Maddie cash to run out in three months

13 December 2009
Sunday Mail

Parents will battle on

Cash funding the search for missing Madeleine McCann will run out in three months. Maddie's parents, Kate and Gerry McCann, are now preparing to open talks with multimillionaire businessman Brian Kennedy to extend his backing.  The couple had feared the fund set up to trace their little girl, who has now been missing for 31 months, would be exhausted by the end of this month. But they have boosted it with payouts won in legal actions against newspapers in Britain and abroad.

Glaswegian Gerry and Kate, both 41, flew to Portugal last week for a new libel action against former Portuguese police chief Goncalo Amaral, who wrote a book claiming Madeleine died in an accident, but on Friday the trial was adjourned until next month. It could see them net £1 million - cash that would be immediately diverted to the fund to nd Madeleine, who was just about to turn four when she disappeared from their Algarve holiday home in May 2007.

Scots double glazing tycoon Mr Kennedy has not yet indicated that he will continue to contribute cash.  The McCanns' PR man Clarence Mitchell, who also acts as spokesman for Scots doubleglazing tycoon Kennedy, said: "No one is worried about the situation. "Brian Kennedy has not said he won't continue to back the fund and the search will not cease until we have found her. "As and when the fund diminishes, there will be talks with Brian and various other backers. There is approximately £500,000 left in the fund and there is enough money to keep going until early spring. "Money is being spent more slowly. We had thought it would run out by the end of the year but the drain has not been so severe.

"If it had not been for the libel settlements, the fund would have depleted long ago. A lot of work that has been done has ruled things out. "A number of leads are being followed at the moment. Kate and Gerry do feel that progress is being made."

Kate and Gerry, who both work as doctors in Leicestershire, have pledged never to give up looking for their daughter.

The fund is keeping costs down by running a smaller team of detectives and concentrating the search on southern Spain, Portugal and northern Africa.

Kevin Halligen, an Irish crook who posed as a security consultant, was paid £300,000 from the fund and is now facing fraud charges.

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