Madeleine McCann: reconstruction may occur

By Caroline Gammell
Last Updated: 7:29PM BST 14/05/2008

A reconstruction of the night Madeleine McCann went missing may still go ahead, her parents’ Portuguese lawyer has said.

Doubts were raised after Kate and Gerry McCann publicly questioned the value of such an exercise so long after their daughter vanished.

But Rogerio Alves said there were “strong indications” that it could take place in the next two weeks.

Speaking at a police conference in Faro in the Algarve, he said: “We have little faith in the benefit of this step and how it can help to discover what happened to Madeleine. But there are strong indications it will go ahead.”

Portuguese detectives want Mr and Mrs McCann, from Rothley in Leicestershire, to return to the Algarve to re-enact the night of May 3 last year when their eldest child disappeared from their holiday apartment in Praia da Luz.

They have also asked the couple’s seven friends who dined with them at the nearby tapas bar when Madeleine vanished to go back to Portugal, but they are also thought to be hesitant about returning.

Clarence Mitchell, the McCann’s spokesman, said nothing had been decided.

“The discussions about the possible visit by all nine are still ongoing,” he said. “It is down to the friends – as well as Kate and Gerry – to decide whether they want to go back.

“Of course, Kate and Gerry would do anything they could if they thought it would help find their daughter.

“There are some serious questions surrounding the value of the proposed exercise and only when satisfactory answers have come in and all the friends are happy will it happen.”

A source close to the McCanns, who are still suspects or arguidos in their daughter’s disappearance, said the couple could not understand why a reconstruction was being arranged now, more than a year on.

“It is not going to be televised, so it won’t throw up any new leads outside the police investigation,” said the source. “There are physical differences more than a year on, such as the hedgerows are a different height, for example.

“And has anyone given any thought to how Kate might feel about taking part in a reconstruction with another child playing her daughter?”

The debate over the reconstruction came as the judge in charge of the case decided to extend the secrecy laws surrounding the files for another three months.

This means the McCanns will keep their arguido status until August 15 at the earliest.

Mr Alves said he was not surprised about the extension: “It seems normal to me, I expected it.

“What the judicial secrecy means in this case is that a mother and father are forbidden access to the knowledge they would like to have about what the police are doing to discover something fundamental for them – what happened to their daughter.”

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