MADELEINE McCANN was probably abducted after walking out of her holiday apartment in search of her parents, an expert on her disappearance said yesterday. Criminologist Mark Williams-Thomas said it was unlikely an abductor entered apartment 5a at the Ocean Club, in Praia Da Luz, Portugal.
The ex-detective said Madeleine was probably snatched by an opportunistic paedophile as she looked for her parents, Gerry and Liverpool-born Kate, as they ate with friends at a nearby tapas bar. He said publicly-available evidence leads him to believe the three-year-old arranged her toys on her bed and left through the unlocked patio door. He said: "Is it unreasonable to presume that Madeleine woke up and then went in search of her parents at a restaurant within a holiday complex that she had grown familiar with over the course of her holiday?
Neatly tucking up her toys – as her parents had done to her – she slipped out of the apartment through an insecure patio door. This seems all the more credible, given what we know happened to eight-year-old Sarah Payne, who was abducted in July, 2000, even though she was only out of sight of her family for a matter of seconds."
British psychologist Alan Pike counselled the mum and said she had “dark thoughts” after Goncalo Amaral’s shocking book. The trauma specialist added she feared the book about the case would stop people looking for her missing girl.
He told the hearing: “Kate thought about not being around any more. She referred to killing herself as an option to end the trauma she was experiencing. "I deduced it was an indicator of how she felt rather that something she ever intended to do. "Kate in particular wasn’t very well and she shared with me some very dark thoughts which she hadn’t done before.”
He added: "When people are going through trauma they sometimes feel helpless and one of the things they say is, 'I wish I wasn’t here'. One solution some people formulate is to take themselves away from it all. To share that with anyone will often alarm or worry the people they live with so I think I was the only person Kate shared this with."
Michael Wright told the hearing in Lisbon: "There were several examples of them inciting forum members to abduct one of the twins as they felt they would be able to throw some light on what may have happened.
"On one of the Internet forums, called The 3 Arguidos, there was an internet conversation in great length where a member was suggesting that someone should abduct Sean or Amelie because they may be able to get information out of them that would confirm (ex-Portuguese police chief Goncalo) Amaral's theories."
Gerry McCann is hoping to give evidence at a £1million libel trial over Goncalo Amaral’s book that claimed the missing youngster died in their Algarve holiday apartment in May 2007. The heart specialist has asked to be heard as a witness at the hearing in Lisbon today but Judge Maria Emilia Melo e Castro must approve it before he can take the stand.
Gerry hopes to the tell the court how the “awful, malicious lies” in Amaral’s 2008 book The Truth Of The Lie hindered the worldwide search for her and caused anguish to him and wife Kate, both 45. The McCanns’ spokesman Clarence Mitchell said last night: “I can confirm Gerry McCann is hoping to give evidence.”
Gerry McCann said that he was "disappointed" after a hearing at a Lisbon court was delayed but added that he "would come back" to give evidence in the family's libel case against a former detective.
He said: "Obviously we are disappointed. If I get the opportunity to be heard, I will certainly come back. The law has changed, and I think that Kate and I know better than anyone else what we have experienced, and what we have gone through, the facts of the file and the damage that has been caused to the search for Madeleine."