The parents of Madeleine McCann have accused journalists of ‘interference’ in the renewed investigation into the disappearance of their daughter.
Scotland Yard detectives are now in Portugal amid reports that, working with Portuguese counterparts, they will begin excavating a number of sites around the resort of Praia da Luz where three-year-old Madeleine went missing on 3 May, 2007.
This week there have been extensive reports and speculation about the new investigation prompting fears that the Portuguese police may their suspend activities.
In a statement Gerry and Kate McCann said: “We are dismayed with the way the media has behaved over the last couple of days in relation to our daughter’s case.
“There is an ongoing, already challenging, police investigation taking place and media interference in this way not only makes the work of the police more difficult, it can potentially damage and destroy the investigation altogether – and hence the chances of us finding Madeleine and discovering what has happened to her.
“As Madeleine’s parents, this just compounds our distress. We urge the media to let the police get on with their work and please show some respect and consideration to Madeleine and all our family.”
Concerns about media reports were outlined in a letter to editors sent by a Met assistant commissioner Mark Rowley on Tuesday.
In it he said that Portuguese police do not want to brief journalists about the ongoing investigation, adding: “if we provide any briefings or information on the work they are undertaking on our behalf, or if reporters cause any disruption to their work in Portugal activity will cease until that problem dissipates”.
It is important you understand this and appreciate the position in which I find myself. We will not be able to provide any information concerning the activity because ultimately it could mean the work stops. We respect the Portuguese position as we would expect them to respect our position if we were carrying out work on their behalf in the UK.
The most important task for me is to build momentum and protect our investigation given the many lines of enquiry that we see are necessary in order that we can do everything possible to solve the case. I ask that you support me and my team in those efforts. This includes respecting the requests of the Portuguese authorities during the work they will be carrying out on our behalf.
As well as being aware of the dangers of disrupting the work of the Portuguese, I would also ask you to think carefully about the information you decide to put in to the public domain. Although we will continue not to comment on specific information I would ask you to think twice about what impact that information or speculation might have on the investigation if it is published or broadcast.
We do not want to undermine our prospects of providing Mr and Mrs McCann with answers in this tragic case.
Collectively we all need to think carefully about our actions in this case.