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McCanns ‘heartbroken over police failure to chase leads’

Kate and Gerry McCann have criticised the “heartbreaking” failure by police to investigate new leads in their daughter Madeleine's disappearance as they called for a full case review.

The couple said they should not be forced to “beg” for co-operation between the British and Portuguese authorities.

Speaking the day after a court upheld a ban on a book in which a former detective claims Madeleine is dead, the McCanns appealed for fresh help from officials to find their daughter.

Mr McCann said: “You would hope that the parents of a missing child shouldn't have to be here begging for such assistance and that the authorities would actually do everything in their power in the first place.”

The couple, both 41 and from Rothley, Leicestershire, have employed a series of private detectives to search for their daughter since she went missing from Praia da Luz in southern Portugal in May 2007.

They said there were cases where their investigators had passed leads on to the Portuguese authorities and Leicestershire Police, their local force, only for them to be ignored.

Mr McCann told a press conference in London: “There are certainly instances where information which we think is very credible and worthy of further investigation has not been actioned.”

Asked about how Leicestershire Police and other authorities responded to requests for a full independent review of the case, Mr McCann said the couple had encountered “reluctance”.

He said: “We don't think there's been a systematic review of all the information and the leads, and that's something that would be automatically done in the United Kingdom. We want the authorities to work together. It is an international case, and always has been. We feel that it is fundamental to try to find Madeleine for a systematic review to take place.”

Mr McCann said the authorities had done hardly anything to look for Madeleine since the Portuguese investigation was shelved in July 2008. “If you look at since the file has been closed what's actually been done, and that's next to nothing — and that's for probably the highest-profile missing child case in Europe ever,” he said.

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