The police case against Kate and Gerry McCann for killing their daughter appeared to be crumbling today after a senior prosecutor said that Madeleine’s body must be found to secure a conviction.
The development came as the McCann family said that they expected to spend a year fighting to clear their names and that they would rather Madeleine was found dead than be left in the “awful limbo” position of not knowing what fate had befallen her. It is also thought that former military personnel are engaged in a series of searches to find the missing four-year-old.
António Cluny, president of the Portuguese public prosecutors’ service, said that it appeared that there was insufficient forensic evidence to prove that Madeline was killed by her parents.
His comments follow increasing reports in Portugal that samples taken from the McCanns’ apartment and hire car are inconclusive. Last week a judge said police had failed to gather new evidence to justify reinterviewing Madeleine’s parents.
Mr and Mrs McCann have insisted that any samples from Madeleine found in the Renault Scenic hired 25 days after her disappearance could have come from her clothes or belongings which were carried in the car.
Mr Cluny told the 24 Horas newspaper: “Without the little girl’s body everything is extremely complicated. There have been cases where it has been possible to obtain a conviction without there being a victim, but there were confessions.
“One cannot accuse a person of homicide without there being very strong evidence. In the Maddie case there is no confession and according to what has been made public the evidence gathered up until now keeps all leads open, from abduction to homicide or at least to a simple accident.”