Wednesday July 4, 2007

By Padraic Flanagan in Praia da Luz

THE mother of missing Madeleine McCann pleaded with the toddler’s kidnapper yesterday: “It’s not too late, please give her back.”

GP Kate McCann, 38, made the TV appeal for mercy exactly two months after her four-year-old daughter was snatched as she slept in a holiday apartment in Portugal.

Her husband Gerry, 39, revealed the strain they had endured since the kidnap in Praia da Luz on May 3.

“Every day is hard,” said the consultant cardiologist. “Every day is very, very difficult.

“We have a mix of very positive days, when we have done things and achieved things or big events with the campaign, but we are aware that these things are secondary.

“The only important thing is getting Madeleine back and we hope that what we are doing increases the chances of that.”

The couple said they had sought out experts to help their two-year-old twins Sean and Amelie deal with Madeleine’s absence.

Gerry McCann added: “We had some concerns about how to tell them, and it’s a pretty private matter how we went about it, but I can tell you that they are fine at the minute.”

The couple, pictured right, who earlier this week moved the family to a private villa away from the Ocean Club complex where Madeleine was snatched, said they worked hard to make life as normal as possible despite their ordeal.

Clutching Madeleine’s favourite Cuddle Cat toy, Mrs McCann, from Rothley, Leicestershire, said: “It’s pretty much like most family life, except during the day we have all the other things we need to do to campaign for Madeleine’s return.”

Her husband said: “Our day starts off pretty normal, like most families with kids we get them ready and take them to nursery, which allows us to do some work, and in the evenings it’s pretty much back to family life.” Mrs McCann said the family was determined to remain on the Algarve, adding that it comforted them to feel they may be near Madeleine.

Mr McCann added: “We can’t emphasise enough that she was taken from here so there is still a high probability that she is in this region or close to it.”

The couple said messages from wellwishers “have been a great comfort and a boost”.

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