“They are suggesting that Kate has in some way accidentally killed Madeleine, then kept her body, then got rid of it,” Philomena McCann, Gerry’s sister, told Sky News in response to the announcement. “I have never heard anything so utterly ludicrous in my entire life.” The couple’s spokeswoman Justine McGuinness called the cops’ allegation that Madeleine’s blood was found in the boot of the rental car “ludicrous.” And the very idea that Kate was somehow involved in her daughter’s death was “clearly ridiculous,” she said.
As she recalled in her book, Kate was offered a two-year jail sentence if she’d confess that she’d hidden or otherwise disposed of her daughter’s body—far better than being charged with homicide, the police told her.
“Most people find it hard to comprehend how innocent people can confess to crimes they haven’t committed,” Kate wrote. “Gerry and I don’t. Not now.”
But they were informed the next day that they were free to leave the country—and they decided to do so immediately.
On Sept. 9, four months after they’d touched down in Praia da Luz for a spring holiday as a family of five, the McCanns returned to England with their twins. Despite what the Portuguese police (who would officially clear them as suspects the following July), the tabloids and all their critics were saying, they maintained their hope that Madeleine was alive.
Or at the very least that they would get answers.
The third and final part of this series will be published June 19.