We're so desperately sorry we left you

We're so desperately sorry we left you;
Code Madeleine; NOW Campaign;
Interview; Kate McCann
5 August 2007
The News of the World
Ross Hall

Kate's secret regret. In an emotional, tear-filled interview, Maddie's mum delivers a message to her little girl

Heartbroken Kate McCann sobbed last night as she spoke fully for the first time of her anguish and regret at leaving her daughter alone on the night she vanished.

In her first solo newspaper interview an emotional Kate, her eyes red and puffy from the endless sleepless nights, admitted: "We're just so desperately sorry to Madeleine that we weren't there.

"Even now, every hour I still question myself, 'Why did I think that was safe?'

"I do feel regret, and I've gone through all of my life saying I never want to have any regrets. But you can't not regret something like that."

As mum-of-three Kate, 38, spoke she repeatedly broke down, gripping tightly on to Maddie's favourite pink Cuddle Cat toy.

Asked what she would tell her missing daughter if she could, Kate said: "I'd tell her we love her. She knows we love her very much. She knows we're looking for her, that we're doing absolutely everything and we'll never give up."

In a heart-rending twist, Kate revealed four-year-old Maddie's last words on the evening she was snatched from their Portuguese holiday apartment, Thursday May 3, telling her mum she'd just had the happiest day of her life.

Fighting back tears Kate said: "We used the Kids' Club and Madeleine had a ball.

They did swimming, went on a little boat, went to the beach, did lots of colouring-in, face-painting, tennis. She was so happy.

"That night before she went to bed she said, 'Mummy, I've had the best day ever.

I'm having lots and lots of fun.'

"She had a little dance prepared for me for the Friday-they'd been working on it for days."

Her voice dropping to a whisper, Kate sobbed: "I don't know what it was-I never got to see it."

Since Maddie was snatched, GP Kate and her hospital doctor husband Gerry, along with their two-year-old twins Sean and Amelie, have remained in Praia da Luz to be near the search. Kate's voice breaks as she relives the gut-wrenching moment as she walked into the room and realised Madeleine was gone.

"There were about 20 seconds of disbelief where I thought, 'That can't be right'," she said. "Then there was panic and fear. I was screaming her name, it was just total fear.

"I never thought for one second she'd walked out. I knew someone had been in the apartment because of the way it had been left.

"There wasn't a shadow of a doubt in my mind she'd been taken. That's why the fear set in. Then you go through the guilt phase straight away.

"I can't describe how much I love Madeleine. If I'd had to think for one second, 'Should we have dinner and leave them?' I wouldn't have done it.

"It didn't happen like that, I didn't have to think for a second, that's how safe I felt.

"Maybe it was because it was family friendly, because it felt so safe. That week we'd left them alone while we had dinner.

"There's no way on this planet I'd take a risk, no matter how small, with my children."

She added: "This has touched so many people. I've had so many letters from mothers, really kind words.

"People have said, 'Kate, we've done this a hundred times over ourselves. Why would you for one minute think something like that would happen?'

"It's not like we went down to the town or anything. People have said to me, 'You're the unluckiest person in the world'-and we are.

"That night runs over and over in my mind and I'm sure people will learn from our mistake, if you want to call it that.

"But it's important not to lose sight of the fact we haven't committed a crime.

"Somebody has. Somebody's been there. Somebody's been watching. They took our daughter away and we can't lose sight of that." Pausing for a moment to choke back the tears, Kate continued: "How can someone do that to a child? I've just got to keep focused and positive."

Despite their young age, Mad-eleine's little brother and sister repeatedly ask about her.

"They know she's not there and miss her," said Kate. "They talk about Madeleine's things and if they get biscuits they say, 'One for Sean, one for Amelie, one for Madeleine.'

"When we went back to the UK for a family baptism there was an empty seat on the plane and Sean said, 'That's Madeleine's seat.' That caught me.

"The hardest thing wasn't being in the UK, it was to be with such close family and for Madeleine not to be there. I knew how much she'd have loved it.

"Amelie asked me afterwards, 'Where's Madeleine? I miss my big sister.'

"I don't know where that question came from, it could have been because it was a family day.

"I can be doing OK and then something like that catches me in the throat.

"Despite her small size, Madeleine just has this huge presence. She brings a lot of joy."

Occasionally Kate does allow herself to think of the worst-case outcome but she tries to remain focused and is sure she will see Madeleine again. Welling up, she said: "I still have moments of panic and fear.

"It's not as intense and unrelenting as the first five days. Now, obviously we have hope and it's important to hold on to that.

"I do go back to those dark moments. It would be abnormal never to touch on them.

I do feel panic and fear when I'm thinking about Madeleine. But it doesn't help her. It's important to channel those emotions into something positive."

Next Saturday is the 100th day since Madeleine was taken, and it will be an emotional milestone for the family. "I'm still hoping that we're not going to get there," added Kate.

"Every day I'm hoping we won't get to the next day without Madeleine. It's been a long time. But we have to keep going for her.

"We haven't talked about staying here for ever, we're just not looking that far ahead."

But Kate admitted she doubts she'll ever be able to return to the family home in Rothley, Leicestershire, because of the memories.

"I can't bear the thought of it," she confessed. "At the moment we feel happier staying here, closer to the investigation.

"We don't know where Madeleine is, we don't think she's in the UK but there's nothing to say she's any further from there than she is from here. It's a gut feeling. I'm aware there are probably things that would be easier at home, but at the moment this is the right thing for us.

"We've had so much support, mothers can empathise with me. Speaking now, on my own, is a way of saying thank you. They've given a bit of themselves to me.

"We've got three beautiful children. Madeleine is irreplaceable. I want her back.

We just have to wait and see what life has in store for us."

Return to top of page Copyright © 2010 | Flash News Converted into Blogger Template by HackTutors