Madeleine McCann: Parents vow to do ‘whatever it takes as long as it takes’ to find their daughter
The parents of Madeleine McCann have vowed to do "whatever it takes for as long as it takes" to find their daughter as they prepare to mark the tenth anniversary of her disappearance.
Her mother Kate McCann said she was no less hopeful of finding her daughter than she had been in on May 3 2007 when she went missing from their rented apartment in the Portugese resort of Praia de Luz.
Mrs McCann, 49, revealed she still buys her daughter presents for her Christmas and birthday every year and said the most important thing was holding onto hope of tracing her.
Speaking to the BBC’s Fiona Bruce, Mrs McCann said: “I obviously have to think about what age she is and something that, whenever we find her, will still be appropriate so there’s a lot of thought goes into it. But I couldn’t not, you know, she’s still our daughter, she’ll always be our daughter.”
In a wide-ranging interview with the broadcaster, Mrs McCann and her husband and Madeleine’s father Gerry McCann, 48, from Rothley, Leicestershire, also said they took heart in the “real progress” that had been made by the Metropolitan Police during the last five years.
Kate and Gerry McCann whose daughter Madeleine disappeared from a holiday flat in Portugal ten years ago (PA)
Scotland Yard said last week that officers are still pursuing "critical" leads to trace Madeleine, who was aged three when she disappeared from the holiday apartment.
Answering questions five days before Wednesday’s anniversary, Mrs McCann said of the active inquiry: "It might not be as quick as we want, but there’s real progress being made and I think we need to take heart from that.
"We just have to go with the process and follow it through – whatever it takes for as long as it takes. There is still hope that we can find Madeleine."
Missing : A photo of Madeleine as the tenth anniversary of her disappearance approaches (PA)
She added: "I think you know we’ve had so many supporters who are still with us, people that we don’t know who are still there, and I guess I just want them to be reassured that there is progress being made."
During the interview Mr McCann acknowledged it was "devastating" not to have found Madeleine but said the most important thing was holding on to hope of tracing her.
"We are still looking forward, I think that’s the most important thing – we still hope," he said.
Asked how he and his wife were coping 10 years on, Mr McCann answered: "I think we’re doing a new normality really, particularly over probably the last – and it seems like a long time saying it – but over the last five years.
The couple speaking during an interview with the BBC’s Fiona Bruce (PA)
"Since the Metropolitan Police actually started their investigation, it has taken a huge pressure off us, individually and as a family.
"After the initial Portuguese investigation closed, essentially, no-one, no-one else was actually doing anything proactively to try and find Madeleine.
"And I think every parent could understand that what you want – and what we have aspired to – is to have all the reasonable lines of enquiry followed to a logical conclusion."
As well as dismissing criticism of the cost of the Met’s inquiry as unfair, the McCanns said they intended to continue a legal battle against former detective Goncalo Amaral, who wrote a book about their daughter’s disappearance.
Confirming that the couple still plan to contest a Portuguese court ruling handed down in January, Mr McCann said: "We haven’t launched that yet, but it will be going to the European courts.
"What people really need to realise though is, as (Met Police) Assistant Commissioner (Mark) Rowley has said again this week, and the Portuguese have said in the final report – there’s no evidence that Madeleine is dead and the prosecutor has said there’s no evidence that we were involved in any crime."
The couple also commented on the impact of social media criticism of them, urging people to think twice before posting hurtful comments.
Mr McCann said of online abuse directed at the family: "I’m sure it is a very small minority of people who spend their time doing it, but it has totally inhibited what we do.
"Personally, we don’t use social media, although we have used it in Madeleine’s campaign.
"But for our twins who are growing up in an era where mobile technology is used all the time, we don’t want them not to be able to use it in the same way that their peers do."
Mrs McCann described the actions of some people online as shocking but said she preferred to focus on the support many more people had offered.
"Actually the main thing that we have experienced is the goodness of people and the support that we have had over 10 years, which hasn’t wavered in all that time," she said.
Asked how the McCann "family unit" had managed to stay strong during the hunt for Madeleine, her mother said: "What people do say is that you don’t realise how strong you are until you have no option.”
Adding that she had tried to ensure her now 12-year-old twins had a normal, happy and fulfilling life, Mrs McCann, a former GP, said her return to work in another area of medicine had helped her re-establish as normal a life as possible.
"My hope for Madeleine being out there is no less than it was almost 10 years ago," Mrs McCann said.