British newspapers say "sorry" to Madeleine McCann's parents
(dpa) - A British tabloid newspaper chain Wednesday published front-page apologies and were due to pay substantial damages to the parents of Madeleine McCann, who has been missing in Portugal since May.
In an unprecedented action in response to a libel case brought by Kate and Gerry McCann, the Daily Express and Daily Star newspapers said on their front pages Wednesday: "Kate and Gerry McCann: Sorry."
Similar action is due to be taken by their Sunday paper equivalents at the weekend.
In the High Court in London later Wednesday, the parents of Madeleine are also expected to be granted a public apology for suggesting in their coverage last year that they were involved in the disappearance of Madeleine while on holiday on the Algarve in southern Portugal.
The couple would be paid "substantial" sums that would go to the fund set up to find Madeleine.
The Express said it accepts that a "number of articles in the newspaper had suggested that the couple caused the death of their missing daughter Madeleine and then covered it up".
It said it acknowledges that there was "no evidence whatsoever" to support the theory and that Kate and Gerry were "completely innocent of any involvement in their daughter's disappearance."
The action relates to more than 100 stories in the four titles.
British coverage of the case turned distinctly against the couple after the Portuguese police named the parents official suspects in the case in September.
That status is still being upheld by the Portuguese authorities as investigations by the police and prosecutors continue. No trace of 4- year-old Madeleine has been found.