Belfast Telegraph

We'll find out what happened to Madeleine, says Co Down cop Jim Gamble

Madeleine McCann (Family handout/PA)
Madeleine McCann (Family handout/PA)
Madeleine's mother and father Kate and Gerry McCann
Sarah Tulloch

By Sarah Tulloch

A Netflix documentary about the disappearance of Madeleine McCann will feature interviews with Jim Gamble QPM, from Bangor, Co Down, one of the UK's most experienced and outspoken experts on the safeguarding of children online.

The streaming service said that The Disappearance of Madeleine McCann will take a "detailed look" at the night the toddler vanished from the resort of Praia da Luz in Portugal in May 2007, while on holiday with her family.

Gamble, who was the senior child protection officer in the UK's first investigation into the disappearance of Madeleine, said he believes that we will find out what happened to the three-year-old "in his lifetime".

Speaking to the Daily Mail, Gamble said: “There’s huge hope to be had with the advances in technology. Year on year DNA is getting better. Year on year other techniques, including facial recognition, are getting better.

“And as we use that technology to revisit and review that which we captured in the past, there’s every likelihood that something we already know will slip into position.”

He added: "There is no doubt that human trafficking is a massive problem. On the internet you can go into those dark places and say, 'This is who I am and this is what I do’.

"And you’re made to feel better about who you are because there’s so many others."

Child protection expert Jim Gamble
Child protection expert Jim Gamble

The documentary also hears from private investigator Julian Peribanez, who was hired by the McCann family, and former Portuguese police chief Goncalo Amaral.

Netflix said the series had access to “never-before-heard testimonies from those at the heart of the story, including friends of the McCann family, investigators working the case and from those who became the subject of media speculation and rumour”.

Kate and Gerry McCann previously said in a statement: “The production company told us that they were making the documentary and asked us to participate.

“We did not see – and still do not see – how this programme will help the search for Madeleine and, particularly given there is an active police investigation, it could potentially hinder it.

“Consequently, o­­ur views and preferences are not reflected in the programme.”

Speaking to the Belfast Telegraph in September 2018, Gamble said: "I've got to know her parents over the years. And when you see parents having to get up every day, knowing that their child is missing, with the responsibility towards their other two children - the only thing that keeps them going, in my opinion, is hope.

"So I'm never going to give an opinion that I think Madeleine is dead. At the end of the day, we don't know. And I've been in this work long enough to know that many years later children are found again.

"That hope fuels people's ability to put one foot in front of the other. I believe it's a case where we'll find out what happened to Madeleine in my lifetime... I will always harbour the hope that it's good news."

The Disappearance of Madeleine McCann will be available to stream on Netflix on March 15.

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