Friday September 14, 2007
By Padraic Flanagan in Praia da Luz

KATE McCann’s diary could hold the critical clue to her daughter’s disappearance, Portuguese police revealed yesterday.

Detectives believe that desperate entries made by Madeleine’s mother will help unlock the secret of what happened to the four-year-old.

As well as Kate’s diary, police have also applied for a court order to seize Gerry McCann’s laptop.

Investigators believe that emails sent from the cardiologist’s distinctive white computer will provide crucial evidence in the case against Madeleine’s parents.

But in a signal that the McCanns are prepared to fight to prove their innocence, they issued a challenge to Portuguese detectives yesterday, saying: “Find the body and prove we killed her.”

They want the computer and lots of other objects including Kate’s diary

Portugal’s public prosecutor, Jose Cunha de Magalhaes e Meneses, has applied to a judge for an emergency order to seize several items – including the laptop and diary – within 24 hours. </[>

It is believed the judge, Pedro Miguel dos Anjos Frias, approved the order last night.

Papers are expected to be sent to the UK later today asking Leicestershire Police to seize the items so that Portuguese detectives can travel to England to examine them.

A police source said: “The police want to know what kind of emails Gerry exchanged with certain people.

“It seems to be more about Gerry than Kate, because they appear to believe Gerry controlled Kate.

“They want the computer and lots of other objects including Kate’s diary and letters from family and friends.”

However, he said police were not looking to seize Madeleine’s Cuddle Cat, as has been reported. Kate has regularly been seen clutching the toy since her daughter went missing on May 3.

Gerry’s laptop has been his constant companion since starting the campaign to publicise his daughter’s disappearance. He uses it to write a weblog detailing daily developments in the search. Kate, 39, has also regularly been seen writing in her black exercise book-type diary.

Sources close to the investigation say police believe both items will reveal Kate’s allegedly volatile state of mind in the days immediately after Madeleine’s disappearance 133 days ago.

Police are convinced the part-time GP was in some way linked to Madeleine’s accidental death and that she and Gerry, 39, then disposed of the body.

A mass of Madeleine’s hair and samples of bodily fluids have been found in the boot of the car that the couple hired 25 days after Madeleine disappeared.

Now police believe their case can be strengthened further by examining emails and other documents on the laptop.

In particular, they are thought to be keen to see any email exchanges Gerry had with the friends he and Kate were dining with on the night Madeleine vanished. The couple both vehemently deny any involvement in their daughter’s disappearance.

They fear they are being framed by police and that evidence against them is being planted. If the prosecutor seeks to bring charges or impose stricter bail conditions on the McCanns, the judge has 10 days to decide whether to agree to the request.

It could, however, take weeks to go through the 4,000-page dossier of evidence against the couple. On Tuesday the prosecutor ordered the 10 huge police files on the case to go before the criminal instructional judge.

A friend of the McCanns said the family had been advised that the prosecutor was probably either seeking further guidance from the judge or seeking to carry out more searches.

Referring to the decision to pass files to the judge, the family friend said: “It’s hardly surprising for the prosecutor to want to push a hot potato upwards. “If you were in their shoes you would want to get those papers away as quickly as possible.

“Our understanding is there’s no filtering process whatsoever – everything is in there. The judge has had the kitchen sink thrown at him.”

The McCanns were declared “arguidos”, or formal suspects, in the case during police questioning in Portimao last Friday. Under existing restrictions the couple are only required to give police their address and notify officers if they are away from home for more than five days.

This is why the McCanns were able to return home to Rothley on Sunday with their two-year-old twins, Sean and Amelie. Gerry’s sister, Philomena, said: “If they bring charges against Kate and Gerry, that will give them a chance to clear their name. It will give us a chance to end all this speculation.”

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