Madeleine McCann complained to mother Kate about being left crying alone

By Caroline Gammell in Brussels
Last Updated: 2:27PM BST 28/04/2008

Madeleine McCann complained to her mother after she was left crying and alone on the night before she disappeared, leaked police documents have disclosed.

The little girl, then aged three, spoke to Kate McCann at breakfast the following morning and said: “Mummy, why didn’t you come when we were crying last night?”

The question prompted Mrs McCann and her husband Gerry to discuss keeping a closer on eye on their children. However, just a few hours after that conversation, Madeleine vanished from their holiday apartment in the Algarve.

Friends said they now believe Madeleine’s comment could even be a clue that an intruder was in the flat on the night before her disappearance and that they briefly disturbed her before fleeing.

The detailed revelations about Kate and her husband Gerry McCann’s last day with Madeleine emerged during the couple’s trip to Brussels on Thursday where they called for the establishment of a missing child alert system.

However, Mr and Mrs McCann were furious that their witness statements – the subject of Portuguese secrecy laws – were released on the same day that they tried to promote child welfare and safety.

Their spokesman Clarence Mitchell said they were angry and disappointed at the leaks, saying: “The only reason this has come out is because of Kate and Gerry’s utter honesty in their original statements.

“It is very curious that this is being released now, having been sitting in the police files for 11 months. The timing of this is frankly suspicious.”

Mr Mitchell demanded an internal police inquiry in Portugal into how the leak occurred: “We would be very interested to know what the Portuguese justice minister would say about how this has emerged from the police files on the day that it has, in the way that it has.

“Kate and Gerry have been nothing but honest and open and they have been the victims of leaks and smears.”

A friend of the couple went further, describing the leak as a “blatantly cynical attempt to smear them”.

“The minute that you talk about Madeleine crying is the minutes that the vultures will move in and this is why this has been leaked.”

He said the McCanns were conducting half hourly checks on Madeleine, so they were surprised to learn that she had been crying.

“It wasn’t really a complaint or a scolding from Madeleine, it was a comment in the morning.”

Mr and Mrs McCann, who are suspects in their daughter’s disappearance but have not been accused of any wrong-doing, have never discussed the events of the day of her disappearance – May 3 last year – because of secrecy laws.

But in extracts read out on Spanish broadcaster Telecinco’s late morning programme El Programa de Ana Rosa, it emerged that Mrs McCann had told police about a conversation she had with Madeleine on the morning she disappeared.

The little girl, then aged three, spoke to her mother because she had left her and twins Sean and Amelie alone in the night. Mrs McCann’s statement said: “While we were having breakfast, Madeleine said: ‘Mummy, why didn’t you come when we were crying last night?’.

“Gerry and I spoke for a couple of minutes and agreed to keep a closer watch over the children.”

After Madeleine’s disappearance, Mr and Mrs McCann were criticised for leaving their children while their dined at a tapas restaurant nearby and have spoken of their guilt for leaving them alone.

In his witness statement, Mr McCann told police that workmen had gone into their holiday apartment two days before Madeleine vanished to fix a broken window shutter in the main bedroom.

He told police he had checked on Madeleine and the twins at around 9pm on May 3. “She was breathing softly and I thought how beautiful she looked. I thought it was quite hot and I didn’t need to cover her up.”

He went on: “Kate came running to the bar and said Madeleine’s not there, someone has taken her.”

“I thought it couldn’t be and ran towards the apartment along the same route as always. I looked everywhere.

“I returned to the children room I tried to think what could have happened. To my surprise I realised I could lift up the window shutters without effort and almost without making noise.”

The disclosures came as the McCanns announced they would not go back to Portugal to mark the anniversary of Madeleine’s disappearance.

Because they do not believe they will be cleared of their arguido status before May 3, they said they will not return to Praia da Luz for the anniversary.

Portuguese detectives want the McCanns to go to the Algarve for a reconstruction but the couple’s lawyers are concerned about being summoned back to Portugal.

The McCanns are reluctant to go until the “cloud of suspicion” surrounding them is lifted.

Mr McCann, 39, said: “We do not know how long we are going to be arguidos.

“The reconstruction is still under discussion. We are not quite sure what form it is going to take, whether it will be a Crimewatch style programme with actors.

“We support anything that would jog people’s memories, but we will certainly not go back on May 3.”

Mr and Mrs McCann went to Belgium to garner support for the missing child alert system.

Addressing MEPs at the European Parliament, Mrs McCann, 40, said she believed such a system might have helped find their daughter.

“I believe the chances of recovering Madeleine would have been higher, it would have improved our chances.

“I am unable to convey to you just how totally devastating Madeleine’s abduction was, it has been totally awful.”

Mrs McCann held a photograph of Madeleine as she made her address to the European parliament and kept her daughter’s favourite toy Cuddle Cat in her handbag

“If anyone wanted to inflict the maximum pain on us, they certainly achieved that,” she said. “But that pales into insignificance when you think of what Madeleine has been through – the fear, absolute fear that she has had to endure.

“We implore you to support our declaration. Please do not wait for another child and family to suffer as we have.”

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