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Scotland Yard is putting no limits on its review of the
investigation into Madeleine McCann's disappearance, Britain's top policeman has
said.Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Paul Stephenson said his
force's re-examination of the case would be a "significant piece of work" that
could produce recommendations about new lines of inquiry.
Critics claim the decision to bring in Met detectives to review
the evidence about what happened to the little girl has undermined the force's
independence and diverted resources from other crime victims.
But Sir Paul said it was "the right thing to do" and pledged that Scotland Yard
would carry out a thorough appraisal of the original investigation into
Madeleine's disappearance in Portugal more than four years ago.
"We are not putting any limits on it at this moment in time," he said.
"We have no timescales yet because we haven't produced the scoping.
It will be a significant piece of work."
No Metropolitan Police officers have travelled to Portugal so far
but they are in talks with the Portuguese authorities.
Madeleine was nearly four when she went missing from her
family's holiday flat in Praia da Luz in the Algarve on May 3, 2007
as her parents Kate and Gerry dined with friends nearby.
Portuguese detectives, helped by officers from Leicestershire Police,
carried out a massive investigation into her disappearance.
But the official inquiry was formally shelved in July 2008
and since then no police force has been actively looking for the missing child.
Scotland Yard's review of the case, which will be funded by the Home Office,
was launched earlier this month after a request from
Home Secretary Theresa May supported by Prime Minister David Cameron.
It is being led by Detective Chief Inspector Andy Redwood of the
Met's Homicide and Serious Crime Command.
Sir Paul said the final report would not be published.
It gives hope to parents Gerry and Kate McCann that Maddie may yet be traceable, three-and-a-half years after she first went missing in Portugal.
A spokesman for the McCanns said an investigator had done 'absolutely the right thing' by going to police with his suspicions.
According to Marcelino Italiano the paedophile ring has taken a dozen other children, believing they can get away with anything.
He was quoted in The Sun newspaper as saying: 'I know these people were involved and I have been told that Madeleine may now be in America.'
The Angolan, who also works as a nightclub bouncer, has given in a dossier - including the names of two prominent Portuguese businessmen - to police in Huelva, south-west Spain, according to the newspaper.
The McCann's spokesman said: 'It is entirely appropriate that the police and any other law enforcement body now investigates these claims along with the private investigators currently searching for Madeleine.
'These investigations are now under way.'
Maddie was nearing her fourth birthday when she disappeared from the family's holiday apartment in Praia da Luz, Algarve on May 3, 2007. Her parents were dining with friends at the time.
She has still not been found, despite a massive police investigation and huge publicity worldwide.
The formal inquiry in Portugal over Maddie's disappearance was officially shelved in July 2008, but private detectives paid by the McCanns have continued the hunt.
There have been reports of sightings from around the world, but she has still not been found.
Kate and Gerry McCann said they have had enough of "fluffy worthless words" and are calling again for a full case review over their daughter Madeleine's disappearance.
Exactly three-and-a-half years since Madeleine went missing, the couple said they want "action" and for "somebody to do something".
They launched a petition on Tuesday to lobby the UK and Portuguese governments for a joint or independent review of the case.
"Essentially for the last three-and-a-half years the authorities have not been doing anything proactive to help Madeleine," Mr McCann said.
The couple, from Rothley, Leicestershire, have met with former home secretaries Alan Johnson and Jacqui Smith, as well as current Home Secretary Theresa May, to discuss the issue and to ask for a review of the case.
Mrs McCann said when they met Mr Johnson, who commissioned a "scoping exercise" by CEOP to see if a review would be helpful, they felt they were making progress, but now did not even know if the report had been read.
"There has not been a formal case review and I think for such a serious case like this, and with the profile of it and international aspects, that should be carried out," her husband said.
Madeleine was three when she went missing from her family's holiday flat in Praia da Luz in the Algarve on May 3 2007 as her parents dined with friends nearby.
Portuguese police launched a massive investigation with the support of British officers, but the inquiry was formally shelved in July 2008 without reaching any firm conclusions about her fate.
Private detectives employed by the McCanns are still investigating the case and as well as the petition, the couple are appealing for continued financial support for the official Find Madeleine fund - as it stands the fund will run out in spring 2011.
Kate McCann this weekend has returned to Portugal, where her young daughter Madeleine went missing in May 2007.
Family spokesman Clarence Mitchell said it was one of a number of recent visits she had made to see friends in the country.
The mother-of-three from Rothley in Leicestershire, who is a devout Catholic, was seen praying in the Nossa Senhora da Luz church near where her daughter disappeared.
A small team of private investigators led by Dave Edgar is still looking for Madeleine.
The little girl was three years old when she went missing from her family's holiday flat in Praia da Luz in the Algarve, while her parents dined with friends nearby.
Kate and Gerry McCann are returning to Portugal for the libel trial of the former Portuguese detective who headed the investigation into their daughter Madeleine's disappearance.
The couple launched legal action against Goncalo Amaral after he published a book questioning their account about what happened to the little girl.
Mr and Mrs McCann, both 41, from Rothley, Leicestershire, will fly to Lisbon ahead of the three-day trial, which is due to start at the main civil court in the Portuguese capital on Tuesday.
It is understood that they plan to attend all the hearings, but do not intend to go back to the Algarve resort where Madeleine vanished more than two-and-a-half years ago.
Family spokesman Clarence Mitchell said: "I can confirm that Kate and Gerry McCann will be returning to Portugal on Monday to attend the resumption of the Amaral trial on Tuesday at the main civil court in Lisbon.
"The details of their travel plans and itinerary will at their request remain private."
Madeleine was nearly four when she went missing from her family's holiday apartment in Praia da Luz in the Algarve on May 3 2007 while her parents dined with friends nearby.
Four months after her disappearance, Mr and Mrs McCann were made "arguidos", or formal suspects, in the case but this was lifted when the investigation was shelved in July 2008.
Mr Amaral at first led the Portuguese inquiry into Madeleine's disappearance but he was taken off the case in October 2007 after criticising the British police in a newspaper interview.
In his book Maddie: The Truth Of The Lie, which was published in July 2008, Mr Amaral claimed that Madeleine was dead and questioned the McCanns' account that she was abducted. A Portuguese judge granted an injunction in September last year banning further sale or publication of the book.
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Yesterday morning Gerry and I attended the Civil Court in Lisbon for the planned trial relating to the injunction against Goncalo Amaral's book and DVD. The trial was postponed until January as Mr Amaral's Lawyer was unable to attend. As the injunction remains in place (following the Judge's decision in September), we have no reason to be dissapointed. For us it was important to be there, especially for Madeleine.
We travelled to Praia da Luz yesterday afternoon. I have longed to come back here for two years for personal and emotional reasons. Early this morning we went to the lovely little church of Nossa Senhora da Luz. It was so quiet and peaceful - a real sanctuary. Although our pain feels much rawer here, it is comforting at the same time since we feel closer to Madeleine. We then walked down to the rocks on the beach, with its crashing waves and sense of vastness and freedom -
another place where I've always felt able to reach out to Madeleine and find a little solace. For the rest of today we are planning to catch up with some very good friends. We hope that the media will respect our privacy and needs, as requested, as well as those of the local community.
An online viral appeal was released today to help find British girl Madeleine McCann who disappeared in Portugal on May 3, 2007. She would now be aged six.
The message is the work of the UK's Child Exploitation and Online Protection (CEOP) Centre which worked with the McCanns on the video and the ideas behind its distribution and is not the result of any new police intelligence.
EVERTON FC has used its European clash with Portuguese giants Benfica tomorrow night to thrust the search for Madeleine McCann back into the spotlight.
The club has printed 6,000 T-shirts bearing the slogan “We’re Still Looking For You” – 3,000 in English and 3,000 in Portuguese.
It is urging travelling fans to wear them to help reignite the search to find the youngster, who went missing from the Portuguese resort of Praia de Luz in 2007.