McCann's angry at "smear" over missing Madeleine

Other News Materials 11 April 2008 12:54 (UTC +04:00)

(dpa) - The parents of missing British toddler Madeleine McCann have rejected as a "deliberate smear" leaked comments from a confidential police investigation which suggested that the child had been unhappy about being left alone in her bed as her parents were out dining.

Madeleine, who was then 3, disappeared from a room where she was sleeping with her two siblings in the Portuguese holiday resort of Praia da Luz on May 3, last year.

The Portuguese police have named Kate and Gerry McCann official suspects in the case.

The child's remark, leaked as the parents are trying to revive their public campaign for Madeleine's return, was reported to stem from transcripts of interviews with Portuguese police last year.

The extract from the transcripts, first published in the Spanish media and reported in Britain Friday, suggested that on the morning she disappeared Madeleine asked why her mother did not come when the children were crying the night before.

"Why didn't you come to me and Sean (Madeleine's younger brother) when we were crying last night?" the girl was reported to have asked.

Madeleine's parents have insisted that they checked on the children every half hour as they were eating in a nearby restaurant.

Their spokesman, Clarence Mitchell, said the leak was a "deliberate smear" to hamper the parents' campaign to keep the search for Madeleine in the public eye.

He said the parents would urge the Portuguese Justice Ministry to launch an internal inquiry into the leak which breaches the country's strict judicial laws.