THE parents of Madeleine McCann have slammed a “heartless” ex-cop for saying the missing tot will never been found.
Kate and Gerry McCann said they “still have hope” Maddie will be “found alive” 12 years on from her disappearance in Portugal.
'NEGATIVE AND HURTFUL'
The parents slammed self-styled top crime investigator Mark Williams-Thomas for trying to “cash in” on Maddie’s fate and said his “hurtful” remarks in his new book undermined the committed and ongoing work by cops to find her.
Mr Williams-Thomas believes Maddie fell victim to an opportunistic criminal and mystery has not been solved because a crucial CCTV camera at the Portuguese holiday resort she was snatched from was turned off.
The sad reality is, this far on, the likelihood of Madeleine being alive now is incredibly slim.
He states: “The sad reality is, this far on, the likelihood of Madeleine being alive now is incredibly slim. Unfortunately, in almost every case of stranger abduction, within the space of 24 hours the child is dead.”
The authors' remarks come just a few weeks after the McCann’s of Rothley. Leics, vowed to carry on searching for their daughter.
'NOTHING HAS CHANGED'
Kate and Gerry posted a website message on their 13th Christmas without her: “Nothing has changed…we love her, we miss her, we hope as always. The search for Madeleine goes on with unwavering commitment.”
A family source said: “Now someone who has absolutely no idea what happened to Madeleine is saying she’ll never be found. "This is neither helpful to the Scotland Yard search not respectful to Kate and Gerry. It is heartless.
“They are starting their New Year with hope and positivity and they don't want people pedalling negative and hurtful comments simply to cash in on book sales.
Nothing has changed…we love her, we miss her, we hope as always. The search for Madeleine goes on with unwavering commitment.
“It undermines work the police are doing for which Kate and Gerry remain greatly encouraged by and are extremely grateful for.
“They also say that until a body is found they refuse to give up searching."
Heart doctor Gerry and former GP Kate, both 51, cling onto hope that Maddie – who would now be 16 – could still be alive and being held against her will.
Three-year-old Maddie vanished from a holiday flat in The Algarve’s Praia da Luz on May 2007.
She had been left sleeping along with her younger twin siblings while her parents were dining in a nearby tapas bar with pals.
MADDIE'S CASE 'UNSOLVEABLE'
So far nearly £12million of taxpayers' money has been spent on the painstaking hunt to find her. The couple’s latest round of funding runs out at the end of March.
Mr Williams-Thomas, 49, who was worked on major missing persons cases but never Maddie’s, is convinced her case is “unsolvable”.
In his new book Hunting Killers, the author says: "The abduction of Madeleine McCann is one I’d put into the unsolvable category.
The abduction of Madeleine McCann is one I’d put into the unsolvable category.
"I believe Madeleine was the victim of an opportunistic criminal whose act was random – she wandered out of the apartment and into the path of this person.
“The case hasn’t been solved simply because a crucial CCTV camera was turned off, meaning that whoever took Madeleine was not identifiable at the scene.”
In fact former Portuguese police chief Gonzalo Amaral, who led the original investigation onto Maddie’s disappearance, previously said he believed the suspect was caught on film before it was wiped.
Mr Amaral – who won a bitter and long fought libel battle against Kate and Gerry which they are still trying to appeal in the European Court of Human Rights – reportedly said: “I believe that the person seen carrying a child in his arms was captured on film from that very camera.
I asked my officers to gather all the CCTV footage in Luz but, by the time they got to this hotel, the film from this camera had been wiped over. It was a mistake and I will always regret it.
“I asked my officers to gather all the CCTV footage in Luz but, by the time they got to this hotel, the film from this camera had been wiped over. It was a mistake and I will always regret it.
“I do feel Madeleine was let down.”
British officers working with counterparts in Portugal said Apartment 5A at the Ocean Club from where the youngster went missing was the “worst preserved” crime scene ever.
A CCTV camera in the complex was not working. Another camera covering the road from the resort was allegedly never examined.
But the McCann's were also reportedly shown some footage taken from public sites around the area and photos, including a number of known sex offenders.
Maddie’s abduction – the world's most famous missing child case – was highlighted last year in a controversial Netflix documentary which her parents refused to co-operate with.
Mr Williams-Thomas, who at times speaks out on breakfast TV about latest Maddie development, said he wants to see an end to the case – ideally the girl returned home to her family or "some kind of resolution in terms of someone being convicted for the offence.”
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