Kate McCann’s mother ‘wanted to shake her’ for leaving Madeleine

By Caroline Gammell in Praia da Luz
Last Updated: 3:36pm BST 29/04/2008

Kate and Gerry with Pyjamas
By Caroline Gammell in Praia da Luz
Last Updated: 2:18AM BST 30/04/2008 (The photo of Kate and Gerry with Pyjamas was pulled from the original article and replaced with the one below).
Kate McCann’s mother wanted to shake her daughter and son-in-law for leaving Madeleine on her own the night she went missing, she has said.

Kate McCann’s mother says the only way her daughter can cope ‘is by trying 100 per cent to get Madeleine back’

Susan Healy, who travelled to Portugal as soon as she heard about her grandaughter’s disappearance, said the first question she asked the couple was “where were you?”.

Kate McCann’s mother says the only way her daughter can cope ‘is by trying 100 per cent to get Madeleine back’

Speaking just days before the first anniversary of the night Madeleine vanished, Mrs Healy, 62, said it was a question she had repeatedly asked herself.

“You find yourself over and over again in your head thinking: ‘Why did they think it would be all right?’” she said.

“Why did they think – all of them – it was OK to do this? I think they were beguiled into thinking it was OK – but there was no CCTV, no security.

“There is this acceptance among couples with young children, like Kate and Gerry and their friends, that these are good resorts and safe environments. “I could shake all of them, every single one of them.”

Mrs Healy, from Allerton in Liverpool, said the McCanns have had to live with the fact that they left Madeleine in an unlocked apartment while they went for dinner.

“At the end of the day they thought they had taken adequate provision… no one looks after their children better than Kate and Gerry. That’s why it’s so amazing they can be in this situation.”

Reports have been circulating in Portugal that the couple may be prosecuted for neglect, a claim strongly rejected by the couple’s spokesman Clarence Mitchell.

“That rumour has been floating around for a while,” he said.

“If that did happen, why now? Why should they face such a charge now given that nothing has changed?

“If that charge was put to them, it would be defended robustly. The legal advice that they have received is that what they did that night with regular checks on the children was part of reasonable parenting.

“They have committed no offence under any law in Portugal or the UK.”

Mrs Healy recalled the moment she heard that Madeleine was gone – in a late night telephone call from Mr McCann.

“It was about 11.30ish when Gerry rang,” she told the Liverpool Echo.

“I picked up the phone, but the last thing I expected was that it was going to be Gerry on the other end.

He said something like ‘It’s a disaster’. I was grappling to understand ‘disaster’.

“His next words were ‘Madeleine has been abducted from her bed in the apartment’. I said ‘No, Gerry’. I asked him ‘Where were you?'”

She and her husband Brian packed immediately and flew to the Algarve to be with their daughter, their only child.

“I remember, after we got to the hotel complex, looking at the little paddling pool and all the children there. I was thinking ‘This time yesterday, Madeleine was playing there’.

“I don’t know who I hugged first, but I’ll never forget how Kate and Gerry were that day – they were absolutely wailing.”

Mr Healy added: “I remember Kate’s first words to me – I’ll never forget them.

She said: ‘She’ll be so frightened.'”

Mrs Healy has been staunch defender of her daughter and has spoken out in the past about how Mrs McCann has felt persecuted by parts of the media.

Last October, she claimed that her daughter told her: “If I weighed another two stone, had a bigger bosom and looked more maternal, people would be more sympathetic.”

But Mrs Healy said her real anger came when the McCanns were made suspects – or arguidos – in Madeleine’s disappearance.

“They had told the police they were going to come home. I think that moved things on for the police and they told Kate and Gerry they wanted to question them again.

“Gerry did ring to warn us that they were likely to be made arguidos, I think it was a few days before. I nearly had a dicky fit. I was amazed and angry. Very angry.”

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