Madeleine's disappearance, to come forward if they haven't already done so and upload those pictures.There is the... I'd like to say about the website again, which iswww.madeleine.ceopupload.comand there are two numbers, if I could say them, as well, that, if you have any information, to ring in, if you have not already spoken to the police.
JH : And we'll certainly broadcast those numbers again later and there've been so much support and you're reflecting on some of it there; some emotional, some practical. I mean, I have to ask, you will know, along with that support, in some quarters, comes criticism; for example a lot of people, in the last fews weeks, have contacted the BBC and said: 'I can't imagine doing such a thing. I wouldn't be able to leave three children, in that situation'. How do you deal with those sort of comments?GMC : I think, you know, any criticism of us at this time, which we know there has been, particularly early on, is quite hard to take when you're being so positive. I think what we did, errm... many, many other thousands of people, and I think you yourself said on television that you've either done it or would have done exactly the same in such a safe resort.
No one will ever feel more guilty than us for the fact that we were not with Madeleine at that time when she was abducted and whether we'd been in the bedroom next door we would still have felt as guilty, I'm sure, but, you know, you've seen the proximity of the restaurant; there was a line of sight to the apartment and it was not dissimilar to having dinner in your garden and, you know, baby listening facilities, exist in a lot of Mark Warner resorts and I would argue that what we were doing was actually even more regulous than that with multiple people from the group checking the apartments at, staggered times and obviously we were going into our apartment at regular intervals. If you thought for a minute that someone could abduct your child, of course, you would never have left them but, you know, that was the furthest thought from our mind during... what really was, up until that point, the most idyllic holiday.
JH : You've got a little boy and a little girl to... to think about and we've seen them around the resort a lot in the last few weeks. How... they're tiny, I know, but they must have a sense that big sister isn't around at the moment. How... how do you deal with things for them? How do you look to the future for their sake?KMC : I mean, I think you're right. I mean, they... they are still quite young at the minute, they're just over two, ... so it maybe hasn't affected them as much as if they were a little bit older. They do talk about Madeleine and Amelie has asked 'Where is she?' ... You know, they'll say 'That's Madeleine's', 'This is Madeleine's' and they include her if we're saying 'Who wants a biscuit?', they'll say 'Sean, Amelie, Madeleine',
GMC : Yeah. I mean, without doubt, they... they help us to continue, you know. This is every parent's worse nightmare and everyone can feel and imagine what we've gone through but, you know, if we'd had discovered all three of our children had gone or if something else had happened, then, you know, we... we'd not have had the same strength and resolution and determination to find Madeleine that Sean and Amelie give us, as well, because we know that they're there, errr... life continues but we need to bring them back... bring Madeleine back as much for them, as for Madeleine, as for us.
JH : And... and how... how do you aim to... to keep that strength and that positive outlook that we've seen you expresss to the media a lot in the last three weeks and that sense that... that life will continue, that what you said publicly to us a few weeks ago that you believe, and have to believe, that Madeleine is somewhere being looked after by someone. How do you hold onto that thought?
GMC : Yeah, absolutely, we must, continue with that and we do believe it, you know, I think if anything really bad had happened, we would have found her by now, so I think, you know, I'm confident and believe this strongly that, we will find her, it's not hard to... to continue believing that; she's our daughter, we love her more than anyone can possibly imagine and, you know, the alternative would be giving up and we will not give up our search.
KM: Absolutely, you know, we need to believe that she's coming back to us.
JH: Kate McCann, Gerry McCann, we do appreciate your time. Thank you very much and, all the very best to your family, of course.
GMC : Thank you.KMC : Thank you, Jane. Thank you.